Ah crème brulée, is there anything that could sound less vegan if it tried? If you take away the cream, what do you have left? Not that there’s anything wrong with straight up burnt sugar (of course there isn’t! Who doesn’t love picking burnt sugar bits off a baking pan after you take cookies out of the oven? Oh? It’s just me then?)
I had crème brulée for the first time only about a year and half before I became vegan, and it opened up a door of deliciousness that I had not previously known existed (commence swooning music). In the course of that year and half, I had that dessert whenever it was on offer. If it was on a restaurant menu, I was all over it like a drowning man on a life preserver. It was one of the things I was unequivocally going to have to live without once I became vegan 🙁 Or so I mistakenly thought.
I’ve had the odd vegan “crème brulée” at a couple of special events I’ve gone to in the past 10 years, but I’ll be honest, they might have been tasty in their own right, and if people would’ve just called it “pudding” I would’ve been fine with it. But crème brulée it was most certainly not. Let’s be real here people, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, there’s no way you’re pulling the wool over my eyes and convincing me it’s a sheep.
During that same time period, I’ve also had brief internet frenzies where I’ve attempted to look up recipes that seem like they could maybe, perhaps pass muster with me – at least as a reasonable facsimile – but nothing ever seemed quite right. For instance, when I see tofu on the ingredient list, to me, there’s no way this will ever taste right or have the right texture. That’s a recipe that I would toss aside like month old compost, awarding it, in all my crème brulée snobbishness, the very lack of respect it so richly (or not richly enough when we’re speaking about creamy and delicious desserts 😉 ) deserves.
But then, the eureka moment – I found this amazing recipe! (here). The recipe sounded too good to be true to be honest. Despite the fact that she says she’d made this for a restaurant dinner service, I was still extremely skeptical. Maybe it was good enough for those people, but do they really have the discerning palate to determine whether or not this was good enough? Did those vegan diners miss it the way I did? Like a lost pet that just can’t be interchangeably replaced with another as if they were one and the same? (Yes, I went there, I just compared a dessert item to the loss of a pet, deal with it).
I am ecstatically happy to report to you however, that I was wrong, oh so very wrong, to ever doubt how amazing this recipe would be. Not only did it bring back memories of the luscious, smooth and creamy taste that I remembered, it was also one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever had the pleasure of following. Dangerously easy in fact. This is the kind of thing you could easily whip up on a week night if you had unexpected guests coming over (or halve it for a single serve portion…or don’t halve it and just call it a single serve portion, I promise I won’t judge 😉 ).
It’s other major upside? I got to use my newly acquired dessert torch! (not that I hadn’t used it previously to just melt/burn sugar onto a plate and then eat it, but I digress 😉 )