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 ūüôĄ¬†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)

Homemade Crunchie Bars – dairy-free

 

Thank Crunchie it’s (almost) Friday!

Whilst the range of dairy-free chocolate is getting better all the time, it pales in comparison to the ‘regular’ chocolate selection in any shop. So regular blog followers will know that every now and then I try to experiment with an everyday and iconic bar to enable the girls to get a taste of what their friends eat.

The most popular so far have been my dairy-free KitKats and Creme Eggs¬†– I was pretty pleased with both of those (excuse the boast). This time I thought I’d experiment with Crunchie bars, yet another¬†‘classic’¬†and a childhood favourite.

Homeycomb in itself is pretty easy to make, and it’s lots of fun watching the caramel turn into a bubbling volcano of sugary foam ( but do be extremely careful as honeycomb is burning hot).

It’s also very easy to make uneven shards of honeycomb but I wondered how to make it into even bars like real crunchies. The answer is to pour the honeycomb into oiled silicone chocolate bar moulds and once set you have the most perfect honeycomb bars. Not that it makes any difference to the taste but¬†as my goal is to recreate the original as best I can, it seems important.

I know original Crunchies are coated in milk chocolate but the dark chocolate contrasts really well¬†with the ever-so-sweet honeycomb and actually makes a far better bar. Have fun dipping the honeycomb into the chocolate… messy but satisfying.

Dairy-free Homemade Crunchie Bars

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

makes 12 bars

200g caster sugar

 4 tbsp golden syrup

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g chocolate, melted

  1. Oil the chocolate moulds, or a baking tray with sides.
  2. Gently melt together the sugar and syrup (in a high sided saucepan which has plenty of spare space) until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a bubble and simmer until it turns lightly golden (this won’t take long).
  3. Remove from the heat and pour in the bicarbonate of soda, stir briefly to ensure the whole thing is foaming.
  4. Pour into the moulds or onto the baking tray. Leave to set.
  5. Un-mould or break into shards.
  6. Melt the chocolate and dip the bars/shards to totally cover.

 

Waffles – egg-free and dairy-free

waffles, egg-free and dairy-free

It’s nearly Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day and the perfect reason¬†for some mid week baking! I’ve got plenty of pancake recipes on my blog, from traditional, crepes to American style puffy fluffy ones. So this year I thought I’d share my trusty waffle recipe.

waffles and blueberry compote

It obviously helps if you have a waffle iron/maker but if not the recipe also works well in a clean greased griddle pan, which provides the necessary dips to give the iconic waffle shape and also hold the delicious fillings. I was lucky enough to get a waffle maker for Christmas so they’ve become a regular feature to our weekend breakfasts and puddings.

Despite having no egg or egg replacer in, this recipe makes fantastically light waffles which turn beautifully golden and crisp around the indentations. Delicious! In fact, Little S asked for¬†this quote added “They’re the best breakfast I’ve ever had’ – well, that’s a good review isn’t it!

We often have them with maple syrup but here I’ve served them with a sweet but tart blueberry compote and vanilla ice cream for a crowd pleasing pudding.

homemade dairy-free egg-free waffles

Egg-free, Dairy-free Waffles

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

vegan waffles

makes 6-8

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

3 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp melted dairyfree margarine (I prefer Pure) or flavourless oil

1 cup water

  1. Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir.
  2. Pour in the wet ingredients and whisk to form a smooth but thickish batter.
  3. Lightly oil your waffle iron or griddle pan and heat well.
  4. Pour a dollop into each waffle compartment (I find a level ladleful is the perfect amount for my waffle maker). Close and cook until golden on both sides.
  5. If using a griddle pan, cook dollops of batter in the pan until golden on one side and then carefully turn over.
  6. Serve straight away, or keep for later and reheat for 5 minutes in a hot oven before serving.

nut-free waffles

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.

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 souffl√©, 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 souffl√© you say? Impossible! How on earth could you make a souffl√© 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 souffl√© and I loved it’, or even just ‘yes, I’ve eaten a souffl√© but I’m not that bothered about having another one’. So have always wanted to tackle the¬†souffl√©, 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 souffl√© texture? The hard truth is that¬†baking it doesn’t really work. I tried. No souffl√©-like rising was happening.

shuffle with no eggs or dairy

So, this is a no bake souffl√©,¬†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 souffl√© 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 souffl√© 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 souffl√© had hold. There’s no point to¬†a souffl√© 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