Vanilla Crème Brûlée
Picture this: you receive a text from a good friend asking for a vegan Vanilla Crème Brûlée recipe the Monday night before Valentine’s Day. Then you think to yourself, I’ve never had crème brûlée in my life, but I’m sure that I can find a good recipe for one! (okay, maybe that’s just me) Your friend then tells you that her partner is a Chef and needs your help to make them for her restaurant’s Valentine’s Day dinner service. Um.. Excuse me? Is this real life? Why, yes, yes it is.
As you can imagine, I may have started freaking out a little bit at this point. So, not only do I have to find or create a recipe that can be mass-produced and that has ingredients that can be ordered in bulk; I have to perfect it by Tuesday night so that supplies can be purchased Wednesday morning and so that I can make them at the restaurant on Wednesday night. Talk about a tight deadline! After checking out a few already vegan crème brûlée recipes, and then modifying one with eggs a couple of times, I had finally got it! It only took me 6 times. 😉 Phew. I’d also like to thank Paige, Lane, and Kelly for taking time to send me recipe suggestions!
The next night, I set out to Silverlake and the restaurant El Cid to complete my task. Their typical dinner service goes until 11pm, so we were working late into the night, prepping for the next day’s dinner and getting the crème brûlée ready. I didn’t get home until 4am, but it was so worth it! I had a great time working on the dessert project, plus I got to wear a Chef’s jacket. Does it get much better than that? I guess that depends on how much sleep you like to get.
What’s great about this recipe is that it is seriously easy to make. Blend, simmer, blend again (only if necessary), bake, cool, torch. The only problem that you might run into is not having a culinary torch. I got mine for a good price at Bed, Bath & Beyond, along with the cute ramekins; just make sure to buy the butane to fill it if you don’t have it at home already. Another alternative to the torch is to carefully hold the sugared crème brûlée up to a broiler for a minute, or until the sugar melts/caramelizes.
Vegan Vanilla Crème Brûlée
- 5 oz Full-fat Coconut Milk
- 1/3 cup Water
- 5 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Egg Replacer Powder I used Ener-G
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Organic Cornstarch
- 1/2 Vanilla Bean Caviar This is what you scrape from the inside of the Vanilla Bean
- 1/2 teaspoon Nutritional Yeast
- A PinchSalt
- Extra Sugar for Brûlée-ing/Caramelizing on top
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Place all ingredients into a blender and puree for at least 30 seconds, making sure there are no powdery chunks in the liquid. Pour the mixture into a small sauce pan, over low heat (or medium-low if you have an electric stove like mine) and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk the mixture continually until it thickens, without becoming chunky. Test this by seeing if a thick layer will stick to a spoon or finger. It is crucial that it reaches a hot enough temperature or else it will not set properly.
- Get a casserole dish ready, along with either 4-2 oz. ramekins or 2-4 oz. ramekins. Place the ramekins in the casserole dish and fill it with water until it is half-way up the ramekins. Carefully pour the creme mixture into each ramekin, and transfer the dish to the oven, making sure not to splash the water.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on which dish size you chose. Bigger dish = longer baking time, obviously. (When I baked mine, I saw them just a little bit; and before taking them out would bump the casserole dish to see how much they jiggled. There will be a little jiggle, almost like jello.)
- Once the ramekins are cool enough to touch, place them on a cooling rack and into the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- When you want to serve them, sprinkle roughly 1-2 tsp. (depending on how wide your dish is) of sugar on top of the Crème Brûlée. Using a culinary torch or broiler, melt the sugar until it reaches a light brown/orange color, or more if you like it burnt.
- If you're having a hard time melting the sugar, I suggest putting it into a dry blender and making it finer, so that it melts more easily. Once it's caramelized, serve immediately or up to 10 minutes later.
Now, my mother has asked me to make this for all of her Bunco friends. Oh dear.. 😀
And here is me, super tired, but definitely excited about having the Vanilla Crème Brûlée done in time! Plus, my new glasses. Super nerdy!