A crème brûlée, without double cream OR eggs?! Ohh yes, I had so much fun with this one… and I cannot believe how easy it turned out to be. When I first decided to go vegan I was pretty sure I’d never be able to enjoy the delights of a crème brûlée again – so this really is a fantastic discovery!
First I had to figure out how I was going to create that rich custard-like texture that is so unique to this dessert. My mind immediately jumped to agar – a vegan all-natural gelatine derived from seaweed. I’ve experimented with this before in puddings and it is really effective but it’s also expensive and difficult to get hold of, so I had to re-think, what could I get my hands on easily and cheaply that would create a similar sensation?
I thought about using cashews, and tried a combination with tofu (which turned out a bit scrambled egg-y), but in the end I simply replaced the eggs and cream with a combination of deliciously healthy coconut milk, almond milk and tapioca starch, and sweetened it with vanilla extract, unrefined cane sugar and lemon juice… heaven, and without the heart attack!
Week 4: Crème Brûlée
Lemon Crème Brûlée
Ingredients (6 servings)
- 60ml almond milk or other plant-based milk
- 30g tapioca starch
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk*
- 60g unrefined cane sugar (+ extra for the crispy sugar topping)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice**
- 1/4 tsp turmeric***
* Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. So using coconut milk instead of double cream is so much better for you!
** Lemons are extremely high in vitamin C – they also boost good digestion and have alkalising and detoxifying properties.
*** This is mainly just for colour… although I try and sneak turmeric into anything I can because it’s just so fantastic for you. It’s an antioxidant, a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps to prevent and treat arthritis, cardiovascular health, diabetes and even neurological conditions.
- Whisk together the almond milk and tapioca starch in a jug and set aside.
- Meanwhile whisk together the coconut milk, sugar and turmeric in a saucepan and heat over a medium-high heat until boiling.
- Reduce the heat and pour in the milk/starch mixture, whisking frequently until it thickens.
- Once thickened, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and the lemon juice, before pouring into ramekins and cooling.
- Chill in the fridge for 4-6 hours, then take them out and allow them to warm to room temperature.
- Pre-heat your grill to a high heat (unless you’re using a blow torch). Evenly coat the tops of each one with sugar and grill until the sugar bubbles and turns slightly golden – be careful to watch it at all times so it doesn’t burn! Repeat the process again for an extra crackly top.