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Crème Brûlée, Lightly Toasted

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Maple and Bacon Creme Brulee Recipe
Maple Crème Brûlée with Lardons and Walnuts from Rebecca Masson, Owner of Fluff Bake Bar in Houston, Texas. Photo by Shannon O'Hara.

Houston Pastry chef Rebecca Masson may be a dessert traditionalist, but she can be swayed. “I have had many ‘arguments’ on why crème brûlée shouldn’t be messed with. It’s perfect the way it is. That said, sometimes a little variation brings new light to a classic.” As owner of Fluff Bake Bar in Houston, Texas, Masson has plenty of room to experiment on her own, but her spin on crème brûlée comes from a past mentor. “I made this dish while working at Catalan,” she says. “Chris Shepherd, then the chef there, was doing a lot with pigs at the time. The dish was a perfect sweet and salty finish to the meal.”

Pad Thai Crème Brûlée
Pad Thai Crème Brûlée with Kaffir Lime Whipped Cream and Candied Virginia Peanuts from Chef Tim Bereika of Union Table & Tap in Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Kieran Wagner.

Meanwhile, Tim Bereika, chef at Union Table & Tap in Richmond, Virginia, also leaned savory with his version. “I decided to take the flavors of brûlée in a different direction,” he says. “I tried a handful of ideas before finally settling on Pad Thai.” The approach initially seems strange, but with flavors of ginger, lemongrass, tamarind, basil, and lime, Bereika creates quite the crave-worthy crème brûlée.

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Maple Crème Brûlée >>

Pad Thai Crème Brûlée >>