You people have been asking for a pudding or custard recipe long enough! I’ve had requests for dairy-free, egg-free crème caramel, flan, crème brulee, pudding, and custard. Last week, Flo requested a vanilla pudding or vanilla custard, free not only of the top 8 most common allergens, but also rice-free, potato-free, and corn-free too. This was a challenge, Flo – thanks for making me sweat! Additionally, Flo lives in France, where I don’t believe you can purchase my go-to: Ener-G Egg Replacer. I really had to put on my thinking cap for this one. Allergen-free, vegan, no rice, potato, or corn… international shopping restrictions…. I didn’t have a clue.
What I did have, however, was a kitchen blow torch. So I decided to commit myself to a Crème Brulee, and figure it out as I went along.
The trick, I discovered, to creating an allergen-free vegan, internationally-friendly Crème Brulee? Coconut milk for the cream, tapioca starch for the eggs, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, and a few ramekins. This recipe got a lot of love from my son Lennon, but I may attempt to further perfect the concept in coming blogs… perhaps with Flan, so check back to see it in a new incarnation. And remember to keep your requests rolling.
Read on to make your free-of-almost-everything custard!
Vegan (and soy-free!) Crème Brulee
Makes 4 Servings
Most vegan Crème Brulee relies on silken tofu or cashew nuts. Neither are allergy-friendly ingredients, so for this recipe, I’ve turned to the magical thickening powers of tapioca. You could easily substitute cornstarch, potato starch, or arrowroot starch, if you can’t eat tapioca. The all-natural food coloring is an optional ingredient, but adds the pale yellow hue that egg yolks traditionally give to custards. Skip it if it’s not already in your kitchen. Additionally, if you do have access to Ener-G Egg Replacer, it will give you a firmer custard. Add 2 ¼ teaspoons of Egg Replacer during step 1.
- 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
- 4 Tablespoons + 1 ½ teaspoons tapioca starch
- ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/8th teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean)
- ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons vegan milk of choice
- 1/8th teaspoon yellow food coloring (try Seelect all natural food coloring) (optional)
- 3 Tablespoon light brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons vanilla sugar (or ¼ cup granulated sugar mixed with ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder, or just plain old granulated sugar
- Combine ¼ cup of the coconut milk with the tapioca starch, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and vegan milk. Whisk well to combine. Add food coloring and whisk well. If you want it more yellow, add a drop more until desired color is achieved.
- Combine remaining coconut milk (be sure to scrape out entire contents of can with a rubber spatula) with light brown sugar in heavy pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Add coconut milk/ tapioca starch mixture to pot. Heat over medium heat, whisking continuously until it begins to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking continuously about 4 minutes, or until thickened. You want it thick. It may seem a little goopy but it will smooth out to a creamy texture once it chills.
- Transfer to 4 small ramekins (or Crème Brulee dishes, if you have them, I didn’t!).
- Let cool in fridge at least 4 hours.
- When ready to serve, remove ramekins from fridge and place on a flat surface. Sprinkle tops evenly with about 2 teaspoons sugar each. FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS on your blow torch, caramelize the sugar, by working in small circles, melting sugar until golden. It will harden quickly. Serve. If you don’t have a blow torch , you can skip the caramelized topping and just serve it as custard.
Vegan (soy-free!) Crème Brulee
© 2010 by Cybele Pascal
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person's food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns beforeconsumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.
Cybele Pascal is the award-winning author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" and the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook." She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs, Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies). Please visit her website at CybelePascal.com.