When you hear the words “butane torch,” it usually conjures up images of the tougher stuff, like welding, plumbing work, metal shop – those sorts of things. Anything that throws a flame pretty much belongs in a tool box or arsenal, right? Sometimes. As I mentioned a few posts back, there was a time in my life when I thought that soldering was fun, and as a kid, I even had a woodburning set that got some occasional use. But I’m really not much of a pyro at all, and up to now I’ve never considered owning a lighter, much less a torch. I’m starting to change my mind.
It’s not that I’m planning to go into the trades, or take on a DIY project of Rosie the Riveter magnitude. I can be pretty handy with the fix-it stuff, but flamage usually doesn’t play a role in my home improvement jobs. No, I’m thinking more along the lines of creme brulee. The truth is, I love to cook, and for the past couple of years, I’ve been intermittently hell-bent on conquering the French classics. I’ve already knocked out the easy stuff like Pommes Anna and bordelaise sauce, but have yet to work up to things like homemade demi-glace and creme brulee. I’ve put off the demi-glace becasue I can’t seem to find a spare 24 hours to dedicate solely to simmering a bunch of roasted meat bones and aromatics… that’s understandable, non?
But my reason for procrastinating on the creme brulee is far lamer – I just never had a torch to caramelize the tops. See? Lame. I had been waiting to score another gift card to Williams-Sonoma, so that I could purchase the last, flaming piece of the puzzle. But suddenly, the other day, I stumbled upon an article that said that one of the most popular “chef’s torches” out there had actually been originally intended for use by plumbers. It turns out that when the pros need to create a delicate sugar crust on a fragile custard, the more macho the torch, the better.
It looks like my wait has just been dramatically shortened, thanks to the fact that we actually sell the Pro-Torch 200 by Solder-It. I’ve always thought that this compact, handheld butane torch was pretty neat, but to me, it was more of a cool addition to a tool kit… not my next kitchen appliance. As it turns out, it’s both. The Pro-Torch 200 has a refillable butane canister that provides up to 60 minutes of burn time, and it’s just at home with plumbing and auto repair as it is with haute cuisine. Looks like I just met my match. Sorry, Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table – I still love you, but this time, I’m going to have to go for the Pro-Torch…
Now where did I put those vanilla beans?