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Creme Brulee

CREDITS: ANGUS FERGUSSON FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL; FOOD STYLING BY HEATHER SHAW/JUDY INC. (WWW.JUDYINC/credits: angus fergusson The Globe and Mail; food styling by heather shaw/judy inc. (

Why save crème brûlée, which almost everybody loves, until the end of a meal? Created in the manner of the famous dessert, including being capped with lightly burnt sugar, this savoury take on a Gallic classic makes a delicious and unexpected winter appetizer. Instead of custard, foie gras mousse has been spooned into ramekins, then topped with sugar and blow-torched to crusty perfection. Besides foie gras, chicken liver pâté, smoked salmon mousse, even goat cheese with herbs and olives make excellent alternative options. Best of all, guests get to crack the surface with the same, satisfying tap of a spoon.

Chef Michael Tong is the owner of Toronto's Sublime Catering.

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