Have you ever had a crème brûlée? A classic French dessert, that translates to ‘burnt cream’, is a cold, creamy, rich custard beneath a crisp coating of burnt sugar. To get to the custard, you need to break through the sugar, and with each mouthful of cold custard, you get crunchy bits of caramel as well. There is decadence in every ingredient that goes into making a crème brûlée, the foundation of which is laid in eggs and cream. Seems rightly impossible to make something like that vegan. But perhaps we can. My version of Vegan Crème Brûlée packs all the rich decadence of the traditional crème brûlée, but it has no eggs, and needs no cream. And there is no baking involved either!
How you ask? The work of the eggs is done by vanilla custard powder – which is simply cornstarch with vanilla flavouring. Brown and Polsen is my favourite brand. The heavy cream is substituted with Coconut milk and the end result is as creamy as you’d expect it to be. Pair it with mangoes and you’ve got a direct road into heaven!
Vanilla Custard and fresh mangoes are my absolute weakness. If I should ever be captured and tortured for information, I’m just letting you know, save the torture tools and use vanilla custard and mangoes instead, and I’ll be singing secrets like a harp. Just FYI Internet.
You start off with canned coconut milk. Bring it to a boil with sugar. Dissolve custard powder in coconut milk and set aside. Once the milk has come to a boil, remove from heat, stir in the dissolved custard powder and keep stirring continuously till the custard thickens.
Pour into waiting ramekins, cover and chill for at least 3 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar on the top of each ramekin and brûlée with a kitchen blow torch. If you don’t have a blow torch, just heat the sugar over medium heat till it caramelizes to a beautiful golden brown. and pour over the custard.
Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes until the sugar sets (whether you brûléed it or poured over hot caramel) and serve immediately with a side of mangoes, if you can manage it. And thank me later!