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Crème brûlées have been popular since the mid-17th century when they were favored by the French, English, and Spanish aristocracies. There is much debate about their origin, but possibly they developed simultaneously in several European countries.
Now found at good restaurants all over the world, brûlées are as popular as ever. Yet these rich little elegant dishes are surprisingly easy to make, especially if you have a hand-held blowtorch to caramelize the sugar topping. Finished in a matter of minutes, the crisp brittle topping elevates a simple baked custard to a gourmet feast. Crack the sugar with the edge of a teaspoon for maximum dramatic effect then scoop down to the sensuously rich, creamy, baked custard underneath.
For those who have never made a brûlée before, this book takes you carefully through each step, which for those more experienced cooks there are some exotic flavor combinations to enjoy, both sweet and savory, including Lobster and Tarragon or Raspberry and Champagne.