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I make crème brûlée from the Alton Brown recipe and it ends up delicious. However I am still in search of a method that will produce a smoother crust on top. I use a thin layer of turbinado sugar and a torch directed down from above with slow swirling motion. The crust smells good and makes a nice sound, but it feels a bit grainy in the mouth, and looks more like a scabby surface than something you could ice skate across. Are those smooth crusts ones that are melted in a separate dish? Can you get that from a torch? If I sift my sugar might it be smoother? I have tried putting a thicker layer of sugar to start, but it just gets really heavy and too solid.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You should pour a little heap of sugar on top of the dessert, then swirl the dish around so that the surface is evenly covered with sugar. anything that's left over, dump on to the next one (or into an 'extra sugar' dish). This is important - there shouldn't be any loose sugar on top.

Now use the torch as long as you need to, although in my experience it shouldn't have an absolutely 'smooth' finish - there should be some texture. Also, too much torch and the sugar will go past caramelization and just be burnt.

Source: worked in a fine dining restaurant for ~5 years and did this quite often.

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Thanks -- I'll try these refinements.... –  beroe Oct 6 '13 at 5:57
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