Whip out your spoon and savour the crackle as you break into your crème brûlée. This quintessentially French dessert is the highlight of any dinner party but is also a great treat for yourself on those days when you just need a sweet but fancy pick-me-up.
About the origins of the world’s favourite dessert
The first known recipe for crème brûlée appeared in 1691 in a French recipe book written by François Massialot. The book, called Cuisinier royal et bourgeois, was translated into English in 1702. For a while, there was no further mention of this yummy dish. However, it made a quick resurgence in the 1980s after Sirio Maccioni started serving it as a dessert in his New York restaurant Le Cirque.
The name for this dish can be roughly translated into burnt milk. This refers to the caramelised topping atop the custard. Although this was originally a French dish, it has become ingrained in American culture. This is why this dessert is commonly found on the menus at fine dining establishments throughout the country. The Americans are not the only ones to enjoy this dish as it’s equally popular in many other countries.
The preparation method for this creamy dessert
To create your own crème brûlée you can choose between two different methods. The first is known as a hot custard. This is made by heating cream and milk before slowly adding it to an egg and sugar mixture. The mixture is whisked until thickened before being poured into individual ramekins and topped with sugar. The cold method requires you to whisk eggs and sugar together until they reach the ribbon stage. Milk is then poured in and mixed through before everything is poured into ramekins. The desserts are then placed in a baking tray and popped in the oven until set. After that, they are cooled before the sugar is added. Both methods require you to use a blow torch to melt the sugar and create the signature crunchy topping.
This dessert should be garnished with a sprig of mint and enjoyed as is. Alternatively, you could order a smaller portion with a slice of cake to create a pleasing contrast.
Where to sample the pleasures
Crème brûlée is an incredibly understated dessert. Therefore it’s ideal after a big meal. Although they are commonly served as puddings in a variety of different restaurants, you could also visit a patisserie to treat yourself after a long day at work.
Experience the velvety texture of the custard and the crunchy sweetness of the caramel by placing an order at your favourite dessert spot.