Sunday, July 1, 2012

Product Review: The Vegg (and a Vegan Creme Brulee)


When I came across this website a couple of months ago, I was excited to see a product called The Vegg there—a vegan equivalent of an egg yolk that looks, tastes and feels just like the real thing. So when the creator of The Vegg sent me a sample to try out last week, I decided to use it to make a vegan creme brulee, a fantastic dessert that uses only the yolk portion of an egg. Traditionally made with cream and sugar as well, this is a tough dish to veganize, as replicating the egg component is virtually impossible to do with other typical vegan ingredients.

More about The Vegg:

Ingredients: The Vegg uses all-natural ingredients like nutritional yeast flakes, kala namak and beta-carotene and contains sodium alginate, which allows the yolk mixture to be transformed into a spherical egg yolk shape if you want—you'll just need some calcium chloride to make that happen—but it's not necessary to do that for most applications of the product.

The texture, look and taste: You'll have to blend this product in water before using it (1 teaspoon of The Vegg powder mixed with 1/4 cup water will make the equivalent of two to three yolks) in a blender or a Kitchen Aid Mixer on the highest setting. It will instantly yield a mixture that looks, smells and acts just like a real egg yolk. One package of The Vegg contains enough powder to make 30-40 yolks.

The verdict: Silky and rich, with an authentic egginess throughout, this creme brulee was easy to make, addictive after the first bite, and is now my favorite dessert. For this reason alone, I love this product, endorse it 100% and look forward to using it in other dishes and applications.

Availability:
You can currently purchase The Vegg in stores listed on their website, online at Vegan Essentials or on amazon.com. 10% of net sales of the product are donated to Compassion Over Killing.

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE CREME BRULEE
1 can of full-fat coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp agar powder
1 1/2 tsp of The Vegg
1/4 cup, plus 1 1/2 TB water
1/4 cup superfine sugar
extra superfine sugar, for topping

METHOD

Preheat oven to 325. Combine the coconut milk, vanilla and agar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until it just starts to slightly boil, then dial the heat back to the lowest setting.

I used a Kitchen Aid mixer on its highest setting, but you can also use a blender to combine The Vegg powder with the water until well combined, about 15 seconds. Do not mix by hand or it will not work correctly. Then add in the sugar and blend again. Pour The Vegg mixture into the saucepan through a fine-mesh strainer. Whisk vigorously to combine. Keep over the heat for a minute or two so the sugar can dissolve. Turn off the heat and remove the mixture from the burner.

Create a water bath by placing two ramekins in a glass pyrex dish. Pour the mixture into the ramekins, then pour water into the glass pyrex dish until it comes up to about half the height of your ramekins.

Place it into the oven, ensuring that none of the water spills over into the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the water bath as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Cover the ramekins with saran wrap, making sure it does not come into contact with the mixture. Place in the refrigerator to set overnight.

When you are ready to serve the creme brulee, sprinkle about a tablespoon of the superfine sugar over the top. Using a butane torch, sweep the flame over the top until a golden caramel color is achieved. Serve immediately.


21 comments:

  1. I use Orgran Egg Replacer a lot. I've read a bit about this product - is it available in Australia?

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    1. The online and in-store availability is listed on their website: http://www.thevegg.com/

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  2. I am so excited to find this post! Creme brulee is one of the things I miss most. That and flan which I bet you could make using the vegg. Can't wait to try this. Thank you!

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  3. awesome! i've never heard of vegg, but it's awesome to see how perfectly it can be used in place of eggs! i think of the possibilities.. ;)

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    1. Thanks Caitlin -- it was a little odd to rethink how one uses an egg, but this is a really good product to have around!

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  4. I reviewed the Vegg too after I used it to make tortilla espanola (http://theveganword.com/product-review-roundup-vegg-vegan-egg-frys-popcorn-chicken-airy-chocolate-aero-cheese-curls/) and I thought it had the eggy flavour spot on, but it didn't bind the tortilla as well as I'd hoped. Bryanna Clark Grogan told me she had a similar experience (although in her case it turned out gooey) when she made fritatta with it: http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/2012/04/couple-of-experiments-houghts-on-food.html
    I think it just requires some experimenting to get ratios right. That creme brulee looks fantastic though!! :)

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    1. Agreed! I made this twice and upped the agar powder the second round, because I overestimated the binding ability of The Vegg the first time. I found that it was the perfect additive for binding, at least in this kind of application. Thanks for your comment! : )

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  5. Oh... I so want to make this! Before eating vegan, creme brulee was my signature dessert to make for loved ones. Just to clarify, you have to use The Vegg and can't use the regular powdered egg replacement for this?

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    1. Yes -- The Vegg has a taste and texture completely different than something like Ener-G, so it's a pretty critical ingredient.

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  6. that is one beautiful brulee.. i was thinking about trying out the vegg someday. if you create a bunch more deliciousness as this then i will get some!

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    1. Thanks Richa! It's a great product to use. I also made french toast with it yesterday that turned out really well.

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  7. Wow - great idea! I've had the Vegg sample for so long and haven't been inspired to do anything with it yet (not a big egg fan) but this sounds FANTASTIC!

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    1. Thanks Whitney. I love The Vegg --it's a really great product. I don't particularly miss eggs either, but using this in a custard tastes wonderful!

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  8. This recipe is so fantastic. I have a friend who used to make me creme brulee and I miss it so so so much!

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  9. Gaaaaaaah!!! I miss creme brulee so much!!!! I have Vegg to use - MUST TRY!! :)

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  10. I just had my first "Vegg" French toast, and it was delish!

    It seems like it wouldn't be hard to duplicate the "Vegg" on one's own (IMO, it's rather pricey for what you get). There are only four ingredients (nutritional yeast, sodium alginate, black salt/Kamal Namak, and beta carotene). Assuming the beta carotene is for color, the only difficulty would be sodium alginate. What is it's purpose? I would assume it's what makes the "Vegg" thicken when blended. Any ideas?

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    1. Sodium alginate is a thickener, but differs from agar and gums in that it aids in spherification (which would be necessary if you wanted to recreate a yolk). With that being said, if you are just looking to use it for french toast or brulee, this application isn't totally necessary. I think a mixture of nutritional yeast and black salt with a touch of Ener-G or a ground flax seed/water slurry may do the trick. Good luck!

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  11. Thank you for the recipe. I was wondering if you think this recipe would work with a cashew creme or something similar. I want to make it without the taste of coconut.

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    1. I suspect it may work, but you would likely get something more the consistency of pudding or a heavier feel. And I am not sure how the Vegg would taste with cashew cream, but it may be worth a try just to see!

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  12. Does this make 2 servings? Thanks :)

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    1. yes, this makes 2 servings -- I hope you enjoy!

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