Lime and Ginger Cheesecake

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Cheesecakes have always been one of my favourite puddings, and that remains the case since cooking dairy and egg-free. I’ve tried many, many truly awful recipes, but this ‘no bake’ recipe works an absolute treat.

Tofutti is the only dairy-free cream cheese that I rate, but this particular recipe can use any brand of vegan cream cheese to great effect. I find most dairy-free cream cheeses unpleasant and often rather pasty, but this recipe transforms even a disappointing ‘cheesy’ spread into a luxurious, zingy, creamy cheesecake. It’s luscious, cheesy, zesty and sings with flavour. A great way to end a rich or spicy meal. The combination of ginger and lime works really well and if you didn’t mention it to them, I’m fairly certain not many people would call it as a vegan cheesecake.

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Lime and Ginger Cheesecake 

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) N.B. contains soya

IMG_4087

This recipe makes 1 small cheesecake (enough for 4 small portions or 2 large)

100g ginger biscuits, crushed

1 tbsp dairy-free spread, melted

5 tbsps soya cream cheese

2-3 tbsps soya yogurt

Juice and zest of 1 lime

2-3 tbsps icing sugar

  1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted spread. Press into the bottom of the pie tin, or into individual ramekins. Place in the fridge to set.
  2. Whisk together the other ingredients until they are smooth. Taste and add more lime juice or icing sugar according to taste.
  3. Pour onto the biscuit base, and level off the top.
  4. Leave to set in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
  5. Remove the tin prior to serving and garnish the top with a little more zest.

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Tiramisu

Tiramisu has been on my list of ‘must recreate’ dishes for a really long time. I always really liked the coffee creaminess of tiramisu and it’s a pudding that I miss, although I think it fell slightly out of fashion in general.

I’ve been mulling over how to recreate the mascarpone and cream combo for ages. Cashews seem a popular choice to create a ‘cheesy’ alternative but we’re really not great fans. Even though Little S can now eat cashew nuts, I think soaked and blended cashews seem to only make a creamy nutty paste, which just isn’t quite right in my book. So I definitely wasn’t going to go down the cashew route. In my opinion coconut is similar in that it leaves behind an overpowering coconutty flavour and I didn’t want my tiramisu to have any unexpected coconutty taste. I was aiming for as authentic as possible a recreation, and I think this version is it.

Out of everyone who tasted my tiramisu the only comments that could improve it were that it needed more intense coffee flavour and some masala heat. I actually left out the masala as I was making it for the entire family (use vanilla if you don’t wish to use alcohol) and I used decaffeinated coffee and not quite enough of it. I know where I went wrong, but the recipe below has the mistakes corrected, but you may wish to add a splash more masala or soak the sponge for longer in stronger coffee to get an extra coffee and alcohol hit. The creaminess needs those strong flavours.

Rather than recreating the ladies fingers I baked a vanilla sponge and sliced it before dunking in the coffee. The resulting effect is spot on for tiramisu. The mascarpone and cream filling is a combination of sweetened soya cream cheese and soya whipping cream. This produces a cream which is both light and airy but with an extra richness and a greater stability. Once set in the fridge this Tiramisu lasts up to 3 or 4 days which is perfect as it does make a substantial quantity.

Tiramisu

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan. N.B. contains soya)

serves 10-12

for the sponge:

200g self-raising flour

100g caster sugar

pinch of salt

100ml sunflower oil

150ml dairy-free milk

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 5
  2. Line a shallow baking tin with parchment
  3. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Stir in the sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dairy-free milk, bicarb, lemon, vanilla and oil.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix, until well combines.
  6. Pour into the lined tin and level off and bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden and a knife comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

for the cream filling:

200ml dairy-free whipping cream

100ml dairy-free cream cheese

4 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp masala wine (more if you wish)

  1. Whip the cream until light and fluffy, then add the cream cheese and sugar and whip until fully incorporated. Add the flavouring and whip again.

To assemble:

 1/2 cup freshly brewed espresso or very strong instant coffee

1-2 tbsp cocoa powder

  1. Slice the sponge into fingers and dunk in some freshly brewed strong coffee. The longer it’s absorbing, the stronger the coffee flavour
  2. Layer the ingredients into decorative bowls or a large rectangular serving dish.
  3. Start with soaked sponge, then a layer of the creamy cheese mixture and then a layer of cocoa powder. Repeat twice and finish with a heavy dusting of cocoa powder.
  4. Leave to set in the fridge and when ready to serve, slice into neat squares.

