VEGAN Creme Brulee – made with coconut milk, vanilla bean paste & thickened with custard powder, this is a simple, yet dreamy dessert!
There are some things in life that are special to you in a way that no one else understands; like that beautiful feather tucked into your favorite book that lets you travel back in time to a perfect day, or the way that certain smells remind you of grandma. Others may appreciate the beauty of the sentiment, but no one will ever truly comprehend the onslaught of emotions these little, otherwise insignificant things bring to you. And that’s OK.
This VEGAN Creme brulee served with fresh mangoes is like that to me. Although, not quite. Let me explain.
India is largely vegetarian, which means the idea of traditionally baked goods being made ‘eggless’ is a very common thing. Yes, and this may come as a surprise to a lot of you, but eggs are not included in an Indian vegetarian diet. Neither are fish – makes sense, right? Because neither eggs nor fish come from plants. But funnily, milk is ok. We are a very complex group of people.
For the better part of my life, the only custard I’ve ever eaten was an eggless version that you make from a boxed mix, its chief ingredient being cornstarch. You add this custard ‘powder’ to milk, bring it to a boil to thicken and refrigerate before serving. With artificial yellow coloring to mimic the color you get with egg yolks, and flavored with vanilla (real or otherwise, I never knew), it was a dreamy thing to eat on an uncomfortably hot summer’s day, of which, we had no shortage of in Southern India.
I was 24 by the time I ate a from-scratch crème caramel custard made with real eggs, and by then, I didn’t care for it as much as I did for the fake eggless version I grew up eating every summer.
It might make no sense to you – why on earth would I not love the creamy, eggy version, custard the way God intended it to be. But like I said, sometimes, there are some things in life that are special to you in a way that no one else understands. And this is mine.
All those years, the only way I knew to enjoy a good custard (a fake custard for the rest of the world, but in my mind it was as real as anything else) was with a generous helping of fresh fruits. The vanilla infused creaminess of the custard paired with the burst of fruit juice, mating and dancing on your tongue to create something unique with every bite. With bananas it tasted one way. With pineapple another. But conjoined with mangoes, it became a whole other experience.
Words cannot truly explain the ridiculous deliciousness that vanilla custard and mangoes create. I implore you to try it for yourself and I swear, you’ll start to understand what I’m talking about.
After becoming vegan, thankfully, this one wasn’t one of the things I had to veganize. To make things a little more interesting, I now make this into a vegan creme brulee instead of just plain custard with coconut milk. Why? First of all, why ever not? Secondly, I’ve come to enjoy that contrast in texture that crackled crisp caramel brings to this wonderful dessert. The sweet creaminess of the custard, swirling in the fragrance of vanilla bean, combined with the soft, sweet tartness of the fresh, succulent mangoes and the sugary crunch that the perfectly brûléed topping brings makes for a heavenly experience.
Quick note: You gotta brûlée the sugar a little more than I’ve done in these pictures. My kitchen blow torch died on me (a.k.a ran out of fuel) as I was shooting this picture below 🙁
And did I mention that this is a no-bake dessert? I know, right?!?!
While you will miss the texture (the creamy scoop) that you typically get when the custard is thickened with eggs, it will be just as creamy when you bite into it and it simply dissolves into a sweet puddle in the heat of your mouth. And that, to me, is all I need to bring decades of familiar sentiment and attachment flooding into my mind. Even though I am thousands of miles away from true home, with this unconventional no bake vegan creme brulee and mangoes, I am home.
- I like my custard a little jiggly, but if you prefer a firmer custard, add a little more custard powder.
- I’ve always used Brown and Polsen Vanilla Custard Powder (affiliate link). You should be able to find it in almost all Indian grocery stores.
- You can make this vegan creme brulee with any other dairy milk, but depending on how thin the milk is, you’ll need to increase the amount of custard powder. A little trial and error and you’ll be set with a custard made with your choice of non-dairy milk.
- You can also make this with regular milk instead of the canned coconut milk. In which case, use whole milk instead of the canned coconut milk + water.
- Using good quality vanilla extract or bean paste makes your custard extra special
- Refrigerate overnight, covered, if possible.
When you make this delicious No bake VEGAN Creme Brulee (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see what you cook from here!