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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 March 31, 2020

            Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

            Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

            Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

            So what changed?

            I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

            My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

            Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

            But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

            1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

            Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

            If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

            Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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            How to Tackle It?

            Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

            For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

            Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

            2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

            This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

            The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

            How to Tackle It?

            Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

            If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

            Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

            3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

            This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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            The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

            The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

            How to Tackle It?

            Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

            For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

            A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

            If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

            4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

            Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

            Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

            How to Tackle It?

            It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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            Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

            For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

            Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

            In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

            5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

            This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

            Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

            However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

            How to Tackle It?

            Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

            Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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            Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

            If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

            Bottom Line

            I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

            You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

            I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

            I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

            Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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