Plum tart

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This is such a simple, stunningly pretty tart you’ll wonder why you ever thought a tart needed anything more than fruit and pastry. And it was a great way of using up a pile of slightly over-ripe plums from Clive’s Fruit Farm.

You could just use the soft stone fruit and pastry which works impressively enough, but a few grinds of black pepper and drizzles of honey (or maple syrup) give this simple dish a much more special feel. I have to admit that the concept behind this recipe isn’t my own, I came across the idea online (somewhere) a while back, but only with the divine Opal plums from Clive’s did the idea resurface.

Plum Tart (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan if use maple syrup)

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Serves 4-6

  • 1/2 sheet puff pastry
  • Plums, halved to cover the pastry
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • Honey or maple syrup to drizzle

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 4
– Roll the pastry out to an even rectangle (or whatever shape you like)
– Score a frame around the edge, about 1 cm in.
– Fill the centre with the plum halves, some facing up and some down, then sprinkle over the caster sugar

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– Grind over the black pepper
– Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are browned and all the pastry is cooked through
– Drizzle with the honey or syrup
– Serve at room temperature with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream

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Chocolate and Raspberry Mille Feuille

July 14th deserves a pretty French patisserie recipe, made friendly of course! Mille feuille (don’t make me try and pronounce this, I seem to be genetically unable to make it sound as it should), or ‘a thousand leaves’, is an ultimately elegant patisserie with fruit and pastry cream sandwiched between fine puff pastry sheets. This version, inspired by a recipe in by Eric Lanlard in Cook Vegetarian magazine features cocoa scented pastry, chocolate mousse filling and ripe raspberries. Happy Bastille Day!

Chocolate and Raspberry Mille feuille (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 4-6

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  • 1/2 pack dairy-free puff pastry
  • 2-3 tbsps cocoa powder
  • 1/2 pack of dairy-free whipping cream, such as Soyatoo
  • 1 pack dairy-free chocolate, such as Kinnerton
  • raspberries
  • icing sugar to finish

– Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 7

– Roll out the pastry into a neat rectangle.

-Dust with cocoa powder, bring each end into the centre and roll out again.

– Repeat.

– Rollout as thin as possible and prick all over with the prongs of a fork

– Transfer to a baking sheet. Place greaseproof paper on top and then another baking sheet

– Bake for 10-15 minutes. Then remove the top baking sheet and the greaseproof.

– Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, until starting to turn golden. Cool.

– To make the chocolate mousse – whip the cream until it reaches soft peak

– Fold in the melted chocolate.

– Cut out 8 or 10 even rectangles of pastry with a pizza wheel.

– Pipe or spread a layer of chocolate mousse onto half of the rectangles.

– Arrange the raspberries on top.

– Cover with another layer of chocolate mousse.

– Dust the remaining rectangles of pastry with icing sugar and place on top.

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Tarte aux Fraises

Delectable French-style fruit tarts (tartes aux fruits with crème pâtissière filling) are my all time favourite puddings, so I was really keen to make a vegan version. And what better place to showcase such a pretty pudding than the Virtual Vegan Potluck? This would after all be my choice if I had to take a dessert to a dinner-party!

As I’ve proudly mentioned before, I was lucky enough to be taught by the great Claire Clark (latterly of the French Laundry) whilst studying patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu and learnt how to make a classic French tarte aux fruits under her. To me a beautiful fruit tart cannot be beaten, but the question was how to remove the eggs and milk from the creme pat? Surely a thick pastry cream is essentially eggs, milk, sugar and flour? Well this version is damn fine – it tastes and looks great, but you must make sure to ‘cook out’ the flour to avoid any raw taste. Even those who avoid eggs and dairy can still eat beautiful, almost authentic French patisserie!

