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By 16 September 2013 | Categories: news

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Yet another place where technology – and the right gear – quickly proves its worth is in the kitchen. Apart from being able to impress your family or your significant other with some delicious recipes, it also gives geeks the chance to play with a few different gadgets. Case in point is this kitchen blowtorch from Salt and Pepper, which we’ve put through its paces to make possibly one of the easiest (and best) Amarula Crème brûlée’s you may ever taste.  

The device is simple to use – you merely fill it with butane gas (bought separately) by inverting the torch. Then, you turn the valve on the back of the torch to the left and click the valve a few times till a blue flame emerges from the nozzle. Turning the valve to the left gives you a stronger –and more far reaching – flame.

Tips for use:

  • Make sure the blowtorch is off when filling it with the gas.
  • Keep your hands clear of the flame.
  • Ensure that the torch is filled before you start torching the crème brûlée.

Once the crème brûlée is set, you will then be ready to cover its top with castor sugar and then fire up the blow torch.

Amarula crème brûlée

Gear you’ll need:

A kitchen blowtorch (we’ve used Salt and Pepper’s torch), and a canister of butane gas

An electric hand beater is advantageous, but this can be substituted with an ordinary whisk, in which case you can expect a bit of a workout.

Ingredients

500ml whipping cream
15 ml vanilla essence
8 egg yolks
1 cup caster sugar plus extra for the topping
3-4 tablespoons of Amarula

Recipe

1.  Preheat the oven to 165o C. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a medium sized pot and whisk or beat the mixture with the beater until the mixture is smooth. Set this aside. Then pour the cream into another, smaller pot and add the vanilla. Heat the mixture till it just starts to boil. Remove from the heat.

2. Place the medium sized pot on your stove, set to a low heat, and gradually add the cream and vanilla mixture to the egg yolks and sugar in this pot, whisking the mixture as you do so.   

3. Cook this mixture over a medium heat (we used level 5), whisking it constantly as you do so with the hand beater or whisk, until the mixture starts to thicken. You can test whether it’s ready by sticking a wooden spoon into the mixture, and making a line with your finger across the back of the spoon. The mixture should stay where it is and no longer run down the spoon.

4. When done, take the pot off the stove, add the Amarula and stir well. Then pour the mixture into ramekins (pouring it into a jug first can avoid messes), and place these in a baking dish. Fill the baking dish with hot water, so that the ramekins are immersed in this ‘bath’ up to two thirds of their height.

5. Finally, place the bath in the oven for 45 minutes, and then carefully remove the tray from the oven. Extract the ramekins using oven gloves and place them in the fridge to cool for a couple of hours.

6. Subsequently, remove the dessert from the fridge, sprinkle castor sugar over the top till it is covered and then fire up the blowtorch, running it over the top from about 30 cm away, till the sugar starts to melt and turns a honey colour. Once all the sugar is melted, you should have a crust over the top of the custard. Place this back in the fridge for about 30 minutes and then serve.

7. Enjoy the subsequent showering of compliments if you are making these for another, or just the sublime taste if you are treating yourself.

Take care not to allow the flame to linger too long on the sugar, as it can quickly burn. What can help is in between 'firing' the sugar, lift the ramekin up and tilt it slightly to spreading darkening sugar to the edges of the ramekin.

All that's left to do is pick up a spoon, crack the crème brûlée's top and enjoy. 

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