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I used to sell desserts and baked goods - I'm thinking about 'reopening'. I would like to offer creme brulee as an option since its one of the more popular desserts when I make it for friends and family.

The problem is, I can't figure out how to make it 'to go'. I can't raise the price enough to give them a traditional ramekin. If I provide it in a styrofoam container, I can't blowtorch the sugar on top without melting the container.

I've already pretty much assumed I'll be cooking it in one container and scooping it into another to give to them. As such, I'm open to less traditional and more innovative solutions overall - mainly on how to provide it to them in a 'take out' container AND have the crunchy top.

Is there an established way to do this or does somebody have a simple solution that I'm overlooking?

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Could you use some kind of 'heat shield', a plastic or metal ring of the same diameter as the container to protect the edges from the heat of the blowtorch? Kind of like a mask. –  ElendilTheTall Oct 6 '11 at 7:37
    
As I remember from chat, you sell to people you meet often. So use the established container deposit system. Buy cheaper ramekins (the small ones should be available for 1€ per piece or a little more), then include a ramekin deposit in the creme brulee price, and give them back the deposit when they return the ramekin. –  rumtscho Oct 6 '11 at 11:37
    
@rumtscho Mostly I sell there, but not always. And I'd like to avoid container deposit things - they're not really established around here. –  rfusca Oct 6 '11 at 15:04
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4 Answers 4

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I've eaten from the creme brulee cart in San Francisco before, which is basically a food cart that sells nothing but. They're presented in one-serving disposable aluminum ramekins and the crunchy top comes from caramelizing as people order. I've seen similar in bakeries and restaurants that sell creme brulee to go. Presumably this is far easier than cutting up large batches or trying to come up with ways that don't melt styrofoam! :)

creme brulee

More pics from the cart: http://hoodscope.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/street-food-redefined-the-creme-brulee-cart/

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That seems like a lot of work. kitchendance.com/foilcup.html (referenced on that ehow page) has the cups like the cart's in bulk, and they even have lids available. I'm sure you could shop around for more stylish options and find them at your local restaurant supply shop. –  janeylicious Oct 6 '11 at 7:58
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Alumminium melts at ridiculously low temperatures (660°C)! I wouldn't go anywhere near it with a blowtorch. Maybe the cart is making this with a grill. –  rumtscho Oct 6 '11 at 11:34
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@rumtscho: if you manage to get up to 660°C while toasting your custards, the melting of the aluminum will be the least of your worries. –  Marti Oct 6 '11 at 14:47
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@rumtscho: If you use a small kitchen torch it's really nothing to worry about it. White sugar caramelizes at 160° C so you'd have to really overdo it to burn the ramekin. If you want to be on the safe side, just do your work over a tray. –  Aaronut Oct 6 '11 at 15:23
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I have succesfully burned aluminum with a blow torch (which I think you should use if you're making multiple creme brulees). Burning aluminum is probably not good eats (and toxic I think). That said, if you keep it moving, and are careful, you should be fine... –  talon8 Oct 6 '11 at 17:02
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A sandwich shop in Madison, IN surprised me with creme brulee to go, in a styrofoam container. I bugged the chef to show me how he did it. Simple: he oiled the rim of a ramekin, sprinkled the sugar on top of the custard, then torched it. After letting it cool for just a few seconds, he carefully lifted the top off with a spatula and placed it on the styrofoam cup. It worked very well and he presented a wonderful to-go product.

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Use a ramekin sized so they are nearly 100% full when made

Use paper circles to line the ramekin to about the 3/4 mark. Use oil or other "glue" to make the paper stick smoothly to the ramekin surface. Then make the creme brulee as usual

Depending on how you caramelise the sugar, you might get away with oiling the ramekin edge (if using the under the grill/broiler method) to stop the sugar sticking, or just run a knife around immediately after torching it (blow torch method)

To dispatch; run a knife around the top edge down to the paper, invert with small silicone baking sheet or silicone dish on top. Replace ramekin with plastic dish of same size and re-invert

Let is cool somewhat before transferring to plastic !

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I actually had creme brulee made inside an orange, once. It was hardly the best creme brulee I've ever had, but I don't think it was the orange's fault. They had cut a fairly large hole in the top and then scooped out the orange. Since it was a citrus and lavendar influenced version of creme brulee, I don't think they were too concerned about getting out every last bit of orange.

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