No-Bake Zesty Lime Crème Brûlée
This no-bake brûlée does not require egg yolks, as the cream is thickened with lime juice. It is wonderfully refreshing, and may be served in small tart shells instead of dishes.
Caramelizing the Sugar:
Different sugars produce slightly different results when caramelized. Brown sugar tends to melt the quickest, in less than a minute. Superfine and regular granulated sugar melt to form a thin, solid disk. Confectioners’ sugar should be sifted or pressed through a sieve to make an even layer so it will brown evenly. Raw sugars are slower to melt than finer sugars, but produce a nice, even browning.
Oven-Dried Brown Sugar:
Due to the moisture content of brown sugar, it is recommended to dry it before caramelizing. Spread light or dark brown sugar out on a baking sheet in a 1/8-inchlayer and bake in a preheated 275°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned a shade darker. Let cool, place in a small resealable plastic bag, and crush it thoroughly with a rolling pin or flat metal mallet to make fine crystals. Brown sugar treated in this manner has an excellent flavor when caramelized.
The amount of sugar you use to caramelize the top can vary with personal taste and the diameter of the dish. If you use flan dishes, which have a wider diameter, 1 tablespoon of sugar is a good amount for each dish. With a 6-ounce or smaller ramekin, which has a 4-inch or less diameter, about 2 teaspoons of sugar will cover the surface nicely.
When caramelizing the sugar topping of dessert cremes brulees under a broiler, you may prefer to place the containers in a pan and fill the pan with cold water and ice to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. This keeps the containers from overheating, and you can serve the desserts immediately (rather than refrigerating them briefly to cool).
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Five Ingredients or LessYes
- 2¼ cups heavy (whipping) cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 6 tablespoons oven-dried brown sugar (see Notes) or confectioners’ sugar for topping
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and granulated sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest. Gradually stir in the lime juice.
Place six standard-size flan dishes in a baking pan. Divide the custard mixture among the dishes. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
When ready to serve, place the dishes on a baking sheet and evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown or confectioners’ sugar over each custard. (If using confectioners’ sugar, use a small sieve to sprinkle the sugar.) Using a hand-held blowtorch, caramelize the sugar (see Notes).
2005 Lou Seibert Pappas