A creme brulee torch is the ultimate cooking luxury. It is used to quickly caramelize the topping on this elegant dessert, a rich smooth custard topped with a crisp melted-sugar crust. Breaking the crust on a creme brulee with a spoon has been called one of life's greatest small pleasures.
Filling the Torch
Shake fuel container several times. This warms the fuel.
Move the flame adjustment lever on the torch to the lowest setting.
Insert the nozzle of the gas container into the refuel valve of the torch using a pumping motion.
Wait a few minutes for the gas to stabilize before you use the torch.
Operating the Torch
Push the air control lever as far back as possible.
Open the flame adjustment lever to the highest setting.
Unlock the safety lock if your torch has one.
Press the ignition. This should ignite your flame immediately. Hold the ignition button down to keep the flame on. Release the ignition button to extinguish the flame.
Adjust the flame control until your flame is about 1/2 inch in length.
Turn off flame by releasing ignition lever. When you finish using the torch make sure the flame is completely out and the adjustment knob is completely closed.
Sprinkle the custard evenly with sugar. Use a teaspoon of sugar for each ramekin.
Ignite your torch and move the flame evenly over the surface of the custard until the sugar melts and browns.
Place the custard in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes to harden the sugar.
At high altitudes you may have to adjust the flame length to a higher setting.
If your torch has a continuous-flame feature you may switch it on while you are holding down the ignition button to maintain the flame even if you remove your finger from the ignition switch. You can turn the torch off by flipping off this switch.
The contents of the filled torch are under pressure and are very flammable.
Butane torches are dangerous unless used with caution. Read and follow all warnings and instructions for your torch model. Be familiar with the workings or your torch before you ignite it.
Do not use the torch if it is damaged, dusty, or if the instructions are missing.
Keep the torch and fuel out of reach of children.
Protect your work surface from damage before using the torch. Tie back long hair and avoid wearing loose clothing when operating the torch.
Use care when using the continuous flame feature.
Do not drop or puncture torch.
Do not touch the flame guard when it is hot.
Always point the flame away from you and other people when the torch is lit.
Follow all fuel canister instructions.
Do not use torch continually for over one hour.
Allow torch to cool completely before storing.
Avoid using torch near an open flame or in high heat.
Store out of direct sunlight at temperatures below 140 degrees F.
Camela Bryan's first published article appeared in "Welcome Home" magazine in 1993. She wrote and published SAT preparation worksheets and is also a professional seamstress who has worked for a children's theater as a costume designer and in her own heirloom-sewing business. Bryan has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Florida.