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I have 60 creme brulees set in mason jars. The idea is to serve this to a group of 60 people at once. How do I ensure my crust for the first one doesn't get soggy? Each creme brulee, from opening to torching takes about 30-60 seconds. This means the first one could end up sitting for 30-60 minutes before all are complete. This will definitely get the crust soggy by the time of service.

Any ideas on preventing this?

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To be honest I wouldn't have thought the top would get soggy. I've also made hundreds of brûlées for wedding parties in the past and the top has never gone soft. Unless you're putting them in the fridge between colorizing and serving? That will definitely cause problems.

If you are actually getting a soggy top it means one of two things:

  1. You've not browned them enough.
  2. You've not used enough sugar on the top.

One thing I could suggest if you are doing so many in one go, something I learnt quite late into being a pastry chef (6 months of a two year stint): make a nice perfectly coloured caramel, leave it to cool a little, but keep warm. Then when you need it just pour it over the top of your brûlées as you're serving.

Be sure to use glucose in your caramel to stop it setting too hard, as it may splinter and kill a couple of your guests.

  • A third reason for possibly soggy creme brulees: you have overcooked them. Then they set too firm and expel the whey, sitting in their own wet puddles. Put them in a very low oven (120 to 140 Celsius works well) in a water bath, and cook until they reach 83 Celsius internally (it will take a couple of hours, don't worry that it's low). – rumtscho Dec 12 '14 at 19:22
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    Doug, I also think he means the crust will get soggy. But if the custard is expelling liquid, it will soak through the crust. Of course, your reasons are also valid possibilities, he'll have to find out which one it is. – rumtscho Dec 12 '14 at 19:24
  • Thanks for the comments. Everything went great. You were right doug, the test batch I did at home was due to not enough sugar. I changed that and everything was as intended. – ShivamD Dec 13 '14 at 17:58
  • Thanks for your comment rumtscho, however I sous vide my creme brulees which ensured everything was cooked perfectly. :) – ShivamD Dec 13 '14 at 17:58
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    If you're making Creme Brulee the original way with a slight layer of sugar the crust is thin enough to dissolve on you're tongue almost instantly. However as I suggested pouring caramel over the top the chances are it would be thicker. When making thick caramel it is advised to add glucose as it helps stop the sugar forming large crystals, large crystals are more inclined to splinted as you chew down on them and stick in your mouth like hundreds of sugar pins. This exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar.html Might help you understand more, if you don't understand me. – Doug Dec 16 '14 at 10:34
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Different cultures have creme brulee with hard or soft tops. I like them crackable

Make the toffee/caramel tops separately some hours earlier, and store in an airtight container

When ready to serve. Line up all the creme's. Have one person carefully placing the tops, while a second person uses the largest torch you have to just blast the middle to cause it to stick to the creme. Fifty can be done in a few minutes just before serving

It just a mater of finding 3 x 4 muffin tins or similar as molds, with the same base size or slightly smaller than your ramekins tops

For an artistic look, make large very thin sheets of toffee/caramel and shatter them into pieces. Poke a couple of large pieces just into the creme at a slight angle to the surface, and then finish with scatter of smaller pieces and crumbs. A very short blast of a large torch will set them in place. much more interesting

Or go overboard and blow some toffee/caramel balls the right size the day before, and use a hot wire cutter (used to cut polystyrene packaging) to make a half sphere to place on top, or invert and fill with creme! (store sugar balls in airtight containers etc...)

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