Years ago I bought I small butane torch in the hopes of making crème brûlées. It was relegated to the back of one of my kitchen drawers for lack of fuel.
A few years after that, while on vacation, I paid my usual visit to one of my favorite kitchen stores. I came upon a small container of butane that, in theory, would be able to fill my torch that was patiently waiting. The container, too, was hidden away in a cupboard.
About three years ago, I bought myself a Christmas gift – eight crème brûlée dishes. All but one remained in the original packaging.
Why, you might ask, since I had all the components for this dessert, the dessert was one of my favorites, and I made it everyday at the restaurant I worked in, would I still not have taken the plunge at home? Who can say?
But, that chapter of my baking life ended today, thanks to Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake. Mari’s selection for this week’s TWD was Dorie’s crème brûlée. After reading through the recipe, I decided to third it, and then I decided to ‘play around’ a bit. I infused the milk and cream mixture with star anise, letting it sit for an hour or so, then strained it and gently mixed it with the remaining ingredients.
While the basic recipe is very easy, I have to question the baking instructions. Yes, typically, this dessert is baked in a water bath, but Dorie’s recipe uses low heat for about an hour to create the same result. After an hour, though, my custard was still liquid, so I left it in for a longer time. Two hours, total. I think a good bit of it evaporated in that time, and perhaps I could have removed it earlier, but the description in the recipe and my actual custard didn’t jibe. I’m aware that recipes are not always foolproof and can have errors, so I would suggest an editorial revisit to this particular one to double check the baking time and temperature.
The end result was still a nice dessert, and I enjoyed the subtlety of the star anise. Since the torch is now operational, I plan on making crème brûlée again, probably using a different recipe for comparison.
Given that all the TWD bakers could personalize their desserts, it will be fun to see all the creative variations. Check it out!