I decided to embark on the wonderful challenge of making vegan crème brulée. This has always been one of my favorite desserts, but I never considered trying to make a vegan version myself. I wanted to try to use a cashew base instead of relying on tofu, as I find that often desserts that have a subtle flavor and a good deal of tofu can some times be too plain. After mixing my first batch, I tested the uncooked custard before it went in the oven and it had a very strong cashew flavor. Since I had extra of all the ingredients, I thought it would be best to try another batch with a different recipe, to make a less intense version. Here are the results and recipes to go along with them.
Vegan Crème Brulee v.1 ¼ cup silken tofu ½ cup sugar 1 cup raw cashews ¼ cup Mimicreme or soy creamer 2 Tbsp corn starch 1 Tbsp vanilla 1 tsp lemon
Vegan Crème Brulee v.2 1 cup silken tofu ½ cup sugar ½ cup raw cashews ¼ cup Mimicreme or soy creamer 1 Tbsp corn starch 2 Tbsp vanilla 2 tsp lemon
The process for each version is nearly the same, version 2 just has to cook a little longer.
1. Preheat oven to 325° Place your dishes on a cookie pan. Depending on your dishes, this will make 4-6 servings.
2. In a food processor, blend the tofu until it is smooth. While the processor is still running, add the sugar and let blend until smooth before adding the cashews and soy creamer together. Blend until there are no chunks, this should take a few minutes. Finally, add the cornstarch, vanilla and lemon, blending until everything is combined.
3. Pour the custard into your dishes and place in the oven. Cook for 15-20 mins for version 1 and 25-30 for version 2. The outsides will be slightly firm and centers still slightly soft.
4. Let cool to room temperature and then place in refrigerator. Refrigerate for approximately 2 hours or until cold.
5. Sprinkle with sugar, enough to make a thin layer over the top of the custard. Use a butane torch to caramelize the sugar. If you don’t have a torch, you can try putting them under the broiler for a few minutes.
I was impressed at how good these were. Both have a strong cashew flavor, but it isn’t overwhelming. I believe this is mostly due to the flavor of the Mimicreme which is also made from cashews/almonds. I think next time I’d like to use a generic soy creamer to make it a bit lighter. Version 1 was much denser. The flavor was smoothed out when it baked and was very pleasing and rich. Version 2 was lighter and creamier but wasn’t quite as custard like. Back to back, they didn’t have major flavor differences, they did have the same ingredients after all, it was mostly just a difference of consistency and intensity.
I have only had one vegan crème brulée ever, which was amazing, so I know that a fantastic vegan version is possible. These were really good (I’ve eaten 3 already!) but I know they could be even better. This is one experiment I won’t mind repeating.