Over the weekend, our friend’s parents were visiting them from Indiana. We managed to secure an invitation to their Saturday night dinner of homemade shrimp tacos, which were delicious.
In exchange, I volunteered to make creme brûlée, which I am famous for. Trust me, it will ruin all other creme brûlées for you. My family and Jason’s family have stopped ordering it at restaurants because they are never good enough. Am I tooting my own horn too much? Oh well, from their mouths, it’s the truth.
Now, creme brûlée consists of cream (not Paleo), whole milk (not Paleo), and granulated sugar (not Paleo). So I took to the trusty internet to find a recipe that looked semi-close to the real thing. Just to let you know – I knew the Paleo recipe was not going to be anything like the real thing, but I’m having quite a lot of fun finding alternatives and trying them out, so I figured I’d make the real thing for everyone else and the Paleo-style one for me.
from the blog Our Paleo Life
The process is pretty much the same as regular creme brûlée.
BIG NOTE: I did not follow the instructions on the website. I do not understand why they used a blender when the stovetop is perfectly fine. But I did follow the ingredient list. Also, the pictures are of the real creme brûlée, because for some reason I forgot to take it of the Paleo version, but they pretty much looked exactly the same, except for the fact that I put mine in a giant ramekin (which I found out was a big mistake, but you’ll hear about that later).
In a saucepan, I added the coconut milk (from a can), honey, salt, and the scraped vanilla bean.
NOTE: You NEED the vanilla bean. Apparently vanilla beans are NOT in season, though I guess I never realized there was a season for them. It’s like that time a guy at Albertson’s told me that sourdough bread was not in season. A season for bread? Huh? My husband, being such a good sport, went with me to Costco – none, though they had some about two weeks ago; Trader Joe’s – who politely said that we can contact the company on their website and tell them that we’d really like it if they carried vanilla beans, which is great, but still had nothing to bake with; finally, since Sprouts was right around the corner, that was the Hail Mary play – success! – but they definitely weren’t the cheapest thing in the store. I’ve never made this recipe without it and I KNOW it just wouldn’t have the same flavor if you substituted vanilla extract, which I was highly considering. If you are unable to find the beans, use the extract – it won’t ruin it. It may just not be as good as it is with the beans.
You then heat the milk and honey mixture to just before boiling. You will see bubbles at the edges and that is when you should turn the heat off.
In a separate bowl, place all the egg yolks. Slowly, and I mean slowly, you pour a small amount of the heated milk into the egg yolks WHILE you are whisking them. A small amount would be like 1/4 cup. Then, once that is all whisked in, addvanother 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Whisk some more. Keep adding small amounts until it is all added and incorporated. This slow addition prevents the yolks from turning into scrambled eggs – if you add it all or too much, they get shocked by the heat and temperature difference and get cooked. Not ideal, not even close.
Once you’ve added all the milk mixture, I still strain it. There are always some small bits of cooked egg as well as the vanilla bean pod. My strainer is fine enough to take out the bad parts, but large enough to let the vanilla bean dots get through.
Now, you place your mixture into your ramekins. The ramekins below are the perfect size and they were not what I used for mine. Mistake.
Once ready, place the ramekins in a glass dish (I use my pyrex dishes) with boiling water (from my teapot). I fill the dish with enough water to come up halfway on the ramekins – they just love their water bath. Then you place them in the oven, which is set at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and let them bake around 40-45 minutes.
I used this GIANT ramekin that has worked well before with the regular creme brûlée recipe so I figured it should be the same with this. It was not. I think I baked that thing for 2 – 2.5 hours, maybe even 3, and it still wasn’t cooked enough. Finally, I took it out of the oven and hoped that it would set in the refrigerator.
When I went to eat it, there was a weird crust on the top, which most likely might have been due to cooking it for so long, but I got it to brûlée like the rest of them. When I dug in with my spoon, the top half was set, but the bottom half was slightly liquid. The taste was actually amazingly close to the real thing and I was pleasantly surprised, though this was the best recipe that I had found when searching around. I ate the parts that were custard-like and I dumped the rest. I will be trying this recipe again, using the smaller ramekins, and I will see what happens.
There is still nothing like the real thing, but if I can get close to it, that’s good enough for me!