The availability of nut milks with kosher certification has meant that crème brulée, the ultimate dairy dessert, can now be made pareve. The lush texture of this recasting suggests the inclusion of heavy cream, but coconut milk is used instead. I love the subtle coconut flavor of this version, not to mention its crackly burnt-sugar topping, and I think you will, too.
- 4 ServingsServings
- 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk (not lite)
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sugar plus more, for the glaze
- 5 large egg yolks
1. Transfer the coconut milk to a pint measuring cup and stir well to mix the liquid and fat. Add the vanilla bean halves or vanilla extract, and microwave until almost boiling, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute and every 30 seconds thereafter. Alternatively, heat in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until almost boiling. Set aside.
2. Place four 8-ounce ramekins in a small baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
3. Fill a medium saucepan, or double boiler bottom, two-thirds full of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place the sugar and eggs in a bowl or double boiler top, and whisk—over but not touching—the simmering water until the yolks begin to lighten and the mixture is no longer gritty. Remove the pods, if using, from the milk and start adding it drop by drop to the yolk mixture, stirring constantly until heated, about 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into the ramekins, transfer to the oven, and pour enough hot water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until set but still jiggly, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the baking dish, allow to cool on the counter for 1 hour, then chill for at least 3 hours.
4. Sprinkle the surface of the creams with sugar, and with a kitchen blowtorch, caramelize the sugar by moving the flame circularly over the surfaces. Alternatively, preheat the broiler, transfer the sugar-topped creams to a cookie sheet and broil 1 inch from the heat source until caramelized. Watch carefully to ensure that the sugar doesn't burn. Allow the creams to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before serving.
For the traditional dairy brulée, substitute heavy cream for the coconut milk and bake for 10 minutes less than indicated.