It’s really hot in Sydney at the moment. Really, really hot. So a frozen treat is always welcome. I know I’ve mentioned this recipe for seven-ingredient vegan cheesecakes (from Minimalist Baker) before, but it is one of my favourites. Last time I mentioned it, my big realisation was that I could substitute almond pulp for the nuts in the base, which works really well. Today I mention it simply to say that you should also add a big handful of frozen berries in the topping. These berry cheesecakes taste delicious and look very pretty.
In this batch I also blended the base for longer, leading to a much softer consistency . This was an improvement, I thought, so I’ll do it this way from now on.
I had originally soaked some cashews with another recipe in mind, but I decided instead to try this cashew maple ice cream from thevintagemixer.com . You just blend up the cashew nuts, some water, coconut oil, sweeteners and vanilla, then put in the freezer in a shallow tray. You stir the mixture regularly: I gather that this helps make the icecream creamy, rather than just icy.
We tried some tonight with a drizzle of maple syrup over each serve, and we all enjoyed it. The icecream was quite firm initially but softened up quickly. Next time I make this, I’ll put it in the icecream maker and see if there’s much change in texture.
I decided that it was time to have another go at making vegan pavlovas: individual pavlovas seemed easiest. This time I reduced my chickpea liquid the day before, as suggested in this recipe from The Blenderist which I followed.
I didn’t start with all the liquid from one can of chickpeas: in the past I’ve ended up with way too much meringe, so I only kept about 2/3rds of a can’s worth of liquid. Then, I forgot to measure the liquid before I reduced it, so I had to just guess when to stop: it’s possible I reduced it too far! The net result was that I ended up with enough meringue for 3 individual pavlovas, as shown here. The kids got one each and my partner and I shared the third one: such parental sacrifice. I tried to whip some coconut cream and it did thicken up a bit, but I have never had much luck getting very well-whipped coconut cream. (Do I give up too early, or is there some trick? Any advice gratefully received.) The pavlovas are topped with passionfruit pulp, kiwifruit and strawberries.
The pavlovas were a little flat, so these looked like a cross between pavlovas and pizzas! We were more interested in how they tasted, and they tasted very nice. Due to the thinness of the base, I didn’t achieve the soft fluffiness that I remember from (egg-based) pavlovas of my childhood: my dream would be to produce a base which has a crispy shell and a mallowy fluffy centre. Perhaps if I had divided my meringue into two larger portions, I would have ended up with thicker bases and some fluffiness would have resulted? I will try again someday, but meanwhile there’s always these pizzalovas to enjoy.
This pie was inspired by my sister Leigh’s Cherry Pie recipe in her first cookbook, Vegan Indulgence. I had a jar of morello cherries in the cupboard, but the recipe requires two jars… so I substituted four apples for the second jar. I peeled and slices the apples, put them in a saucepan with some cherry juice, and stewed them gently for 5 minutes to soften them. Then I followed the rest of Leigh’s very easy recipe for the cherry filling, which you can read on Google books. (Have a look on the next page too: my husband took the photos!)
I really did intend to make the pastry from scratch, honest, but then I realised that I didn’t have enough vegan margarine: “Ah well”, I thought, “it will just have to be store-bought pastry” (phew!). I blind-baked the base for about 10 minutes so it wouldn’t end up soggy, then completely cooled the base and the filling. When cool, I scooped the filling into the pie (I didn’t use all the liquid but kept some to use as topping on ice-cream). Before putting the second sheet of pastry on for the lid, I brushed some soy milk around the edges of the base to encourage the base and lid to stick together (I pressed around the edge of the lid with a fork as well). Finally, I brushed the whole lid with soy milk so it would brown. Don’t forget to cut a circle out of the middle of the lid so that the steam has somewhere to escape.
I was very happy with how this pie turned out: look at the gorgeous red colour! It’s a loose filling which spilled out when I cut it, but that doesn’t bother me. The kids and I greatly enjoyed this pie.
The other day I had some passionfruit to use up. After some googling, I chose to make this vegan passionfruit panna cotta recipe from Baking-Ginger. As promised, this is very easy to make: it just takes a little time to set each layer.
The recipe calls for a tin of Granadilla pulp but I think that’s just passionfruit pulp (can anyone confirm?). I substituted the pulp of two fresh juicy passionfruit, and I was able to make it stretch to a topping for four small desserts, as in the photo. It would have been nice with a bigger passionfruit layer as well, if I’d had more than two passionfruits. Everyone enjoyed this dessert and I would definitely make it again.
I take my hat off to you, Dreena Burton. This chocolate cake from Plant-Powered Families is absolutely lush. Even better, the recipe is available online. The name of the recipe gives away the secret ingredient: sweet potato! The cake has no oil, but is rich and moist and delicious. There’s even sweet potato in the icing!
I cooked the sweet potato as Dreena suggests at the start of the book: by baking it whole, skin-on. You just scrub the sweet potato, put it on a tray and stick it in the oven for 40 – 60 minutes. Don’t pierce the skin at the start: those fork marks you can see are from me testing whether the sweet potato was cooked. The skin becomes loose and can be easily peeled away from the cooked sweet potato, which was slightly caramelised.
Just give this recipe a try, I predict that you will love it. My kids and I ate the left-over icing with a spoon, it’s almost a chocolate mousse. Gorgeous.
What can I say? This is a simple chocolate cake with a delicious ganache (mixture of non-dairy milk, melted vegan chocolate and some maple syrup from sweetness). I had never made a ganache before but it was very easy. It’s fun to pour the ganache over the cake, watch it slowly ooze out to the edges, then set. A cake to savour.
This recipe can be found in Isa Does it and is also online at Post Punk Kitchen (but with some of the vanilla replaced by almond essence).