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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 January 2, 2020

            How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

            How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

            Over time, we all gather a set of constricting habits around us—ones that trap us in a zone of supposed comfort, well below what our potential would allow us to attain. Pretty soon, such habits slip below the level of our consciousness, but they still determine what we think that we can and cannot do—and what we cannot even bring ourselves to try. As long as you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

            Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, habits start off small and flexible, and end up by building massive barriers of rock all around your mind. Inside the reefs, the water feels quiet and friendly. Outside, you think it’s going to be rough and stormy. There may be sharks. But if you’re to develop in any direction from where you are today, you must go outside that reef of habits that marks the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way. There’s even nothing specially wrong with those habits as such. They probably worked for you in the past.

            But now, it’s time to step over them and go into the wider world of your unused potential. Your fears don’t know what’s going to be out there, so they invent monsters and scary beasts to keep you inside.

            Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong.

            Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well.

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            Lots of people who suffer from boredom at work are doing it to themselves. They’re bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid making mistakes and taking risks. People who never make mistakes never make anything else either.

            It’s time to pin down the habits that have become unconscious and are running your life for you, and get rid of them. Here’s how to do it:

            1. Understand the Truth about Your Habits

            They always represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again. That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.

            To get away from what’s causing your unhappiness and workplace blues, you must give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits. and try new ways of thinking and acting. There truly isn’t any alternative. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas. No new ideas, no learning. No learning, no access to successful change.

            2. Do Something—Almost Anything—Differently and See What Happens

            Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone.

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            Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm.

            3. Take Some Time out and Have a Detailed Look at Yourself—With No Holds Barred

            Discovering your unconscious habits can be tough. For a start, they’re unconscious, right? Then they fight back.

            Ask anyone who has ever given up smoking if habits are tough to break. You’ve got used to them—and they’re at least as addictive as nicotine or crack cocaine.

            4. Be Who You Are

            It’s easy to assume that you always have to fit in to get on in the world; that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Because most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they aren’t, deep down.

            You need to start by putting yourself first. You’re unique. We’re all unique, so saying this doesn’t suggest that you’re better than others or deserve more than they do.

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            You need to put yourself first because no one else has as much interest in your life as you do; and because if you don’t, no one else will. Putting others second means giving them their due respect, not ignoring them totally.

            Keeping up a self-image can be a burden. Hanging on to an inflated, unrealistic one is a curse. Give yourself a break.

            5. Slow Down and Let Go

            Most of us want to think of ourselves as good, kind, intelligent and caring people. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it isn’t.

            Reality is complex. We can’t function at all without constant input and support from other people.

            Everything we have, everything we’ve learned, came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our contribution. At our worst, we waste and squander it.

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            So recognize that you’re a rich mixture of thoughts and feelings that come and go, some useful, some not. There’s no need to keep up a façade; no need to pretend; no need to fear of what you know to be true.

            When you face your own truth, you’ll find it’s an enormous relief. If you’re maybe not as wonderful as you’d like to be, you aren’t nearly as bad as you fear either.

            The truth really does set you free; free to work on being better and to forgive yourself for being human; free to express your gratitude to others and recognize what you owe them; free to acknowledge your feelings without letting them dominate your life. Above all, you’ll be free to understand the truth of living: that much of what happens to you is no more than chance. It can’t be avoided and is not your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it.

            Final Thoughts

            What is holding you in situations and actions that no longer work for you often isn’t inertia or procrastination. It’s the power of habitual ways of seeing the world and thinking about events. Until you can let go of those old, worn-out habits, they’ll continue to hold you prisoner.

            To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit, or—worse still—to stay there because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

            If you can accept the truth about the world and yourself, change whatever is holding you back, and get on with a fresh view on life, you’ll find that single action lets you open the door of your self-imposed prison and walk free. There’s a marvelous world out there. You’ll see, if you try it!

            More About Stepping Out of Comfort Zone

            Featured photo credit: teigan rodger via unsplash.com

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