Dairy-Free Crème Brûlée
Updated: Aug 7, 2021
This impressive European-style dessert only has 4 simple ingredients; vanilla bean, coconut cream, egg yolks, and sugar. The rich, sweet, custard-base is topped with a crispy, burnt sugar brittle coating. Top with fresh berries, mint, and a dollop of dairy-free whipped cream to create this stellar dessert!
Recipe sourced from Food with Feeling
Crème brûlée, or “burnt cream,” is baked in a water bath and gets a sprinkle of sugar that is caramelized using a broiler or kitchen blow-torch just before serving. A water bath is simply placing the ramekins in a tray with sides high enough to add hot water. The water adds moisture to the oven, which prevents foods like cheesecakes and custards from cracking. This moist heat method also keeps custards from becoming rubbery.
Crème brûlée is hands down my husband’s favorite dessert. I still remember making him crème brûlée for the first time. He loved it so much that when he got the bottom of the empty ramekin, he licked it clean! Since this is our Father’s Day edition of our Family Date Night Dinner, it almost goes without saying that the dessert had to be crème brûlée. Traditional crème brûlée is made with heavy cream, which is an issue for my dairy restrictions. In doing some research, I came across this recipe that replaces the heavy cream with canned coconut cream. Coconut cream is not to be confused with full-fat coconut milk. Coconut cream is the thick, dense cream that sits on top and clings to the sides of canned full-fat coconut milk. Canned coconut cream has very little liquid in comparison. You will want to make sure you’re only using the “cream” and barely any of the liquid.
The bonus that comes with this recipe is you get to use a fun, new kitchen gadget. You can gift yourself a kitchen torch from Amazon for around $20. Your guests will be so impressed. However, you may need to hide it from children (like my son, Jonah) who are obsessed with setting things on fire.
Serve this dessert warm or cold (my preference) with fresh berries and non-dairy whipped cream.
To make this a complete Family Date Night Dinner of your own, please see my posts for Cherry Beergaritas, Maryland Style Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce, and Classic Shrimp Boil.
Let’s get cooking!
1 can of full-fat coconut cream (not coconut milk!) liquid removed
1 vanilla bean, split longways, scrape out seed paste with the back of a knife
2/3 cup of sugar, plus more for topping
4 egg yolks
How to make:
Please be sure to visit: Food with Feeling for the source recipe and original cooking instructions.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, add the coconut cream (be sure to only use the cream and not the liquid in the bottom of the can), stir in the vanilla bean paste, and add remaining whole vanilla bean. Heat over medium heat until the mixture starts to simmer.
Once it is simmering, take it off of the heat and cover. Let stand for 15 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean.
Using a mixer, cream together the egg yolks and the sugar. Whisk the yolks until they start to get pale in color and the mixture is light and airy.
While whisking, pour the coconut cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine.
Prepare your baking tray with high sides (I used a disposable foil pan) by placing four ramekins into the baking tray.
Pour the crème brûlée mixture evenly into the four ramekins.
Add the hot water. Pour it into the pan so it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins.
Bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes.
They are done once the top is solid but it still has a little jiggle to it. Careful not to overbake.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight. (You can make these up to 2 days prior.)
When ready to serve, take the crème brûlée out of the refrigerator and pour about 1-2 tablespoons of sugar on top of each. Use a pastry brush to evenly distribute the sugar.
Now comes the fun part. Using a kitchen torch, torch the tops of each to create the crispy, burnt, brittle coating.
Top with fresh berries and dairy-free whipped cream (I used Reddi Whip made with coconut milk).
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