When it comes to French desserts, it can certainly be a bit overwhelming to navigate this world of hard-to-pronounce-yet-beautiful masterpieces. Daniel Wong, the chef and owner behind Craque de Crème, kept the introduction simple and seamless by focusing on only one classic dessert: creme brulee.
The Toronto shop specializes in creme brulee, offering over 15 different flavors, some paying homage to French ingredients, while others are contemporary takes on the classic, boasting a dash of Asian flair or alcoholic infusion.
“What I like about creme brulees is the texture. I like the heat and the cold when I brûlée it,” says Wong. “Also the fact that you can put any flavor into creme brulees.”
And Wong lives up to that sentiment. Although the French version tends to be a vanilla-based dessert, Wong has dreamt up a myriad of imaginative flavor profiles, including honey lavender, bright purple ube, and white chocolate rose.
Each creme brulee starts out with the same core base: egg yolks, sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla beans. Once the base comes together, it’s infused with a handful of ingredients, depending on the flavor -- pandan puree creates the verdant pandan creme brulee, while hunks of crystallized butterscotch and a generous pour of bourbon make a bourbon butterscotch one. Then it’s finished off with a sprinkling of sugar before its torched, creating that distinct, caramelized, crackling shard of sugar.
Once you’ve received your individual, Mason jar-sized creme brulee, do like the French and immediately smash the sugar shell on top. That melodic crack you hear? That’s the sound of a true creme brulee.