Dairy-free Vanilla Panna Cotta

I have to admit that I’m obsessed with Masterchef. I religiously watch every episode of every series, I can’t really think of a programme I enjoy watching more! Obviously as a veggie who does a lot of vegan baking most of the dishes aren’t really my cup of tea, but the do inspire ideas and experiments. The pudding of choice seems to have moved on from a chocolate fondant (see a winning recipe here) to a panna cotta. They’re all doing panna cottas all the time, probably because they’re fairly easy to make in advance and then make look pretty on the plate kind of dessert – ideal when you’ve got a last minute panic going on!

I’ve never attempted a panna cotta before because the main ingredients for this sweetened set cream are gelatine and cream, not exactly suitable for a dairy-free veggie friendly blog! But surely I could make a tasty friendly version? I’ve had a few disasters with over rubbery dollops or hardly set puddles, but this recipe gives a great finish and beautifully sweet vanilla taste. There’s a good wobble but none of the rather unappealing bounce from too much gelatine! As it turns out dairy-free cream and veggie gelatine make perfect substitutes. I opted for Oatly cream, added lots of vanilla and a touch of sugar and the taste was great. I had wanted to use agar as a readily found veggie gelatine alternative but couldn’t find any 🙄 so this recipe uses something called Vegetarian gel sachets from Sainsbury’s which is made from carrageenan and one sachet sets 570ml. Just make sure the setting agent you use sets similar proportions.

Since the Masterchef final is tomorrow night, this might be a suitable pudding to enjoy while watching!

Dairy-free Vanilla Panna Cotta

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 3 or 4

250ml dairy-free cream

3 tbsp icing sugar

1/4 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)

1/2 tsp vegetarian gel

  1. Pour the cream into a saucepan. Add the vanilla, sugar and vegetarian gel. Stir until the gel powder and icing sugar have dissolved
  2. Bring the mixture to the boil for 1 minute.
  3. Pour into the ramekins or moulds and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours
  4. When ready to serve, un-mould and decorate with berries and chocolate soil (crumbled up biscuits)

Dairy-free Chocolate Cheesecake

vegan chocolate cheesecake

Now, obviously you can’t make a really authentic cheesecake if you don’t eat dairy – you do need plenty of cream cheese after all! I’ve made plenty with soya cream cheese which makes a fantastic fruity cheesecake. This chocolate based recipe is pretty inspired as it’s made made using silken tofu, which was kindly supplied by Mori-Nu. It’s a particularly versatile and good quality tofu and my preferred brand of choice when either making savoury dishes such as salt and pepper tofu, or a sweet dish as found here.

The tofu base is quite a revelation, on first reading it doesn’t sound good does it? Tofu cheesecake, it sounds bland and a bit meh. But in fact the results are inspired and delicious. The texture is as smooth and creamy as a cheesecake should be and the chocolate flavour is happily soaked up by the tofu to make a wonderfully rich and decadent filling. All this from six simple ingredients, you can’t go wrong with that!

chocolate cheesecake

Dairy-free Chocolate Cheesecake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free, egg-free chocolate cheesecake

makes one 12 inch cheesecake, enough to serve at least 8

200g crushed biscuits, I used Lotus Caramalised Biscuits

50g dairy-free spread, melted

350g pack firm silken tofu

170g dairy-free chocolate, such as Kinnerton

4 tbsps golden syrup/maple syrup (or use honey if you’re not vegan)

1 tbsp sunflower oil

grated chocolate to decorate

  1. Melt the dairy-free spread and stir into the crushed biscuits. Press into the bottom of a loose base tart tin. Place in the fridge to set.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender pulse the silken tofu with the syrup/honey until smooth.
  3. Melt the chocolate and oil together either over a bain-marie or in a microwave. Stir until smooth.
  4. Carefully stir the chocolate into the tofu mix until well combined.
  5. Pour over the biscuit base. Smooth over the top and then leave to set in the fridge for at least a few hours.
  6. Decorate the top as desired, I used shaved white chocolate.

egg-free, dairy-free cheesecake

Disclaimer: Mori-Nu sent me a pack of tofu which I used to create this recipe.

Homemade Toffee Crisp Chocolate Bars

 

vegan homemade toffee crisp

While dairy-free chocolate bars have improved enormously in the last few years thanks to brands like Moo Free and supermarket own brands, they’re still not especially exciting or child friendly. Most of the more interesting varieties are either extremely difficult to come by or they’re suitable for vegans but not if allergic to milk.

