Cremeschnitten are a traditional central European dessert and are essentially vanilla slices. There are many regional varieties, but this recipe is based on the Swiss version of Cremeschnitten: 2 layers of cream, 3 layers of puff pastry, topped off with a simple sugar icing. I also made alternative flavours and you could make pretty much any flavour you want. The first time I made vegan Cremeschnitten for my family, my older brother was really shocked when he realised these were not from a shop. He was even more surprised that these Cremeschnitten are in fact vegan. Please note that the outcome of this recipe may vary depending on what type of milk/ cream you use.
Prep time: 40 minutes || Cook time: 20 minutes || Passive time: about 12 hours
(6 slices or 12 mini-slices)
Ingredients for vegan Cremeschnitten
- 1 pack of puff pastry (about 25cm x 42cm when rolled out)
- For vanilla Cream:
- 6 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 cups non-dairy milk*
- 3 tbsp sugar*
- 2 fresh vanilla beans*
- 1 pinch of salt
- Optional: grated lemon peel (1/4 of a medium sized lemon)
- Whipped cream:
- 1/4 cup Non-Dairy whipping cream** (measured before whipping)
- 1 pack whipping cream stabiliser**
- a few squeezes of lemon juice
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp water
*If you use unsweetened milk, sugar and vanilla are important. However, you could also use sweetened vanilla flavored milk instead – it’s up to taste. I tried both! I used Alpro Soy (unsweetened) with added sugar and vanilla. I’ve also used Alpro Soy vanilla with no added sugar/ vanilla. You can of course use any non-dairy milk, although I wouldn’t use rice milk (it may be a bit too thin). You can use more/ less sugar, depending on how sweet you want your Cremeschnitte to be.
**The type you have to whip yourself, i.e. that is liquid when you buy it and gets fluffy and big when you whisk it. The recipe also works with homemade whipped cream (I used coconut milk as a base) without whipping cream stabiliser . You will need about 1.5 cups of whipped cream. It seemed a little less fluffy then with the store-bought one. There’s a good recipe for whipped cream on ohsheglows.com.
Preparation of vegan Cremeschnitten
Preparing the pastry
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (with air-circulation. 220°C without air circulation)
- Take the puff pastry out of the packaging and put it (rolled out) on a baking tray.
- Poke lots of tiny wholes into it, using a fork.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Check if there are large air pockets. If yes, take it out of the oven, slowly press the air out and then carefully turn/ flip the pastry in order for it to become flat again. If the pastry looks flat, leave it in the oven.
- Bake for another 10 minutes. It should be golden brown now.
- Take out of the oven and let it cool down.
Note: It’s ok to bake the pastry the night before. It also works if you bake it fresh on the day.
Making the vanilla cream
- Mix about half a cup of your non-dairy milk with the cornstarch. Stir well until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Set aside.
- Scrape out the inside of the fresh vanilla beans and add to a pot, together with the rest of the milk and the sugar. If you’d like the filling to be sweeter, you can add more sugar to taste.
- Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium.
- Slowly add the milk-cornstarch mix while stirring continuosly. Keep stirring until the cream is thick.
- Take the pan off the stove. Add the vanilla cream to a bowl.
- Cover the bowl either with a plate or clingfilm and put in the fridge.
- Leave the cream in the fridge for a few hours, ideally over night.
Making the filling
- Get the cold vanilla cream out of the fridge. Whisk until smooth. (It doesn’t need to be perfect)
- Whisk whipping cream together with whipping cream stabiliser. You can do this by hand or you can use a mixer.
- Slowly mix the vanilla cream with the whipped cream using a spoon (don’t use a whisk).
Stacking the vegan Cremeschnitten
- If you want to double-stack your Cremeschnitten (i.e. 2 layers of cream/ 3 layers of pastry), cut the pastry into 3 equal pieces. It’s important that these are the same size. (If you want to single-stack your Cremeschnitten, cut the pastry into 2 equal pieces.)
- Put about half the cream on top of the first piece of pastry. Make sure the cream is distributed evenly.
- Stack the second piece of pastry on top of the layer of cream.
- Add the rest of the cream and spread it evenly on the pastry.
- Stack the final piece of pastry on the layer of cream, making sure that the flat side is on top.
- If you want, you can use a small spoon to smooth down the cream on the edges.
Making the icing
- Mix powdered sugar, a few squeezes of lemon juice and water in a pan and heat up. Stir well.
- Add the icing to the giant Cremeschnitte.
- Cover the giant Cremeschnitte with a big bowl if possible and put in the fridge for a few hours. I’d say you at least 3-4 hours – it will be much easier to cut then! You could also put in the freezer for about 30 minutes. If you’re living in a cold climate and it’s currently winter, you could also just put it outside – that’s what I did. Just make sure it’s covered!
Cutting the vegan Cremeschnitten
- This is the hard part. Use a bread knife to cut. (You may use a different type of knife, use whatever works best for you. Make sure it’s sharp)
- Carefully and slowly cut through the pastry. Don’t cut from the top down, put cut ‘sidewards’.
- You may have accidentally pushed out some of the cream filling. Don’t worry, just scoop it back in as well as you can and smooth with a spoon or a small knife.
- You can wrap the finished Cremeschnitten in baking paper – like this they become very easy to handle and won’t fall apart!
You can make these vegan Cremeschnitten in lots of different flavours. Just add whatever you like to the icing/ filling. I made Matcha-ginger, raspberry and chocolate flavoured Cremeschnitten! (The raspberry ones are the best!)
Matcha-Ginger: When making the filling, add about 1 tbsp of matcha powder to the vanilla cream BEFORE adding the cornstarch-milk mix. You can add more if you like. Cut a few pieces of fresh ginger and add as well. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes. Take out the pieces of ginger and then add the cornstarch mix. Follow the rest of the instructions as normal. For the icing, you can also add about 0.5 tbsp of matcha powder. (Or more/less depending on what colour/ taste you want)
Chocolate: Add about a cup of chocolate powder to the vanilla cream before adding the cornstarch-mix instead of the sugar. You may wish to add sugar as well or add more chocolate powder. Add some melted chocolate pieces to the sugar-icing, stir well. You may wish to use the regular sugar-icing and add a few splashes of chocolate icing on top (see picture).
Raspberry: Add 2 cups of frozen raspberries to the vanilla cream before adding the cornstarch-mix. Cook until defrosted. Stir well – there’s no need to use a mixer or blender, just use a whisk. The cooked raspberries will easily fall apart. For the icing: heat 1-2 tbsp of jam (ideally raspberry), filter through a flour sifter or tea filter to make sure it’s smooth, add to the sugar-icing.
Cutting the vegan Cremeschnitten: If you don’t care whether or not the edges of the Cremeschnitten are perfect, you can also cut all the pastry BEFORE stacking it. This method is much easier but may look a little less pretty.
You can download a printable recipe card (pdf) here.
Oh and these were some of the reactions I got when I made these for my family:
- My non-vegan brother: “Oh didn’t we buy them from a shop? Wait, are they vegan?!”
- My vegan husband: “Ooooh my god….”
- My mum complained that there weren’t enough.
Honestly, these vegan Cremeschnitten are sooo good – especially the raspberry flavoured ones! Eating them is a bit messy, but the taste is fantastic. If you make them, please leave me a comment and tell me how they turned out! If you feel like something’s wrong with the recipe, please let me know so I can improve it. I feel like the taste and texture varies a lot depending on what milk and whipping cream you use, so let me know what worked for you. Also, if there are any ingredients that you can’t get where you live, tell me so that I can find a substitute for it.
Bon appetit – or as we say in Swiss German: “En guete”!
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