Pressure Cooker Accessory: Heat-Proof Containers
You can pressure cook puddings, flans, cakes, rice and fish by putting them in heat-proof containers. Recipes may vary, though almost all suggest filling the pressure cooker with at least 1 cup of water (or the minimum required by your cooker) and – for the most delicate ingredients- covering tightly with foil to keep the super-heated steam at bay and then placing the container on a steamer basket or trivet.
When using small containers or ramekins place them in a steamer basket. If the containers are low, or the cooker is very tall, small containers can be stacked pyramid-style in multiple levels. Remove small containers from the cooker with tongs or a glove-covered hand.
Larger containers should be lowered onto a trivet or steamer basket. If the container does not already have handles, then construct a foil sling (bottom-right photo) to easily lower and remove the container from the pressure cooker.
The height of the container and steamer basket cannot exceed the maximum fill line of the pressure cooker – this is to ensure the foil cover does not dislodge or the food therein do not interfere with the pressure cooker’s safety systems.
Suitable heat-proof containers
As the name suggests, heat-proof containers should be heat or oven proof- this includes: silicone, heat-proof glass (like pyrex), ceramic, stainless steel, aluminum and even copper! The forms should not be plastic or any glass that is not tempered. In Italy, they sell disposable aluminum forms specifically for Creme Caramel – they’re very handy for un-moulding creme caramel (just stretch out the edges to release the dessert!) If using large square or rectangular containers, be measure the diagonal of the shape to ensure a good fit.
Pictured above are all of the heat-proof containers used in the hip kitchen. The containers can be anything from tea cups, to breakfast bowls and even small stainless steel mixing bowls!
Each material has its own heating properties: An aluminum container will heat up faster than a ceramic one, for example, so cooking times will need to be adjusted accordingly.
Top it off
Some recipes, will require for this heat-proof container to be covered. Be weary of anything that is heatproof but seals hermetically, like stainless steel lunch (tiffin) boxes, or glass jars with an attached top (as used in this recipe) – do not clamp on the lid during pressure cooking. These containers are not designed to equalize the pressure internally or let you know if the contents are under pressure, it is dangerous to open a hermetically sealed container that has been pressure cooked.
Instead, use tin foil as a top.
Measure twice, buy once
Measure your pressure cooker carefully, taking measurements of both the interior width and height with you to the store – subtracting the height of the trivet or steamer basket.
Shop for heat-proof containers