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Ina Garten's Tip For Perfect Crème Brûlée Without A Blowtorch
A fan reached out to Ina Garten on the "Ask Ina" portion of the celebrity chef's website, asking for a way to caramelize the crunchy sugar layer on top of a crème brûlée without using a kitchen torch. The Barefoot Contessa happily offered an alternative solution that uses an appliance most home cooks own.
Garten says that if you don't have a blowtorch, the broiler can crisp up the sugar on your crème brûlée. Ina's one warning is to watch the custards carefully while they broil, presumably to avoid burning, and "Depending on the broiler, you may have to move the crème brûlées around so the sugar caramelizes evenly."
According to Kitchn, your broiler has to be "super hot" for this method, but your custard must be "very cold and fully set" before placing the ramekins under the heat. Meanwhile, pastry chef Raiza Costa uses a heated metal spoon in her crème brûlée recipe, while a TikTok hack suggests melting the sugar in a saucepan first.