The girls are always utterly delighted when I make exciting chocolate bars, so to add to previous KitKat and Twix recipes already on my site, here is rather thrilling Toffee Crisp recipe. Sweet caramel coated Rice Krispies encased in smooth rich chocolate, who could resist that? The Toffee Crisp was certainly one of my favourites while growing up. Somehow the Rice Krispies remain crunchy and are a fabulous sweet and crispy centre to the bar.

dairy-free nut-free toffee crisp chocolate bars
My recipe is slightly different to the original Nestle bar as it is enrobed in smooth, dark chocolate, not sweet creamy chocolate. Feel free to mix that up, I just find that dairy-free milk chocolate gives less of a smooth shiny end product and as my girls are more used to dark than milky flavours, it’s what they prefer.
It may seem to be a total pain to make your own chocolate bars but as long as you have a little time and some silicone moulds they really are pretty simple, and you do feel very satisfied in the end. In fact, these bars went down so well that I’ve been requested to make a bubbly Aero next – I have no idea how I can manage that?

coating chocolate moulds

Homemade Dairy-free Toffee Crisp Bars

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, can be gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

homemade dairy-free toffee crisp chocolate bars, vegan

makes about 8

100g dairy-free chocolate

40g dairy-free margarine

125g caster sugar

Dash of water

30g Rice Krispies (use gluten-free if you need)

  1. Melt and temper the chocolate using these guidelines
  2. Coat the silicone moulds with two layers of chocolate, leave to set in a cool place
  3. Melt together the sugar, margarine and water. Bring to a boil and cook until it just turns golden, between 260 and 265 degrees Centigrade. Make sure it doesn’t turn too dark of it’ll taste bitter. Pour in the Rice Krispies and stir so they are totally covered in the caramel.
  4. Fill the chocolate coated moulds with the caramel Rice Krispies and leave to harden. Once set, coat with another layer of chocolate, making sure all the gaps are filled.
  5. Once set, turn out of the moulds and trim off any edges. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

making toffee crisp bars

Luscious Lemon Mousse (egg, dairy and gelatine free)

dairy-free, egg-free vegan lemon mousse
Whilst you can’t beat chocolate mousse, there’s something so light and refreshing about lemon mousse that makes me crave this cloudy zesty dessert every now and then.

I’ve been veggie for all my adult life, so I haven’t eaten a traditional lemon mousse for a long long time, but I still occasionally think back to those treat lemon mousse pots from M&S in my childhood! Since Big S is a huge citrus fan I knew it would appeal to her too, but it has been a difficult recipe to develop – the lemon juice almost ‘curdles’ any dairy-free cream and most attempts have led to a thick and over-creamy top above some watery lemon soup at the bottom. Which is not nice.
This recipe on the other hand gives you a billowy, cloud-like lemon mousse which is every bit as aerated as an egg, milk and gelatine based original. Using the the same process as my strawberry soufflĂ©, the aquafaba meringue gives it a light mousse-like texture, the dairy-free cream creates rich creaminess and the lemon gel adds some zingy lemon flavour. It is best eaten on the day it’s made, or the next day (after any longer it will want to separate) but there is no need to hang around before eating it.

As you can see from the following two pictures the texture firms up over time. In the first photo the mousse is about 1 hour post creation and has a light fluffy texture, with the texture of a citrus foam. The second picture shows the mousse the following day and you can see the texture is firmer and more creamy, with a more traditional mousse consistency.

vegan lemon mousse day it's made

vegan lemon mousse, day 2

Luscious Lemon Mousse

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

egg-free nut-free lemon mousse

serves 4 – 6

zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 2 lemons

1g carragennan kappa or the veggie gelatine equivalent of 2 leaves of gelatine

1/3 cup aquafaba

Pinch of cream of tartar

4 tbsp icing sugar

300ml whipped dairy-free cream

 

  1. Bring the lemon juice and zest and carragennan kappa to a boil, stir and simmer for one minute. Set aside to cool and set
  2. Whisk together the aquafaba and cream of tartar until light and fluffy. Best in the sugar 1 tbsp at a time to make a thick, smooth, glossy meringue. Set aside.
  3. Whip the cream to form soft peaks.
  4. Break up the lemon jelly and whisk into the cream, adding food colour if desired.
  5. Stir in 1 tbsp of the meringue, then gently fold in the rest until the mix is evenly combined.
  6. Spoon into the prepared ramekins and place in the fridge to chill.

dairy-free lemon mousse

Egg-free Strawberry Soufflé 

egg-free souffle

Egg-free soufflĂ© you say? Impossible! How on earth could you make a soufflĂ© without any eggs? It’s another one of those dishes that seems out of reach.

As you should know by now, my mission is to recreate dishes so that no-one misses out, so that everyone can say, ‘oh yes I’ve tried a soufflĂ© and I loved it’, or even just ‘yes, I’ve eaten a soufflĂ© but I’m not that bothered about having another one’. So have always wanted to tackle the soufflĂ©, it is after-all one of those stand out [get it?] ‘wow’ dishes!

It’s another recipe that I’ve been scheming and planning for years. As we know, the use of aquafaba has been a revelation in replacing eggs, surely that might help with the light soufflĂ© texture? The hard truth is that baking it doesn’t really work. I tried. No soufflĂ©-like rising was happening.

shuffle with no eggs or dairy

So, this is a no bake soufflĂ©, so you could say it’s a bit of a cheat, but it has the light, fluffy aerated rise that you want, and is egg and dairy-free.

