Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gretchen Tseng's Delectable Recipe for Vegan Nog-Infused Crème Brûlée

Happy World Vegan Day! Today marks the start of Vegan Awareness Month, and we're kicking it off with a bang! People often mistakenly think that eating without eggs or dairy also means no longer being able to enjoy their favorite foods. But So Delicious fan Gretchen Tseng, who pens the blog, Veggie Grettie, demonstrates just how easy it is to satisfy your sweet tooth and wow your friends and family with her taste-tempting recipe for Crème Brûlée!

Crème Brûlée, a rich custard topped with a layer of caramel, is typically made with heavy cream and lots of egg yolks. We were inspired by Gretchen's story and blown away by her recipe, which is completely dairy- and egg-free! We hope you will be, too!

“So Delicious Coconut products are some of my absolute favorite products. I have yet to find another vegan milk, cream, or yogurt that behaves as well as dairy products when it comes to cooking and baking. Since dairy products are absolutely out of the question for me and my family, So Delicious has been a complete godsend.” - Gretchen Tseng, plant-based nutrition specialist and editor of Veggie Grettie

Gretchen's Story

I believe that food is the ultimate medicine. I am a certified nutrition specialist with certification in plant-based nutrition through Cornell University. I have made it my mission to feed my family as healthfully as possible while trying to help others do the same.

My journey to veganism has been a long one. At a young age I experienced health problems. Despite numerous doctor appointments and a plethora of tests, no one had any answers as to why I was so ill. Unfortunately I also experienced health issues in high school and college which at times were debilitating. Toward the end of college after having been to many specialists and receiving many wrong diagnoses (along with suggestions that my health problems were psychosomatic), my parents convinced me to try one last specialist, Dr. Arnold Kresch of Stanford University. Dr. Kresch finally had a diagnoses for me: endometriosis. After performing surgery to remove my lesions, Dr. Kresch encouraged me to research how nutrition could be a powerful force in my quest for health.

For the past 16 years I have been able to manage my endometriosis through diet and exercise. I have personally experienced the healing powers of nutrition and have been able to nurse myself back to even better health than before through a plant-based and gluten-free diet.

While I am not gluten intolerant, my daughter is (along with being allergic to dairy and eggs), and because of that, whatever I bake or cook is gluten-free as well as vegan. Due to some nutritional imbalances in my daughter’s past (she spent her first 10 months in an orphanage), she is currently on a supplement protocol that would be considered daunting to most children. When I discovered So Delicious Chocolate flavored Coconut Milk Yogurt, our mornings became a lot less tense. Every morning I mix all of her supplements into the yogurt and she takes them without fuss or fight. (Applesauce did not have the same result). I am so thankful for So Delicious!

Because of my own life experiences and those of my daughter, I am passionate about sharing my nutrition knowledge with others and can be found doing so through my website Veggie Grettie, as a Columnist for Chic Vegan, a freelance writer (featured on Crazy Sexy Life), and a Brand Ambassador for NEXT by Athena.

Nog Infused Crème Brûlée


1/2 + 1/8 tsp agar powder *

2 Tbs cornstarch or arrowroot powder

2 Tbs water

2 Tbs date sugar, divided

4 Tbs organic brown sugar, divided

* I used agar flakes which I ground to a powder in my coffee grinder


Warm the nog in a saucepan over medium-low heat until almost boiling.

While the nog is heating prepare the cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the water. Set aside.

Once the nog has begun to lightly boil, sprinkle the agar onto the top and whisk continuously for 6-8 minutes (this helps prevent the mixture from boiling over).

Stir the cornstarch slurry again and gently pour it into the nog and agar mixture while whisking continuously. Continue to whisk the mixture for another 2-3 minutes (It will become thick like pudding).

Remove the mixture from the stove and strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a glass bowl. This will ensure that the crème is very smooth and lump-free (sometimes lumps form from the agar and cornstarch). Stir the mixture to help it through the strainer.

Once strained, pour ½ cup of the pudding into each of the four oven-safe ramekins. Allow the pudding to cool slightly and then move the ramekins into the fridge to firm for 4 hours to overnight.

Turn your oven onto max broil (you can use a blowtorch in lieu of the broiler). Once the oven is up to temperature, remove the ramekins from the fridge.

Evenly sprinkle ½ Tbs of date sugar on the top of each ramekin and dust off the excess. Next, sprinkle 1 Tbs. of brown sugar (not packed) on top of the date sugar. Make sure the sugar is sprinkled evenly.

Once the oven is fully heated to broil, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and put them in the oven under the broiler on the highest rack. Stand there with the oven door open a few inches and watch the sugar very closely as it can burn extremely quickly. The candying process needs to happen quickly otherwise the crème pudding underneath will liquefy (you want the crème to remain firm and solid). As the sugar heats it will bubble and darken. Throughout the broiling process I turned my cookie sheet several times to ensure even broiling.

After the sugar has candied, remove it from the oven and allow it to sit for a minute so the candy can harden. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

We hope you enjoy Gretchen's recipe, and we'd love to hear what you think! Do you have any tips for adding more plant-based meals to your family's menu? We'd love to learn about them, too!