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Creme Brulee Serving Temp

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I just had two butterscotch creme brulees at two different restaurants. One was served in a smaller diameter bowl than the other, thus making it about a half inch thicker. It was still chilled, with a decent crust coating. The other was in a wider bowl and warmer, with a nice crust.

The latter could've been warmed before they torched it because by the end, it was extra creamy. The chillier version was thick beginning to end.

Which was the more proper way to serve it?

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  1. look for egg shirring dishes instead of ramekins for serving- thin layer of custard so it warms as its burnt.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dano

      so it should be warm when served?

      1. re: diningdivala

        serve it how ever you like it ;). The custards are chilled to allow em to "set". After that its up to you. Traditionally a heavy peice of iron(salamander)was used to burn em-some places still toss em in the cheese melter(salamander) to carmelize. I've never seen anyone burn em then toss them back into the cooler-unless its maybe a chain thing where pantry can't keep up or its done by foh or something....

    2. Personally, I prefer them cold; they taste richer that way. I just checked several French cookbooks and they all specify serving cold (and making sure you glaze just before serving). Even in a shallow dish, the torch shouldn't warm them up too much.

      1. They should be served cold. Torch them about half an hour before you plan to serve them, and put them in the refrigerator to chill. Don't do it more than an hour in advance, otherwise that nice crackling crust will start to soften.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

          They should be served chilled yes, it's all about the contrast between the cold custard against the crackly caramelized sugar, but once you torch them, don't chill them again. That will only encourage the shell to soften. You can safely sugar and torch them when you are about to have your last savory course and let them sit out until it is time for dessert.

        2. I've had them both ways. Personally, I don't like them cold from the refrigerator, as the flavor of the custard is too muted. But, I don't like them too warm either. Serve them how YOU prefer them.