Saturday, July 13, 2013

Light your torches - we're on!

By Victoria Abbott

Life is one long adventure and never more so than in the kitchen in strawberry season.  Here’s a quick and easy dessert that is perfect for the time when local strawberries are at their peak.  Don’t tell anyone, but it’s also good with the off-season imports.  And it doesn’t get much easier – once you have the right equipment.

We love crème brulée and we really loved the idea of  this strawberry yogurt crème brulée. The only problem was that neither one of us had a crème brulée torch.  No problem, MJ said, and tried to burn the sugar under her gas broiler. It made a lovely caramel topping that was not without its charms, but couldn’t be called brulée. We would need a torch. But it seemed like such an extravagance.  But … we couldn’t resist. Finally after reading up on it, we learned that a plumber’s blowtorch will do the same job, is less expensive and has more applications. 


So now we own one. Between us.

Here’s Easy Strawberry-Yogurt Brulée

Combine two cups of plain, whole milk Greek yogurt  

with 1 cup chopped strawberries 


 Stir in one tablespoon of sugar and mix gently.

Transfer to 3 or 4 heatproof ramekins. Decorate with slices of strawberries

Sprinkle two tablespoons sugar over each and pass the flame of a torch over the sugar for about thirty seconds until it’s melted and browned.  Don’t sprinkle the sugar until you are ready to fire the torch – it may melt into the mixture. You may notice we took this outside the first time to avoid setting the house on fire, but it was without incident.
That’s one of those things we learned the hard way. We think that with practice, we’ll be able to do this with one tablespoon of sugar. 

Stay tuned for updates.  If you’ve had experiences with torches, we sure hope you’ll comment.

In the meantime, enjoy!

By way of celebrating our success, we sliced strawberries and dropped them into frosty glasses of sparkling wine. This is a nice festive touch with sparkling water too. Please join us in a toast!
Too bad strawberry season doesn’t last forever.

Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between Victoria Maffini and her mother,  Mary Jane Maffini (she of the diet).. The Christie Curse, their first book collector mystery, launched in March 2013 and  The Sayers Swindle, the second in the series will be out in December. Please let them know how you like it!

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  1. Wait! I have a torch! (Actually it's my daughter's, but she decided not to take it with her to the wilds of Chicago). I'm ready! Now to find strawberries.

    1. Sheila, I'd love to know how the butane torch works on the crust. Our plumbers' torch uses propane. It is mildly addictive and now I'm thinking of applying a brulee to everything edible that I see.

  2. Brilliant! And just in time for Bastille Day tomorrow - Vive la France! I confess that I do not have a creme brulée torch. You are quite right that granulated sugar under a broiler is a bust. A much better alternative (and what I do) is use raw sugar. I've found that raw sugar (with its larger, harder granules) will work pretty well under a broiler to give you a sugar crust--and I'll bet you'll get even better results with your torch. Great post, happy Bastille Day, and I'll take a sip of that strawberry-laced bubbly with you!

    ~ Cleo

    1. Ah Bastille Day! To the barricades with a cool and icy drink!

      Lovely to see you back, Cleo.


  3. Loved the post! You make me laugh.

    1. Thanks, Elaine! We love to make you laugh!

  4. Oh, yum, I love bruleed anything. Or just about anything. :)



  5. You're so funny! I have a torch. I confess that I hoped to brulee with a long automatic lighter, smaller and easier to handle. Alas, that didn't work very well, either. I love your idea. Yum!


    1. Your way sounds more elegant, Krista! We may be able to use ours as a weapon in a book. Dibs!