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Lobster Creme Brulee


Chef Metcalf
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A traditional crème brulee is topped with sugar and blow torched or put under a salamander until caramelized.

What ingredients could you caramelize/torch on the top of a savoury lobster crème brulee?

Any suggestions, ideas or brainstorms would be gratefully accepted. :biggrin:

Chef M

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For ****'s sake!

If its a brulee, the go with the caramel topping. Might work with lobster anyway, but I doubt it. Are you going to serve it cold?

Otherwise its a gratin, and gratin are topped with breadcrumbs or with cheese or just brown the top the cream sauce with your handy blowtorch.

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If you just want a crisp textural contrast while maintaining the savory aspect of the dish, maybe you could just use butter soaked breadcrumbs & broil til crisp & golden.

If you wanted to try a sweet component, what about vanilla sugar?

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Jack's right that this is technically a gratin. But I'm guessing the chef is after that brulee-like snap to the top. I also agree with Jack that sugar is not likely to work from a taste perspective.

What about a potato chip (crisp for the English among us), cut to size and deep fried, then laid on top at the last minute? If your serving dish is too big for a single slice to cover, a layered effect might work -- or maybe you could try creating your own Pringle-type chip from pureed spuds.

Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.

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If you could manage to generate a very thin layer of pork crackling.....

I know they serve a crab biscuit with Foie Gras at the fat duck - don't know how they make it, but could you produce a lobster 'biscuit'?

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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How about sugar mixed with a bit of Old Bay or other "crab boil" type seasoning mix? Just enough sugar to make a very very thin crust, but it would be offset by the other spices.

Or try a spice mix that has sugar in it (Like Tony's) and see if that will caramelize.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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From a chemist's standpoint, I am not sure that I can come up with a substitute for sugar for that "snappy" crust. I can say that a fully caramelized sugar coating need not be sweet. I can see adding some kosher salt to the sugar, fully caramelizing the sugar and that would be a good thing.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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At Jean Georges, we ate a foie gras brulee that was incredibly wonderful: the slice of foie was indeed topped with caramelized sugar, done to the point where there was no sweetness left, just a crackly, crunchy, slightly bitter topping. I don't see why it wouldn't work on a lobster custard.

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I should have been more specific.

I don't want it to be a gratin, no breadcrumbs or cheese.

I was looking for a granular substitute for the sugar.

I like fistfullaroux and fifi's suggestions to add salt to the sugar mix.

Perhaps, sugar, salt and paprika.

I think it would be best served room temperature, tepid or warm...not cold, but we will try that too. Might as well test them all.

peppyre

It won't be spicy...think lobster bisque reduction custard and chucks of lobster meat.

mnebergall....I pm'd Todd and he thinks they just use sugar and is checking it out for me. Thanks for the suggestion.

Suzanne, sounds wonderful! I will definitely try the sugar.

Thanks all!

Chef M

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what if you dried something out such as butternut squash and pulverized it into a powder and mixed that powder with a salt or sugar or both combination?

chestnuts, butternut squash, potato, sweet potato, orange peel...

just a few tops that may work

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Just a suggestion. If you could so how incorperate marscapone in to it the sugar would work.

Or on a seperate note, try candieing lemon zest.

Also maybe, finely chop some sundried tomatoes and mix w/ alittle more sugar. I think that would crust or carmelize some.

LJ

R.I.P.

Johnny Ramone

1948-2004

www.RAMONES.com

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I don't know exactly where I read it, it may have been an el bulli thread, but what if you took caramel (hard) microplaned it and mixed it with pulverized corn or sweet smoked paprika, whatever (crushed nuts, too!) Take that and spread a thin layer on a silpat and heat in the oven until the sugar melts and reconnects everything.

Or (I got this idea from the Alinea thread) use a paint stripping gun to melt it. Although it is an intense heat not quite the focused heat of say a blowtorch. Definitely add a touch of salt, maybe afterwards as the caramel is cooling so you get the two kinds of crunch (sweet and salty).

Just a couple of ideas. Let us know how it goes

Patrick Sheerin

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I don't know exactly where I read it, it may have been an el bulli thread, but what if you took caramel (hard) microplaned it and mixed it with pulverized corn or sweet smoked paprika, whatever (crushed nuts, too!)  Take that and spread a thin layer on a silpat and heat in the oven until the sugar melts and reconnects everything. 

Or (I got this idea from the Alinea thread) use a paint stripping gun to melt it.  Although it is an intense heat not quite the focused heat of say a blowtorch.  Definitely add a touch of salt, maybe afterwards as the caramel is cooling so you get the two kinds of crunch (sweet and salty).

Just a couple of ideas.  Let us know how it goes

Ooh... I like that. Use the straight sugar, and while it is still hot, sprinkle kosher salt or fleur de sal on it. And let it be a little sweet. You would just have to watch the amount of sweetness you add to the custard itself.

Or if you stick with salt and sugar, the salt won't burn. No worries about burning pepper or other spices.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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  • 2 weeks later...
If there was a spicy component to the dish, I think sugar would work quite well.  It would be a nice contrast in flavours.  Then again, I like sugar and savoury together.

From a chemist's standpoint, I am not sure that I can come up with a substitute for sugar for that "snappy" crust. I can say that a fully caramelized sugar coating need not be sweet. I can see adding some kosher salt to the sugar, fully caramelizing the sugar and that would be a good thing.

Mixing stuff into the sugar sounds risky-- the stuff might burn before the sugar caramelizes leaving a burnt taste rather than a spice taste.  Nothing granular but sugar will melt and get crispy like sugar does.

I don't know exactly where I read it, it may have been an el bulli thread, but what if you took caramel (hard) microplaned it and mixed it with pulverized corn or sweet smoked paprika, whatever (crushed nuts, too!)  Take that and spread a thin layer on a silpat and heat in the oven until the sugar melts and reconnects everything. 

Chef M - I think there's been a lot of creative "brainstorming" here. One crucial bit of information is missing: Who are you going to serve this Lobster Crème Brûlée to? Is your audience adventurous? Conservative?

I agree with Linda that a caramelized sugar base is your best bet. Ducphat mentioned the "croquant" approach. The most succinct description I can find is by Ted Nicely in a thread on the Pastry & Baking forum here.

Jackel10 raised the alarm regarding the "shell effect". If you keep the caramel layer wafer-thin I don't think there should be any problem.

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