I am confident this is the easiest, quickest creme brûlée recipe of our time. At just 1-minute prep, 15-minute start-to-finish, this recipe bypasses the hour long oven baking and the overnight chilling, with no deterioration in quality. The result is a perfectly silky smooth custard, that takes no backseat to those made through the traditional method.
The gist of all the trickery: water is a better conductor of heat than air. That's why steaming on the stove top takes a fraction of the time as oven baking, and that's why chilling in an ice water bath will get your custard ready in no time. - This works on ice cream batter as well, btw. I have personally never chilled ice cream batter overnight. Waiting for dessert is unamerican.
If you've tried my 1-eggwhite-for-20 copycat Milano cookies, and are now stuck with that extra yolk you don't know what to do with, the perfect answer is to make 2 creme brûlées! - 3 if you underfill your ramekins a little (which will make it a lot easier to transfer without spilling). If you egg is on the larger side, this will easily set with 2/3 cup cream. Also, no need to be too tedious with separating the yolks and whites, a little egg white is just extra protein to help the custard set.
If you don't have a torch, I'm including a few hacks in the video that will still get you the crunchy caramel topping that's signature and essential to the dish. If you're lactose intolerant, or have any other dietary restrictions, I've tested this recipe out with plant-based milk alternatives and zero-calorie sweeteners - this will set, even with hemp milk and erithritol. Check out the video for details.
- 1 egg yolk (~20g)
- 2 tbsp sugar (~20g)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (~120g)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
- additional sugar to brulee
- Whisk together all ingredients.
- Fill up your ramekins.
- Cook stovetop in a hot water bath for ~12 min, or until set.
- Chill in a cold water bath.
- Brulee the sugar. Enjoy!