Are you ready for a creamy vegan brûlée that uses only 6 ingredients; is ready in about an hour and requires no baking?
If yes, you’re going to love this one.
It is also soy free and could be made nut free by substituting the almond milk and extract for coconut milk (or another nondairy milk substitute) and vanilla extract (or any flavoring you prefer).
This idea has been in the pipeline for sometime now and had been requested since I posted this: Ackee Creme Brûlée (not vegan). The comments of the “Official Amazing Ackee Recipe Taster and Quality Control Officer” aka the hubby were that this one could be competing to knock the Ackee Creme Brûlée out of the seat as his favorite ackee dessert to date! Yup, it’s that good! I’m really pleased with this result and if you give it a try I believe you will be too.
It took a few tweaks until I was satisfied with the texture and this is why you’ll see that I’ve used both agar agar and arrowroot as thickeners.
I love that sexy wobble of a brûlée just out of the oven when you jiggle the ramekin and wanted this characteristic to hold true for the vegan version. Traditional brûlées rely on egg yolks to set the custard as well as provide richness. Here, the ackees provide the richness while adding a mild flavour but getting the set just right is what would set this apart and make it an ultimate vegan brûlée versus being just a “vegan custard”.
Agar for those unfamiliar is a gelatin from seaweed and can be found either in your health food store or a well stocked grocery store usually in the aisle with other seaweed products such as nori and dulse. It’s available in powder or flakes and must be boiled so that it dissolves before it can set whatever liquid you use (juice, stock etc). It can set up quite firm depending on how much you use which is a good quality if you wanted to make say a terrine or some kind of dessert that you wanted to be able to hold it’s shape when sliced. When tested on it’s own for this brûlée though, it didn’t yield that silky custard-like set that I was after and so I tried arrowroot.
Arrowroot is a neutral tasting thickener which is perfect for sauces, gluten free baking, puddings or as a coating for deep fried foods to name a few. Tested on it’s own for the brûlée, it yielded a thick pudding like texture. I then reduced the amount which gave the consistency of a thin pastry cream that didn’t quite set up; again, neither of these outcomes were what I was going for.
Then I had a brainwave! Why not combine the two?! The arrowroot would give that silky custard-like texture and the agar the precise set I was going for (the signature wobble I mentioned above). After a few more tweaks of the amounts of each to use, this Vegan Almond Ackee Brûlée was born. (Side note: reject almond ackee brûlée makes an awesome base for your protein shake 😆)
What do you think? As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you try this or any of the recipes from this site be sure to #amazingackee and @amazingackee so that I can see your posts across social media.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by 😊
Almond Ackee Brûlée (Vegan)
- 1/4 cup Sugar (I used cane sugar)
- 1/2 tsp Agar agar flakes heaped*
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
- 2 tsps Arrowroot powder** (also called arrowroot flour or starch)
- 1/2 cup Parboiled Ackee (or canned, packed into cup when measuring)
- 3/4 tsp Almond Extract
- Raw/Demerara sugar for tops of brûlée
- Sugared almonds, optional (recipe below)
- Assorted fruit, optional
Combine the sugar, agar flakes and 1/2 cup of almond milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook 3 to 5 minutes until the sugar and agar flakes have dissolved.
In the meantime, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk, ackees and arrowroot powder in a blender and puree till completely smooth
Once the sugar and the agar have dissolved, turn down the heat and add the almond milk puree to the pot and cook for another minute or two. Do not let boil vigorously or for too long as arrowroot loses it’s thickening power at high temperatures and if it’s cooked too long.
Turn off heat and mix in the almond extract
Pour into ramekins and chill till set. Depending on the size ramekin you use, they can set up in less than an hour. These can be made a day ahead and kept chilled overnight.
When ready to serve, sprinkle the tops with sugar and caramelize with a kitchen torch. Let sit for a few minutes for the sugar to reharden before serving.
Top with sugared almonds and assorted fruit if using.
*If you use powdered agar do not heap the 1/2 tsp when measuring
**Cornstarch can be substituted if you don't have arrowroot in which case use 1 tbsp instead
- Almonds slivered (or whichever nut you like)
- Granulated white sugar as needed
Have a baking tray lined with parchment ready and near the stove before beginning.
Place a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add almonds in an even layer. Cook shaking the skillet from time to time to heat evenly. The nuts will start to glisten as they heat up and start to release their oils.
Sprinkle a hearty amount of sugar over the nuts and mix well using a high heat spatula or silicone spoon (anything that won't scratch your skillet). The sugar will melt and coat the nuts (this will happen quickly, so work fast and move the nuts around so the sugar doesn’t burn)
Once the sugar has melted and coated the nuts, pour them out into an even layer on the prepared tray and sprinkle with more sugar. Shake the tray to coat. Let cool completely before using.