Vegan cashew creme brulee is your new favorite dessert! Made without eggs, dairy or soy, it is a healthy new take on a French classic.
School’s out, and I’m celebrating with pudding.
Or rather, fancy pudding. Creme brulee, to be precise.
I may have left behind both my life as a student and as a professor, but after spending close to two decades of my adult life in the academy, my inner-clock is forever set to the semester system. But my English professor-husband is still fully synchronized to the semester system, so I can live vicariously through him and his completion of another round of classes.
Hence, a celebratory dessert!
Vegan Creme Brulee, Made with Cashews
But my crème brulee has a healthy twist. You would never guess from the luscious taste and texture (I am not sure I’ll mention it to my husband; is that wrong?).
My crème brulee is made without eggs and without dairy. Really and truly.
It is my Cashew Creme Brulee and it is amazing.
How to Make Cashew Creme Brulee
This is a very simple dessert to prepare; you only need about 10 minutes of active time.
However, there is considerable hands-off time (baking and chilling). So long as you plan ahead, this dessert is a breeze.
Begin by soaking 3/4 cup of raw cashews in boiling water. This is my fast method for plumping them (a cold soak takes several hours). Drain the cashews and place in a blender along with a can of coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, tapioca starch, and salt. Blend until completely smooth.
The natural color of the crème is off-white. To give it a sunny hue, I like to add a large pinch of turmeric, too; it is completely optional.
Cook and stir the mixture in a saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles forma dn the creme thickens (thanks to the tapioca starch). Pour the mix into four 6-ounce ramekins or creme brulee dishes that have been lightly oiled or sprayed.
Place the ramekins in a shallow baking dish and fill halfway up with hot water. Bake in a preheated 300F oven for 33to 28 minutes until just set (the crème brulee should jiggle slightly when shaken).
Remove the dishes from the water batch and cool completely. Once cooled, refrigerate until completely cold (at least 4 hours or up to overnight).
How to Caramelize the Sugar on Creme Brulee
The last step of the dessert is creating the brulee, the caramelized sugar topping.
When ready to be served, sprinkle each crème brulee with a layer of sugar about 1/8 inch thick. Use a kitchen torch to brown and melt (caramelize) the sugar by moving it back and forth (quickly).
No torch? No problem. You can also caramelize the sugar using the broiler function of your oven.
Position a rack to the highest place in the oven (4 to 6 inches from heat source) and preheat broiler to HIGH. Place the chilled crème brulees on a baking sheet and top with sugar, as directed. Broil, watching closely, for 30 to 90 seconds until the sugar is caramelized.
Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Spray or lightly oil four small (6 ounce) ramekins or ceme brulee dishes. Place the ramekins in a shallow baking dish.
Place the cashews in a small bowl; cover with boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain.
Place the drained cashews, coconut milk, sugar, tapioca starch, vanilla, salt, and optional turmeric in a blender. Blend on high speed until completely smooth.
Pour the cashew mixture into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook and whisk for for about 3 to 4 minutes until small bubbles appear and the mixture thickens slightly.
Evenly divide the creme brulee mixture into the prepared ramekins. Fill the shallow dish with hot water until it reaches halfway up the ramekins.
Bake in the preheated oven for 33 to 38 minutes until the puddings are just set (they should jiggle slightly when moved).
Remove the puddings from the water bath and cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill until cold (at least 4 hours or up to overnight).
When ready to be served, sprinkle each crème brulee with a layer of sugar about 1/8 inch thick and caramelize with a kitchen torch, the torch quickly over the sugar until it is caramelized (see notes for using broiler instead). Serve immediately.
Tip: Regular granulated sugar can be used in place of the natural cane sugar.
Broiler Tip: If you do not have a torch, you can caramelize the sugar under the broiler. Position a rack to the highest place in the oven (4 to 6 inches from heat source) and preheat broiler to HIGH. Place the chilled crème brulees on a baking sheet and top with sugar, as directed. Broil, watching closely, for 30 to 90 seconds until the sugar is caramelized. Serve.
Can I use any other sugar as I don't use granulated sugar for health reasons and the organic cane sugar I usually buy is out of stock. What about date sugar,unrefined cane sugar(slightly brown in appearance), coconut sugar?
Thursday 8th of October 2020
Hi Karen! Yes, any of the alternative sugars you mention will work very well here (although the date sugar will not work for the topping--it will not carmelize since it is not a sugar but finely ground dates).
Monday 10th of October 2016
Out of this world! Found this by googling vegan crème brulee. Love that this does not use tofu. It is sooo good, thanks for such a great recipe.
Monday 15th of June 2015
Camilla, I want you to know I have made this many times over the years, all to rave reviews! I have done different flavors (lavender, orange, kahlua, cinnamon) and it always comes out perfect. My father in law is French and even he thought it was very good! Thanks for the great recipe.
Tuesday 3rd of June 2014
this is perfection! I did not tell my hubby it was made from cashews. He guessed that it was different, but loved it anyway. What a clever way to make creme brulee, thank you!
Thursday 29th of September 2011
This is outstanding and really very easy to make. Well done!