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I've seen that you can cook Crème Brûlée on a stove's hotplate, but most recipes call for it to be baked and that is the traditional way to do it.

Why is that so? Is there some benefit to baking it or is it just tradition?

And can you cook it on a hotplate like you would any normal creme or is there a trick to it?

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It needs very even heat to cook through without burning (underneath if you cook it on the hob). presumably if you cook it on the hob you need to use a bain marie and for individual ramekins this is quite specialised and large. In the oven you can just use a roasting tin for your bain marie for several ramekins.

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    You can also use a water bath (bain marie), where the temperature is maintained with an immersion circulator (sous vide), thus freeing up your stove altogether. – moscafj Dec 3 '16 at 14:01
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    @moscafj, indeed you can. That's even more specialised than a stove-top bain marie (IMO). A perfectly sensible thing to use if creme brulee is on your menu professionally. – Chris H Dec 3 '16 at 14:26
  • No need for it to be a "professional situation" I do it at home all the time using my circulator (which more and more people have). Guaranteed consistent results because you precisely control temperature. – moscafj Dec 3 '16 at 14:38
  • @moscafj if your circulator is big enough to cook enough portions for your situation that's ideal. When I looked at them they were a similar size to the slow cooker (which could also work) which would hold max 4 cremes brulees. A roasting tin would really hold twice that. – Chris H Dec 3 '16 at 15:12
  • Most immersion circulators are designed so that you place them in a larger container. So you are not limited by space. I can't upload links to the comment section, but Google: Joule, Polyscience, Anova, Nomiku and you will see what I mean. At home, with my Polyscience circulator...or my Joule, I can easily make one portion...or dozens... – moscafj Dec 3 '16 at 18:23

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