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Dairy-Free Crème Brûlée (Paleo)

Dairy-Free Crème Brûlée is a marvelously creamy, decadent dessert, with a delectable crispy sugar coating. This easy Crème Brûlée recipe is amazing for sharing with your loved ones on a special occasion.

Dairy-Free Paleo Creme Brulee Recipe - a delicious custard dessert with amazing caramelized sugar topping

If you’ve never made Crème Brûlée, I recommend everyone try it! If nothing else, it gives you an excuse to use a hand torch, which is about 98% of the appeal in my opinion.

That said, if you don’t trust yourself with fire, maybe keep this one on the backburner…permanently. Similarly, while most of my recipes are easy enough for small children to make, I wouldn’t recommend this for a kid project. On account of the fire.

I remember the first time I tried Crème Brûlée at a restaurant when I was a teenager. Completely beside myself with excitement at the fact that I got to crack into the hardened sugar coated topping before an amazing custard was released for my enjoyment, I was immediately impressed. 

Pudding for fancy people was how I liked to see it. 

Let’s get super familiar with the topic before we make it.

What is Crème Brûlée?:

Crème Brûlée is a classic French custard dessert made with cream, egg yolks and sugar with a caramelized sugar topping. The appeal of Crème Brûlée, aside from its amazing creamy, pudding-like texture is the fun hardened sugar topping, which you get to crack before diving into the creamy custard.

Crème Brûlée is also known as burned cream, burnt cream, or Trinity cream, depending on where it’s from. Even though the sugar topping is torched in order to caramelize it for the hardened topping, his dessert is served chilled.

Dairy-Free Paleo Creme Brulee Recipe - a delicious custard dessert with amazing caramelized sugar topping

Dairy-Free Crème Brûlée Ingredients:

Full-Fat Canned Coconut Milk: Rather than using cream for Crème Brûlée, we’re making it dairy-free using full-fat canned coconut milk. Coconut milk is naturally rich and creamy and also has a natural sweetness to it. It is a lovely replacement for dairy for those who are intolerant.

Pure Maple Syrup: Rather than use cane sugar to sweeten the Crème Brûlée, I use pure maple syrup.

Vanilla Bean: Lending deliciously warm flavor, vanilla bean adds amazing flavor to the recipe. You can easily replace it with 1 teaspoon of quality vanilla extract, but I do recommend using a vanilla bean if possible, as I find the vanilla flavor to be more pronounced and magical.

Egg Yolks: The thickening agent of the custard! Custard is traditionally thickened using egg yolks, which helps make the Crème Brûlée nice and creamy and extra decadent. I have not yet tested a vegan version of this recipe, although I suspect 2 to 3 tablespoons of tapioca flour would work well as an egg yolk replacement.

Raw Cane Sugar / Maple Sugar / Coconut Sugar: For that amazing caramelized sugar topping! A granulated sweetener is sprinkled on top of the custard then set aflame using a hand torch in order to make that crispy topping. 

Depending on your preference for sweeteners, you may use raw cane sugar, maple sugar or coconut sugar. I haven’t had huge success with coconut sugar, so I typically go with raw cane sugar since I always have it on hand.

How Much Does This Recipe Make?:

This recipe serves 4 small portions, or two larger portions. If you’re making it for more than 4 people, OR if the people you’re serving are big dessert fanatics, consider doubling the recipe.

Dairy-Free Paleo Creme Brulee Recipe - a delicious custard dessert with amazing caramelized sugar topping

How to Make Dairy-Free Crème Brûlée:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Fill a tea kettle with water and bring it to a full boil. Place a casserole dish on top of a baking sheet and get out 4 small ramekins (or oven-safe bowls).

 Add the coconut milk and pure maple syrup to a small saucepan. Use a paring knife to carefully slice a slit down the length of the vanilla bean and scrape the insides into the saucepan. Place the vanilla bean in the saucepan as well. Heat over medium-low, whisking frequently, just until steam begins rising, but make sure mixture does not come to a boil. Remove from heat.

 Whisk the egg yolks together vigorously in a mixing bowl. Add a small amount of the coconut mixture to the egg yolks, then immediately whisk vigorously. Continue slowly adding the coconut milk mixture to the mixing bowl with the egg yolks, whisking very well between pours, until all the coconut milk is incorporated. This process should take three minutes or so – if you go to quickly, the yolks with turn into scrambled eggs.

