Coconut Crème Brûlée

by Alli

 Coconut Crème Brûlée is a baked custard cooked in ramekins. The creamy custard is topped with a layer of caramelized sugar. 

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Coconut Crème Brûlée in ramekin topped with berries

 I fell in love with Coconut Crème Brûlée while dining at Rancho in St. Maarten. I did. It was love at first bite.

Coconut Creme Brulee - Love at First Bite

I only order dessert on special occasions.  Of course, every occasion is special in my opinion. And I had a rule to never, ever order Crème Brûlée because of something that happened years ago. You twisted my arm. Of course, I’ll tell you the whole story.

My First Encounter With Crème Brûlée

I did not grow up eating crème brûlée. When I was in my early twenties, close friends invited my hubby and me over for dinner and served – you guessed it -Crème Brûlée for dessert. At that point in time, I had never tasted it.

I gently tapped through the top of the caramelized sugar with my spoon and shoved a big bite into my mouth. I almost gagged. It was the worst thing I had ever put in my mouth. I couldn’t spit it out. That would have been rude. My friend had talked about that dessert like it was the best thing since sliced bread. It wasn’t. 

 I wish I could say it was just me. It wasn’t. Once we arrived home, my child confided in me, telling me that whatever that stuff was, it was yucky. I’m so glad she waited until we were safely within the boundaries of our own home before making her remarks about dessert.

Coconut Crème Brûlée Or Chocolate Brownie?

For decades afterward, I would come painfully close to ordering crème brûlée or making it myself and actually using my collection of little kitchen torches and ramekins. But the horrible memories would not release their grip on me.

Then we vacationed in St. Maarten. It was time to order dessert at a favorite restaurant. We had narrowed it down between two choices:  The Coconut Crème Brûlée or a chocolate brownie/ice cream concoction. I picked the Coconut Crème Brûlée because let’s face it, chocolate brownie desserts are common. I wanted different. 

We (I) made the right decision! The husband is not crazy about coconut. He likes a little bit but not overly done and that dessert delivered. There were no coconut flakes. It had a hint of coconut and was so smooth and creamy with the crunch of that caramelized sugar. It was magnificent!

So I had to recreate it when I got home.  And I could not recreate something without sharing it with you!

How To Make Coconut Crème Brûlée

Coconut Creme Brulee - Heating the Cream

Heat the cream and coconut milk. Let cool slightly.

Slowly add the egg yolks and sugar mixture. The custard is ready to go into the oven, in a water bath. Be sure and add water to the baking pan, about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Closeup Photo of sugar breaking on top of Coconut Crème Brûlée

Every time I taste this dessert, it takes me back to St. Maarten. We have vacationed in St. Maarten several times. I wish I was there now. 

Coconut Crème Brûlée in white ramekin with white spoon

Here’s my version of Coconut Crème Brûlée. It’s just as good, minus the tropical breezes and gorgeous sunsets. I’ll just pretend I’m on an island. Somewhere. Anywhere.

Helpful Hint: For me, a culinary torch works so much better than browning the sugar under the broiler. The torch is faster.

My torch was out of butane when I made these a few days ago. My broiler tends to heat the custard base too much before the sugar is browned on top. If using the broiler, place the ramekins in the cold oven before turning it on. 

Try both and see which method you prefer.

Culinary torches are not expensive. You can order one here.

Tips for Making The Best Crème Brûlée

  • This recipe calls for egg yolks, not the whole eggs. 
  • Always cool the cream mixture before adding the egg yolks. Add a little at a time. You don’t want scrambled eggs. 
  • Be careful not to get water in the pudding when adding the water bath before baking. 
  • Use white granulated sugar when making Créme Brûlée.  

What Size Ramekins Work Best?

I have made Coconut Créme Brûlée in different sized ramekins. The first time I shared this recipe, I listed the wrong serving size. Thanks to a kind reader for catching this error and pointing it out to me. I’ve now corrected the serving sizes. 

  • Four, five, or six-ounce ramekins will work for this recipe. 
  • Serving size: If using 5 oz. ramekins, you’ll have 5 servings. If you use 4 oz. ramekins, you’ll have six servings, and if you use 6 oz. ramekins, you’ll have 4 servings. 
  • My preference is the six-ounce ramekins. I really like these ramekins

How Do You Eat Crème Brûlée?

This may seem like a silly question. But if you’ve never eaten it before, you need to know. The caramelized sugar on top is hard so lightly crack it with your spoon. Eat small spoonfuls with a little bit of the hardened sugar and the custard. 

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Yield: 4 servings

Coconut Crème Brûlée

Coconut Crème Brûlée in white ramekin with white spoon

Coconut Crème Brûlée is a delicious creamy custard topped with caramelized sugar.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 quarts hot water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325º.
  2. Place the coconut milk, cream, and vanilla into a medium saucepan over med-low heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and they begin to lighten in color. Add cooled cream mixture, a little at a time, stirring continually. You don't want scrambled eggs.
  4. Pour liquid into 4 (6 oz) ramekins. Place ramekins in a large pan with sides. Carefully add water to the pan.
  5. Bake until set (middle will have a slight jiggle), 40-45 minutes. Cool slightly and place in the fridge for 3 hours (or overnight).
  6. Remove ramekins from the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Divide remaining 1/4 cup of sugar evenly over the top of each ramekin. Using a kitchen torch, melt the sugar to form a crispy topping (or place under the broiler for 2 minutes or until browned.)

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 289Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 262mgSodium 98mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 0gSugar 18gProtein 8g

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