Would you believe me if I told you that crème brûlée is easier to make than a batch of chocolate chip cookies? Probably not. That’s okay, I will show you how easy it is to make in a slow cooker!
As a kid I was enamored by this dessert. I wondered how could you get a custard so creamy, how do you caramelize sugar, and where can I get myself a kitchen torch?
Traditionally crème brûlée is steamed in the oven using a water bath. Water baths scare me. Taking boiling water out of the oven is super frightening. Solution- use a slow cooker! At the low setting, the slow cooker becomes an ideal water bath.
Back in culinary school, crème brûlée was often referred to as the “perfect dessert” because of its contrasting textures and flavors. Sweet custard encased by a slightly bitter burnt sugar crust. Cold silky custard with a warm crunchy sugar topping. With desserts, it is best to have contrast as it keeps the palate interested and wanting more. My favorite part of crème brûlée is hearing the crack of the sugar breaking with the scoop of the spoon.
I apologize for sharing this rich and decadent dessert in January. I’m sure everyone is eating healthier and trimming down from the holiday feasts, but with Valentine’s Day just around the corner I just had to share. Crème brûlée is the quintessential dessert for romantic dinners. You can thank me after you’ve tasted it.
Go ahead and impress loved ones with this lovely and elegant dessert.
Slow Cooker Crème Brûlée, serves 4
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk (or 2% milk)
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste (or 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
4 tsp granulated sugar for torching
1. In a large bowl, whisk together heavy cream, milk, yolks, salt, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until combined and sugar has dissolved. Pour mixture into a large container with a spout.
2. Place four- 6 oz ramekins in the pot of a slow cooker. Add about 1 1/2-2 cups of water until the ramekins are about 3/4 submerged in water. Distribute mixture evenly among ramekins (fill almost to the top). Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on low heat for 2-3 hours until custard is set and registers 185 degrees F on a food safe thermometer.
3. Carefully remove ramekins from slow cooker water bath. Place in the fridge uncovered to cool, about 1-2 hours. Once custard is thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap.
4. When ready to serve, remove chilled custard from fridge. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp- 1 tsp of granulated sugar over each custard. Using a kitchen torch, melt and caramelize the sugar on top until a nice golden crust forms. Serve immediately.
*Note: Chilled custards can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Kitchen torch recommendations: mini chef’s kitchen torch. I personally use a more industrial Bernzomatic trigger start torch attached to a propane fuel cylinder.