This Low-Carb Caramel Crème Brûlée has a rich vanilla custard hiding pools of gooey caramel. The crisp sweet shell provides a lovely textural contrast to the creamy custard, This recipe works with low-carb, ketogenic, Atkins, gluten-free, grain-free and Banting diets.
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Crème brûlée has always been one of my favorite desserts. It is a creamy, rich custard dessert traditionally served in ramekins. In French, crème brûlée means burnt cream. The burnt part of the name refers to the hard caramel top layer. Usually, this layer is formed on top of the custard by spreading a thin layer of sugar on top and placing the ramekins under the broiler or using a propane torch to melt the sugar into a delicious hard caramel crust.
Low-carb caramel crème brûlée is a bit trickier than the full sugared variety. In making the top crisp caramel layer, pure erythritol doesn’t behave exactly the same way that sugar does. While it does melt under the broiler and create a hard layer of sweetness, it doesn’t develop that rich caramel tone and the end result turns out slightly granular in texture. Still, it is a satisfying albeit different experience than traditional creme brûlée. In this recipe, I was hoping for better–I wanted the real thing. I played with multiple variations to improve this layer and found that a mixture of Truvia Brown Sugar Blend (available at most grocery stores) and stevia erythritol blend mimicked the traditional Crème brûlée much more closely than a simple stevia/erythritol blend. The brown sugar in Truvia gave it more of a caramelizing effect and the small amount of real sugar in the Truvia made the mixture behave more like sugar and melt more evenly without significantly adding to the carbohydrate count. The result? A beautifully golden layer with a lovely crunch!
I didn’t take shortcuts with this low-carb caramel crème brûlée. While I think there is a time and a place for saving time, the things that make this dish special really don’t take a lot of time. I used a real vanilla bean to scent the custard as it cooked on the stovetop. While the pods will be filtered out after scenting the cream, the tiny vanilla seeds will remain behind. I also made the caramel from scratch. Other low carb caramels could be used, but why not make your own? I haven’t actually tried any commercially available low-carb caramels. Quite frankly, reading the ingredients list is usually enough to scare me away. What I know for sure is that my recipe for caramel tastes great, doesn’t take a lot of time to whip up and it works beautifully in this recipe.
- Preheat oven to 325ºF. Arrange 6 4-ounce ramekins in a 9 by 13 pan.
- In a medium saucepan over medium high heat combine the cream, 1/3 cup caramel, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt.
- Bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly. Once mixture reaches a boil, turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine egg yolks with 1/3 cup stevia erythritol sweetener. Gradually mix hot cream mixture into the old mixture while whisking vigorously to avoid cooking the yolks.
- Strain mixture into a pourable container and fill ramekins evenly to about 3/4 full. Swirl 1 teaspoon caramel sauce into each ramekin, then top them off with the remaining mixture. They should be very full.
- Place the pan containing the filled ramekins in oven. Carefully pour hot water into the pan to come halfway up the outside of the ramekins.
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until outer edges are set but custard still wobbles in the middle. Allow to cool on a rack for about 20 minutes before placing in refrigerator. Refrigerate uncovered until completely cool, then cover with plastic wrap.
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Mix 2 tablespoons stevia/erythritol mix with the brown sugar Truvia blend. Carefully and evenly spread 1 1/2 teaspoons of this mixture on top of each custard.
- Place ramekins under the broiler and watch carefully for the sweeteners to melt and brown. Remove from broiler and place, uncovered, in refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes or until top layer is hardened. To not refrigerate too long or the top layer will start to become granular.
- Serve with additional caramel sauce if desired.
- calories: 340
- fat: 39 grams
- carbs: 3.3 grams
- fiber: 0 grams
- protein: 3.6 grams
- net carbs: 3.3 grams