Mock crème brûlée

mock-creme-brulee-sLet’s face it, when you have kids you have to be able to create some instant delights at the drop of a hat. They have sweet teeth, they have munchies, they like to snack, and of course, they get it from you. So, being a long weekend, and staying on a farm, we have to make do with what we have. No driving to the local McWhatever to get a quick ice-cream snack. Just the fuel expense makes it a ridiculous notion. We literally have to add R60 to every grocery bill for getting there and back. So, if you just need butter, and you go for that special at Pick&Pay, a block for R28, you need to buy enough to divide the petrol costs into. Otherwise you pay R88 for that butter plus R7 for the parking. Eish is the word.

So, a quick pud takes a bit of innovation and a well-stocked larder. One item that I try to keep in the larder is a litre of instant custard. I need to hide it, for if Ben sees it, it’s gone. The custard is obviously handy when you have some canned peaches or your own preserves and you don’t have the time to make a custard from scratch. But this recipe is taking that humble custard to a level of classic.

The mock crème brûlée is so simple and so fast it is actually ridiculous.

Take a ramekin, fill with the cold custard, put white sugar on top, at least three teaspoons full, and blast with the gas torch. Take it easy, and do multiples at the same time. The sugar first makes dew droplets, then they come together, then that start to bubble and caramelize.  Be careful not to go too quickly, or the sugar burns and goes bitter.

Also be sure to apply the heat until you can see all of the sugar is melted. I don’t like a sub-layer of crystalline sugar. I want a hard shall that I can crack with the spoon to make shards of joyful bliss.

Then take the crème brûlée ramekins and put it in the blast freezer (our fridge has a “quick freeze” function). Or just put it in the freezer. Be careful, the ramekins are HOT. Cool to a chilly temperature, and the sugar will be perfect. Enjoy! The whole process takes about 10 minutes and is well worth it.


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