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A Quick Way to Make Crème Brulee Without an Oven

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A Quick Way to Make Crème Brulee Without an Oven

After retiring from teaching in school, I’ve been a stay-at-home mother and a home cook for many years, developed a deeper love of cooking for the family.

When Leon, my dear son, asked me if I’d like to guest post on Lifehack, I felt honored and anxious at the same time. Lifehack is one of the authority blogs, that I’ve subscribed and enjoyed reading for a long time, talking about tips and hacks on making life easier and more effective. I feel anxious about what I should share with all the loyal readers and visitors of Lifehack. All of the sudden, one popular French dessert came to my mind. That’s crème brulee.

Crème Brulee is a classic French dessert, that literally means “burnt cream”. I’m really fascinated by the smooth, rich, creamy custard, topped with a glassy layer of caramelized crust. It’s so enjoyable after a meal, served either cold or warm.

To burn and caramelize the sugar takes only seconds, but I feel it takes too long to bake the custard in a “hot water bath” (“hot water bath” is a cooking method. Have the custard sit in a deep tray that filled half way with warm water) in an oven.

I like delicious foods, yet love easy or quick cooking ways even more. Here’s the experiment I made the classic crème brulee in a non-traditional way without an oven. I was pretty satisfied with the results. My daughter, a dessert taster, couldn’t identify that they were not from our oven compared to those I baked before. The texture of the custard was as smooth and creamy as those baked in an oven.

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    So, if you don’t have an oven or for whatever reason you don’t want to use an oven, you still can cook and enjoy this beautiful dessert. All you need is to have a wok, or a steamer or a deep pot, apart from the ingredients. I used a wok to steam the dessert. Best still, the steaming method is eco-friendly because you’d use less energy and time to heat up a wok than an oven.

    Serves 3 (prepare 3 ramekins, each 150ml capacity)

    Ingredients:

    • 4 egg yolks, room temperature
    • 200ml thickened cream, room temperature
    • 100ml milk, room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
    • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (if you use vanilla beans, please see the note below)

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      Separate egg yolks and egg whites carefully. I love all kitchen gadgets, especially this egg separator. It helps me easily separate yolks and whites with less failure. The egg whites are so clean that I can save them for baking some meringue cookies.

      Stir caster sugar into egg yolks. Add thickened cream, milk and vanilla extract and combine well. Don’t beat too hard because you don’t want too many bubbles produced on the surface of the mixture. The surface of the end product won’t be smooth otherwise.

        Drain the mixture through a fine sieve to ensure you have a very smooth custard.

        Divide mixture into three ramekins. Here’s the secret trick to produce smooth custard surface after steaming.

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          Cover with foil and put in a wok or steamer with boiling water, cook over high-medium heat for 15 minutes. The foil will prevent the custard surface from being over-cooked before the whole custard is cooked through, as well as avoid any steam from being condensed on the surface. While steaming, you should see some steam releasing from the wok or steamer.

          After 15 minutes, turn off the heat. Let the custard sit in the wok or steamer for another 10 minutes. Remove from wok, take away the foil and let cool completely before chilling in the fridge, covered, for 1 hour or so.

          Transfer the chilled custard from the fridge, generously sprinkle caster sugar on top. Caramelize the sugar with a kitchen torch to your liking.

          Enjoy the smooth crème brulee topped with the crunchy, caramelized layer on the go.

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            Note:

            • You can use a vanilla bean to replace the vanilla extract if you like. Use a sharp knife to cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the inside content and seeds. Warm the cream and milk in a saucepan. Add the vanilla content and seeds, simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover. Let the flavour of vanilla infuse in the milk mixture for a few minutes. Then follow the above steps to add egg yolks and sugar to make custard. Drain through a fine sieve into ramekins.
            • If you don’t have a wok or steamer, you can just simmer the sifted custard mixture until almost boils. Then chill it until it sets or when you need it.

            I do hope you like my sharing here. Do you have any other quick methods to make crème brulee?

            Check out the author’s food blog, Christine’s Recipes for more easy Chinese and Western recipes.

            More by this author

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            Last Updated on November 25, 2021

            Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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            Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

            With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

            Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

            In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

            The easy fundamentals

            First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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            A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

            Here are some examples of strong passwords:
            * i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
            * ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
            * mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

            And not so good examples
            * sammy1234
            * password123
            * christopher

            You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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            Managing your passwords

            I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

            So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

            There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

            Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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            LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

            Upkeep

            You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

            There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

            Alternatives

            You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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            1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
            2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
            3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

            These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

            So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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