Transfer the custard to 4 small ramekins. Fill the casserole dish a third of the way up with the boiling water, then place the ramekins inside of the casserole dish, so that the water goes half-way up the ramekins on the outside. Be careful not to get any water inside of the ramekins.

Place baking sheet (with casserole dish and ramekins) in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until custard has set up.

Remove from the oven and allow custard to cool. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill for at least 4 hours (longer is better).

When you’re ready to serve the dessert, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of raw cane sugar or maple sugar over the surface of each of the custards. Use a kitchen torch to ignite the sugar until it turns golden-brown and crispy. Pro Tip: Hold the torch a few inches from the sugar to prevent it from burning too quickly – you’d be surprised how powerful they can be!

Serve Crème Brûlée with fresh berries and a sprig of mint.

More Healthy Dessert Recipes:

Dairy-Free Paleo Creme Brulee Recipe - a delicious custard dessert with amazing caramelized sugar topping

Dairy-Free Crème Brûlée (Paleo)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Amazing creamy custard dessert with an irresistible caramelized sugar topping. Dairy-free and paleo!

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 large vanilla bean, scraped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tsp raw cane sugar, maple sugar or coconut sugar

For Serving:

  • Fresh berries
  • Fresh mint

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Fill a tea kettle with water and bring it to a full boil. Place a casserole dish on top of a baking sheet and get out 4 small ramekins (or oven-safe bowls).

    2. Add the coconut milk and pure maple syrup to a small saucepan. Use a paring knife to carefully slice a slit down the length of the vanilla bean and scrape the insides into the saucepan. Place the vanilla bean in the saucepan as well. Heat over medium-low, whisking frequently, just until steam begins rising, but make sure mixture does not come to a boil. Remove from heat.

    3. Whisk the egg yolks together vigorously in a mixing bowl. Add a small amount of the coconut mixture to the egg yolks, then immediately whisk vigorously. Continue slowly adding the coconut milk mixture to the mixing bowl with the egg yolks, whisking very well between pours, until all the coconut milk is incorporated. This process should take three minutes or so – if you go to quickly, the yolks with turn into scrambled eggs.

    4. Transfer the custard to 4 small ramekins. Fill the casserole dish a third of the way up with the boiling water, then place the ramekins inside of the casserole dish, so that the water goes half-way up the ramekins on the outside. Be careful not to get any water inside of the ramekins.

    5. Place baking sheet (with casserole dish and ramekins) in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until custard has set up.

    6. Remove from the oven and allow custard to cool. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill for at least 4 hours (longer is better).

    7.  When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of maple sugar over the surface of each of the custards. Use a hand torch to ignite the sugar until it turns golden-brown and crispy. Serve Crème Brûlée with fresh berries and a sprig of mint.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 of 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 287Total Fat: 21gCarbohydrates: 17gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g
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Bart V

Friday 9th of April 2021

Hello! I'm excited to try this! Can I please clarify the section where you wrote, "Use a paring knife to carefully slice a slit down the length of the vanilla bean and scrape the insides into the saucepan. Place the vanilla bean in the saucepan as well." I just wanted to make sure the second part is referring to the pod and ask when, or if, I should remove it, please?

Julia

Saturday 10th of April 2021

Hi Bart! I don't add the pod, but you can if you'd like. If you add it, simply remove it before pouring the custard base into the ramekins. Enjoy!! xoxo

Colleen Hunter Hancock

Friday 12th of February 2021

I love all your recipes! Thank you for providing us with such delicious food, especially during the pandemic.

I don't have a kitchen torch and am wondering if the oven broiler would provide the same crust?

Julia

Friday 12th of February 2021

Hi Colleen! Thanks so much, that warms my heart!!

I read this article from the Food Network that says you can use a burning hot spoon instead of a torch. I also watched this video on YouTube that suggests making caramel for the topping as the best alternative to using a torch. It suggests you can broil the creme brulee for 6 minutes under the broiler, but then the custard itself will be hot (and perhaps overcooked) too.

I hope this helps! Let me know what you end up doing! xoxoxo

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