Vegan Crème Brûlée + Orange Roasted Rhubarb {gf}


The queen of desserts! Crème brûlée! With a plant-based twist and served with tangy orange roasted rhubarb for a little spring flair. 

I used to want to be French. Parisienne specifically. To eat baguettes and fromage all day in the shadow of La Tour Eiffel, to travel under the city of lights on le métro or to sit at a famous cafe by the Seine all day long, sipping un café au lait and reading literature written by those who once frequented the place, perhaps Fitzgerald or Hemingway. I imagined that I would be the picture of sophistication, with that je ne sais quoi that all the other Parisienne women had. Along the way I would no doubt crack many a caramelised crème brûlée, breaking through the stained glass window top and diving a spoon into the rich custard below, just as Amélie did. I think the obsession started with the tv show Madeleine, I watched it religiously as a child and always begged for my very own Genevieve.

To be honest, this obsession with France was probably what kick-started my love of cooking and baking to begin with. Looking at all of the French pâtisserie and rich meals made with such care, made me want to create my own food to enjoy slowly and deliberately, food to be proud of. And so it all began. Pretty soon I was making my own crème brûlées to shatter with a spoon. With the help of French or almost French bloggers and recipe writers like David Lebovitz, Mimi Thorisson and Fanny Zanotti, I was making crème brûlée like a pro.

Fanny’s version from her cookbook ‘Paris Pastry Club’ was always my favourite. The recipe is for one. One single ramekin to savour alone. So easy and decadent, it was my favourite thing to make on a Friday night at home. She uses 1/2 a vanilla bean for one single ramekin of custard. It used to make me giddy, seeing all those little vanilla flecks in one little bowl of custard that was just for me. The custard was not rubbery at all, or too heavy and thick as some crèmes can be – it was just set, incredibly soft and creamy and lightly sweetened so as to not overshadow the other quiet flavours. AHHH. So perfect.

But then, since ditching the dairy and eggs, a.k.a the two things that crème brûlées are built on, I haven’t had any of that. I thought the crème’s were in my past. Just a golden memory. Until I got over my fear, and tried. And, what do you know, my first go was spot on. The crème brûlée of my dreams – just as light and creamy, vanilla bean specks throughout, a slight nutty flavour from the cashews and macadamias, a perfect crust AND i wasn’t sick afterwards from all the dairy. Win! So I made them a few more times, tasting my way through each batch, you know, just to be on the safe side…because someone’s got to do it, and once I was certain that all was well in the crème brûlée world I branched out a bit and decided to make a little tray of jammy, orange roasted rhubarb to go with them.

Vegan Crème Brûlée + Orange Roasted Rhubarb {gf}

vegan, dairy‐free, egg‐free, gluten‐free, soy‐free 
The queen of desserts! Crème brûlée! This time with a nutty plant‐based twist and served with tangy orange roasted rhubarb for a little Spring flair. These need to chill at least 4 hours and preferably overnight once baked, so either make them the morning that you are planning to serve them, or the night before. Check out this video from Dulce Delight on bruleeing using a hot spoon if you'd like to give this method a try (skip to 6:30).
Servings 4


crème brûlées

  • 1/2 cup raw macadamias soaked 4–6 hours
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked 4–6 hours
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut cream chill a can in the fridge overnight & use only the thick coconut cream on top`
  • 4 tbsp granulated raw sugar
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • little pinch ground turmeric optional – for colour
  • seeds of 1 – 2 vanilla beans depending on how vanilla‐beany you want it to taste I like 2 for a strong flavour, or 1 – 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • raw granulated sugar for sprinkling on the top to brûlée


  • 1 bunch rhubarb trimmed, washed & sliced into 5 cm pieces.
  • 1/2 cup raw granulated sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



  • Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius / 300 fahrenheit and a boil a full kettle. Drain and rinse the soaked nuts and add them to a blender (preferably a high speed one) with all the remaining ingredients. Blend on high until completely smooth and emulsified, it should not be at all grainy. The mix should be warm‐hot at the end of the blending.
  • Grab 4 medium / large ramekins & place them in a large, deep sided baking tray. Pour the custard into the ramekins, filling them all equally. Place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the preheated oven & then pour the boiled water into the baking tray, so that the water comes about 1/2 way up the ramekins (not too high, you don't want any water in the custard!). Shut the oven door & bake the custards for about 40–50 minutes. It's difficult to tell if they are done by looking at them, use a spoon and check just underneath the surface of one of the brulees, it shouldn't be too runny; it should look thickened but still 'fluffy' and light. It will not look like a thick custard until it's chilled. If they appear to be very liquidy underneath the surface, bake for another 10 minutes and re‐check. Just remember if you bake them for too long they may over thicken and 'curdle' a little. So err on the side of caution.
  • Once baked, remove the tray carefully from the oven & slowly take the ramekins out of the water bath (use kitchen gloves!). Leave to cool at room temperature for 5 — 10 minutes & then place in the fridge. Allow to chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. I tried them at different stages ranging from 1 hour — the next morning. The custards that had chilled overnight had a far better flavour and texture. The vanilla bean works it's magic on the custards while they chill out in the fridge, so give it time.


  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius / 400 fahrenheit. Toss all the ingredients in a baking pan & bake in the preheated oven, covered with foil or baking paper for about 15 minutes or so, until tender but not stringy and mushy. Serve warm or at room temperature on the side of the crème brûlées.


  • When ready to serve, remove the custards from the fridge and pat the tops carefully with a clean tea towel to remove any condensation. Scatter the tops with a little raw granulated sugar (about 1 tsp.) to create a thin, even covering. Now caramelise the sugar until it is all melted, golden & crackly. You can do this with a blow torch (preferred) or using the back of a very hot metal spoon (see the link in description). I really don't remcommend doing this under the grill, it tends to heat the custard up too much which will make it warm and liquidy and not delightfully cool and custardy! But if you have no other option, just watch it very carefully. Let the caramelised sugar set for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
  • Serve asap with the orange roasted rhubarb alongside. These do not keep well once they have been bruleed, the sugar crust will begin to turn liquid and it will not be pleasant, so only brûlée when you are ready to eat them.

vegan crème brûlée and orange roasted rhubarb

vegan-creme-brulee-roasted-rhubarb-7-of-5vegan crème brûlée and orange roasted rhubarbvegan crème brûlée and orange roasted rhubarb

Serving roasted rhubarb with the cremes is something I picked up from my Aunty and Uncle, who are brilliant cooks and who live on a farm 5 hours away from us. We stayed with them one weekend a few years back and my Uncle told us he’d be making crème brûlée (with a whole lot of vanilla bean – just the way i like them) for dessert one night which, needless to say, I was very excited about. The crème brûlées were chilling, pre-dinner snacks were laid out upon the table and we were sipping at glasses of chilled white wine when my Aunty thought of the beautiful crimson rhubarb that was growing happily in her backyard, ready to be harvested. She brought a big bunch in, and decided to roast it to be served alongside the crèmes. We looked at recipes, she added some orange juice for extra sweetness and flavour and we waited until the rhubarb was perfectly soft and jammy before pulling it from the oven. Dessert was served after dinner (delicious i’m sure, but clearly all i cared about were the crèmes awaiting me) with the rhubarb gleaming alongside, and it was perfect. The tart, orange rhubarb complemented the rich custard so well, and since then, every time I’ve eaten a crème brûlée, I think of that rhubarb.

vegan crème brûlée and orange roasted rhubarb

Join the Conversation

  1. Every time I see a creme brulee recipe, I remember how much I need to pick up a mini torch! These look absolutely perfect! I love that you’ve used a combination of macadamia and cashews. I have been missing creme brulee for years since I’ve given up dairy but this looks like just the perfect way to eat it again.

    1. Thanks so much Christine! I was missing it as well, I’m sooo glad i finally found a version that i love. If you try it let me know how it goes!

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