This is it, my friends...the year is about to end and I honestly don't know how where did it go. I'm sure I'll have the exact same feeling next year while I'm typing the last recipe of 2017 but time flies and we can't do anything but making the most of it.
I'm not a big fan of New Year's Eve, don't like big crowds and all that hustle so I usually stay at home that night and keep it very low-key; but that doesn't mean I'm not going to celebrate it! It's a great excuse to plan a good feast with delicious appetizers, small bites and a classic at my home every New Year's Eve: french champagne (yup, the expensive one because you only live once) and macarons. I want the last supper of the year to be a fancy one! So is there anything more 'chic' than french champagne and macarons?! I think I was Marie Antoinette in my past life, haha.
To finish off the year in the most sweet way I bring you today another classic at Casa Gem: crème brûlée, my mom's favorite dessert. This one is a special and very personal version of the classic french dessert, the cream is mixed with soft almond nougat and it's completely dairy-free. Trust me when I say this vegan version is as good (if not better) than the original crème brûlée and the soft nougat adds a super delicious nutty flavor and a velvety texture. For those who aren't familiar to spanish soft almond nougat: the classic recipe is made with finely ground almonds and honey but to make this recipe 100 % vegan I bought one from a spanish brand that also makes vegan versions and it contains ground roasted almonds, raw cane sugar, lemon and cinnamon. It melts in your mouth, so delicious!
This is an easy recipe that can be made in the blink of an eye, the only "but" is that you need to prepare it one day in advance so the cream sets in the fridge overnight. Other than that you'll have a great individual dessert to wow your guests and start off the new year on a sweet note.
Happy New Year!Receta en español aquí!
Soft Nougat Crème Brûlée
(4 to 8 servings, depending on ramekins size)
2 cups unsweetened soy milk.
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar.
200 g (7 oz) soft almond nougat.
Peel of one organic lemon.
2 cinnamon sticks.
1/3 cup cornstarch.
1/4 cup soy milk, at room temperature.
Organic light brown sugar (to make the sugar crust).
Crumbled soft almond nougat.
In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat stir together the first 2 cups of soy milk, sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and discard the lemon peel and cinnamon sticks.
Chop and crumble the soft almond nougat and add it to the lemon-infused milk. Cook over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spatula until the nougat is completely melted and incorporated. You might need to break down some stubborn chunks of nougat with the wooden spoon to get a smooth texture. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl stir together the cornstarch and the rest of the soy milk (1/4 cup), mix well using a fork or a small whire whisk. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan with the nougat milk and cook, over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent any curdling or lumps. Keep whisking with a silicone hand whisk until the mixture starts to thicken to a pudding-like consistency. It will take up to 5 minutes approximately.
Once the cream is thick remove from the heat immediately and let it cool completely at room temperature, covering the surface of the cream with plastic wrap as this will prevent a skin from forming on the top.
Distribute the cream evenly between the ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, unwrap each ramequin and sprinkle each one with 1 teaspoon of sugar approximately, spread the sugar evenly and, using a small kitchen torch, melt the sugar to form a crispy top layer. Be careful not to burn the sugar, otherwise the caramel will has a slightly bitter flavor.
Decorate with crumbled soft almond nougat (optional), allow the crème brûlée to sit for at least 5 minutes and serve.
- This recipe yields 4 to 8 servings approximately, it will depend on the size of your ramekins.
- About the milk: I've tried this recipe with oat milk just a few days ago and got the same good results; so for those who want a soy-free version: try with oat milk! I'm pretty sure it will also work with almond milk but don't recommend using rice or coconut milk. Always sugar-free milk, this dessert is sweet enough, trust me!
- To make this recipe 100 % vegan I bought vegan soft almond nougat. However the traditional recipe calls for finely ground roasted almonds and honey, which is not a vegan ingredient. That's why you should carefully read the ingredient list when buying this type of nougat if you follow a strict vegan diet, a lot of brands use honey and egg whites to produce this nougat and only the most artisanal and gourmet brands follow the ancient recipe (ground almonds, sugar, lemon and cinnamon).