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Playing with fire

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I promise you that I’m not a pyromaniac, but I love it when I get to use the mini torch during a recipe test. This week, I was working on this incredible cake that’s enrobed in a lush layer of toasted meringue. Pulling the meringue into spikes and then browning it with the torch was just way too much fun. 

If you don’t have a kitchen torch, consider adding it to your Christmas or birthday wish list. No, it’s not something you’ll need  every day.  Even in our busy test kitchen, we don’t use ours very often, as evidenced by the amount of time it took me to find it. But at $25 to $35, it’s an inexpensive gadget that definitely has its uses.  You can’t make a good creme brulee at home without it, and once you own one, you’ll find other excuses to fire it up, like melting and browning cheese and crumb toppings on casseroles or charring small chiles.

We actually have a couple of torches in the test kitchen, but our favorite is the BonJour chef’s torch. It’s easy to use and has a good flame intensity range. It’s availabe at most kitchen supply shops, including cooking.com.

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