Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Creme de la dairy free Creme

Oo! How I love/loved cream!! 

Along with cheese, it's like the Holy Grail of my dairy free world! It's fine if you can tolerate soya - many dairy substitutes are made with soya, but I can't. 

I don't know about you, but I've tried a few.

In the early days of going dairy free (pre-discovering I couldn't tolerate gluten) not being able to tolerate soya, I used to use Oatly as my milk replacement and Oatly cream as an accompaniment for a dessert. 

Like many dairy replacements, the Oatly cream needed a good shake, before you opened the carton - as the contents tend to have separated a bit, whilst they've been sat on a shelf. I didn't get as far as baking with it, although it says that you can on the carton, but I did like a blob of it on my apple crumble. By itself, it was bland enough and didn't leave any nasty after taste.

One thing I found, though, was that the cream would start out fairly thick, in consistency, but would soon go runny, once it came into contact with the heat from the apple crumble.

Apple Crumble and 'cream' - delicious!
Once I became gluten free, as well as dairy and soya free, I really thought that my options were limited, until I came across the following, by Ecomil.

Look carefully,  when shopping, it's actually quite a small carton.
Basically, it's a 'cream' that's made with almonds, and, like Oatly, is suitable for cooking. I've used it on desserts ( as with the apple crumble above and now, also, to make a rich chocolate sauce (which I'll tell you more about another time).

On it's own, it tastes fairly bland, but actually works well as an accompaniment, I think. It's fairly thick in consistency, but doesn't work well in coffee - I should know, I've tried. It was an experiment too far!

Look, how it's split!!
It didn't taste bad, but it looked awful, as you can see!

I didn't manage to get hold of any more for quite a while, until I moved to our current location and found that it was stocked by my current 'local' health food store.

So, for a while, I was cream free, until thanks to my friend Sarah (@Sugarpuffish on Twitter) I was pointed in the direction of The Vegan Store and the somewhat misleadingly named Soyatoo.

I say misleadingly, because although they do make products from soya, they also make 'cream' from rice and coconut.

The first product of theirs, that I tried, I think I actually found locally. It was an aerosol cream, made of rice - very similar to the actual cream one I remember we sometimes had as a treat, when I was growing up. At the risk of making you drool, I have to tell you that I thought it was perfect on top of a hot chocolate, although the heat did make it melt in to the drink!

Deep joy!
Obviously not meant for cooking, I also tried it with strawberries - my favourite fruit! By itself, it had no real particular flavour, but I thought it had a nice enough taste and accompanied the strawberries quite nicely.

Just right for Wimbledon!
However, the spray button caused me a bit of trouble. I don't know if I was being thick, but I could only get tit to work properly the first time. On subsequent occasions, despite following the instructions on the can, to the letter, the nozzle didn't seem to spray too well. How disappointing!!

Once opened, I refrigerated it though, and this may have been the problem as it was meant to be kept at ambient temperature apparently, but for no more than two or three days. This I discovered, once I emailed the company.

Since then I have discovered that Soyatoo also make a dairy and soya free rice whipping cream (sold by The Vegan Store). It is long life, so it can be stored in the cupboard for some while - ideal to keep handy in case you suddenly feel the need! 

Having tried it, I think it makes quite a good alternative to cream. There's no unpleasant after-taste. It is easy to whip up cream, but is best chilled first - when chilled it becomes a little more solid and holds shape well. 

One to try!
Although I am still breastfeeding, I felt fine to try these, as it's not like I am planning to eat them everyday!! (If you'd like to know why I am avoiding rice milk, whilst breastfeeding, you might be interested in reading this earlier post.) However, for those who are scrupulously avoiding rice milk, Soyatoo also make a coconut whipping cream.

This is it:
Sorry about the photo quality, here, folks!
On first opening the carton, I couldn't help noticing the smell of the coconut, from which it was made and it didn't look too appetising when I emptied it out into a bowl to be whipped. I planned to use to as an accompaniment to my Christmas pudding. With an electric whisk, like the rice whip, it didn't whisk up too badly, at all. 

Christmas pudding soon being off my list of 'foods I can eat,' I tried it instead with, yes, you've guessed it - crumble! Raspberry and apple this time!

Yes, there's a LOT of cream in this picture but it made lot and I was the only one eating it!
And again, with Strawberries - only this time I combined them with a meringue nest. Hey presto! A mini pavlova!

Obviously, whipping cream is just that - and can only really be used for a topping. Funnily enough that is just what it reminded me of - Dream Topping! The flavour was more artificial, I think, than others I had tried. I could cope with it, but it wasn't my favourite. The consistency was good, though - it held shape well. It did occur to me, that because of this it could be frozen (once whipped) and eaten as a kind of ice cream, but I haven't tried it myself.

However, there's another kind of cream that you might want to try. I've come across it, in blogs, but not yet tried it myself. It is, however, probably the most easy to find in your local stores - canned coconut cream! Canned Coconut Cream can be whipped up and in this blog, by Oh She Glows, there is a really good demonstration of how it can be done. 

Now, I'm supposed to avoid canned food - I don't think it does anything too nasty to me, but it brings out quite a rash on my face, which is itchy and gives me exactly the same reaction as I get from my nickel allergy. Despite my funny rash, I think one day that I might give it a go. After all, you only live once!  :)

Other posts about dairy substitutes can be found by following this link.

Update - I've found another vegan cream:

Vegan Devonshire 'Klotted Kream'


  1. Hi,
    found some yeast flakes! My son loves them : ) they do have quite a cheesy taste.
    Pretty excited about the aerosol rice cream : ) Have had a look at the ingredients and we just have to get tested for coconut (we go to the consultants later this month) - fingers crossed : ) Strawberries and Cream here we come!

    1. Hey, Sian!

      So pleased to hear that the yeast flakes are a hit :) Hope the cream is too!

      It's fairly rare to be allergic to coconut, so hopefully there will be good news!


  2. I never knew you could whip coconut cream! Well well, you learn something new every day! I am also pretty surprised to find so many dairyfree 'creams'. Amazing!