Has anyone ever ACTUALLY made the glass-like caramel on top of creme brulee with the grill of the oven? I have the creme brulee recipe in Time Life "The Good Cook" series (deserts) and the picture of the creme brulee has always had me drooling. It shows a spoon cracking a hard, glass-like surface and some of the semi-liquid creme coming out.
So I finally decided to make it, and i followed the directions. It says to put it in the oven near the grill, and i did. I heated the grill for ten minutes, and put it up close. The cream was cold, as it was supposed to be. I left it there for quite a while (wasn;t timing but i really got fed up, certainly ten minutes but maybe longer). I finally quit when half of the sugar was still granular (it was superfine sugar) but pale beige and the other half was white, as it was when i put it on. It was not one half white and one half beige, of course, but sort of spotty. However the cream was boiling away underneath it. I figured that was not supposed to happen and over ten minutes had passed.
It was absolutely delicious - only heavy cream, egg yolks and sugar. No vanilla or any flavoring, and that was amazing. But it didn;t have the flavor of caramel nor the nice contrast of semi-liquid cream and crackly caramel. Not something to serve to guests.
I know people use blow torches (i don;t have one) and others use salamanders or whatever they;re called (and i don;t have one). But this is a time life recipe, and i;ve come to count on them as reliable. It said put it under the grill.of the oven It didn;t mention not to worry if the cream bubbles (and in fact it did curdle a little after) and didn't even say to preheat the grill. So i wonder, do people ever manage to do it this way? and is it supposed to boil?