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Salted Caramel - Creme Caramel Recipe


Because everyone needs a good creme caramel recipe. It is allergy friendly, too!



Do we ever stop getting a thrill from the mocha coloured caramel, shining atop the perfect surface of an orbicular creme caramel? Gently picking up the plate to rock it to a pleasing wibble.  Before, slowly cutting through the dark, glossy top with a fine, antique spoon. Audibly sucking up a cool, flaxen coloured helping of intense, toffee sweet topping that sensually spills over the milky creme like rich satin. Then letting it disperse, seductively, on our tongue, making our heart race a little causing our blossoms to heave like a heroin in a Mills & Boon novel.  Or is that just me?? (Ahem).

Now that I have discovered the delights of agar agar powder (a healthy, plant-based substitute for gelatin)  after dozens of failed recipes using second-rate agar shards, or trying to reduce it to a powder (oft sited in mouthwatering recipes), in a coffee grinder, I am going back over past disasters to recreate desserts that transport me back to childhood, and cheeses that make me wonder why anyone would be anything but vegan.

Creme Caramel (sometimes known by the little less poetic pseudonym of flan, or custard pudding) is but one of these triumphs.  
I buzzed around on the internet and gathered inspiration from a blogger whom I adore, Vegan Richa, and Mihaela, the Bulgarian writer of the blog Good Natured Food.  Hers did not turn out so perfectly as she'd hoped, so I played and adapted her recipe until it was just like the non-vegan version I remembered.  I brought it up to date with that sweet and salty thing we all seem to love at the moment, and delicately crumbled sea salt into the caramel sauce. Lovely!



Ok, without further a do, here is the recipe.  It yields four servings. 

Dairy, egg, white processed sugar, soy and gluten free.

Ingredients

For the CREME
1 3/4 cup Unsweetened almond milk + a dash (for mixing)
1 tbs Coconut palm sugar
1 tbs Xylitol powder (grind granules in a coffee grinder)
3/4 tsp Agar Agar powder
1 tbs arrowroot powder
1 tsp Vanilla extract


For the CARAMEL
5 tbs Coconut palm sugar
2 1/2 tbs warm water
Pinch of sea salt for each ramekin



Caramel
Place your coconut sugar and xylitol into a small saucepan with the water and slowly bring to a rolling boil.  Once the bubbles meet in the middle and it is beginning to smell of rich, sweet caramel, remove from the heat so as not to burn.  Carefully (it is very hot and would give a nasty burn) divide caramel into your four ramequins.  Allow to cool.  Crush a scattering of sea salt into each ramekin (I've even added chilli flakes at this point, I love that surprising kick..but for this recipe let's keep it elegant)



Creme
Meanwhile, it is time to make your 'creme' part of the recipe.  Pour your vegan milk into a medium saucepan.  For this we use half and half of the xylitol and coconut sugar.  The coconut sugar adds a richness but we want the creme to be lighter and not so toothsomely sweet as the sauce.





Mix the arrow root and agar agar powder with a dash of milk, I use a little cup to do this.  Mixing rather than adding straight to your warming milk ensures your creme is smooth and silky and sans lumps!  Add the sugar and gently whisk.  When granules are not longer visible, slowly drizzle the agar/arrowroot mix into the milk.


When the creme sauce begins to thicken it is then ready to slowly pour into the ramekins on top of the caramel  sauce.   Allow to cool slightly and then very gently place the ramekins into the fridge to set and chill.  


After an hour, the creme will have set.  Now it is time to plate up.  I approach this part of the making with part excitement and part trepidation. Get the saucer/serving plate, you will serve the creme on and pop it on top of the ramekin. Gently flip the plate (hold onto that ramekin!) so the ramekin is on top of the saucer. Now put the saucer down onto a countertop and hold the ramekin.  Gently wobble the ramekin a little, whilst keeping it close to the saucer.  You should be rewarded with pleasing sucking sound as it succumbs to gravity and drops to the plate.  If it doesn't, then gently turn the ramekin back over and use a small sharp knife to loosen the edges, taking care not to cut into the edges.  Do the steps again, the coaxing stops any stubbornness. 



Besides it being a kinder, non-animal derived gelling substance, 80% of agar is fibre. It is lower in calories than gelatine, and the fibre from the algae (yes it is a flavourless seaweed), swells up and makes you feel fuller and sated for longer.  
Note* Agar will require a much higher content in liquids containing vinegar or foods that contain high levels of oxalic acid, such as chocolate, rhubarb and spinach (the acid makes it more difficult to gel).

I hope you enjoy!

What is your favourite veganized dessert?







9 Comments:

Sheila Tajima 24 February 2014 09:34   Best Blogger Tips

I think this is one of my favorite posts you've made so far! Yum! Love your photo sequence also. Thanks Precious!

india 25 February 2014 00:42   Best Blogger Tips

@Sheila Tajima

Aw, thanks Sheila! I do hope you try it for yourself! xx

Mihl 25 February 2014 07:41   Best Blogger Tips

This looks truly amazing, India. I love the backlit pictures, they make the creme look even more appetizing. Is there a possibiliy to substitute the xylitol? I don't think I can find it here without having to order some.

india 26 February 2014 02:34   Best Blogger Tips

@Mihl

Thank Mihl! That is such a compliment as I consider you to be an excellent photographer!
Yes, just sub the xylitol for vegan white sugar, to keep it simple. xx

veganmiam.com 8 March 2014 13:16   Best Blogger Tips

My, that looks like a perfect vegan flan! I remembered snacking on them back in Spain and it was so good and I wish I can make them right away! Agar agar powder is a lovely ingredient - a friend of mine made a pumpkin pie with agar and kudzu (Japanese arrowroot) and the pie sets pretty well!

india leigh 10 March 2014 08:56   Best Blogger Tips

@veganmiam.com

Hello Veganmiam (Rika). Thanks for commenting!! :)

Yes, to see one is to want one! Agar is wonderful. I wonder if the Japanese arrowroot is different from the 'normal' arrowroot? I've always had a consistent result from it. See…now i want the pumpkin pie you mention! Viral appetite shakers! haha

india leigh 10 March 2014 08:56   Best Blogger Tips

@veganmiam.com

Hello Veganmiam (Rika). Thanks for commenting!! :)

Yes, to see one is to want one! Agar is wonderful. I wonder if the Japanese arrowroot is different from the 'normal' arrowroot? I've always had a consistent result from it. See…now i want the pumpkin pie you mention! Viral appetite shakers! haha

Preeti 12 March 2014 03:02   Best Blogger Tips

wow this dessert looks absolutely beautiful! I can't believe that yummy looking caramel has only 3 ingredients, have pinned this as a must try!

india leigh 12 March 2014 03:06   Best Blogger Tips

@Preeti

Hi Preeti,

Thank you so much! I hope you try it soon. You'll love it.

India :)

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