Here is another classic Finnish recipe — healthified. Rich, creamy, and delightfully sweet, this 5-ingredient Sugar-Free Caramel Kissel tastes awesome with an especially scrumptious caramel note.
This kissel is, in fact, a low-carb and sugar-free version of a traditional Finnish “Paahtokiisseli” (“Toasted Kissel”). Read on to find secrets to an incredibly mouth-watering dessert that pleases the whole family and the finest guests alike.
What is “Paahtokiisseli”?
Paahtokiisseli is an old-time Finnish dessert with caramelized sugar, water, milk, and thickener. The consistency is that of thin pudding or thick sauce. This quick-to-make dessert is prepared on the stovetop, so it’s ready in a few minutes and doesn’t need laborious baking or other tricky maneuvers like, let’s say, Crème Caramel.
My sugar-free version is even easier than the traditional Finnish Paahtokiisseli, since for the traditional version, you’ll need two saucepans, one for caramelizing the sugar and one for heating the milk.
The traditional Paahtokiisseli recipe is very old: There are recipes in cookbooks published in the 1930s, but I think the peak popularity of this divine dessert was in the 1970s. Paahtokiisseli was one of my mom’s favorite desserts, too, and I clearly remember that loud “puffff” sound and quickly evaporating steam cloud when my mom added water to the caramelized sugar in a saucepan.
There are a couple of different versions of the traditional recipe. In the most popular one, you’ll caramelize the sugar in a saucepan, add a little bit of water to the hot caramelized sugar (this makes the “puffff” sound), then plenty of piping-hot milk, heat, and thicken with starch. In old times, potato starch was used, but nowadays, corn starch can also be used.
The result is a very tasty caramel-flavored kissel that is usually served with berries or whipped cream. My mom served the kissel with crushed lingonberries. Those tart berries were a perfect addition to the sweet and mellow kissel. Paahtokiisseli really is one of my childhood favorites!
How to make this easy 5-Ingredient Sugar-Free Caramel Kissel
While the traditional Paahtokiisseli has milk, I chose heavy cream for this sugar-free version. Not only is it lower in carbs, but it also makes the dessert super rich and creamy.
Allulose is the ultimate sweetener to this kissel. It browns perfectly and dissolves well. In case you cannot access allulose, be sure to check the other natural sweetener alternatives in the Tips for Variations section further below.
Instead of a starchy thickener, I’ve chosen xanthan gum to thicken this kissel. It makes a perfect, smooth, and thick consistency.
And naturally, you’ll need some butter — preferably salted grass-fed butter for the caramel base and to lend even more richness.
As said, this sugar-free kissel is super easy to make — much easier than the traditional sugary Paahtokiisseli. First, you caramelize butter and allulose in a saucepan, then add the remaining ingredients (xanthan while whisking), cook for two minutes, and you are done!
This kissel is so satisfying and easy to make that I bet you’ll fall in love with its easiness and scrumptiousness!
So, let’s take a look at how to prepare this dreamy dessert:
Add 3 tablespoons butter to a medium saucepan.
Add also 1/3 cup (80 ml; or to taste) of allulose.
Heat over high heat…
…all the time mixing…
…until the mixture is brown. Don’t let burn, though! Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Add 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) heavy cream…
…and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. The traditional recipe doesn’t contain vanilla, but I prefer adding some for an even more heavenly taste.
Finally, whisk in 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum.
Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes so that the kissel thickens.
Here we go, ready kissel.
Transfer to 4 serving bowls and let cool to room temperature.
Serve, for example, with berries or whipped cream. Cranberries are low in natural sugars and give palatable contrast to the sweet, rich, and mellow-tasting kissel.
How I came up with this easy sugar-free dessert recipe
Paahtokiisseli was one of my favorite childhood desserts. I remember my mom made it relatively often, especially if there was nothing sweet in the fridge or pantry, and she quickly wanted to whip up something for dessert.
Years passed, and my diet changed. After dropping added sugar from my lifestyle, I didn’t have a single spoon of Paahtokiisseli. And even in my sugar-coated years with severe sugar cravings, I didn’t make Paahtokiisseli a single time. Moreover, I was always a bit afraid of that loud “puffff” sound of adding water to the caramelized sugar.
However, a few weeks ago, I suddenly remembered my childhood favorite. There must be a healthier way to do it! I started ideating. Since sugar substitutes don’t caramelize, I’d better use browned butter for the brownish color and the caramel flavor, I concluded.
I wanted to use heavy cream instead of regular milk because I just love heavy cream, and it makes everything taste so good.
For sweetener, I decided to use allulose, although I was considering erythritol, too. However, allulose behaves well in cooking and tastes good without any peculiar aftertastes. So, that seemed to be the ultimate sweetener for this rich and mellow dessert.
As a thickener, I was planning to use eggs. I do have some pudding recipes thickened with eggs. This is one of my first recipes and it’s also thickened with eggs. Well, eggs are perfect thickeners and super nutritious, too, so they sounded like a winner.
Finally, I wanted to perfect the flavors with a pinch of vanilla powder.
