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The fancy French dessert is surprisingly easy to make

By Mary Honkus
April 15, 2020 03:16 PM
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3-ingredient creme brulee

I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, but I cave at any chance I get to have some crème brûlée. When social distancing started, I was afraid it was going to be months before I had the opportunity to have bowl of the custardy goodness — until one of my coworkers showed me this three-ingredient recipe on TikTok.

The original video, posted by @shefshaq, promised delicious homemade crème brûlée from just three common household items: vanilla ice cream (which has most of the ingredients that make up crème brûlée: cream, salt, sugar and eggs), eggs yolks, and sugar.

I only had vegan oat milk ice cream, but still decided to give it a shot — what was the worst thing that could happen anyway? I’d still probably end up with some sort of sweet mush, and that was a risk I was willing to take.

3-ingredient creme brulee
Credit: Mary Honkus

First, I preheated the oven to 325° and placed shallow baking dish filled with about 2 inches of water in the oven while it preheated. Next I made the base. For one crème brûlée, melt half a pint of the vanilla ice cream in the microwave for 1 minute. Once melted, stir in one egg yolk with a fork until well combined, then pour the mixture into a ramekin. I made two ramekins (one for my roommate and I) so I repeated the melting step.

3-ingredient creme brulee
Credit: Mary Honkus

I then placed the ramekins in the baking pan and let them cook for 45 minutes. From here, you’re basically finished. Once the crème brûlées were done baking, I let them cool to room temperature, then covered and refrigerated them. The TikTok recipe recommends refrigerating for at least two hours, so I let them chill for three hours for good measure.

3-ingredient creme brulee
Credit: Mary Honkus

The final step — caramelizing the sugar — was by far the trickiest. You need to heat the sugar over medium low heat until it turns into a thick liquid, then quickly pour over the ramekins before it hardens (which happens way faster than you’d think). You only need about a tablespoon of sugar — I used way more than that, which resulted in a very thick crunchy topping. I’d suggest caramelizing about 1 tablespoon of sugar for the ideal crunch.

3-ingredient creme brulee
Credit: Mary Honkus

I let the topping completely solidify and cool for 5 minutes before digging in. My roommate and I were so excited to try — we had waited almost all day for this — that this was by far the hardest step of all.

After a few whacks with the spoon, I broke through the thick sugar topping and dipped into the creamy goodness underneath. Even though I used vegan ice cream, the consistency was extremely close to what you’d find in your favorite French restaurant. I’m sure if I’d used real ice cream the consistency would be almost exactly the same.

I’m seriously impressed with how easy this was to make, especially for a dessert that is considered a fancy indulgence. Just know that the at-home product is definitely a little sweeter than you might expect — but maybe that’s just what we all need right now anyway.

I’ve always been a fan of cooking, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced to be more creative by cooking treats that I thought would be super difficult. This is proof that even seemingly lavish dishes are very attainable — now go surprise your families with some homemade crème brûlée.

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