Archives for category: dessert

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Looks great, don’t you think?  It tasted great too. My starting point for this cheesecake was a recipe on One Green Planet for Oreo Cheesecake Tartlets.  I made a couple of modifications: I’m always looking for ways to use up almond pulp (created as a by-product of the fresh almond milk that I make for my green smoothies, since I only see long-life almond milk in the shops near where I live).  So my base was around 1 cup almond pulp, 1 cup dates, cacao powder (about 3 tablespoons?) and some rolled oats, maybe 1/4 of a cup. Then I made the vanilla cream layer, as in the recipe linked above. As in many raw vegan cheesecakes, the cream is made from cashew nuts, coconut milk and flavourings. I didn’t have cacao butter so I substituted melted coconut oil.

But I was too lazy to make the chocolate ganache drizzle that they suggested in the recipe, so I simply topped the cheesecake with fresh strawberries when serving. I think the freshness of the strawberries added a nice element to the dessert.

Instead of tartlets, I used an 8 inch round springform cake tin, lightly greased and lined. As you see, there was enough base for a decent layer on the bottom and up the sides, and luckily, the vanilla filling came up to pretty much exactly the right height! If you haven’t made a raw cheesecake before then (you definitely should and) I should probably mention that after putting the base and filling together, the cheesecake goes in the freezer to firm up. When serving, cutting it while it’s quite frozen helps keep the base together, but I prefer to let it soften up for at least 10 minutes before eating it.

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A couple of weekends ago, it was my children’s school’s Market Carnival. Among the usual stalls I spotted some gorgeous looking bread from Brasserie Bread. I couldn’t resist buying a loaf of their emmer sourdough (apparently emmer is an ancient grain?!) and sour cherry loaf.  We enjoyed the sour cherry toasted, topped with vegan margarine or macadamia nut butter.

However, we didn’t use much of the sourdough. I could have put it in the freezer, as the nice person who sold me the bread suggested (I was trying to decide if we could really eat two loaves of artisan bread quickly enough). But instead I thought I’d make bread pudding. I’d just received a copy of the Joy of Vegan Baking, which luckily enough had just the recipe I needed.

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I was happy with this dessert, though it was very filling, being made with a wholemeal sourdough. It definitely needed the moistness of the (soy) icecream. I followed the recipe almost exactly, just using vegetable oil instead of melting vegan margarine. (I’m often too lazy to melt the margarine! and vegetable oil usually seems to work just as well.) This is good comfort food.

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There are so many reasons to visit the Green Edge, as I try to do every time I’m in Brisbane. (See here and here.) Usually I go for lunch and I’m too full to try any of their delicious sweet treats. But on my last visit, my Mum suggested that we buy something sweet to take home for afternoon tea. What a great idea!  I chose this gorgeous concoction: I’m afraid I can’t remember what they called it but I think it involved raspberries. This is what it looked like when I took the end piece of chocolate off with my fork, before demolishing it. Berries, chocolate, what’s not to love?

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This was the ‘before’ shot. (I should have included a fork or something, for scale: it was maybe 10cm long. It almost looks like it could be the size of a loaf of bread!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.