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Creme brûlée. One of my favorite pre-gan desserts. Rich and creamy but with a sweet layer of crunch. Breaking through that crisp sugary crust…Heaven. Here I take those qualities and add a plant-based twist. The cream and eggs are replaced by tofu and blood orange juice joins vanilla to create a lightly-sweet dessert.
You gotta love a fancy-looking dessert that’s fast and easy to put together. And involves an open flame.
Despite the fact that this is a dessert, it does have beneficial qualities:
- Vitamin C, of course! This antioxidant battles cell-damaging free radicals.
- It’s fat-free and sodium-free – and since it’s animal-free, it’s also cholesterol free!
- Get a dose of folic acid which is necessary for cell health.
- You don’t need fish to get your omega-3s. These fatty acids are beneficial for joint health, curbing depression, and may protect against memory loss and dementia.
- Instead of Got Milk? It should be Got Tofu? Tofu gives your body the calcium that dairy milk doesn’t!
- It’s high in protein, low in fat.
- 1 1/4 cups fresh blood orange juice
- 12-ounces firm or extra firm tofu (not silken)
- 1 Tbsp. + 1/4 tsp. tapioca flour/starch
- 2 Tbsp. granulated Natvia or 3/4 tsp. liquid stevia (or your favorite sweetener, to taste)
- 1/8 tsp. orange oil (go easy here; this stuff is powerful) and/or zest from one small blood orange
- pinch sea salt
- 2 Tbsp. pure maple sugar (or your favorite granulated sugar)
- Preheat the oven the 325-degrees. Place four 1/2-cup ramekins in a deep, oven-safe baking pan. Place the baking pan on a baking sheet - this just makes it easier to move the baking pan in and out of the oven. If you have a tea kettle, fill it and get it going; you're going to need hot water for the water bath. Otherwise, boil 3-4 cups water in a saucepan while you prepare the brûlée.
- Put the blood orange juice, tofu, tapioca starch, stevia, and orange oil in a high-speed or regular blender. Process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender if necessary. Taste and adjust for sweetness.
- Add the orange zest and pulse a few times to incorporate. Divide the mixture between the ramekins. Now, carefully pour that hot, hot water into the baking pan so that it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Gently lift the baking sheet and put it into the oven, trying not to spill water on yourself or into the brûlée.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the brûlée start browning a bit at the edges and the center is soft but firm. Let the ramekins rest in the water bath for a few minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire cooling rack. When they've cooled down to room temperature, cover them with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight. This rest makes for a nicer texture.
- When ready to serve, divide the maple sugar between the four ramekins, making sure to sprinkle some evenly all over the tops. You can either set the ramekins under a broiler until the maple sugar bubbles, browns, and forms a lovely crust - or you can get all fancy and use a kitchen torch. Either way, don't get distracted and let the sugar burn! Once brûléed, your dessert is ready to serve!
- Each time I've made this, the color has been different. Some blood oranges are a dark red, and some - not so much.
- You can use navel or Cara Cara oranges here, just make sure to taste and adjust for sweetness prior to baking.
- Make it sugar free by skipping the brûlée!