There’s no doubt about it, my favorite dessert of all is Crème Brulee.
You know what it is, right? It’s super-creamy custard covered with a thin layer of carmelized sugar. The layer is brittle, and you have to crack it to get to the goodness underneath. The thickness of that layer varies, as well as the thickness of the custard.
Crème Brulee is generally offered in nicer dining establishments. Not at Denny’s or Perkins, for example. So my memories of Crème Brulee are all special ones, because when I’ve had it, I’ve been in special places with special people.
Last year, three friends and I went on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas in celebration of my birthday. The evening meals on the ship were dress-up affairs, and the menu at that hour was finer than for the daytime meals.
I spotted Crème Brulee on the dessert list, and I ordered that for dessert after both evening meals. I remember enjoying it at a cloth-covered table, with happy friends, coffee with cream, and an attentive waiter. That weekend was an escape into relaxation and indulgence, and the Crème Brulee suited the occasion perfectly.
At a different time, a friend came out to my city to attend a ballroom dancing gala. It was held at a luxury hotel, and this friend invited me to join her for dinner there before the gala.
We met at the restaurant that overlooked a golf course and the resort-style pool and deck area below. Our table was right by the window. We sat there and caught up, enjoying an exquisite appetizer followed by a very nice main course.
The dessert menu arrived, we spotted the Crème Brule, and both ordered it, of course. The presentation was different than I’d seen before, but the flavor of the custard and carmelized sugar was just as delicious. I don’t see that friend often because she lives on the other side of the country, so that was a special time enjoyed with special food and dessert.
My husband is also a fan of Crème Brulee. Unlike me, he enjoys creating things in the kitchen and trying his hand at complex recipes. He began to mumble about trying to make Crème Brulee, so I bought him a small kitchen torch. I had read that that was part of the process of carmelizing the sugar.
My husband cooked the custard and then set about torching the carmelized sugar, and was actually fairly successful. It wasn’t quite at Ritz Carlton standards, but not too far off.
I would love to sample Crème Brulee in its country of origin.
I assumed this to be France, but when I researched it, I found that its birthplace is unknown. Britain claims to be the birthplace, but there are early French versions and Spanish versions. So I guess the sampling in the origin country won’t happen. Still, it would be fun to try it in other countries to compare it to the US versions.
Or forget the comparing. And just savor it.