Buttery croissants, hold the butter

Paris based vegan cookbook author to visit Birmingham

An iced latte would be necessary to power through that muggy mid-June morning in Paris and the gracious staff of Hôtel du Sentier knew just the spot. One block away in the heart of Paris’ 2nd arrondissement is Boneshaker Donuts. A chance conversation with the owner and few non-dairy lattes later et voilà, pâtissière Amanda Bankert will visit Birmingham this month to promote her recently released cookbook Voilà Vegan: 85 Decadent, Secretly Plant-Based Deserts From an American Pâtissière in Paris. 

Crème Brûlée
Serves 4

Once, during a hellish and chaotic dessert service, I ran out of crème brûlée. Panicked, I
improvised and torched ramekins of panna cotta I had stashed in the blast chiller instead.
Despite this cowboy kitchen move (not a complimentary chef term, FYI), the sneaky
swap was a success, and I learned a lesson about “the classics”: with a bit of confidence,
even the venerated dishes of old can survive substitutions. My former head chef would
blow a gasket if he could see that these days I use soy cream to make my crème brûlée—
but like those diners a decade ago, I bet you won’t be able to tell the difference.

• 1/3 cup (45 g) cornstarch
• 11/2 cups (355 ml) soy cream
• 2 cups (475 ml) barista-blend oat milk
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar plus
• 4 tablespoons (50 g) for topping
• 2 tablespoons Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding powder
• 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
• 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)

1. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch with 3 table- spoons of water until smooth.

2. In a medium saucepan, add the soy cream, oat milk, 1/3 cup (70 g) of the sugar, the
pudding powder, scraped vanilla seeds and pod, turmeric (if using), and cornstarch slurry
and whisk to combine.

3. Bring the custard to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally in order to
prevent the bottom from burning. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 5
minutes, until the mixture thickens (it should resemble pastry cream or vanilla pudding).

4. Remove the vanilla pod, and then pour the custard evenly into four ramekins and place
them in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

5. Remove the crème brûlées from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving (the
custard will be too stiff fresh from the fridge). Sprinkle the top of each dessert with a thin
layer of the remaining sugar (about 1 tablespoon per serving). Using a kitchen torch, melt
the sugar on each dessert until it’s crunchy and caramelized. Serve immediately.

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