Instant Pot Creme Brûlée
Aug 20, 2023, Updated Nov 02, 2023
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Deliciously easy custard with a crunchy sugar topping – this classic French dessert is made even easier by popping in the Instant Pot for an indulgent treat everybody loves!
Easy Creme Brûlée in the Instant Pot
Hey there, dessert enthusiasts! Buckle up because we’re diving headfirst into the world of creme brûlée magic, and guess what? Our trusty Instant Pot is here to make our creamy dreams come true! Picture this: velvety custard that’s so smooth it could make a dolphin jealous, crowned with a caramelized sugar crust that’s basically a sweet symphony for your taste buds. And the best part? You can whip up this classic fancy-pants dessert right in your cozy kitchen.
So, here’s the scoop. We’re talking yolks, cream, and a sprinkle of sugar. It’s like a dessert potion, and your Instant Pot is the magician’s wand. Mix up those yolks, cream, and sugar, and let the Instant Pot work it’s charm. Pressure cooking is like a warm hug for your custard—gentle, cozy, and oh-so-flawless. The water bath thing? Don’t worry, it’s not a bath bomb mishap. It’s just the Instant Pot’s way of giving your custard the most even and tender cooking it deserves.
Now comes the grand finale: the torch showtime! A pinch of sugar on top, and your kitchen torch (the cool cousin of a flamethrower) gets to work. Cue the “sizzle, crackle, pop” music, and watch that sugar turn into a magical golden shield of deliciousness. One tap, and you’ve cracked through that sugar to reveal the silky wonderland below. Instant Pot, you’ve done it again, turning creme brulee from the fancy restaurant fantasy into a reality of pure dessert joy. So, gather your ramekins and let the Instant Pot party begin!
How to Make Instant Pot Creme Brûlée
- Heavy Cream (2 1/2 cups): The star of the show, heavy cream brings luxurious richness and a silky texture to our creme brûlée. It’s the creamy canvas on which all other flavors are beautifully painted.
- Granulated Sugar (8 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon per ramekin): Sugar adds sweetness, of course, but it’s also the secret weapon for that irresistible caramelized crust. It’s a culinary double agent, enhancing both the custard and the top layer.
- Vanilla Extract (2 teaspoons): Vanilla extract is like the storyteller, weaving warmth and aromatic charm into every spoonful. It enhances the overall flavor profile, giving a comforting backdrop to the richness.
- Salt (1/4 teaspoon): A pinch of salt might seem tiny, but it’s the flavor conductor. It heightens the sweetness, balances the richness, and ensures every taste is perfectly tuned.
- Large Egg Yolks (8): These little superstars bring the custard’s velvety texture to life. They add richness without the heaviness of the egg whites, allowing the custard to shine.
- Granulated Sugar for Caramelizing (1 teaspoon per ramekin): Here comes the magic trick – the sugar that transforms into a crackling caramel crust under the torch’s spell. It’s the “ta-da” moment that completes our dessert spectacle.
Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, we will use this process:
- Prep custard. Separate egg whites from Egg Yolks, placing Yolks in a medium size mixing bowl. Place egg whites in a refrigerator for other dishes. Pour Cream into a medium saucepan and add Vanilla and Salt. Warm the mixture over medium heat until very warm to the touch (160°F – 175°F). Remove from heat and set aside. Add Sugar to the Egg Yolks, and mix well. Temper the egg yolk mixture by pouring a small amount of the warmed cream mixture into the bowl. Mix well, then pour in the remaining cream mixture and mix well. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to make it silky smooth.
- Add to ramekins. Pour the cream mixture into 4 standard (or six 6 oz) ramekins, until 85% full. Remove surface air bubbles by touching them with a spoon. Seal the tops of the ramekins with aluminum foil.
- Pressure cook. Add 1 cup of water and a steamer rack in Instant Pot. Place ramekins on the steamer rack, stacking them if necessary. Pressure Cook at Low Pressure for 15 minutes, followed by 15 minutes natural release (don’t open the pressure valve). Then, release remaining pressure. Take out one of the ramekins and check for doneness. The center of the custard should jiggle a little, but not the edges. If the whole custard jiggles, pressure cook them for an additional 3 minutes.