I made my first experiment, thickening the kissel with eggs. The result was good, but not as elegant and smooth as I had hoped. So, I needed a new thickener.
I have used other calorie- and starch-free thickeners in my dessert recipes, like glucomannan and xanthan gum, so I thought I would replace the eggs with either of those. I chose xanthan gum because I thought the dosing is easier to control and the result would be smooth.
My next experiment with xanthan gum turned out perfect. The kissel had a smooth, thick, and velvety consistency. And the taste was to die for! With a perfect caramel note, rich and creamy consistency, and moderately sweet taste, the dessert brought back all the childhood memories of Paahtokiisseli — except my sugar-free version was heaps better in every way!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 3 tablespoons salted grass-fed butter
- 1/3 cup = 80 ml (or to taste) allulose
- 1 1/4 cups = 300 ml heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- Combine butter and allulose in a medium saucepan.
- Heat over high heat, all the time mixing, until the mixture is brown. Don't burn, though! Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Add cream and vanilla.
- Add xanthan gradually while whisking to prevent lumps.
- Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes so that the kissel thickens.
- Transfer into 4 heatproof serving bowls.
- Let cool to room temperature. Decorate with whipped cream, dark chocolate shavings, or berries — or, my family way, crushed lingonberries or cranberries.
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Low Sugar, So Simple: 100 Delicious Low-Sugar, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Recipes for Eating Clean and Living Healthy
Kiva Premium Vanilla Bean Powder, Gourmet Madagascar Bourbon | RAW, Vegan, All Natural | 3 oz.
It's Just - Xanthan Gum, 8oz, Keto Baking, Non-GMO, Thickener for Sauces, Soups, Dressings, Packaging in USA
It's Just - Allulose, Sugar Substitute, Keto Friendly Sweetener, Non-Glycemic, Made in USA (32oz)
Anthony's Allulose Sweetener, 2 lb, Batch Tested Gluten Free, Keto Friendly Sugar Alternative, Zero Net Carb, Low Calorie
|Nutrition information||In total||Per serving if 4 servings in total|
|Protein||6.5 g||1.6 g|
|Fat||139.1 g||34.8 g|
|Net carbs||9.5 g||2.4 g|
|kcal||1295 kcal||324 kcal|
Tips for Variations
If you don’t tolerate dairy, use unsweetened thickish coconut milk or coconut cream instead. Other plant-based milks are either too thin or too high in natural or added sugars.
In case you cannot get allulose, you can use powdered erythritol instead. Caramel-flavored monk fruit drops amp up the caramel flavor, so they are another great substitute for allulose in this recipe. You can naturally use stevia, too. Just a note: if you use any other sweetener than allulose, add it together with cream, don’t cook it with butter as the taste might suffer.
Feel free to replace the xanthan gum with an equal amount of glucomannan powder.
For a Sugar-Free Chocolate Caramel Kissel, add 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the kissel together with cream.
For an orange-flavored kissel, add 2 drops of food-grade essential oil to the ready kissel right before transferring into serving bowls. Alternatively, you can cook the kissel with the peels of one organic orange. Discard the peels from the ready kissel before serving.
If you have been following me long, you might have noticed that I didn’t post last week. It was actually the first break within many years from posting every week.
Well, I was planning to post normally, but last Friday morning (when I had planned to take the photos for this recipe), I started passing a large kidney stone. I’ve also told in my Low Sugar, So Simple book that I have medullary sponge kidneys (structural abnormality) that love gathering stones.
I constantly have about 20 stones in each kidney. Usually, they don’t cause problems, but sometimes my kidneys pass larger stones, luckily every five years or so.
Early Friday morning, I had terrible lower abdominal pain and had to call an ambulance. I thought I had an obstruction in my bowel. However, in the hospital, they performed a CT scan which showed a large kidney stone in my bladder.
That was not all: my kidney got infected because the large stone damaged it and the duct, and I quickly developed sepsis. Luckily, this sepsis was milder than the one I had exactly five years ago. I thought one sepsis per lifetime would have been enough, but now I had it again!
I was also inserted a ureteral stent under full anesthesia to improve kidney function as I had also developed hydronephrosis.
I fasted for a few days and returned to a full carnivore diet. I actually got carnivore food in the hospital after requesting:
I have recovered surprisingly quickly from that incident. Two days after passing the stone, I left the hospital, and the nurses visited me home three times a day, administering IV antibiotics for the sepsis. After one day, they could stop the IV antibiotics because my blood values had improved drastically.
A few days after leaving the hospital, I had regained almost all my strength, and I could function normally, including my morning pilates sessions. I’m so happy to be in such a good physical condition and following a nutritious diet, which have helped me recover quickly.
However, what was really bugging me was that when I was in the hospital, my son had his 12th birthday. I had planned to bake a cake and prepare many exciting delicacies for his birthday. Now, he was just preparing keto pizza with his birthday guests, and there was no birthday cake. At least those were unique birthday offerings!
However, I promised to bake my son a birthday cake once I returned home from the hospital, and that I did. This beauty is decorated with edible gold, among others: