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A Quick Way to Make Crème Brulee Without an Oven

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.

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            Last Updated on September 16, 2019

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

            We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

            The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

            Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

            1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

            Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

            For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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            • (1) Research
            • (2) Deciding the topic
            • (3) Creating the outline
            • (4) Drafting the content
            • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
            • (6) Revision
            • (7) etc.

            Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

            2. Change Your Environment

            Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

            One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

            3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

            Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

            Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

            My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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            Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

            4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

            If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

            Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

            I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

            5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

            I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

            Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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            As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

            6. Get a Buddy

            Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

            I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

            7. Tell Others About Your Goals

            This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

            For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

            8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

            What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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            9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

            If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

            Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

            10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

            Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

            Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

            11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

            At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

            Reality check:

            I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

            More About Procrastination

            Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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