Burnt Cream

Tomorrow, Charlie and the children are off to spend nine days pretending they are homeless on Bodmin moor.
Well they like it, but camping is not my thing.
I'm enjoying watching Charlie getting more and more uptight as he packs the car. I hear him say the same things he says on the eve of every camping trip;
'Two soft toys only'
'There isn't room in the car'
'Has everyone got nine pairs of pants and socks?'

George is now officially old enough to buy Christmas crackers! Hooray!* 
Yes, he is sixteen today.

His requested  birthday dinner is steak and chips followed by burnt cream.
The problem with burnt cream is getting the grill hot enough to burn the sugar without ruining the custard underneath. At Trinity College, Cambridge where this dessert first became popular in the 18th century they used a salamander emblazoned with the college arms to sear the sugar.
In the past I have made it by making caramel in a pan and pouring it over the custard. If you are not careful the caramel sets so hard and thick as to become almost impossible to break through and your  Amélie moment is gone.
But now, I have cook's a blowtorch. It does the job perfectly.

Burnt Cream 
or crème brulée if you insist, but it is an English pudding.

For 6 people

1 pint or 600ml of double cream
6 egg yolks
a few drops of vanilla extract if you like
caster sugar

1) Mix the egg yolks well with a couple of spoonfuls of sugar and the vanilla in a large bowl.

2) Heat the cream to boiling point.

3) Pour the hot cream onto the egg yolks stirring well. Strain the mixture to get rid of the balancers (the little strings which hold the egg yolk in the egg white).

4) Pour the custard into ramekins or a wide shallow dish, place them in a roasting tin and fill the tin with water to a depth of about an inch and half.

5) Put in the oven at 140-150° c for about 30 mins.

6) Cool and refrigerate overnight.

7) Before you are ready to serve them sprinkle each one evenly with caster sugar and burn with a cook's blowtorch. I recommend you watch this for more detail on how to do this.

*Crackers, apparently, are classified as a low grade firework. Can you believe it?



  1. Congratulations George! I wish I'd been invited to dessert, they look wonderful. Those 'balancers' - I've never heard them called that before I've always known them as 'chicken knitting'.

    I didn't know that one had to be sixteen to buy crackers and sparklers. The things I learn on this here interweb!

  2. I want one of those!!
    Do I get a prize for also knowing about the crackers cannot be sold to under sixteens?
    Julie xxxxxx

  3. Burnt cream or crème brulée ... it's my favourite pudding whatever you call it, especially with a few raspberries on the side! Thank you for the recipe :)

    Happy Birthday George, and happy camping to all your family x

  4. Delicious! I have a blowtorch for enamelling. I wonder if it would work for this too.

  5. Mmmmm, my mouth is watering, but I'm trying to be good and lose some of my excess weight, sigh. Looking is not quite the same as eating.

  6. So what will the mouse get up to while the cat and kittens are away? I seem to recall from an earlier post that you still eat very yummy food and so I look forward to that. The burnt creams look lovely - we too had the tradition of choosing our birthday meal (from age 11 onwards probably)...a little like your last meal. Love the image of your husband packing the car.

  7. Happy birthday George! He is obviously a boy of immaculate taste. Burnt cream is a pudding we often order if we want to test the restaurant. It takes a bit of skill to make a really good one. Your restaurant looks like it would pass the test with flying colours!

    Enjoy your time while they are off camping. I remember the same happened last year. Oh the peace!

  8. The whole house to yourself? For nine days??? I am green with envy. Burnt cream is my fave. Well, one of them. And to think it was invented just a mere kilometre away from me! Have a fantastic time on your own. Ax

  9. I hope they enjoy their camping (shudder!). And you enjoy the peace :-)

  10. I also wonder what you'll do with all those days to yourself.. do tell! Creme brulee is my all-time favorite dessert. My first one ever in my life was at a trendy restaurant in Portland, OR. It was milk chocolate custard with vanilla seeds across the bottom and the top was.... sugar with grated orange peel burnt perfectly across the top. The custard part was just below room temp. It was the most heavenly thing I've ever had and I've not had a better one since.

  11. Happy 16th Birthday young man.Gadget and a kitchen gadget at that! Now your whistling dixie. I'd love one of those bad boys along with Amelie (my favourite film of all time).


  12. Oh Yum my favourite pud, George has great taste, Happy Birthday.

    Nine whole days on your tod, what WILL you do with the time! Don't answer that. I have learned enough so far to know that whatever it will be will involve perpetual motion.

  13. Happy birthday to George! Trust the dinner went well. Try and enjoy your days in such peace and quiet, with no one shouting for things or stuff hanging around everywhere or Top Gear constantly on the telly - well, unless you want it! - Have a good time!

  14. Winding Ways3:58 pm BST

    I'd never heard the term "balancer" before. My Lithuanian grandmother called it "the chicken's nose."

  15. OK, I have done some research and discovered that the white cord things in the eggs that I call balancers (don't know where I got that from) have a proper scientific name. They are chalazae plural or chalaza in the singular. I like your alternatives though.

  16. Anonymous7:04 pm BST

    It's one of the culinary gadgets I 'd like to purchase one day!
    Your dessert looks wonderful!


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