The Great Crème Brûlée Fail Of 2011

Achievement: #9. Use Our Popcorn Maker and Creme Brulee Maker

If you’ve never done a wedding registry, I sadly must inform you that you’re missing out. Of all of the parts of planning a wedding that happen, doing the registry is one of the most fun. It’s certainly more fun than planning seating charts, WAY less stressful than writing vows, and more gratifying than assembling favors.

You see, when you make a wedding registry, the possibilities are limitless! The nice people at Bed, Bath & Beyond give you a little gun, and you walk around the store and scan anything your heart desires. Sure, your guests may not buy *every* thing on your list, but you know that at the end of the wedding, you can come in and complete whatever you didn’t get but really wanted with a discount!

Wedding Registry
Oh, you want knives? Scan every knife you see. Someone, somewhere just might buy you that fancy automatic-sharpening Ginsu knife with the turkey carving attachment!

Wedding Registry
The problem with this, of course, is that you will ultimately scan *and* receive something that seems like a good idea in the moment, but winds up being completely impractical, and you find it impossible to fit its use into your newly-married-person’s schedule. Like this Dustbuster. Do you know how often I think about using a Dustbuster, only to realize I’ve forgotten to charge it, or that the thing I’m sucking up off the steps requires the strength of a ShopVac and not a Dustbuster?? (I don’t know how dogs get things stuck in carpet that way, I really don’t.)

So, fast-forward to 2011, and we have this really fantastic crème brûlée set that we’ve never used because… we are intimidated by the thought of using a blowtorch in dessert-making.

And, like they always say, if you’re having trouble doing something in your regular life, put it on your 101 Achievements list, and it shall be done.

Crème Brûlée
So, we made an emergency run to the cigar shop down the street (which sells crème brûlée torch butane), and we were ready to try this thing out.

Crème Brûlée
I should also mention that we started this adventure at 10:30pm, which was the time where we realized we were supposed to have gotten brown sugar… but didn’t. A quick Google of ‘substitute turbinado sugar for brown sugar’ verified that we could, in fact, make a 1:1 swap (in theory). We thought we were good to go.

Crème Brûlée
Step one is easy: mix up the creamy parts and bring them to a rolling boil. (‘Rolling boil’ is one of those cooking terms that motivates me to want to cook like, all the time.)

Crème Brûlée
It takes two people to make and photograph a crème brûlée. For this step, pour the creamy boiled mixture into the eggy parts, and stir. Yum.

Crème Brûlée
Then stuff gets complicated. The kit comes with these charming little crème brûlée ramekins (that’s a fancy term for ‘ceramic dish’), and you must fill them to the tippy top, then place them in a glass Pyrex dish filled with water. As you can tell, we were pretty terrible at this step, so we spilled all over the water as our little ramekins floated about.

Crème Brûlée
After they were done baking, they were gelatinous-ly solid to the touch, and once we put them on this decorative towel, they looked much classier. Things were going so well!

Crème Brûlée
Then it was time for the fun part: BLOWTORCH! Oh. And this is when had to use the substituted turbinado sugar: brown sugar is supposed to coat the tops of the little dishes so you can carmelize them. 1:1 ratio, right?

Crème Brûlée
(Lucy kept a very safe distance from her blowtorch-wielding parents. What a smart girl!)

Crème Brûlée
This is the point where we realized that turbinado sugar, although substitutable in terms of flavor, is not substitutable in terms of melting point. This appears to be a basic chemistry lesson, which I would call, “Turbinado Sugar Does Not Carmelize, It Burns.”

Crème Brûlée
You can imagine our surprise when the sugar started smoking.

Crème Brûlée
But because we are diligent chefs, we decided to test the final product anyway. Lucy was pretty excited, because burnt crème brûlée is still crème brûlée to her.

Crème Brûlée
While the top cracked just like it does in the restaurants, the flavor was less like candy and more like… burnt marshmallow. Inside, the flavor was nice, and the consistency of the creamy bits were just like they were supposed to be, it’s just that… you had to chew through some sticky burnt stuff first.

Crème Brûlée
Lesson learned: keeping brown sugar in the house in case of emergencies is not that bad of an idea!

I think we’ll eventually revisit this experiment, using the lessons we learned on this trial run. However, I have to admit that it makes sense now why crème brûlée is a sometimes expensive hot commodity on restaurant dessert menus!

Just wait until you see how well the second part of this Achievement turned out… coming soon, when I talk about drinking wine and watching Hulk Hogan movies. Oh lord.

1 Comment

Filed under #9, #9-11, cooking, dessert, disappointment, lucy

One Response to The Great Crème Brûlée Fail Of 2011

  1. IronWhisk

    Such a nice dog!

    I think you're supposed to let creme brulee sit in the fridge overnight before “torching it”

    But glad you guys liked it 😀

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