If you're looking for a simple, foolproof, and quick vegan cream recipe, you've come to the right place. This dairy-free custard is super creamy, soft and light.
There are endless options for enjoying custard. You can just have it alone with some fruit, pour it on a slice of cakepie crisp or crumble, Pancakes, fill donuts, éclairs or make desserts like my vanilla and custard cake or one simple trifle.I'm a creamy dessert lover, and have wanted to share this simple vegan cream with you for quite some time.
What is vegan cream made of?
Most cream based creams contain egg yolks, whole milk, and cream. The beauty of not using eggs in your cream is that you can't overcook it. This will cause scrambled eggs or the mixture to split. Tempering it can be a stressful process!
When you don't use animal products, many of these problems go away. You can't mix it up too much, and there's no chance it will divide either.
What you'll find in this custard are everyday ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Plant-based milk, coconut cream (or whole coconut milk), cornstarch, raw sugar, vanilla extract, and turmeric powder (for the color, you won't taste it). That's it!
What is the difference between custard and custard?
I know I'm throwing a few words in French here, but let me explain it to you in layman's terms.
Crème anglaise (French for "crème anglaise") is a fine pourable sauce that is primarily used as an addition to dessert, much like you would use ice cream or cream. See the image above to get a feel for the consistency. It can be sprinkled on a slice of cake, pudding, pie, chips, crumbles, pies or just on fruit or compote.
Pastry cream is a thick custard that can be used as a filling for pastries like donuts, éclairs, cannelloni, or poured into pie shells, sliced or used in trifles.
The main difference between these two creams is the amount of cornstarch used. I know traditionally it's the egg yolks and milk that contribute to the thickness, but since the purpose of this recipe is vegan, I'm going to focus on how this guy is made.
Cornstarch is used as a thickening agent in a vegan cream recipe to make it nice and creamy. Use less or more, depending on the desired result.
For example, in my vanilla and custard cakeI had to use 1 cup of cornstarch so that the cake would set and not collapse as soon as it was taken out of the cake pan and cut. Using aquafaba to lighten it also played a role in the amount of cornstarch I used as it needed to have even more structure to support the addition of an ingredient that would lighten the weight of the cream.
Note: Keep in mind with this cake recipe that the cream is doubled, so more cornstarch is needed.
Here is a photo of the final result.
Use cornstarch in your vegan vanilla cream recipe
As I mentioned earlier, it will depend on the thickness or fineness of your cream. To give you a guide, here's how I determine how much cornstarch to use.
Using the recipe below, you can adjust the cornstarch used as follows:
- 2-3 tablespoons = finer pouring sauce (consistency of custard)
- ¼ - ⅓ cup = thicker pastry cream (consistency of pastry cream)
Besides cornstarch, the other factor that plays a role in the thickness of your cream is how long it cooks. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will be. However, you cannot expect it to be too thick than the above consistencies depending on how much cornstarch you are using.
Note: the cream will continue to thicken as it cools.
Tips for making this custard without eggs
Even though this recipe is super easy to make (and did I mention cheap ?!), there are still a few things you'll want to keep an eye out for when making it.
- When you are done cooking your custard and it looks a bit lumpy, simply pass it through a sieve. Problem solved!
- If you want to prevent a thin skin / film from forming on the top of your custard while it is cooling, you can place plastic wrap (please, if you have access, use biodegradable wrap) just above the custard or just give it a quick whip with your hand held electric whisk. I always use the latter option and it works perfectly.
- If you want to warm it up and it's a little too thick, add a little vegetable milk and stir over low heat until hot.
- Fancy a chocolate cream? Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa / cocoa powder or vegan dark chocolate (up to ¼ cup) if you have a really sweet tooth.
- Custard can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
On the picture: Vegan trifle cups with berries
Other vegan desserts and staple recipes you'll love:
- Healthy vegan cream cheese frosting
- Easy vegan tiramisu (gluten free)
- Vegan vanilla cake with coconut cream and berries
- Vegan Kremšnita (vanilla and custard cake)
- How to make coconut whipped cream
It’s easy to be cynical about the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but there is a lot of undeniable and powerful energy surrounding the idea of change at this time of year. For many of us, that change starts in the kitchen.
Maybe it means resolving to cook at home more often, to keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, to waste less, or to make slightly more wholesome choices. Maybe, for you, this is the year in which you’d like to give veganism ( or vegetarianism ) a try.
Whether you’re trying to dip your toes slowly into the world of plant-based eating, or you’re ready to make a total shift, it can be helpful to keep a few things in mind.
Some people go vegan overnight, and they never look back. But for many others, a slow transition is more sustainable ( and pleasurable ) than a 180-degree turn. If the idea of going vegan feels daunting, start with a couple of small steps, like a Meatless Monday challenge at home, or switching one of your daily meals to a meatless and dairy-free option. ( You’d be surprised at how easy it is to trade your turkey sandwich for hummus, tempeh bacon, and avocado ).
I’m quick to say that vegan food is just food. While there are a couple of secret weapon ingredients to have on your radar ( nutritional yeast, I’m lookin’ at you ), for the most part a healthy appetite for grains, beans, and produce is all you really need to get started. With that said, any dietary shift can be tricky, and veganism is no exception. So, before you get started, take just a little time to go over the basics of plant-based alimentation. Find a useful, all-in-one resource, like Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina’s Becoming Vegan, or Ginny Messina and Jack Norris’ Vegan For Life. At some point, someone will ask you where you get your protein ( or your iron, or your calcium ), and while you could laugh the question off, it’s a lot more powerful to supply a quick, confident answer.
