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Friday 8 February 2013

Gluten Free: Coconut and Cardamon Crème Brûlée

It's nearly time for another brilliant Just Desserts round-up! In addition to its wonderful title, Fighting for Custardy is the perfect opportunity to whip out the blow torch and make some crème brûlée. Of all the custard desserts, crème brûlée is my favourite. Who can resist breaking that crisp, burnt sugar topping (I'll even break other people's if they let me) and diving into the smooth baked custard underneath? 

Crème brûlée doesn't consist of much more than cream, egg and sugar, so it's usually gluten free and if it's on the menu I'll always leave room for dessert! Unlike some purists, I'm happy for a bit of variation and I get quite excited by the addition of rhubarb, raspberry or chocolate in my crème brûlée. Just as well, really, because I've made some rather extreme alterations to the classic French recipe (zut alors!) to make it dairy free. This dessert might actually be the love-child of crème brûlée and kulfi.

Coconut and Cardamon Crème Brûlée (makes 4)
You will need:
  • 2 x 160g tins (300ml) coconut cream
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamon (or ⅛ tsp cardamon seeds)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 40g caster sugar (and extra for topping)
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C (fan)/275°F/gas mark 1 and boil the kettle.
  2. Gently heat the coconut milk and cardamon in a saucepan until it just starts to boil, then remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until it's pale and frothy. Slowly add the hot coconut cream (if you're using cardamon seeds, strain the coconut cream first), whisking all the time until it's a smooth, thin custard.
  4. Divide the mixture between four ramekins (it's easier and less messy if you transfer the custard into a jug first) and place them in a roasting tin. Pour hot water into the roasting tin, to halfway up the side of the ramekins.
  5. Put in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until the custard is set with a slight wobble. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and leave to cool to room temperature.
  6. Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar evenly over the surface of each of the custards and caramelise, either under a hot grill or with a blow torch. (Keep an eye on them if you put them under the grill, don't go and make a cup of tea then wonder why you can smell burning.)  Leave for about 10 minutes for the caramel to set. 
  7. Make sure you eat them within two hours of caramelising the tops or they'll go soggy.
Wondering what to do with your leftover egg whites? I'm making macarons and baked alaska with mine.

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