Photos courtesy of iStockphoto.com
For those who have made crème brûlée from scratch know that baking custard is an art and takes time and precision; but with the help of a pressure cooker the task is incredibly quick and easy.
Excerpted from The New Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Adams Media. Copyright © 2016 F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat milk, cream, and vanilla bean over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture begins to bubble. Turn off heat and let cool (about 20-30 minutes). Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the mixture.
In the meantime, prepare the pressure cooker by filling it with water and inserting the trivet or steamer basket. Oil 6 teacups or ramekins.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly pour in the cooled milk mixture and incorporate it into the yolks. Whisk lightly, but do not ship the mixture.
Pour mixture into cups, cover with foil, and arrange in steamer basket so that all are sitting straight. You can stack some of the cups on top in a second layer. Close and lock the lid.
Turn the heat up to high. When the cooker reaches pressure, lower the heat to minimum needed to maintain pressure. Cook for 5-8 minutes at high pressure.
Open with the natural release method— move the pressure cooker to a cool burner and wait or the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker. After 10 minutes, release the rest of the pressure using the valve.
Carefully lift out the custards. Open the first and jiggle it a bit. It should be nearly solid (they will solidify further when chilled). Remove the custards and leave to cool uncovered for about 30-45 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-24 hours.
Immediately before serving, sprinkle the top of the custards with demerara sugar. Caramelize the sugar by sliding custards under the broiler or by scorching the top with a culinary torch.