Definitely not dairy free.
And there is no way this is vegan.
Sorry I’m not going to be a teensy bit sorry… ever.
Because what this is, is nothing short of…
Guys. CREME BRÛLÉE. Please excuse all the capitals but really. I’m having an ecstatic moment that I actually made this.
I kind of had some weird ingrained impression that creme brûlée was something fancy I could only get in a fancyschmancypants restaurant. You know, like how english muffins are mysteriously, perfectly english muffiny until you make them? Or maybe that’s just me. Whatever, anyway this is all beside the point as usual.
Point being, I used to looooove creme brûlée when I was a kid. I remember ordering a flight of them at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite when I was fairly little and being excited that it came in three flavors… and then realizing that I apparently still liked vanilla best. I’m a vanilla girl, don’t mess. Why tamper with something already so delicious?? But anyway, I really don’t remember much creme brûlée in the intervening years. What was wrong with me?! And why haven’t I made this before now?? Not to give away any trade secrets or anything, but it’s actually relatively simple (as long as a water bath doesn’t scare you).
But seriously. Besides being delicious, creme brûlée is so fun! I’m like Amelie, I like smacking the top with my spoon and making the sugar crack. The little things are so satisfying…
And speaking of satisfying. This is made with nothing besides cream, egg yolks, and a bit of sugar and vanilla. Go ahead. Indulge yourself, because really—you’re worth it!
Coconut Sugar Creme Brûlée
Apparently I can’t get too far away from my attempt to bring at least a little healthy into everything—-this is technically refined sugar free! Wheee! It’s made with coconut sugar, which is lower in fructose (good), and which retains the minerals, short chain fatty acids, and antioxidants found in the coconut palm from which it comes (also good). Besides that, it’s delicious. It tastes caramel-y and a little earthy to me, and goes spectacularly with vanilla. The awesome recipe came from Grain-Free Goodness, here! Makes six small ramekins.
Acquire the following, and let’s embark on culinary shenanigans:
- 2 c heavy cream (1 500 mL container; or I think mine was 437 mL or something weird, but ended up exactly 2 c)
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla extract*
- 6 tbsp coconut sugar+more for brûlée-ing
Preheat the oven to 325, and boil a medium saucepan of water (or use a kettle if you’re lucky enough to have one). You’ll need the water for the water bath, so makes sure it stays at a boil until just before you need it. Procure whatever you’re making your creme brûlée in—-I used three ramekins and three oven-safe coffee cups that were about the same size as the ramekins. You’ll also need a big casserole dish (or two) with deep sides.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream and the vanilla over low-medium (no higher!), stirring frequently. You want it to come just barely to a simmer, but none of that scalding business– none of that! Once it’s just barely at a simmer, pour it into something with a spout, for ease of pouring later.
While the cream is heating, beat egg yolks with the coconut sugar until creamy. It should lighten in color when the sugar is fully incorporated. With the mixer running, pour a small bit of the hot cream into the egg yolks, beating the whole time so that the eggs don’t cook. Keep pouring small amounts and beating them in, until all the cream is incorporated (once about half the cream has been added, you can add more to the eggs at each pour, since the eggs are already tempered). Skim the froth off the top with a spoon. Pour all this back into whatever pouring thing you used for the cream, and then pour equal amounts of it into the ramekins/cups of choice. Set all the ramekins into the casserole dish, and (CAREFULLY) pour the boiling water into the casserole dish, avoiding the ramekins (no one wants watery pudding). Make sure the water goes about halfway up the sides of your ramekins.
Bake until custards are *just* set—-they should be jiggly in the middle, but not liquidy when you touch them. The surface should be set, with the jiggle happening just below a thin skin of set custard. They’ll set up quite a bit when they cool, so don’t worry if they’re jiggly—they’re supposed to be! No over-cooked custards around here… I baked mine for half an hour (the ramekins), and then 35 minutes for the coffee cups, which were a little deeper. Check them every five minutes after a half hour, just to be safe.
Remove from the water bath and let cool on a cooling rack completely before covering in plastic wrap and chilling in the fridge. They should chill for at least several hours before serving (I did mine the day before I served them, as they keep well in the fridge for several days before you brûlée them).
When you’re ready to eat them, you get to play with fire! Ha. Sprinkle a bit of coconut sugar on the top, attempting to evenly distribute it. You can use a kitchen torch (if you’re lucky and have one, unlike me… anyone want to send me one??) or an old spoon if you’re janky like me. If you use the spoon, heat it over a gas burner on your stove (holding it with an oven mitt just in case, thank you) until you can feel the heat coming off it when you hold a hand a bit away, then press it down onto the sugar. It will caramelize immediately! If the surface of your custard is big, you might need to repeat this a few times. Beware… your spoon will never be the same. But it might encourage you to make this more often, if you have a designated brûlée-ing spoon…
Eat immediately! These don’t keep for more than an hour after they’re brûlée-d, so do yourself a favor and get cracking! Hehe.