Vegan Creme Brulee?! Yes, you read that right! I present you a recipe for vegan creme brulee that is also soy free and a low FODMAP friendly dessert. Annnnd your mind is blown, right? This vegan creme brulee is so close to the real thing you wouldn't know it wasn't chock full of eggs and dairy!
Most vegan creme brulee recipes I have come across include either tofu or cashews, both of which are not low FODMAP friendly and can be particularly irritating to the gut. They also tend to contain refined sugars which we all know by now are a no-no particularly if you are a fellow SIBO or candida sufferer. My vegan creme brulee recipe is made using coconut milk and is sweetened with just a touch of maple syrup. To make the classic caramelized top layer, I used unrefined cane sugar as it browns + caramelizes just like white sugar. I originally tested this recipe using monkfruit, but that did not caramelize and just kind of made a funny, runny sugary mess on top.
Unrefined cane sugar is probably the closest unrefined sugar substitute you'll find to white table sugar in terms of baking, however it is, well, unrefined! This just means that it has maintained natural nutrients found in sugarcane like iron, calcium, and magnesium as well as retained its molasses content. Fun fact: unrefined cane sugar is only about 10-15% sugar concentration with the rest being water, fiber, vitamins and minerals, while refined sugar is 99.5% sucrose and .5% water! Mind blowing, right?! If you are someone who is following a low FODMAP diet, it only makes sense to use unrefined cane sugar in your low FODMAP dessert recipes, especially if you are particularly sensitive to sucrose.
What do I need to make Vegan Soy Free Creme Brulee?
Full Fat Coconut Milk: You MUST, I repeat, you MUST purchase full fat coconut milk that is canned. This vegan creme brulee recipe will not work with boxed coconut milk or any other plant based milk. You could also use two 14oz cans of coconut cream, though your result will likely be extra thick and it is best to stick to full fat coconut milk here.
Tapioca Flour: This is one of the elements that will give the vegan creme brulee its creaminess. If you do not have tapioca flour available, arrowroot powder or cornstarch will work just fine. Do not substitute in regular flour though as it will become grainy and the texture will not be authentic.
Agar Agar: Made from a type of seaweed, Agar Agar is a wonderful vegan friendly substitute for gelatin. If you are not vegan, or do not tolerate polysaccharides as part of the low FODMAP diet, you can absolutely use gelatin in this recipe as a 1:1 replacement.
Maple Syrup: I used Lakanto Monkfruit Maple Syrup in this recipe just to keep the sugar content down, but real maple syrup will work just as well. I did not test this recipe with any other liquid sugars, however agave would be an appropriate vegan friendly substitute if you do not have real maple syrup or Lakanto Monkfruit Maple Syrup available. Typically I don't ever even allow anything that isn't 100% Grade A maple syrup near my house (my mom lives in Vermont and we have friends that make their own maple syrup so I am spoiled!) but I do really like the Lakanto Monkfruit Maple Syrup to add to baked goods and low FODMAP desserts that call for maple syrup.
Unrefined Cane Sugar: This is a must for the traditional caramelized top you expect when enjoying vegan creme brulee. I do not recommend using granulated monkfruit as an alternative as it will not torch properly and ends up making a syrupy mess on your vegan creme brulee, which trust me you do not want! You can find unrefined cane sugar at any grocery store or Amazon.
Kitchen Torch: Probably the most important thing when it comes to making vegan creme brulee is the presence of a kitchen torch. My brother got me one as a Christmas gift and honestly all I want to do now is torch everything I make! Alternatively, you can use the broiler on your oven if you do not have a torch, but it is SO much easier and faster (and way more fun!) to torch them yourself.
Ramekins: Of course any respectable vegan creme brulee must be served in a ramekin! Make sure that yours are BROILER SAFE if you do not have a torch and don't plan on getting one. I didn't realize that some popular brands of ramekins are not broiler safe until I made this vegan creme brulee recipe and saw on the bottom of mine that they were not suitable for the broiler. Had I not had a torch, I would have been so upset! Make sure to check for this before starting your recipe if you are using the broiler instead of a torch for your vegan creme brulee.
Blender: I recommend adding your ingredients to a blender and pulsing to combine before hitting the stovetop. This ensures that your vegan creme brulee is smooth + creamy by smoothing out the tapioca flour and ensuring everything is fully combined before heating.
Turmeric: I used a pinch of turmeric in this recipe to add a touch of color to the vegan creme brulee that you otherwise would have gotten from the use of egg yolk. It isn't necessary and trust me a little pinch goes a long way, but if you really want your vegan creme brulee to look like "the real thing" then I suggest adding it in.
Nutmeg: Again, not totally necessary but I added a pinch of ground nutmeg to this low FODMAP dessert recipe and I think it added just an extra touch of deliciousness to the dish.