Easy and Chic: Pressure Cooker Creme Caramel!
This is a dessert that never fails to impress. It is incredibly easy, but requires you to learn a new skill – making caramel. Pressure cook this flan in 10 minutes and the transformation to semi-solid goodness is complete!
To make Creme Caramel, you will need forms. You don’t need to buy fancy aluminum forms, because you may already have something that will do! The forms need only be heat-proof and funnel-shaped (wide at the top and narrow at the bottom to help the Creme Caramel release). You can even use silicone forms (if they come in a sheet, simply cut them apart). Anything from votive candle holders, to cups, to a breakfast bowl.. will do! (learn more about forms and molds for your pressure cooker, here)
You will also need a “trivet” or something to keep the forms from touching the bottom of the pan. A trivet did not come with my pressure cooker, so I use a collapsible steamer basket. However, you could also try one of your real trivets, if it fits in your pressure cooker pan.
Pressure Cooker Recipe: Creme Caramel
You can vary the flavor of this pudding by substituting the vanilla infusion of the milk with saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, or even lemon, mandarin or orange zest!
Make the carmel and coat the forms in Caramel. In your widest sautee pan, add the sugar and turn the flame to high and wait. DO NOT STIR – at most, pick up the pan and swish it around to make sure the sugar is evenly melted in the carmel. As soon as almost all of the sugar has turned to carmel turn off the heat. Hold the form with your oven-mitt-covered hand, or some other protection that will not limit your dexterity yet protect your hand form the hot scalding sugar. With the other hand, pour a little carmel in the bottom and then twirl it around covering the form internally and on the sides as much as you can. I highly recommend you read David Lebovitz’s How to Make the Perfect Carmel primer before caramelizing sugar for the first time.
Once all of your forms have been coated with caramel on the inside, move to making the creme. Using a fork or a whisk, mix 4 whole eggs plus one yolk with the sugar. Then, add the cooled, infused milk. Mix well -the resulting consistency will be very liquid. Then fill the forms, by pouring or using a soup ladle, leaving 1/2″ or 1 cm space from the top. Cover the forms with tinfoil.
Prepare the pressure cooker by adding two cups of water and the trivet or collapsible steamer basket.
Place as many forms as possible that will stay straight – for me it’s three of the big teacups or 4 of the medium glass forms, and 5 espresso cups -but they are really small so I make these for the kids!
Close and lock the pressure cooker top, turn the heat to high and when it reaches pressure, turn the flame down to minimum. Count 6-8 minutes cooking time (for 6 oz glass custard cups – time may vary based on the size and thickness of the container used). When time is up, open pressure cooker and open with the Natural Release – turn off the heat and don’t do anything wait for the pressure to come down naturally. If after 10 minutes all of the pressure has not released, relieve the rest of the pressure with the pressure valve.
For electric pressure cookers, disengage the Keep Warm setting when cooking time is up and turn off or unplug the pressure cooker.
When time is up, open the top and check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the middle of one of the cremes. If it comes out dirty, simply place the pressure cooker cover back on and wait another 5 minutes- the residual heat from the pressure cooker will keep cooking them. If the creme caramels are still liquid, cook under pressure and additional 5 minutes.
Then, let your creme caramels cool outside the pan for about an hour before refrigerating.
Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving. If you need to do another batch, remember to add more water in your pressure cooker!
To serve, simply turn the form upside-down onto each dessert dish. If the Creme Caramel does not come down on it’s own, insert a flat knife and run it carefully along the sides. Then, on one side pull the knife a little towards the center to break the suction. Place the dessert plate on top of the form and flip it around quickly.
Serves 4 to 6