Vegan Eggnog Crème Brûlée
For some reason crème brûlée has always seems like the quintessential “fancy” dessert. It’s super impressive and always seems to appear on the dessert menus of fine dining establishments. For good reason too, because, seriously, who doesn’t love crème brûlée? Creamy custard topped with a layer of crispy caramelized sugar. There’s just something incredibly satisfying about cracking through the layer of caramel with a spoon.
It obviously goes without saying that regular crème brûlée is far from vegan-friendly. I mean, the base ingredients are heavy cream and egg yolks. But, with a few simple swaps you can make this rich dessert completely without animal products. They’re still silky smooth and creamy with the same crackly caramelized sugar topping. I took it one step further and made these custards extra festive by infusing them with the flavor of eggnog. Because why not?
Now, the secret ingredient in these is none other than firm silken tofu. Stay with me here… When silken tofu gets blended up, it becomes suuuuper creamy and silky (hence the “silken” in silken tofu). No one will ever be able to tell what the secret ingredient is. These are so perfect to have at Christmastime as a festive dessert.
One thing I would like to note, while you can broil the sugar topping in the oven under a broil, this is a bit tricky. I tried this with one batch and found that it heated the filling too much and almost gave it a curdled consistency. I much preferred using a crème brûlée torch as it just heats the top layer and left the custard smooth and creamy. If you don’t have a torch, you can use the broiler, but make sure you get the custards as close to the heat as possible. Turn the broiler on high and watch it very carefully to ensure you don’t burn the sugar. If you’re looking into purchasing a crème brûlée torch, this brand on Amazon appears to have a good rating and promising reviews. You can also just use an inexpensive blow torch from your local hardware store.
Now, enough chatter, recipe time. If you make these, tag me on Instagram @Bitchy_Baker or #BitchyBaker
Vegan Eggnog Crème Brûlée
Time: 20 minutes of prep, 20 minutes of baking, 2.5 hours of chill time
1 12- ounce block of firm silken tofu (about 1.5 cups)
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or 1 scraped vanilla bean pod)
1 cup of vegan eggnog
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 pinch of salt
About 1/4 cup granulated sugar for the topping
Prepare the Custards: Preheat oven to 350 F. Blend all ingredients (apart from the 1/4 cup of sugar for the top) together in a blender until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture into a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from the heat and divide the filling evenly among four ramekins. I used four 6-ounce ramekins.
Bake: Place the ramekins in a deep baking dish. Fill the baking dish with boiling water (without getting any in the custards), until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the baking dish in your preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature before placing the dishes in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.
Caramelize: Top each custard with about a tablespoon of sugar, just enough to evenly coat the tops with a thin layer. Using a kitchen torch, carefully caramelize the sugar using back and forth motions as to not linger in one place and burn the sugar. See Note. Allow the sugar to set for a few moments, then serve immediately.
Note: you can broil the sugar topping in the oven under a broiler, although this is a bit tricky. I tried this with one batch and found that it heated the filling too much and almost gave it a curdled consistency. I much preferred using a crème brûlée torch as it just heats the top layer and left the custard smooth and creamy. If you don’t have a torch, you can use the broiler, but make sure you get the custards as close to the heat as possible. Turn the broiler on high and watch it very carefully to ensure you don’t burn the sugar.