You have to admit that as far as portable food concepts go, a crème brûlée cart is as niche as it gets. The seed was planted when owners Jack and Bart White established a Belgian waffle cart with a $3000 loan from their great-grandfather. Their first gig was at an event at Hanging Rock and they paid back the loan that same day. The brothers were 15 and 13 years old respectively.
"There are only four ingredients, but you need to use them well," says Jack. It's crucial that vanilla beans are used instead of essence, otherwise you risk what Jack refers to as "that fake bakery taste". He swears by Bulla cream, which is always consistent and is also Victorian. The sugar is from Bundaberg and the free-range eggs from Meggles farm.
"All the theatre is done in the torching and the garnishing," says Jack. When blowtorching a crème brûlée, the trick is to do it as quickly and evenly as possibly. Do it in a circular motion and try not to go over the same spot twice. Those without a blowtorch can use an oven grill, but the latter has a tendency to melt the custard base instead of just the top layer of sugar.
600ml thickened cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped
6 extra-large egg yolks
½ cup caster sugar
This recipe will need to be started the day before serving. You will need a blowtorch for best results, but a hot grill will suffice.
Preheat the oven to 150°C fan-forced (170°C conventional). Line the base of a deep baking tray with a tea towel and place six 170ml ramekins on top.
Add the cream and vanilla pod and seeds to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Turn off the heat when the cream just beings to boil.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and ¼ cup of sugar in a medium, bowl until pale. Gradually pour in the cream while whisking continuously. Once combined, add the mixture to the pan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes. Do not boil the custard. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a large jug and divide evenly between the ramekins. Carefully pour boiling water into the trap to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 30 minutes until the custard is firm around the edge. Remove the ramekins from the bain-marie and set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, generously sprinkle the top of each crème brûlée with the remaining sugar and either caramelise with a blowtorch or under a hot grill. Top each brûlée with a raspberry and serve immediately.
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