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Old 05-29-2006, 04:53 AM   #1
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Finishing creme brulee in oven

When I moved to Bangkok last year, I couldn't bring my kitchen blowtorch because the movers wouldn't ship the accompanying propane gas cans either via ship or by air. And I'm not willing to buy a new blowtorch here.

My question is, using the broiler in the oven, can you caramelize the sugar topping of creme brulee until brittle? If so, what is the correct procedure? I remember trying this years ago when I still didn't have a blowtorch. The sugar just turned into brown spots and the creme brulee turned out as soft as the custard that it is with no shell to crack.

Thanks!

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Old 05-29-2006, 05:41 AM   #2
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I guess it depends on the power of the griller (broiler) you have. I would suspect that the one in my oven would not be up to the task but I have used other ovens which I think could do it.

Perhaps if doing it in the oven is not feasible then perhaps you can prepare a caramel, pour a thin layer on top then put it in the freezer for a couple of minutes for it to harden. I know it isn't the best, but you might have to make do.
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Old 05-29-2006, 05:22 PM   #3
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I would prepare the creme brulee as for the torch. Then place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and slide them under the broiler on high. You can manage the intensity of the heat by adjusting the shelf closer or farther from the broiler.
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Old 05-29-2006, 05:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
I would prepare the creme brulee as for the torch. Then place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and slide them under the broiler on high. You can manage the intensity of the heat by adjusting the shelf closer or farther from the broiler.
I agree, Andy. Chopstix, don't think you want it brittle - but the top to caramelize.
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Old 05-30-2006, 12:06 AM   #5
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The tourch is going to be much hotter (about 2500-F) than the broiler (less than 1500-F) - and how hot the broiler gets will depend on if it is electric or gas, and what the gas source is, and how the broiler is configured (in the top of the oven compartment or in a drawer under the oven). I can't remember where I read it - but something in the back of my mind remembers that the avg. temp of a broiler is only 750-1200 F depending on the configuration). The self-cleaning cycle on an oven generally uses both the bake and broil elements ... and runs at about 900-F.

If the broiler element is in the oven compartment you might try this: place the top rack in the top position, and preheat the broiler for 5-minutes with the door slightly open so that it doesn't cycle off at some preset temp (some will cycle off at a certain temp) - and leave the door ajar when you add your brulees.

I know what you mean about the nice crunchy layer. Don't know if it will work or not ... never tried to do it in the oven. But, it's worth a try.
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Old 05-30-2006, 12:19 AM   #6
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I use the broiler to finish off my creme brulee and it works just fine.

Just be sure to watch very carefully.. it goes from a nice brown color to burnt black very quickly.
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Old 06-01-2006, 10:36 PM   #7
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Thanks folks. I think I will try a very small batch on the broiler on high, leave the oven door open, watch the ramekin like a hawk, hands in oven-mittens, and absolutely not blink. :-)
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Old 07-11-2006, 09:35 AM   #8
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Just sprinkle the sugar over the brulee, on a high heat, heat the back end of a serving spoon till REALLY hot, run this over the top of your brulees, this'll work fine, with a little practice you'll not go back to the torch. lol
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