Type of Torch and how to use them doing Creme Brulée? [Cooking]

2007 Nov 8

I am going to be doing Creme Brulée for the first time for a meal and have decided I am going to invest in a torch based on a discussion I have had on Chow hound but I am still not decided on whether to get the Creme Brulée torche or just a plumbing torch.

I thought I would ask here in addition to Chow Hound, as I know we have some very knowledgable foodies here!

I understand that the plumbing torch will do the job and that the Creme Brulée torches take longer, but I am wondering if I might be better off with the Creme Brulée one as it would be less difficult for me to use and probably more forgiven as it takes longer.

Anyway, all advice is appreciated and I have a few specific questions:

With regards to the plumbing type torch:

1) how long does it take normally to do the sugar on the Creme Brulée?
2) what angle do you hold the torch at (I am assuming its 45 degrees and moving it around a lot so the flame just touches the sugar)?

With one of the smaller torches: same questions -

1) how long does it take normally?
2) what angle do you hold the torch at (I am assuming its 45 degrees and moving it around a lot so the flame just touches the sugar)?

Roughly, how much sugar is used to coat the top of each creme brulée?

Any other tips would be appreciated.

Thanks to everyone for their help!

2007 Nov 8
The decision of which torch is in my opinion one of space, usage, and $$$. If you already have a plumbing torch.. then I'd say just use it (that's what I do). Some comparison below:

PlumbTorch BruleeTorch
---------- -----------
Cost $15 to $25 $45 and up
Size bigger smaller
Storage not in kitchen in kitchen
Speed < than 60 seconds not sure

I have to admit I like the added horsepower of the plumbing torch. The methodology that I use is as follows:

1. put brulee cups in freezer for 10 or so minutes before preparation. The point is not to allow the custard to freeze, but to make it and the dish very cold, so that when you heat the sugar, it doesn't melt your custard too.

2. I put 3 to 5 millimetre of sugar on top of custard, evenly spread out.

3. Angle of flame is not really important from the perspective of technique, but I use close to 90 degree when I can. The angle is important from the perspective of putting the heat on the sugar, and not on the container (hence the 90 degrees)

4. With the bigger torch, you have to keep the flame moving (until you get an idea of how fast it will melt the sugar), and of course once it starts going brown you can usually remove the torch as the exothermic caramelization should take care of the rest.. but once again.. you'll see what I mean after the first couple tries.