Dana Slatkin

Dirty Chai Coffee Crème Brûlées (Dairy-free)

creme brulee dairy free

Photo credit: Saidaonline.com

I’ve noticed as I get older, my tastes have evolved from bland to bold. The apple sauce and mashed potatoes that I loved as a child just don’t do it for me any more. I crave flavor with a capital F…which is why my cooking class this week is called Flavor-Up!.

It turns out our taste buds do, in fact, dull as we age. That’s why food manufacturers, constantly competing for our appetites, load up processed foods with salt, sugar and fat, trying to seduce us ever so synthetically.

But spend a week away from packaged foods, eating nothing but fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins, and you can take back your taste buds. Believe me, after five days on the M Café RESET Cleanse, my tongue is like a toddler’s!

You’ll be hearing more about the program soon, and I promise there will be a recipe or two from the RESET menu. But for now, I wanted to share the dessert I’ll be teaching at my next class. It’s based on a revelation I had a few years ago when I put a chai teabag in my morning latte. It’s a bit like layering silver and gold jewelry together in the same outfit. At first it was scary….then it just made me happy!

This dairy-free version of the popular French custard is just edgy enough to grab anyone’s attention but healthy enough to enjoy often. The coconut milk base steeps with tea, coffee and spices, then cooks gently in the oven before firming up in the refrigerator. You can play around with the flavors (try fresh ginger, star anise, whole cloves or juniper berries), but do follow the directions carefully, as there are a few pitfalls that will tank your lovely dessert and result in a curdled mess.

First, make sure you pour the hot base into the yolks very slowly so as not to scramble them. Vegans, you can substitute cornstarch for the eggs, but you’ll want to thicken the custard over the stove instead of in a water bath.

Next, you’ll have to pour boiling water into the pan of ramekins while facing a hot oven. Wear an oven mitt and work slowly. Finally, there’s the burnt sugar topping (essential for putting the brûlée in crème brûlée). Your toaster oven can do the browning on its Broil or Toast setting. Even better, a blow torch will do the trick in seconds without liquefying your custards (this one is on my birthday wish list).

But as long as you don’t rush feet first into this recipe, you’ll be rewarded with an unabashedly flavor-forward dessert…for mature palates only.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner! Here are some gifts I’ll be giving to my favorite Valentines:

Adorable Polka Dot Prep Bowls

Farmgirl Tote Bags

Groovy Glass Satellite Vase

One-Handed Salt and Pepper Grinders

There’s more in the Farmgirl Shop! Come on in and take a look

You still have plenty of chances to win the Farmgirl Giveaway! Enter as many times as you wish for one of three $50 gift certificates towards your own home-delivered M Café RESET Cleanse!

Disclaimer: This post may contain totally benign affiliate links, earnestly and expressly intended to help dear readers make informed consumer choices while supporting unsponsored, free-of-charge and delicious content.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • FriendFeed
  • HealthRanker
  • Live
  • Orkut
  • Tumblr
  • Faves
  • Google Buzz
  • Ping.fm

Please share your thoughts!