Bachelor of Science (with Honours)
Advanced Diplomas in each of Naturopathy, Nutrition, and Herbal Medicine.
Lisa is the author of The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly series and the Producer and Presenter of the web-series The Alternative Chef Kitchen.
Making a custard alternative
Dairy, soy, gluten or egg might be off your menu, but it doesn’t mean that you need to miss out on pudding this Christmas!
This month I’m going to take you step by step through how you can make a custard alternative that suits your diet with a basic framework to help you adapt and or create other recipes too.
When you’re making an alternative version of a food you love, there are 4 key things you need to consider and these are the:
Traditional custard is:
- Yellowish/ off white in colour
- Creamy and “thick” in texture.
- Not usually too strong in smell (unless it’s flavoured with something strong like Brandy for example).
- Flavour wise it’s often sweetened and the fattiness kind of helps give it that “smooth” mouth feel. (While I haven’t had traditional custard in years, it clearly made an impression and my memory is vivid;-)
Traditional custard is usually made with dairy milk and a custard powder which might contain some thickeners, or sometimes it can contain egg. The powder and or the egg would both contribute to the yellow/ off white colour in a traditional custard, and they’d both contribute to the thick texture. While the sweetener (and other flavouring such as brandy) would contribute to the smell and taste. Lastly, the dairy milk helps to add the creamy taste.
So, to make an alternative custard you need to decide how you can replicate those 4 experiences with the foods on your “can eat” list.
Step 1. Where the “thickness” is coming from.
Depending on your specific dietary needs, you could substitute the cows milk for a milk alternative that suits your diet. However, if egg or “regular” custard powder contains other ingredients that don’t suit your diet, you’re going to need to find an alternative way to thicken the custard alternative. One way is to use a mashable fruit like banana or mango.
Both banana and mango give the custard an alternative that is off white/ yellowish in appearance, they blend well with rice milk (or which ever dairy milk alternative suits your diet)(it’s a bit like a thick shake) and also, being fruit, they both add some sweetness to your custard alternative.
Because rice milk (and most of your dairy milk alternatives are reasonably low in fat) and the fruit is also low in fat, you might wish to add in some fat to help give the custard alternative that extra “creamy” taste and texture.
The easiest way to do this is to add some coconut yoghurt if it suits your diet (or if you can’t find a commercial coconut yoghurt alternative, you could check out our simple recipe in our book The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Homemade Basics. Some commercial coconut yoghurt alternatives may contain additives which contain gluten, dairy, soy or egg so it’s important to check labels carefully if you need to avoid those ingredients or traces of those ingredients).
If you choose to use a thickened coconut cream, make sure you use canned coconut cream (without any added stabilisers or emulsifiers). A coconut cream without any additives will separate into a watery layer and a fatty layer after you leave it in the fridge over night. This makes it easier for you to scoop the cream off the top, and also it’ll maintain the texture of coconut yoghurt or thickened cream better.
Ok, so how do we make custard?
What you need:
- 1 cup Rice milk (or milk alternative that suits your diet)
- flesh from 1 Mango OR 1 (not too ripe) banana (if neither of these suit your diet then just omit).
- Coconut yoghurt OR thick coconut cream that suits your diet (see below for notes)
- 1 tablespoon Rice malt syrup , honey or coconut syrup (adjust to taste after you add it in)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons coconut yoghurt or coconut cream (see notes below)
- OPTIONAL , a dash of Brandy (this is nice at Christmas time if it suits your diet)
Just add all the ingredients to a large jug and puree with a stick blender (or benchtop blender) then transfer to a small pan and heat before serving.
If you’re looking for something to pour the custard alternative over, we recommend our Christmas Puddings from our book The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Christmas Recipes (2nd edition) (it’s made without gluten, dairy, soy, egg or nuts, it’s vegan friendly and unlike traditional puddings this one takes you about one hour to make, bake and eat. To buy the E-Book click HERE
Until next time …… Lisa.
For Lisa’s previous blogs click HERE
For all the books from The Alternative Chef Kitchen click HERE