Creme Caramel - Dairy free, gluten free
Drum roll please.......I have achieved perfection, if I was not a compulsive cook I could retire now.
Here is a Creme Caramel that is dairy free, gluten free, coconut free, and best of all, you could sneak it under the radar and no one would know because it tastes just like the real thing! Want to see. Ta da! Isn’t it beautiful? It is food art.
I have been tinkering lately with dairy free creams and dairy free cream desserts. Neither Mr T or I can eat dairy, so cream is out, and we are both watching our saturated fat intake, plus Mr T LOATHES coconut cream, so how do I make us something that we will both love, that tastes like the real thing, but is not going to do damage to our bodies?
Well, it all goes back to when we made the Torta Della Nonna, remember how I said that the pine nuts tasted to me so much of cow’s cream? Well, that is where it started.
100g raw cashews
50g raw pine nuts
175ml boiling water
1 cup sugar
1 cup water (extra)
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2/3 cup sugar (extra)
Pop the cashews and pine nuts into a bowl, cover with the boiling water, set aside to soak, I left them on the bench until they were cold and then transferred them to the fridge so they didn’t sour, soak for at least three hours.
Place the cup of sugar and cup of water into a smallish pot with one teaspoon vanilla powder or extract, heat, stirring all the while until the sugar has completely dissolved, turn up the heat and boil like billy-o until it changes to a deep caramel colour, be very careful here, not only is this hot enough to cause burns that will send you to the hospital, once it begins to colour it will go from perfect golden caramel, to burnt smoking sugar in a flash.
When it is golden, pour one sixth of it into each of six ovenproof one cup capacity ramekins, pick the ramekins up and swirl them so that the caramel coats up the sides a bit, if it sets before you can make it swirl (mine did), pop them into the microwave one by one, heat until liquid again and swirl each individually.
I know, there are only five here, Mr T is not keen on caramel so I put maple syrup in the bottom of his. If you are nervous about making the caramel, this is a perfectly acceptable alternative.
Right, now go preheat your oven to 155 degrees C if it is fan forced, 165 degrees C if it is not.
Place your ramekins in a large casserole dish on a folded tea towel, you need something deep enough that the water bath we are going to cook these in will come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Place one cup of almond milk (or milk of your choice) in a small pot with the extra sugar and one teaspoon vanilla, heat that until the sugar is melted.
Put the other half a cup of almond milk in with your cashew/pine nut soak (don’t drain them, we need that water), in the bottom of a high speed blender or food processor, I used my NutriBullet, whiz that until it is smooth like pouring cream.
Put the eggs into a large jug with the nut cream and the warm, sweetened nut milk, give it all a good whisk until it is smooth and then pour over the caramel in the ramekins.
Boil your kettle and then very carefully pour the boiling water down between the ramekins, careful, don’t splash in your custard! You can do this on the shelf of your oven if you want to, I did as I was not keen on lifting that heavy, sloshy weight into the oven intact, just pull the shelf out enough so you can access one corner of your casserole dish to pour the water bath in. Fill to half way up the ramekins. Tuck them in, bake them in their steamy bath until they are almost set through, with only a small jiggle in the centre, which will firm up as they set and cool. If they start to brown on top but are still making waves, turn your oven down ten degrees. These took 35 minutes at 155 degrees C for the first 20 and 145 degrees C for the second 15 minutes for me.
Remove from oven, remove from water bath, allow to cool for twenty minutes on the bench before transferring to the fridge to chill.
Once you can’t resist them any more, run a thin bladed knife around the edge to loosen them and turn them onto a plate. If they argue with you you may need to sit them in a bowl of very hot water for a minute to remind the caramel that it is supposed to be liquid at this stage.
And look at that! Perfection! I was really pleased with this dessert actually, I have made a lot of creme caramels in my career and I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who you could not slip this past as a regular version of this classic dessert.
That said, I will do up a regular version for you too so that you have something for everyone.
Enjoy Cookie House people, xxm.