Valentine’s day rolls around every year and the world is aswirl in talk of hearts and roses and chocolate! There’s a lot we low-carb devotees can do to make a gloriously romantic dinner for two — think filet mignon, asparagus with Hollandaise, and broiled herbed tomatoes — but the whole thing gets complicated when it comes time for dessert.
Well, here’s an adaptation of the traditional Italian (Piemontese) custard dessert called bounet that will fill that gap nicely. A true traditional bounet is like a chocolate amaretto flan, with a burnt caramel sauce that spills over the top. To my knowledge, there’s no good way to make a burnt Splenda caramel sauce. (I am not saying it’s out of the realm of possibility; I just don’t know how to do it and if you do know, please share it with the rest of us, here!) So, to give us all the taste of a bounet without all the carbs, here’s my adaptation. I’ve written sous vide instructions for those of you with a SousVide Supreme, followed by instructions for a traditional oven. Either way, it’s a sweet winner!
Low Carb Amaretto Chocolate Crème Brulee
Butter for the ramekins
10 ounces (350 ml) half and half
2 ounces (60ml) Amaretto di Sorrono liqueur
2 tablelspoons (25 g) cocoa powder, plus a bit more for decoration
1 tablespoon (15 ml) good vanilla extract
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated Splenda*
5 egg yolks
4 teaspoons (20 ml) Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or regular brown or white sugar)
*Or use your favorite non-caloric sweetener, in an amount sufficient to impart the sweetening power of ½ cup sugar.
1.Elevate the perforated bottom grill of the SousVide Supreme water oven by placing it atop a non-rusting wire cooking rack or adjustable V-roasting rack.
2. Fill the ramekins you will use to cook your brulee with water and position them on the perforated bottom rack of the SousVide Supreme™ .
3. Fill the machine with just enough water to come within ½ inch (1.25 cm) of the top of the ramekin. Remove and empty the ramekins, dry them well, and generously butter their interiors.
4. Preheat the SousVide Supreme to 185F-194F/85-90C.
5. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sweetener until the granules have dissolved and the yolks are a pale yellow cream (about 2 minutes).
6. Add the cocoa powder, amaretto, vanilla, and milk to the egg mixture and whisk until all the ingredients of the custard are mixed.
7. Pour the custard mixture into the ramekins and carefully place them onto the perforated grill in the water oven.
8. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour with the lid on the water bath.
9. When the custards have set (a knife blade inserted into one should come out clean) remove the ramekins from the water bath and let them cool to room temperature.
1. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or regular brown or white sugar for a few more carbs) over the surface of each custard.
2. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the topping.
3. Put each ramekin onto a dessert plate, dust a bit of cocoa over the plate, and serve.
Carbohydrate content per serving will be a shade under 10 grams, made with the blended brown sugar sweetener as the brulee topping. Full strength brown or white sugar will add 2.5 grams per serving and leaving off the brulee topping will save 2.5 grams per serving. Your call!
For those without a SousVide Supreme water oven (and if you don’t have one, what better Valentine’s gift could you have??) here are the traditional instructions:
1. Preheat the traditional oven to 300F/150C.
2. Generously butter 4 ramekins and set them into a shallow baking pan.
3. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are pale yellow.
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the half and half, cocoa, and sweetener, and cook, stirring often, until tendrils of steam begin to rise from the surface.
5. Whisking the egg yolks constantly, gradually dribble some of the hot cream into them to temper. After a few additions of cream, add the remainder of it and whisk together. (If you are a real purist, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any strings of egg yolk from the custard mixture.)
6. Stir the amaretto and vanilla into the custard mixture and divide it evenly among the buttered ramekins.
7. Put the baking pan into the oven and fill the pan with hot water, sufficient to come half way up the side of the ramekins.)
8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The custard should shake like jelly when you tap the ramekin.
9. Remove the custard from the oven and when cool, cover and refrigerate.
Finish for serving as per instructions above.
Happy Valentine’s Day!