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Make Mildreds' vegan espresso crème caramels

These decadent pots of caffeinated joy make for a seriously grown-up dessert – and you'd never guess they're vegan

Mildreds vegan espresso crème caramel. Photography by Matt Russell

Makes 6

Preparation time 5 mins

Cooking time 30 mins

These espresso crème caramels are a) easy to make ahead b) absolutely delicious c) vegan. Yep, you read that last part right. The recipe, from stalwart vegetarian restaurant Mildreds, uses coconut milk instead of dairy, and seaweed-based agar-agar flakes in place of gelatine. Miraculously it doesn't sacrifice flavour or texture, either. Go go go!

Ingredients

  • 200g caster sugar
  • About 75ml (5 tablespoons) water

For the espresso crème

  • 2×400ml cans full-fat coconut milk
  • About 50ml freshly brewed espresso (depending on how strong your espresso is)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3g (use gram measure for accuracy) agar-agar flakes
  • Tiny pinch of vanilla seeds

Method

  1. Place six metal dariole moulds or ramekins on a heatproof mat or chopping board ready to use.
  2. Put the sugar in a saucepan and add the measured water – just enough to make all the sugar wet. Bring to the boil, without stirring, and simmer until the sugar starts to catch and dark caramel spots begin to appear. (This takes 5–10 minutes, but don’t be tempted to leave the room because you might come back to a pan full of smoking black tar.)
  3. Once the sugar has reached this stage, give the pan a quick swirl and then continue to cook until it reaches an even orange-brown (caramel) colour.
  4. Quickly coat the base of each dariole mould or ramekin with about 2 tablespoons of the caramel. This is where you need to work fast, as the caramel will continue cooking.
  5. Next, make the espresso crème. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, adding just enough espresso to achieve a café latte colour and flavour, and bring to a simmer.
  6. Simmer gently for about 10–15 minutes, whisking frequently with a balloon whisk, until all the agar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
  7. Pour the espresso crème into the moulds and refrigerate for 12–24 hours until ready to serve.