Please let me introduce you to the latest addition to my ever-growing collection of baking knick-knacks, tools and toys : <drumroll, please>… the Blowtorch!
You do understand, of course, how badly I needed one of these. No, really. I mean, crèmes brûlées are just one of these desserts that any self-respecting cook *has* to be able to make at home, yes? Plus, I bought the cute little earthenware ramequins the other day. And what good are they if I can’t caramelize the sugar properly, I ask you?
I wanted to get one the last time I was in the 1st arrondissement on one of my kitchen-toy-shopping-expeditions, but the store was out of them. And they cost 40 euros anyway (roughly 40 USD), which sounded a bit much.
But then Maxence and I were out on a walk in our neighborhood yesterday afternoon, hunting for a gift to bring to our friends’ housewarming party (pendaison de crémaillère, remember?), and we stumbled upon one of these old hardware stores that thankfully still survive in Paris, dusty and cluttered, where the store manager wears a blue blouse and a pencil behind his ear. We walked in and asked if they sold small chalumeaux (torches, you guessed). They did, for the more reasonable price of 15,85 euros. Maxence, the angel, gave the green light for the purchase. He did object that it would take up yet more space, which is of course very true, but with such a name, “Oxylaser”, who could resist? And also, it could one day be used to turn away intruders, you know? So we got one.
This chalumeau is a pretty basic contraption : you just insert a gas cartridge in the lower compartment, turn the adjusting knob to let the gas out, light the burner real fast with a lighter or a match, and turn the knob to shut it when you’re done!
I already have a very promising recipe for Crème Brûlée au Chocolat in my Je Veux du Chocolat cookbook, but I’ll be off researching more crème brûlée recipes now! If any of you has recommendations, I’m all ears!