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Apr 14, 2005 11:33 AM

Stovetop creme brulee?

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I'm wondering if I can make creme brulee via stovetop (there's no oven at the place I'll be cooking at). Can I just temper the eggs with the heated milk/sugar and then cook it over low heat until thick, strain and chill? Will it setup properly? Should I make any changes to the recipe/proportions when using this method?

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  1. If you do do it that way ,and it works, please let us know!

    1. Indeed, I made my custard pudding in much the same way: Egg yolks beaten with sugar, temper with hot cream, put over stove (especially if not over a double boiler stir constantly) until rich cool and serve. It's also great (thuogh less set) still slightly warm. I'm actually eating some I just took out of the fridge and although the consistency isn't exactly the same as creme brulee, it's deliciously rich and wonderful in its own right.

      1. No problem. Heat 2 C. heavy cream in a double boiler until it is hot(I have put star anise in the cream for an interesting flavor and then strained it out,you could steep cinnamon sticks in it too) . Beat 4 egg yolks well and then pour the cream into the eggs slowly, whisking constantly. Then add about 2 tbs. sugar and cook until the custard is quite thick and can coat the back of a spoon (that means you can draw a line through the custard on the back of a spoon and it will not fill back in by flowing custard). Pour into your ramekins and chill well. When you are ready to brulee, top each custard with about a 1/3 inch layer of light brown sugar. Then using your torch melt the sugar being careful not to scorch it.

        1. You can steam custards...done that way for years.

          1. I have a feeling that making a "pudding like" crème stove-top and pouring it into ramekins to set might not work when it comes time to "brulee". It might not set-up well or smoothly and then the brulee part might not work.

            I say this because I've had friends who once, after having "skimmed" and eaten all the brulee top off of a standard crème brulee.....they wanted to add more sugar and brulee the softer/looser crème again. They were a bit disappointed when they noticed the sugar didn't become a thin hardened layer because the crème underneath was looser and "wetter".

            I suggest pouring the recipe into ramekins and steaming it in a huge, flat or multilayered steamer, like dim sum. (finding a huge steamer might be more difficult than not having an oven.) But....the problem with that is you have to be careful that the condensation does not drip back down into the ramekins. Also, don’t let the steam get to high heat because it will curdle your crème & you’ll have sweet scrambled eggs.

            Also, crème brulee needs be chilled for at least 3-4 hours, optimally over-night. (I tried to brulee a crème that was only cooled to room temp and it wouldn’t “brulee” to a thin hard shell. Is there a way you can make it at home and bring it to the location? It travels well if wrapped in plastic and kept relatively cool.

            4 Replies
            1. re: gp

              It probably did not set because it was not cooked long enough and did not thicken sufficiently.

              1. re: Candy

                I agree, I think the stovetop custard I made was definitely rich and thick enough to brulee.

                1. re: Candy

                  OK, there is a misunderstanding. I do allow my crème brulee to cook enough and they do thicken sufficiently. I make them in individual ramekins in a bain-marie in the oven with a covering of foil to protect the tops from getting browned & leathery.

                  In my crème brulee, after it's been "brulee"-ed the crème becomes a bit warmed & softened and very pudding like under the hardened sugar layer, just the way it should be.

                  I do not make a thick-flan-like crème. It shouldn't be something like jello. When you crack the brulee with a spoon, the spoon shouldn't bounce back at you, it should sink a little showing the slightly warmed surface crème. It's kind of hard to describe consistency in relation to what other people will understand.

                  What I was relating to the op is that with a cooked & poured pudding it “might” not brulee properly. But then again, you never know. I suggest the op try this version at home & see if it’ll work before taking it remote.

                2. re: gp

                  I used to work at a restaurant that used something called an autosham to cook brulees. I had never heard of/seen an autosham - a steam cabinet made for holding foods for banquests. There was indeed a problem with the condensation dripping onto the custard - and leaving pock marks which made it very difficult to brulee - this was a famous-name restaurant with very low standards! But if you steam gently, or lift/wipe the lid - it just might work.