Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sugar-Free Creme Caramel

This Mother's Day I chose to accomplish a challenging feat from my 30 Before 30 Bucket List. I had made creme caramel before in a boiling water bath over a stove top. I have always wanted to try the oven and a sugar-free version. I had been Googling for ages for a sugar-free version but the Internet was telling me all sorts of funny things. 

People were using cheats like blow torches to burn some regular sugar on top of the dessert. Crazy! It is not creme caramel if you don't overturn the ramekin to pop out a perfect mound of custard with bitter sweet syrup caramel pouring down it! Blow torching is creme brulee!

So, I settled for a regular Martha Stewart recipe and decided to replace the 1 cup regular sugar with granulated erythritol, and 1/2 cup regular sugar with 1/2 cup granulated Splenda. Now here's what happened --- I started caramelizing the erythritol and two to three minutes passed and there was no caramel color. That's when it occurred to me that ERYTHRITOL WILL NOT CARAMELIZE. Ya Allah! Now what?

Frantically, I began Googling and found out just plain boring theories of why Erythritol does not caramelize to golden. It has some element missing that is there in all other sugars. Think think think think --- aha! Why not add a tablespoon of that raw coconut sugar? It's still diabetic-friendly! Pure experimentation!

Voila! To the boiling erythritol solution, I added the raw coconut sugar and it began caramelizing! As soon as it got thick I removed it! There is no coconut flavor at the end.

So here we go!

3/4 cup granulated Erythritol for syrup [I used NOW Sugar brand]
1/2 cup granulated Erythritol for custard
1 tablespoon raw coconut sugar
3 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12, 4 oz ramekins
13 x 9 inch baking pan
Large sieve to strain the custard


1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2. Put 8 ramekins in the baking pan and set aside.
3. In a small pot, add granulated erythritol, raw coconut sugar, and 4 tablespoons of water and stir well. Star a medium-high heat and keep stirring to dissolve and continue cooking the sugar. Continuous stirring prevents burning. As the syrup begins to thicken, stop and remove immediately from heat. This usually take 5 minutes or slightly over.
4. Quickly, use a serving spoon to evenly pour out the caramel into the ramekins equally, swirling them so that their base is entirely coated. This is the part that hardens up and then afterwards turns syrup and pour down over the dessert when overturned.

5. Heat milk in a pot on medium heat - do not boil.

6. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt, and 1/2 cup granulated Splenda together to make a thick creamy paste.

7. Pouring 1/4 cup at a time, add milk to this paste and continue whisking until all milk has been added and whisked to a foamy custard.

8. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a large bowl and add vanilla extract.

9. Pour equal amounts of custard into each ramekin using a deep serving spoon to avoid spillage

10. Bring enough water to a boil and pour it in the baking pan (in which the ramekins have been placed) until it rises halfway up the side of the ramekins. This is your water bath.

11. Set the pan with the ramekins in the oven and bake away for 35 minutes.

12. Bring out to cool and then pop the ramekins in the fridge for at least two hours.

13. To unmold, run a sharp knife around the inside of each ramekin and then invert into a serving plate. Pat the back of the ramekin firmly, shake gently to release! 

14. Do a happy dance when it comes out in single piece!

Check out the de-moulding process in the video below.

"Hey Bestie!" said my food-crazy sister, "This is making me weak at the knees."

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