Crème brûlée, one of the classic French desserts has been translated into different appellations in Chinese, both transliterally and semantically. Among them, one is becoming more and more popular, which is literally called “French Caramel Steamed Egg,” mainly in Mainland China. In fact, this is a misnomer, which has drawn some grave misunderstanding about the preparation of the dish. The reason being that its main ingredients are egg and fresh cream placed in a ramekin to be baked in the oven at medium-low heat. When it is done, a kitchen torch is used to caramelize the sugar on the surface until brittle like a thin glaze, but the inside is still as tender as steamed egg, as delightful as honey. Therefore, it suffices to say, the dish is not in any way associated with the literal meaning of “French Caramel Steamed Egg.” In fact, in the book "Cooking from the Royal to the Noble" written in 1691 by a French chef, François Massialot who had served many illustrious nobles, he called this dessert Crème brûlée in the sense of “burnt cream”. Later, he changed it to Crème anglaise in another book "Cooking for the Court and the Middle Class" published in 1731. After years in the test of time, Crème brûlée has eventually become the more popular appellation of the dish today and is served in every French restaurant. The taste of the dish still keeps evolving, some being served with vanilla, some with chocolate, and some mixed with matcha to give a little oriental flavor. Despite that the flavors are diverse, the soul remains the same - sweet, brittle and soft, which is the very essence of Crème brûlée.
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