When most people think of Japanese sweets, they think of beautiful treats wrapped in mochi or filled with anko. Those vegan sweets are delicious. But Japan also has their own unique versions of more Western sweets, like custard pudding. Purin as it is termed in Japanese, is the short form for “custard pudding,” and like many other sweets of western origin, this pudding emerged in Japan during the Meiji Period after the Edo policy of sakoku, or closed country, ended.

In North America, puddings like Boston creme, vanilla, and chocolate are more popular than the British-style custard-based flan. But Japan can’t get enough of the simple, delicious custard version. Since the Meiji period, Purin has been a popular dessert in cafes throughout Japan, along with treats like coffee jelly. During the postwar economic boom, Purin became one of the most popular and mass produced prepackaged dessert options. Japanese kids grow up eating Purin as a snack, and it has high nostalgia appeal for that reason.

Very egg and dairy-heavy, Japanese custard pudding is decidedly not vegan. But making a vegan version is easy. It’s easy to flavour the vegan version with delicious toppings like cocoa powder, berries and compote, or kinako maple syrup.

If you live in Kansai, we recommend checking out Branma pudding cafe in Kobe. They’re on Happy Cow because they’re an entirely vegan cafe. Try their delicious puddings, smoothies or doughnuts.

Have you ever tried making vegan Japanese pudding? We love it!