- Cool. Place ramekins on a cooling rack for an hour. Then place them in the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Torch sugar. When ready to serve, spread 1 teaspoon of Sugar evenly over the top of each custard. Use a torch to caramelize the Sugar, to form a crispy top. Allow crème brûlée to sit for a couple of minutes before serving. You can also place the ramekins under a broiler to caramelize the Sugar.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Instant Pot Creme Brûlée
Use Ramekins: Opt for shallow and wide ramekins rather than deep ones. This allows the custard to cook evenly and facilitates quicker chilling and caramelizing.
Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that your eggs and heavy cream are at room temperature. This prevents curdling and promotes even cooking.
Strain the Mixture: Strain the custard mixture before pouring it into the ramekins. This step helps eliminate any potential bits of scrambled egg and results in a smoother texture.
Be Gentle: Mix the custard ingredients gently. Over-mixing can introduce air bubbles that might affect the final texture.
Use a Trivet: Place a trivet or a steamer rack in the Instant Pot and add water underneath. This creates a water bath (bain-marie) effect that ensures gentle and even cooking.
Cover the Ramekins: Cover each ramekin with aluminum foil before placing them in the Instant Pot. This prevents condensation from dripping onto the custard.
Properly Layer: Place the covered ramekins on the trivet in the Instant Pot, ensuring they are not touching the sides of the pot or each other. This allows for even circulation of steam.
Set the Timer: Cook the custards on the appropriate setting (usually “Manual” or “Pressure Cook”) for the recommended time. Follow the recipe’s instructions for timing.
Natural Pressure Release: After the cooking time, allow for a natural pressure release (NPR) for a few minutes before opening the Instant Pot. This helps prevent sudden temperature changes that could cause cracking.
Chill Thoroughly: Once cooked, remove the ramekins and let them cool to room temperature. Then, refrigerate them for several hours, or ideally, overnight. Chilling ensures the custard sets properly.
Add Sugar Before Caramelizing: Just before serving, sprinkle a thin, even layer of granulated sugar over the chilled custard. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar until it forms a golden and crisp crust.
Torch Evenly: Move the kitchen torch continuously while caramelizing the sugar to avoid burning. Keep the torch a few inches above the sugar and work in a circular motion for even results.
Serve Immediately: Creme brûlée is best enjoyed right after caramelizing the sugar. The contrast between the creamy custard and the crackling caramel crust is at its peak.
Practice Makes Perfect: Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt isn’t perfect. Creme brûlée can be a bit tricky, but with practice, you’ll develop a knack for achieving the ideal texture and caramelization.
Using egg yolks only is recommended for creme brûlée, as it creates a smoother and creamier texture. Egg whites can contribute to a slightly firmer custard, but the classic creme brûlée is achieved with yolks.
Ramekins are preferred because of their shape and size. They help the custard cook evenly and allow for easier portioning. Using a regular bowl might result in uneven cooking and might affect the presentation.
Cover each ramekin with aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping in during the cooking process. The foil acts as a barrier, ensuring your custard remains pristine.
A kitchen torch is recommended for the best results. However, you can try using the broiler in your oven as an alternative. Place the custard under the broiler for a few minutes until the sugar caramelizes. Keep a close eye to avoid burning.
The water bath (bain-marie) ensures gentle and even cooking of the custard. It helps prevent curdling and overcooking while maintaining the creamy texture that creme brûlée is known for.
Silicone molds can be used, but make sure they are heat-resistant and can withstand pressure cooking. Keep in mind that the shape and size of the molds might affect the cooking time and result in slightly different textures.
Straining the custard mixture before pouring it into the ramekins can help eliminate air bubbles. Additionally, gently tapping the ramekins on a countertop can help release any trapped bubbles.
Absolutely! Adding vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, citrus zest, or other flavorings can enhance the custard’s taste. Just make sure to incorporate them into the mixture before cooking.