I’ve given it its height by chilling it in a risen soufflĂ© shape. Despite not being baked, the texture is spot on, it’s delicate but with ‘holding power’.

There are a fair few stages to this recipe, but none of them difficult, so with a little bit of time, it’s easy to achieve. This particular recipe is a strawberry soufflĂ© as we’re in prime strawberry season in the UK, and you’d be crazy not to use that in season produce. I’ve already got plans for other variations…. I’m dreaming of chocolate, lemon ….

dairy-free egg-free vegan souffle

So, there are a few steps to go through, but don’t be put off, it’s easy.

Step 1 is to make the jelly, I used a strawberry puree set with carraghenane kappa to ensure the finished soufflĂ© had hold. There’s no point to a soufflĂ© that flops instantly!

Step 2 is to make the meringue

Step 3 is to whip the cream and combine with the strawberry jelly

Step 4 is to fold in the meringue and set in the molds. Easy peasy!

Egg-free Strawberry Soufflé 

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan strawberry souffle

100ml strawberry puree

1g carragennan kappa or the veggie gelatine equivalent of 2 leaves of gelatine

1/3 cup aquafaba

Pinch of cream of tartar

4 tbsp icing sugar (I used Sugar and Crumbs strawberry flavour)

300ml whipped dairy-free cream

Strawberry essence, a few drops

A few drops of pink food colour

  1. Prepare the ramekins by tying or taping a collar of parchment around the tops so they can be filled above the rim. Set aside.ramekins for souffles
  2. Bring the strawberry puree and carragennan kappa to a boil, stir and simmer for one minute. Set aside to cool and set
  3. Whisk together the aquafaba and cream of tartar until light and fluffy. Best in the sugar 1 tbsp at a time to make a thick, smooth, glossy meringue. Set aside.
  4. Whip the cream to form soft peaks. Break up the strawberry jelly and whisk into the cream, adding strawberry essence and food colour if desired.

making a vegan souffle5. Gently fold in the meringue until the mix is evenly combined.folding meringue into a souffle

6. Spoon into the prepared ramekins and level off so the top of the soufflé is 1 or 2 cm above the rim.no bake vegan souffle

7. Place in the freezer for half an hour to an hour to set. Then transfer to the fridge.

egg-free strawberry souffle

Mini Blueberry Swirl Cheesecakes

mini blueberry swirl cheesecakes, dairy-free

Well, Hello June! I think it’s time to get light, fresh and summery!

Everyone in this house loves cheesecakes and they’re probably my most asked for pudding. I tend to either use Tofutti ‘Better than cream cheese’ or occasionally tofu when making a chocolate cheesecake. However it’s all about soaked cashews in vegan cheesecakes these days and since little S can have cashews these days, I thought I’d try one out. All I can say is no no no, cashews do not make a nice ‘cheesecake’ – maybe it’s because I don’t have a high speed blender or maybe I didn’t soak the cashews for long enough, but the resulting mixture was a sweet, grainy, nutty paste which tasted just that. I knew there was no way that was going to be popular in this household! If anyone has tips, please let me know, everyone is so positive about cashew cheesecake that i must have been making some fatal mistakes…

vegan blueberry cheesecake
So back to my popular tofutti based cheesecake and my, am I pleased I did. I changed up my usual recipe to make mini blueberry swirl cheesecakes on a plain biscuit base.

Don’t they look cute, popped out of muffin trays to look like proper mini versions of a family sized dessert? Well it’s as easy as anything, simply lie two strips of baking parchment in a cross at the base of each cake dip and assemble the cheesecake on top. After a quick half hour in the freezer they’re ready to pop out and devour!

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) NB Contains soya

blueberry drizzle egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free cheesecakes

 makes 8 mini cheesecakes

small handful blueberries

1 tbsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp cornflour

100g plain biscuits, crushed

1 tbsp dairy-free spread, melted

1 pack soya cream cheese

2-3 tbsps soya yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 tbsps icing sugar

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, caster sugar and cornflour. Simmer until the blueberries pop and the mixture becomes ‘jammy’. Sieve or leave as a more chunky texture. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted spread. Press into the bottom of the cupcake pan. Place in the fridge to set.
  3. Whisk together the other ingredients until they are smooth. Taste and add more vanilla or icing sugar according to own taste.
  4. Spoon onto the biscuit base, and level off the top.dairy-free cheesecakes
  5. Swirl a dollop of blueberry puree onto the top of each cheesecake.
  6. Place in the freezer to set for at least a half an hour. Then transfer to the fridge.
  7. Remove the cheesecakes for the tin prior to serving and garnish with any left over puree on the plate.

nut-free mini cheesecakes