Crème Brûlée is such a popular dish, that it almost sounds like a cliché when I say it’s my all time favorite dessert.
For me…not much beat the satisfaction of rounding off a nice dinner with a perfectly cooked crème brûlée, and these days I honestly get relieved when I dine out and see that the restaurant does not offer it so I don’t have to ruin the experience battling cravings.
(Equally honestly, if (and when) I do occasionally cheat…it is highly likely to be with a proper crème brûlée!)
Anyway…this week I’ve been experimenting a bit with making a Paleo compliant crème brûlée, so that I can enjoy it as an occasional treat rather than a cheat.
(Usually I don’t recommend substitutes, as that does not help much in changing behavior…but some cravings probably are best handled by giving in so that you then can move on instead of having a complete breakdown…and in those cases substitutes are better (or less bad) choices.)
First I must say, a proper crème brûlée for me is made of cream, egg yolks, vanilla beans and raw sugar. Nothing else.
I almost get upset when I see “strawberry/lemon/liquorice/whatever” crème brûlée’s on a menu…
Making a Paleo compliant version, of course, must contain other ingredients…which will add flavor.
The obvious choice for replacing the cream was coconut milk, so I went all in and added even more coconut to really make it a coconut flavored crème brûlée, hoping it would make it a more interesting experience rather than a bland imitation.
Second I must say, a proper crème brûlée for me has a crispy, crunchy, cover. If not it’s just a pudding…
This was hands down the hardest thing to do creating this recipe, and I’m sorry to have to break this to you but…it seems like you just can’t get that texture if not caramelizing sugar.
I tried torching coconut palm sugar…instantly got burned.
I tried torching honey…did not caramelize, but did get less sticky and more jelly like.
I tried melting coconut palm sugar in a dry frying pan…it worked!, but was impossible to transfer from the pan to the crème brûlée as it just stuck to the spoon and instantly hardened (so caramelizing coconut palm sugar is possible, just not on a crème brûlée it seems…).
I tried adding a little water when melting the coconut palm sugar in the dry pan…just got sticky and did not harden.
The best result I got using the method described in the recipe below, which gave it a sticky, yet slightly crunchy, cover that even flaked a bit when broken. (Also, the roasted coconut baked into the cover helped giving it a crunchier experience.)
Actually, I’m quite happy with how this recipe turned out and will definitely make it again when required to prevent the cravings to throw me off the wagon…
Hope you’ll like it too! :)
That’s it, the story behind my first dessert recipe post :)
Wish you all a great week, and especially for my American friends I hope you’ll have a nice Memorial Day with family, friends and a lot of awesome food!