Yes, you can make creme brûlée a day or two in advance. Prepare the custard, chill it in the refrigerator, and then caramelize the sugar just before serving for the best texture.
Yes, you can use the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” setting, adjusting the time according to your recipe. Keep in mind that the water bath and proper sealing are essential for successful cooking.
What to Serve With Instant Pot Creme Brûlée
Fresh Berries: A simple assortment of fresh berries like raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries adds a burst of color, freshness, and a touch of tartness that balances the richness of the creme brûlée. Try a Dragon Fruit Salad to serve alongside!
Shortbread or Butter Cookies: Delicate shortbread or buttery cookies make an excellent accompaniment. Their crisp texture and subtle sweetness contrast beautifully with the creamy custard. We also love a simple classic Easy Buttercream to finish off the meal!
Biscotti: The crunchy texture of biscotti provides a satisfying contrast to the smooth creme brûlée. You can dip the biscotti in the custard or enjoy them separately.
Chocolate Shavings: A sprinkle of dark chocolate shavings or curls can offer a luxurious touch and a hint of bitterness that pairs well with the custard’s sweetness.
Fruit Compote: A compote made from gently cooked fruits, such as berries, peaches, or apples, can add a flavorful and slightly tangy component that complements the custard.
Citrus Zest: A touch of citrus zest, such as lemon or orange, can provide a refreshing and aromatic contrast to the custard’s creaminess.
Coffee or Espresso: A cup of freshly brewed coffee or espresso is a classic companion to creme brûlée. The bitterness of the coffee cuts through the dessert’s richness, creating a harmonious balance.
Port or Dessert Wine: A small glass of port wine or dessert wine can enhance the dining experience by providing a sweet and complex flavor that pairs well with the custard.
Whipped Cream: A dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream can add an extra layer of creaminess to the dessert and create a delightful combination of textures.
Nuts: Candied or toasted nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, offer a crunchy and nutty contrast that elevates the overall experience.
Fresh Mint: A sprig of fresh mint can serve as a simple garnish that adds a touch of brightness and refreshment.
Vanilla Bean: For an elegant touch, serve the creme brûlée with a split vanilla bean on the side. Guests can scrape out the seeds and infuse the custard with additional vanilla flavor.
Instant Pot Creme Brûlée Recipe
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- 2 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
- 8 tablespoons granulated Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 8 large Egg Yolks
- 1 teaspoon granulated Sugar for each ramekin for caramelizing
- Separate egg whites from Egg Yolks, placing Yolks in a medium size mixing bowl. Place egg whites in a refrigerator for other dishes.
- Pour Cream into a medium saucepan and add Vanilla and Salt. Warm the mixture over medium heat until very warm to the touch (160°F - 175°F). Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add Sugar to the Egg Yolks, and mix well. Temper the egg yolk mixture by pouring a small amount of the warmed cream mixture into the bowl. Mix well, then pour in the remaining cream mixture and mix well. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to make it silky smooth.
- Pour the cream mixture into 4 standard (or six 6 oz) ramekins, until 85% full. Remove surface air bubbles by touching them with a spoon. Seal the tops of the ramekins with aluminum foil.
- Add 1 cup of water and a steamer rack in Instant Pot. Place ramekins on the steamer rack, stacking them if necessary.
- Pressure Cook at Low Pressure for 15 minutes, followed by 15 minutes natural release (don’t open the pressure valve). Then, release remaining pressure.
- Take out one of the ramekins and check for doneness. The center of the custard should jiggle a little, but not the edges. If the whole custard jiggles, pressure cook them for an additional 3 minutes.
- Place ramekins on a cooling rack for an hour. Then place them in the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours.
- When ready to serve, spread 1 teaspoon of Sugar evenly over the top of each custard. Use a torch to caramelize the Sugar, to form a crispy top. Allow crème brûlée to sit for a couple of minutes before serving. You can also place the ramekins under a broiler to caramelize the Sugar. Enjoy!
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 770Total Fat 64gSaturated Fat 38gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 586mgSodium 317mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 0gSugar 31gProtein 17g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.