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)

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 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

Strawberry Granita

strawberry granita

We’re just entering strawberry season in the UK and at this time of year our strawberries are simply divine – sweet, juicy and nothing tastes more of an early English summer. Big S has been a bit ill for a while – some nasty virus with a sore raspy throat and regular high temperatures – all just when the weather turned nice which always makes it seem like a double blow. She’s definitely on the mend now and hopefully will get her appetite back soon – she even didn’t have any of Little S’s welcome home chocolate cake for 3 days. Things have been bad!
This sweet, flavoursome and icy granita did tempt her though, soothing her sore throat and cleverly disguising a healthy portion of gorgeous fresh strawberries.

Granita is the intimate refreshing pudding and perfect if you don’t have an ice cream machine – all you need is a little time and patience, a Tupperware box and a freezer and you’re ready to go!

Strawberry Granita

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

dairy-free strawberry granita

Serves 4

250g strawberries, washed and hulled

100g caster sugar

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

300ml water

  1. Blend and sieve the strawberries to make a smooth puree
  2. Mix together all the ingredients and warm gently in a saucepan to dissolve the sugar
  3. Transfer to a tupperware box. Place in the freezer.making strawberry ice
  4. Every hour or so, stir with fork to rough up any ice crystals. It should be ready after about 4-5 hours.making granita
  5. Make sure it is thoroughly ‘forked through’ and you should be able to dip into the container at a later date. If it has frozen solid, defrost in the fridge for half an hour or so before forking though and serving.

strawberry ice

Mini Chocolate Meringue Pies – egg-free

vegan chocolate meringue pies

I haven’t made many fancy puddings for a while and the girls get so fed up with dairy-free yogurts, (particularly since the flavours available are so limited), or fruit which they’re both pretty fussy about. So some tasty, pretty puds have been on my ‘to do’ list for a while. Sweet, billowy meringue makes some of the most ‘wow’ puddings and after a trip to an Ottolenghi deli last week where I spied some beautiful little meringue topped mini tartlets, I got thinking about making some equally beautiful mini tarts at home.

no egg meringue

One Instagram follower likened these to little smurf hats, which I think is pretty accurate, although it wasn’t the intended result! I think this way of piping a pointy dollop on each individual pie is as pretty as can be, especially once toasted and glazed with a blow torch. I decided to fill these tartlets with a rich chocolate ganache which is the perfect dark accompaniment to the sweet and pillow like Italian meringue. As a note, unexpectedly I had a few of the tartlets left over and found that they keep beautifully well in the fridge for a couple of days, which is a total bonus.

no egg, no milk meringue pies

Chocolate Meringue Pies

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

egg-free chocolate meringue pies

makes 6 mini tarts

  • 75ml oat milk
  • 50ml water
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp corn flour
  • 85g dairy free dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 block shortcrust pastry

– Line the six cupcake tins with pastry, prick all over, fill with cling film and baking beans and blind bake.
– Once it’s browned and cooked through [about 20 minutes in a medium oven], remove the baking beans and leave to cool.
– Meanwhile, make the filling.
– Place the water and oat milk and sugar into a saucepan and gently heat.
– Take 1/2 tbsp of the warmed milk mixture and mix to a smooth paste with the cornflour
– Pour the cornflour mix into the oat milk and stir well, bring to a bubbling boil and add the vanilla.
– Place the chopped chocolate into a bowl. Pour over the hot oat milk and stir to until its a smooth mixture. Season with a pinch of salt.
– Pour into the chocolate into the pastry cases. Level off and refrigerate for a few hours until set.

vegan chocolate tarts

 

To make the meringue topping:

dairy-free chocolate meringue pies

water from one tin of chickpeas or beans

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

pinch of zantham gum

pinch of cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla

  1. Whisk 1/3 cup chickpea water with a pinch of zantham gum and a pinch of cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks
  2. Melt together the remaining 1/4 cup chickpea water (or use water instead) and sugar and bring up to 242-248 degrees F/116-120 degrees Centigrade. If you use the chickpea brine to make the sugar syrup you may not get to the required temperature as it will start to caramelise, so as soon as it starts to turn golden, it’s time to use it.
  3. With the stand mixer on medium, slowly drizzle in the hot syrup into the meringue mix
  4. Turn up to high for a minute or two until you have piles of white glossy clouds of meringue, beat in the vanilla.
  5. Pipe onto the chocolate tarts and glaze with a blowtorch or under the grill.

vegan meringue pies