I know what you are thinking. And the answer is yes – we can steam a dessert, and yes, we did steam a dessert and it came out great. But before we get into all of that, let’s quickly talk about cooking with steam.
What is it?
Using a steam oven, we cooked a creme brulee custard. Electrical-appliances.eu gives a great definition of how steam ovens work – “Steam ovens boil water from an inbuilt reservoir to create a cloud of steam within the oven chamber. This moist heating method is the reason why steam cooking offers significant benefits.” The steam in the oven gets very hot and cooks the food within the cavity.
Benefits of Steam
There are many widely known benefits of steam, the majority being related to health. Steaming your food maintains the food’s shape, color, and natural juices. Vitamins and minerals are also retained during steam cooking – moreso than boiling or other types of cooking. Remember boiling broccoli and pouring out the green water when it’s finished cooking? This water contains many essential nutrients that you are missing out on. Also, you do not need oil or any additional ingredient to facilitate steam, only water, which makes the overall process a healthier one.
Why Steam Dessert?
Steaming also preserves the flavor and consistency of food that other cooking methods fall short on. This is why we steamed the custard in our creme brulee.
Below is Miele’s recipe for the creme brulee in their steam oven. You can also use a traditional oven, or even convection with this recipe – you only need to increase the cooking time in order to effectively adjust the recipe. This recipe can also be found directly from Miele, here.
Cooking Time: 20 Minutes
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Food Type: Custard; Gluten-Free Foods
Makes about 12 servings
Miele Products: Ovens, Novotronic & MasterChef ; Steam Oven
1 quart heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Turbinado or raw sugar for topping each custard
1. In a heavy saucepan, scald the heavy cream until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar until well blended. Continue whisking while pouring the hot cream into the mixture.
3. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large liquid measuring cup to remove any lumps or over-cooked eggs. Stir in vanilla.
4. Divide custard equally among 3- to 4-ounce custard cups or small ramekins. Place in steam trays or on steam oven rack. Carefully slide trays or rack into steam oven. 5. Select CUSTOM or COOK at 212°F. Steam for 25 minutes or until almost set in the center when gently shaken.
6. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
7. To serve, sprinkle a small amount of raw sugar on top of each custard and gently turn cups until sugar is dispersed evenly. Broil the custards about 2 inches from the convection oven’s heating element until most of the sugar melts and browns. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Alternatively, working with one custard at a time, hold a small blowtorch so that flame is 2 inches above surface. Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns.
So there it is. A few notes about making creme brulee for the first time -
1. You absolutely need to cool the custard for long enough. Do not try to put it in the freezer to expedite the process, it will not set correctly. The best method for this is to make the custard a day in advance.
2. It is quite difficult to broil the top of the dessert. Some recipes call for small kitchen torch, much like this one. If you are not comfortable with a torch and are broiling, make sure to put the ramekins very close to the broiler. Otherwise you will broil the whole dessert and it will effect the consistency of the custard.
3. This is simple, but time consuming. Breaking it into two days make it much easier!