Throughout my career(s), I have always been a foodie, and enough of one to (for a brief period of time) make desserts for a local restaurant. I put Coconut Creme Brulee on the menu, and it was by far the biggest hit on the dessert menu. I have learned that a lot of people are afraid to attempt the creamy decadent dessert, but I’m not sure why. Just a few key elements will ensure it will come out as tasty as any 5 star restaurant’s version.
There are a few keys that make this recipe come out perfect, and that is being sure to use a bain marie (water bath) when cooking. Straining the custard is also key. For that perfect layer of hardened sugar, you need to use Demerara Sugar – nothing melts quite like it. It’s great also to have a little kitchen torch on hand, but you can broil the tops to caramelize & harden the sugar. I started out out with a little kitchen torch that was great at first – though I quickly upgraded to my boyfriend’s handheld torch from his tool box – then after making this recipe in large quantities that required fast torching upon each order, I traded that in for a regular, classic torch. Doesn’t everyone have on in their kitchen pantry? Seriously. My dinner guests always crack up and tease me when I bring my out the full sized torch. I thought about upgrading to a flame thrower, but that was a little too OTT even for me…
Jaci’s Coconut Creme Brulee
1Cup Coconut Milk
1/8 Cup Sugar
Pinch of Salt
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 Vanilla Bean, Split /Scraped
1/2 Teaspoon Coconut Extract
2-4 Teaspoons of Demerara Sugar
Shredded Coconut, Toasted
Preheat oven to 300 Degrees. Place oven rack on the 2nd to lowest level in the oven.
Prep Bain Marie: Place a paper towel at the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold Ramekins. Fill tea kettle (or pan) with water and set to boil.
Prep Custard: Pour Coconut Milk, Sugar and Salt in a pan to heat over medium low; Add scrapings of Vanilla Bean; bring to a boil. While Coconut Milk is heating, place egg yolks in a bowl, whisk and set aside.
Note: Only bring Coconut Milk to a boil if using a vanilla bean; if you are replacing it with vanilla extract, then do not add it to the Coconut Milk before heating and heat Coconut Milk to just before the boiling point.
Once Coconut Milk comes to a boil, turn off the heat and allow Vanilla Bean to steep for a few minutes, then add very slowly (a 1/4 cup at a time) to the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Keep adding until all Coconut Milk is incorporated. Add Coconut Extract (also add Vanilla Extract if you are not using a Vanilla Bean at this point). Strain the mixture into a clean container (I use a large glass measuring cup), and pour evenly into the Ramekins.
Place the baking dish with Ramekins filled in the oven; pour boiling water into the dish, taking care not to get any water in the Ramekins. Fill the water up to about 2/3 of the Ramekin height. Gently slide dish into oven and cook for about 30 – 40 minutes. You don’t want the Custard to be too firm, a little jiggle in the middle is OK (for once in our lives).
Cool Custards, wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving: (get your flame thrower ready… well, OK then… just your torch…) Pat dry the top of the Creme Brulee with a paper towel. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of Demerara sugar onto the custard, and spread evenly over the top in a thin layer, discarding any excess. (Light your torch baby!) Carefully brown the sugar until it melts together to form a hard layer of sugar, taking care not to blacken the sugar, but brown it. You can also use your broiler to do this step, but that’s boring. Stick with the torch. It’s fun.
Garnish with Toasted Coconut and serve immediately.