Crème Brûlée is a popular dessert in France, but when I began looking up the history of the dish I found out that where it comes from is not exactly known. France, England and Spain all claim that they created Crème Brûlée.
Most people believe that it is a French recipe because the name itself is French and translates to “burnt cream”. The earliest known reference to this dish was in France in the 1691 release of François Massialot’s cookbook. In the 1731 edition of the cookbook the name of the same recipe was changed from “crème brûlée” to “crème anglaise“.
In England, this dish is known as “Trinity Burnt Cream”, created at Trinity College Cambridge in the 17thcentury. Whereas the French version of this dish is very sweet, British Trinity Cream is unsweetened and the topping is thicker and crustier. A small round iron, known as a salamander, is heated and then placed on top to caramelise the sugar.
In Spain, it is called crema catalana and they believe it was invented it in the 18th century. It is served as cold custard with a hot topping on Saint Joseph’s Day (March 19th), which is the equivalent of our Father’s Day. On this day grandmothers and maiden aunts are the ones who get to make this dish.
After doing much research, I decided to bake the popular French recipe that can be found here. I have never baked this myself, but my mom has many times and I have always enjoyed it. We have a special blow torch at my house to caramelize the sugar on top, so really I just wanted to bake this recipe so I could try using it. Below is a picture of the finished dish right before serving it.
This time before I started baking I asked someone to take pictures for me while I was doing different steps and that seemed to work a lot better than trying to mix things and take pictures myself. The recipe said that it would serve 5, but I ended up making 8 servings and some of the ramekins I used were deeper than others so the cooking time varied.
I cut out the last 3 steps of the recipe because I was using a torch instead of broiling them in the oven and I also did not let them set again in the fridge before serving them. The cream part was still cold and I liked the contrast of taste between the cold bottom layer and the hot top layer. Overall the taste was delicious and I still had some left over for the next day that I could eat right out of the fridge, so there wasn’t that contrast of hot and cold anymore. Below are some pictures of different steps taken throughout the recipe.