This creamy and luscious Strawberry Creme Brûlée has all the delectable joy of the original, without all the sugar. Crack the carb-free sweet topping and dig in. Fresh, ripe strawberries demand a luxurious dessert - but hold the carbs, please. And they add a tangy boost to the sweet creme.
Creme Brûlée is the quintessential French dessert. It's lush, elegant, and utterly gratifying. But our commitment to healthier lifestyle calls for some changes. We want all our recipes to reduce ingredients that aren't good for us (I see you white sugar), and increase the veggies and fruits. In this case, strawberries were ready to go, and getting rid of the sugar was an easy no-brainer. Plus, I enjoy flavored creme brûlée - and ripe fruits complement the cream beautifully.
The fresher the berry, the sweeter the brûlée. Make this dessert an experience and pick your own strawberries. See our haul below.
Is it keto-friendly?
No, not the classic French version. It calls for a ton of white sugar in the creme mixture, along with caster sugar or granulated sugar on top.
Is it gluten free?
Yes, it is. The dessert is mostly heavy cream and doesn't use any flour.
What low carb sweeteners can I use?
Any crystallized sweetener will work. The goal is to melt the granules over the creme mixture until it solidifies into a coating.
What herbs can I use?
Lavender or tarragon makes a lovely pairing with strawberries. If you want to use either, slice 1/2 a cup of strawberries several hours before the main recipe preparation. Finely mince either herb and toss through the fruit.
Swap out the strawberries for raspberries or blackberries. Layer the fruit just below the surface of the cream.
You can store the leftover cream base in a plastic container. It should hold for one week in the fridge and two weeks in the freezer. For finished keto creme brûlée, cover ramekins with cling wrap, ideally without the sweetener topping.
Step by step instructions
Prepare the cream base by adding the heavy cream, sweetener, and salt into a medium saucepan. No carb sweeteners tend to sweeter than sugar, so if you prefer a less sweet dessert, then reduce the sweetener by one teaspoon.
Add both the vanilla seeds and the pod into the pan. Stir gently until you see all vanilla seeds evenly distributed in the cream.
Bring the mixture to a full boil, then quickly set aside. Allow the vanilla to steep in the cream.
Place another pot of water to boil. That's for the water bath or bain-marie. While the water is boiling, prepare the baking dish by layering a clean, dry towel on the bottom and placing two to four ramekins on top, evenly spaced out.
Prepare the strawberry puree by taking half of the strawberries and either blend or mash them. If you have a blender with a deep base, like a Vitamix, you may not be able to blend the strawberries as there isn't enough to reach the blades. Instead, just mash them with a rubber spatula and strain through a fine-mesh strainer.
Set puree aside. Combine the steeping cream with the remaining heavy cream until fully incorporated. Then strain and remove the vanilla pod. You'll want to see the vanilla seeds throughout the cream. Whisk the egg yolks and gently stir into the mixture.
Be sure the cream has cooled or the eggs will cook. Add in the strawberry puree and stir for a few minutes. Pour the mixture in the ramekins, about a quarter from the top. Using the remaining strawberries, slice thinly, and layer on the surface. Gently push the fruit down until slightly submerged.
Fill the baking dish with hot water to 1/3 of the ramekin. Bake for 30 minutes or until the it jiggles to the touch.
Remove the ramekins from the oven and water bath. Allow to cool to room temperature for about two hours. The strawberries should be bright, red, and just barely visible. Once cooled, cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, up to four days.
When you're ready to serve, unwrap the ramekins, cover with remaining sweetener and torch gently. A light coating is all that's required.
Et voila! I obsess over the taste of fresh strawberries — so we added another layer onto the top. Double the strawberries, double to the love!
Using the broil setting on your oven or toaster oven, broil the dessert for five minutes or until the sugar topping as melted. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve immediately.
Refrigerate for at least four hours. However, once you caramelize the top, it should be eaten immediately. If you place the dessert back in the fridge, the sweetener will liquefy, and you'll lose the crunchy coating.
Lumpy cream indicates that the egg yolks have cooked. The recipe calls for tempering the eggs by mixing them into room temperature cream. First separate the cream, with one portion brought to a boil and the other half remaining at room temperature. Both portions are then blended. The mixture should be room temperature before whisking in the eggs.
Once removed from the oven, the mixture should jiggle when moved. If it still has a liquid consistency, place back in the oven for five more minutes.
- Gently submerge the sliced strawberries. The creme mixture will cover the strawberries and prevent them from over-baking.
- When whisking by hand, roll a kitchen towel into a circular tube and place the base of your bowl in the center. It will help prevent spillage.
- Wave the blow torch evenly over the surface. Try to avoid holding the torch over any one area.
- Just whisk the mixture initially and very briefly. Use the whisk again with yolks. Stir gently otherwise.
- It's better to under bake than over bake. Check the oven at 20 minutes and give the baking dish a quick wiggle. If the cream is stiff, remove from the oven.
Side Dishes and Pairings
- Mint garnish
- Pinot Blanc
Strawberry Creme Brulee [Keto]
- 2 cups chilled heavy cream, divided
- 6 teaspoons stevia sweetener, divided
- 1 pinch table salt
- 1 vanilla bean, scrapped
- 1 quart water
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup strawberries, divided
- Heat oven to 300°F
- In a medium pot, add heavy cream, stevia and salt. Gently stir.
- Add vanilla bean seeds and pod. Stir until fully incorporated.
- Set pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to steep.
- In a separate stock pot, boil water.
- Using a baking dish or roasting pan, layer the bottom with a clean kitchen towel. Arrange two to four ramekins over towel.
- Blend or mash strawberries. Strain liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add remaining heavy cream to steeping cream mixture. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks.
- Pour half of the cream mixture into bowl with eggs. Whisk gently. Add remaining cream and stir until fully incorporated.
- Strain cream mixture through a fine-mesh strainer.
- Add strawberry puree. Stir until fully incorporated.
- Pour mixture into ramekins evenly.
- Thinly slice remaining strawberries and gently layer on top of cream mixture.
- Pour boiling water into baking dish until water is 1/3 below the lip of the ramekins.
- Place dish in oven and bake until barely set, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from baking dish and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for four hours or overnight.
- Uncover ramekins, sprinkle remaining sweetener to coat the top of the creme entirely.
- Using a torch, quickly caramelize the sweetener and allow to harden.
- Serve immediately.
- Egg yolks should be at room temperature
- Ideal sweeteners include: Stevia, Sucralose, Erythritol and Xylitol
- After adding the strawberry puree, the cream mixture will still be a light color.
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Katherine is an award-winning lifestyle and culture journalist. Her work has been published in Latina, InStyle, and Money Magazine. She's traveled to five continents and is saving the best for last once her three kids are ready for overland travel.
She holds an MA in journalism from Northeastern University.