Friday, May 3, 2013

vegan creme brulee demo at MIT

If you want to draw attention: Do a front-of-the-house demo on Creme Brulee and then allow the diners to torch their own dessert!

MIT student finishing the final step of their creme brulee 
At a 'Meet the Chef' event I drew in patrons to  talk by first burning some creme brulees and then simply asking them if they would like to try it. After a quick demo I handed them the torch and off they went.

Start with a good creme brulee Recipe which includes the right flavor and texture.

For texture, I do not use egg replacer powder because it is not a common kitchen ingredient. This leaves cornstarch and flour. Cornstarch is too rubbery and flour too gummy. But if mixed  in the right ratio, you can get the right texture

Get the right flavor by using coconut milk, sugar and brown sugar. The brown sugar gives the custard a rich flavor which complements the caramelized sugar topping.

Use super fine sugar for the topping because it melts evenly.

I have used propane torches, refillable butane torches, and an electric heat gun to burn creme brulee. I found the propane torch to have issues with being turned upside down for long periods of time causing the flame to go out, and too heavy to hold for long periods of time. An electric heat gun, which some people have made work, blew the sugar all over the place even on the lowest fan setting. A small butane torch works great and is easy to use, even for the novice.

Mix the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt
in a bowl. Slowly pour it into the boiling coconut milk/vanilla mixture.

Pour into dishes
The sugar topping only stays
crisp for about one hour
vegan creme brulee


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