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This Easy Keto Crème Brûlée is restaurant-level good, and you don’t even need a kitchen torch to make it! Prepare in a few minutes and enjoy your crispy “sugar” topping!
This Crème Brûlée has everything the original has, well, minus the carbs! Creamy custard, crunchy “sugar” topping, and a beautiful look on top. However, the best part of my Crème Brûlée is how incredibly easy it is to prepare. AND you don’t even need a kitchen torch for the infamous topping!
What is a Crème Brûlée?
Crème Brûlée is a classic French dessert that rose to wide popularity in the 1980s. It consists of a rich, vanilla custard base, layered with a hardened, caramelized sugar topping. This cream dessert is usually served in individual ramekins. Translated from French it means Burned Cream, though the cream itself is not burned. It’s actually the sugar topping that is burned, usually via a kitchen torch, resulting in the famous hardened topping.
How to make a low-carb version?
Crème Brûlée uses some wonderful wholesome, fatty ingredients that make it perfect for a low-carb lifestyle, like egg yolks and heavy cream. Of course, it is also made with plenty of sugar, so I had to change this for our low-carb version. To sweeten the custard, I’m simply using a few tablespoons of granular erythritol.
Figuring out the perfect sweetener for the sugar topping was a little trickier. That’s because low-carb sweeteners do not caramelize like sugar does. I experimented with granular erythritol, Swerve Brown (a brown sugar substitute), and allulose. Granular erythritol melts quickly and also hardens great, resulting in a crunchy topping. However, unlike sugar it doesn’t brown. Instead, it stays transparent. Taste is still great, but it looks different than what we usually associate with Crème Brûlée.
Allulose also melts great but turns into a sticky topping once cooled. That won’t work for us.
Swerve Brown is the winner! It melts great, hardens when cooled down, and because of its brown color, it looks like caramelized sugar. Perfect!
What’s so easy about this recipe?
While the ingredients of a Crème Brûlée are simple, people may be afraid to make it themselves because it involves a couple of cooking steps. First, the egg mixture of the custard is tempered before baked in the ramekins. After chilling the custards, the sugar topping is caramelized with a kitchen torch, something most of use don’t own (including me).
Don’t worry, this recipe is easy enough for any of use to want to give it a try! First, I learned that it’s not necessary to temper the egg mixture. In fact, for my keto version, I don’t heat the egg mixture at all before baking it in the ramekins. The Crème Brûlée will still turn out deliciously creamy!
Secondly, because I don’t own a kitchen torch and yet really wanted to make Crème Brûlée at home, I simply tried to use the broiler in my oven. AND IT WORKED! I broil the ramekins on the second highest rack in my oven for about 2.5 minutes, just until the Swerve Brown topping starts to melt, let it cool down, and the results is a beautiful crispy topping!
Tips for making this easy Crème Brûlée!
Ramekins. I’m using 4 oz porcelain ramekins. This recipe makes enough for 6 small ramekins. You can also use larger ramekins but would need to increase the baking time.
Baking. To ensure even and consistent baking heat, the ramekins are baked in a water bath. I simple place the ramekins in a casserole baking dish, pour enough hot boiling water in to cover them half-way, and then bake them at 325 F for about 30 minutes. The custard should look set with a slightly, jiggly center.
Chilling. Before preparing the “sugar” topping, the custard in the ramekins needs to be completely chilled through. I wait until the ramekins are cool enough to touch, before removing them from the casserole dish. Then place them in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Sugar topping. Sprinkle about 1.5 teaspoons of Swerve Brown (or granular erythritol) on top of each ramekin dish. Place ramekins on a metal baking sheet and broil in your oven 2-3 minutes. Keep a close eye on them! Remove from the oven as soon as the sweetener is melted. If you are using granular erythritol, you may be inclined to wait until the topping browns, but don’t to that. The sweetener will simply start to smoke and burn.
If you have a kitchen torch, you can also melt the topping with that.
Don’t touch! Once removed from the oven, let the ramekins cool down until hardened (about 10 minutes). Don’t touch the “sugar” topping before that – it’s super hot! Once hardened, enjoy right away or keep in your fridge for up to a week until ready to serve.
Make this classic dessert the easy way!
MORE CLASSICE KETO DESSERTS
Easy Keto Crème Brûlée
- Preheat oven to 325 ℉ (160 ℃).
- In a large bowl, whisk together yolks. Add heavy cream, granular erythritol, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
- Divide custard mixture between the 6 ramekins. Place ramekins in a casserole dish or deep baking dish. Fill up with hot, boiling water to cover ramekins half-way (make sure no water gets inside the ramekins), and bake for 30 minutes until custard looks set with slightly jiggly center. (If using larger ramekins increase baking time by 5 or more minutes).
- Remove baking dish with ramekins from oven. Let cool down until cool enough to touch. Remove ramekins and let completely chill through in fridge (2 or more hours).
- Sprinkle Swerve Brown evenly over each custard top (about 1.5 tsp for each ramekins). Place ramekins on metal baking sheet. Broil on second highest or highest rack for 2-3 minutes just until the sweetener is melted. Watch closely as the sweetener can burn suddenly. (If you have a kitchen torch, you can use that instead to melt the sweetener topping.)
- Remove from oven and let sugar topping harden (takes about 10 minutes). Don't touch until hardened – HOT! Serve right away or keep in fridge for up to 1 week.