Brûlée: “a piece of burned-over woodland.” Not the definition you were expecting, is it? Crème brûlée, literally translated as “burnt cream,” is an egg custard with a burnt sugar crust. Typically found in French restaurants or at a fancy dinner party, the custard is seen as a delicacy.
The mythology is that crème brûlée was invented in France around 1691, but it could be that the dessert isn’t even french! Since the Ancient Romans times people had discovered that eggs and cream make a great creamy and rich dessert and binding for baking. In Catalonia, Spain they claim their “crema catalana” came first, while over at Trinity College in England they claim their “burnt cream” was the origin of it all.
Generally the method of burning and crystallizing the sugar on top is done after the custard is baked with a blow torch (fire!), but in France when the custard was just being developed they made a hard caramelized top to put on top.
Whatever the method, wherever it came from, crème brûlée is delicious. At Sunny Street Café we decided to do our own twist on brûlée: Banana Chocolate Brûlée Muffins. Made-from-scratch banana chocolate batter with burnt brown sugar on top- it’s the perfect moist, crunchy muffin to go along with your breakfast coffee.
–Anna Hetzel, Content Marketer