Going vegan expanded my palate dramatically : I learned about all sorts of global cuisines, warmed up to my spice rack, and tried ingredients I’d never considered before. But my culinary repertoire was pretty meager when I made the switch. If you already have some culinary experience, don’t assume that you’ll need to acquire an entirely new bag of tricks to eat vegan or vegetarian.
In fact, one really useful place to start is by looking at some of your favorite dinner recipes and thinking about how you might adapt them to be meatless and/or dairy-free. It may be as simple as removing some cheese ( or replacing it with cashew cheese ). It may mean trading the central protein for beans, soy foods, or even a hearty vegetable, like mushrooms.
Until I went vegan, I had never tried tempeh, soba noodles, kimchi, kabocha squash, nutritional yeast, millet, mulberries, or buckwheat…and the list goes on. Becoming vegan encouraged me to explore new ingredients, and it also introduced me to more global dishes.
A great many dietary traditions around the world are already plant-based, which means that vegans and vegetarians have many rich, exciting culinary traditions to draw upon. If you’re new to plant-based cooking, explore meatless dishes and recipes from other parts of the world ( Indian, Ethiopian, and Middle Eastern dishes are some of my personal favorites ). Dust off your spice rack and add new flavors to your food. Use your transition to plant-based eating as an excuse to try new céréales, legumes, and vegetables.
A lot of folks assume that adapting a recipe to be vegan means replacing the meat or poultry with a faux meat, a block of tofu, or tempeh. That’s cool, but it can also be fun to think creatively and imaginatively about how to capture the essence of a traditional recipe without animal protein. No, lentil Bolognese isn’t really Bolognese, but it does capture the heartiness of the original; cashew banana yogurt is a far cry from dairy, but it does evoke the same, sweet creaminess.
Many people are surprised by how easy it is to go meatless. Cheese, on the other hand, is a different story. I myself used to utter the same words I hear constantly from readers, friends, and alimentation clients : ' I’d love to go vegan, but I can’t give up cheese. '
While I won’t pretend that giving up dairy is easy—it’s not, especially because it’s so ubiquitous in restaurant dishes—I will say that I had a much easier time living without it when I learned to make my own substitutes. Store-bought soy and almond cheeses weren’t cutting it ( especially nine years ago, when the options were limited ), and soy creamers and yogurts left me feeling equally flat. Making my first batch of cashew cheese—which authentically captured the tanginess and texture of goat cheese—was a revelation. Homemade nut milk let me create creamy porridge and muesli far more authentically than did store-bought, non-dairy milk.
Over time, I’ve experimented with tofu paneer, tofu feta, and cashew yogurt, and the list is growing. Homemade dairy substitutes are creative, fun, and cost-effective, and I think they’re a big step up from what you can find in the store.
While I’m the first to point out that vegan proteins extend far beyond soy foods—encompassing tonalités of different grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds—you really can’t beat tofu and tempeh for ' meaty ' matière and complete protein in meatless dishes. Both ingredients can be either memorable or mundane, depending on how you prepare them. I definitely recommend pressing tofu if you’re not already in the habit; it’ll create a firmer, more toothsome matière that most people prefer.
When preparing tempeh, be sure to use a boldly flavored marinade or sauce to help balance tempeh’s earthy taste, and if you find it bitter, you can steam it before marinating, too.
For the most part, I try to feature whole foods and homemade ingredients in my cooking. But in spite of the fact that I love to create my own dairy substitutes and I’d usually rather eat a scoop of lentils than a block of faux meat, I don’t eschew vegan products, and I think that keeping an open mind about them can really enrich the authenticity of your food.
This is especially important when you’re transitioning and vegan cooking still feels like a brave new world. Nine times out of ten, I’ll opt to use cashew cheese in a recipe rather than Daiya ( a melty, commercial vegan cheese ) ; coconut oil in place of Earth Balance ( vegan butter ) ; or grilled tofu in place of Beyond Chicken ( grilled strips of soy and pea protein that taste shockingly like chicken ).
But when I’m aiming for totally authentic, precise results, vegan substitute products can go a long way, and it’s comforting to know that they’re an option if I feel like taking a shortcut.
Over time, I learned to create vegan food with greater sensitivity to others’ tastes and folklores. I love a lot of really crunchy fare, from the aforementioned raw kale salad to tofu, sprouts, and grain bowls. And I know a lot of other folks who love these dishes, too. But sometimes being an ambassador of vegan food means knowing how to create dishes that feel familiar and appeal to a wide array of more conservative palates, like vegan lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or sloppy Joes.
And, if you’re trying to dispel the idea that all vegans eat is salad and prove that vegan food can be filling and hearty, then it’s all the more important to create dishes that evoke a sense of comfort.
Change feels a lot less daunting when you have company. If your family and friends aren’t exploring veganism along with you, then find community in other ways. Explore a vegan meetup or potluck in your community. Become a regular commenter on vegan food blogs. If you do have a friend who’s interested in plant-based cooking, invite him or her over for some recipe testing.
Studies show that failure to stick with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is often attributed to feeling ' different ' or isolated. Food is all about community and sharing, so do your best to share this lifestyle with people you care about—even if they’re not making the change along with you.