Do you serve creme brulée hot or cold?
Traditionally, you serve the creme brulée right after having caramelized the top sugar layer. The custard base will be cold, as it has been refrigerated for at least one hour to harden, while the top caramel layer will be slightly warm. This combination of cold and warmth gives this dessert a unique and delightful feel.
Can I make this mango custard in advance?
Absolutely. You can prepare the coconut milk and mango custard base ahead, like the night before. Then, pour it into the ramekins and keep them in the fridge wrapped in cling film. When you're ready to serve the creme bruléè, sprinkle the surface with sugar and caramelize it with a blow torch or under the hot grill in the oven.
We don't recommend storing away the creme brulée after you have made the hard caramel layer. That is because the caramel will get soggier and soggier the longer it stays in contact with the custard base.
How is the classic French creme brulée made?
The traditional creme brulée recipe consists of a base of custard cream then topped with a layer of caramelized sugar. The custard is prepared by tempering egg yolks and sugar with hot cream. The mixture is then poured into ramekins and baked in a bain-marie.
The classic dessert includes eggs and heavy cream. Thus it isn't suitable to vegans or those suffering from lactose-intolerance or egg allergy. Our recipe, instead, is prepared with just mango, coconut milk, and potato starch, and it's safe for everyone to enjoy.
Which type of sugar should I use for creme brulée?
The best type of sugar of creme brulée is caster sugar, also known as superfine or ultrafine baking sugar. It's essentially granulated sugar that has been ground into very small crystals, and this way, it melts much faster than the classic sugar.
Therefore, we recommend using caster sugar to get that perfect caramel layer in your creme brulée. If the sugar you use is too coarse, instead, you might end up with patches of undercooked or even burnt caramel.
Other alternatives to white sugar include demerara brown sugar, coconut sugar or natural sweeteners like erythritol or stevia.
We experimented with all of them, and we found that:
Brown sugar does caramelize. Still, it turns very dark, and therefore it isn't always easy to know if it's burnt or not.
With erythritol, we noticed that it melts and hardens under the blow torch, but it doesn't turn brown.
Coconut sugar is a great option and behaves similarly to brown sugar.
Can you make creme brulee without eggs?
Yes, you can. Eggs provide structure, colour, and richness to the custard. You can achieve the same results with plant-based ingredients, such as coconut milk, starches, and silken tofu.
In our recipe, we relied on the thickening properties of starch and on the creaminess of coconut milk to make our creme brulée vegan and thus egg-free. You can use potato, corn, or arrowroot starch, according to preference.
Another alternative is silken tofu. This soft and light soy product blends into a super smooth cream, and thanks to its high-protein content, it gives structure to the custard. We have used it in many of our vegan desserts, like this matcha flan or coffee creme caramel.