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Nov 4, 2006 09:31 PM

Creme Brulee - Not Suitable for Take-Out, and the Custard Must Remain Cold

This discussion began on the Toronto/Ontario Board. In short, a few of us would like to inform the world that creme brulee should never be eaten unless it's been freshly brulee'd. Once brulee'd, it does not hold well; the crackly top becomes wet and soft. Prepared foods stores, please take note!

When you get it in a restaurant, the custard should be cold, not warm. If you make it at home (which you can, without a blowtorch), you can broil the sugar in the oven - just make sure to place the custard dishes into a pan containing ice and water (an ice bath) before placing in the oven. This ensures that the custard remains cold while the top is browning.

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  1. I don't know. Whole Foods in SF makes a nice take-out creme brulee.

    1. YOU GO FLAVOURS GAL!!! Someone had to say it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: laur76

        I'm totally with you on this one. Warm custard...bleh.

      2. Well, I don't like the custard to be "cold" - I prefer it cool with the warm crackly top. I definitely don't like warm custard, but cold (i.e. cold out of the refrigerator) is not to my taste.

        3 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          I've said this before (but it wasn't in the right board), but a perfectly velvety brulee will turn into a puddle-like mess if warmed too far. If it still keeps its shape well in extreme warmth, there's something wrong with it.

          1. re: Blueicus

            Exactly. There is a restaurant in the Boston area that I frequent a lot, and I got the creme brulee once, and it was soup. That was one of my few "send backs", and I haven't gotten it since.

          2. re: LindaWhit

            Thank you! I'm even further down the line as I'd rather risk too warm than get stone cold!

            When I make it at home I prefer not to use a blow-torch because I like it fresh from the fridge into a hot oven WITHOUT any icebath and then served straight-away. The custard should be fully cold on the bottom and warmed up to just below becoming liquid on top. I use 8oz ramekins. If you use the traditional shallow oval dishes then you'd have to use an icebath or blow-torch.

            Also, the world needs to be informed that too firm is just as bad as too liquidy. The custard needs a fair bit of give and softness in the centre.

          3. This is a pet peeve with my husband and I. We're always critiquing brulees and I totally agree with Flavoursgal on this. Custard must be cold, and there best be a hard "crack" on top. I'm rather grossed out if it is served warm.

            1. I recentl ordered a creme brulee at Prima's in Walnut Creek CA. What a disappointment, I guess given the time of year, it was a pumpkin brulee, I should of known better but I LOVE brulee. My complaint, is that it was dry, and that the dish they used too shallow. I feel it that it is so important to use the correct dish. At least they could of filled the dish with the brulee a little closer to the top, maybe that would of been better. It was not creamy or rich at all. Blah.
              Sometimes the coldness will detract from the taste for me. Just me...

              2 Replies
              1. re: chef chicklet

                Too shallow? Traditional creme brulee dishes are an inch or less deep. How deep was the dish they used, and what do you consider correct?

                1. re: babette feasts

                  I apoliogize, the dish was probably correct, they did not fill it properly. I've ordered a lot of creme brulee to know that it was not the usual, plus the pumpkin in it was a turnoff for me.
                  I would say for creme brulee that I do not prefer the oval dish which is what they used. Might of been just a measurement thing.