Paleo Creme Brulee

Coconut milk replaces dairy in this classic dessert recipe. No worries about gut issues while enjoying your favorite treat. And rather than white sugar as a caramelized topping, use maple sugar instead.

Almost as long as I’ve been married, crème brulée has been a Christmas tradition. As fancy as it looks, it’s actually surprisingly easy to make, though it’s the wait time that’s the killer, especially for someone as impatient as me.

When eating paleo, crème brulée made with dairy and sugar simply isn’t an option, but coconut milk and honey is the perfect replacement. I was able to convert my old favorite recipe 1:1 and it still came out perfect. And in place of the turbinado sugar for the topping, use maple sugar instead, which I actually like better! Maple sugar is just maple syrup that has been dried and granulated.

Although the custard-y deliciousness inside the ramekin is amazing, I think my favorite part about a crème brulée is using my spoon to crack through the caramelized topping and crunching down on that crunchy/creamy combination. So much perfection.

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee | Our Paleo Life

Paleo Crème Brulée

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Inactive Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 55 minutes

Coconut milk replaces dairy in this classic dessert recipe. No worries about gut issues while enjoying your favorite treat. And rather than white sugar as a caramelized topping, use maple sugar instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk, canned
  • 2 Tbsp Mild Honey
  • ½ pinch Sea Salt
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, split and scraped, reserve bean
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • Maple Sugar, or Fine Organic Cane Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line the bottom of a large baking pan with a damp kitchen towel. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. While water is boiling, combine coconut milk, honey, salt, vanilla seeds, and vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, 4-5 minutes, until steam rises, but do not bring to a boil. Discard vanilla bean.
  3. In the blender (I use the Twister Jar on my Blendtec), add the egg yolks and blend on Low speed for a few seconds. SLOWLY pour hot cream mixture through the hole in the lid of the blender into the yolks, in a very thin stream, blending constantly until all of the milk mixture is incorporated. Go super slow so you don't wind up with scrambled eggs. This may take a minute or two to incorporate all the coconut milk mixture.
  4. If you don't have a blender, just whisk the eggs in a large bowl and slowly pour in the milk mixture while constantly whisking the eggs.
  5. Pour the custard into ramekins (size doesn't matter, cook time will depend on ramekin size).
  6. Place the ramekins on the towel in the baking dish, and place the baking dish on the center oven rack. Carefully pour the boiling water into the baking dish halfway up the sides of the ramekins, making sure not to get any water into the custard.
  7. Bake 45-50 minutes. If you're using the wide, shallow ramekins, you may need a shorter baking time, closer to 30 minutes. Remove from oven when the custard is slightly firm, and still a little jiggly in the center.
  8. Let cool for about an hour on a wire rack, then cover with plastic wrap and chill 4-6 hours, or overnight.
  9. When ready to serve, blot any moisture off the surface and sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top of each ramekin (I never measure, just not too thick). Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown and caramelize the tops. If you don't have a kitchen torch, place under the broiler for a few minutes, though this method doesn't work nearly as well. Put the ramekins in the freezer for about 5 minutes after torching to get them cool again.
  10. Serve immediately. If desired, garnish with fresh berries.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 ramekin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 234Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 6g
14 comments
  1. So I tried this tonight for the sake of my temporarily dairy-free friends, and it turned out edible but definitely not on par with the version I have typically made with cream. I think using just yolks is key for this paleo edition, because the coconut milk doesn’t have the fat (and perhaps protein) content of cream. I used some egg white along with the yolk which is usually fine, but I’ll have to try again with yolks only.

    1. I have only made it with a vanilla bean, so I can’t say for sure how much extract to use, although I think about 1-2 tsp would be good. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it.

      1. I used 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and it worked just fine. I did have to leave them in the oven for longer, but that may be because my ramekins are quite large. Overall the recipe is delicious, thank you for sharing! 🙂

  2. Just made it! Good flavor, except kind of runny, but maybe that’s because I took it out of the fridge a couple of hours early (had to try it lol).

  3. I stumbled upon this while in Pinterest and I never have left a comment until now. You just became my hero. I just started a modified, aka limited Paleo diet per my Chiropracter/Nutritionist. I grew up in Wisconsin and dairy is prized in my family, from cheese, butter, milk, buttermilk, cream, I love it all. My number one dessert is crème brulee. In fact when my sister’s and I went to Vegas we raided the buffet of an embarrassing amount of crème brulee and unashamedly took extra to save for breakfast! You just gave me the greatest gift ever, knowing that my number one dessert will in fact not be forever off my list of foods I can eat. And the maple sugar as the topping, mind blown! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can heal my body, have my ‘cake’ and eat it too!

    1. Yes, that would work just great. I found the Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream after I created this recipe, but have made it with it and it works great.

  4. 5 stars
    I thought it was absolutely delicious! This recipe made enough for four little ramekins and my husband and I ended up eating all four of them. So tasty! We used regular white sugar for the top since that’s what we had in the cupboard. I loved it and will definitely make it again!!

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