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Success narrowly evaded in local kitchen!

It was a close thing. I mean, I thought I would easily escape success when I decided to make crème brûleé with soy milk. C’mon, doesn’t that sound like disaster? But after suffering through the success of my soy-based clafoutis and the soy crème caramel — both terrible, terrible victories that left all tasters stricken with lust for more — I thought I’d up the stakes and try dancing with the devil with the blowtorch.

Whisky whisky whisk whisk

To raise the stakes — to skirt very close to the edge of success without toppling over — I reduced the ratio of soy milk to egg yolk So I used 3 egg yolks, 1/4 cup of white sugar, 3/4 cup soy mlik, and a dash of vanilla essence. Whisky whisky whisk whisk, until it’s well blended and not at all foamy. Don’t foam it! Pour the mix into ramekins, stand them in a baking tray full of water, and bake until set. This took ages, presumably because soy milk, with a lower fat content, doesn’t thicken and set as readily as moo milk. Now, it would be esay to dodge success at this point, by under- or over-cooking the custard. But instead, I pushed the boundary and brought out some perfectly-baked soy custards.

Note the telltale "is it done yet?" holes

Nearly stumbled into success right there. A near thing, I can tell you. Top that sucker with a little cooked fruit — maybe plums? — and serve chilled and before you know it you’re up to your arse in success. Oops. Lucky break. The next step in making crème brûleé is to top the cold cooked custards with brown sugar and grill them. Okay, yes, sure, if you’re a bit fancy-pants you can brûleé the sugar using one of those dinky little propane blowtorches. Colour me sceptical: I think it’s a bit of a stretch to by a blowtorch just to make a dessert I’ve made once in 20-odd years of cooking. So I took the old-fashioned route: cranked the grill up to eleven and popped the cold custard, sprinkled with brown sugar, and grilled the whillikers out of it.

But here’s where I cunningly avoided success: when I say “sprinkled with brown sugar”, I mean “liberally caked with brown sugar”.

A deliciously close call

This helped me dodge true crème brûleé glory by taking too long to caramelise: by the time the sugar had melted all the way through, the custard below had begun to get hot and puffy and the top layer of sugar had *just* started to singe. Yes! Success evaded! Popped it in the freezer for twenty minutes or so to chill, and then shared it with M, who declared it awesome and caramelised. But it doesn’t quite look the way I wanted it.

So, final verdict: Not the picture-perfect crème brûleé I hoped for, but the top was still crunchy and cracked when you tapped it with a spoon. Put it this way, if you showed it to someone on the street, they’d be like “why are you showing me crème brûleé you random? are you demented?” but the key point is that they’drecognise it as crème brûleé. So I guess I passed, but didn’t excel. I’m calling it a silver-medal effort.

There’s still another crème in the fridge, waiting for me to brûleé the crap out of it, so success may snag me yet.

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