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

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Makes at least 2 small or 1 big tart

  • 1 quantity of sweet pastry (master class coming soon!)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsps corn flour (cornstarch)
  • 1 1/2 cups oat milk
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla paste or extract or seeds from I vanilla pod
  • Salt
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam

– Roll out the pastry and line a loose bottomed tin. Bake blind and then leave to cool.
– Meanwhile make the crème pâtissière.
– Heat 1/2 cup of oat milk until almost boiling, then whisk in the flour until smooth. Set aside.
– Heat together the sugar and 1 cup of oat milk until the sugar has melted.
– Keeping the mix over a low heat stir in the vanilla, pinch of salt and flour mix.
– Whisk over the heat until thickened.
– Pour into a bowl and cover with cling film (touching the top of the creme pat so no skin forms) and leave to cool.
– To make the nappage (apricot jam glaze) heat 1 tbsp apricot jam with 1 tbsp water (strain if lumpy) until bubbly and sticky.
– Once cold and ready to use, whisk thoroughly and either pipe or spoon a 1/2 cm layer into the tart shell.
– Top with sliced strawberries and bush with hot nappage.
– Leave to cool before eating.

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Apple Galette

It’s October, and Autumn has very much arrived in the UK – it suddenly feels much cooler (I must get those winter clothes out of the loft!), the days are noticeably getting shorter and there are apples everywhere. It seems like it isn’t a good year for apples after the deluge of rain we had for months in the spring, but there are still far more apples than we can easily eat – this means getting creative.

This is a fabulous pudding, inspired by a Gordon Ramsey programme we saw a while ago on TV. It looks impressive and like it might be quite complex but takes only moments to make. Ideal served with dairy-free ice cream.

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

makes 1 tart, which serves 4

  • 1 pack of puff pastry, shop bought is fine as long as its definitely dairy-free
  • 10g dairy-free spread, melted
  • 1-2 crisp eating apples, I used Jazz apples
  • 2 tbsps caster sugar
  • Icing sugar, to sprinkle

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 6

– Roll out the pastry to 1/2 cm thick, then score round a dinner plate to make a perfect circle.

– Transfer to an un-greased baking sheet.

– Quarter and core the apples (no need to peel unless you really want to), cut into very thin slices.

– Decoratively arrange the slices onto the pastry circle.

– Brush the pastry and apples with the melted spread.

– Generously and evenly sprinkle the caster sugar over the top of the tart.

– Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and the pastry is cooked through.

– Dust the top with icing sugar.

– Serve warm with dairy-free ice cream, custard or pouring dairy-free cream.

Cheat’s Dairy-free Pain au Chocolat

Whilst we were on holiday in France, every morning Big S would see us enjoying freshly made pain au chocolat and asked if I could make some dairy-free ones when we got home. I have previously written a post about dairy-free croissants and pain au chocolat and to be honest they are quite an ordeal to make at home, unless you have lots of free time on your hands.

Since it was the last day of the summer holidays and we wanted to have some fun too, I decided to knock up a cheat’s versions using ready-made puff pastry. I don’t claim that they are at all authentic, you miss the yeasty/doughy flavour and obviously being buttery is part of the essential nature of a pain au chocolat, but you do get a similar effect – flaky pastry with an oozy, gooey dark chocolate centre.

But for me, most importantly of all, they made Big s feel like she could have what everyone else does and isn’t missing out…

Cheats Dairy-free Pain au Chocolat (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 4 large pastries/8 small pastries

  • 1 block puff pastry, such as Jus-rol
  • 60g dark dairy-free chocolate, cut into strips.
  • 1 tsp dairy-free spread, melted
  • sprinkle of caster sugar

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 6

– Grease a baking sheet and set aside.

– Unroll the pastry and roll out to an even rectangle, as big as possible. Cut into even strips 5-10 cm wide.

– On the short sides of the strips, place a strip of chocolate at each end. Roll up each side around the chocolate and keep rolling until the cylinders meet at the centre.

– Turn over and place on the greased baking sheet.

– Brush the top of each pastry with the melted dairy-free spread and sprinkle with icing sugar.

– Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

– Cool on a wire rack.

Strawberry and Almond Bear Paws

Another type of frangipane (I do have a lot of uses for my egg-free frangipane) filled French style pastry, although I’m not sure they look too much like real bear paws! This time with added sliced strawberries and finished with a thin white icing. This recipe can easily be adapted using different fruit, and works beautifully with cherries, apricots, plums, pears, berries etc.

These would make the perfect pretty patisserie to have with a cup of coffee/tea.

Strawberry and Almond Bear Paws ( dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 6

– Ready made puff pastry, 1/2 a block
– 1/2 a recipe of dairy-free/egg-free frangipane
– 6 strawberries
– 2-3 tbsps icing sugar mixed with 2-3 tsps water
– oat milk for brushing

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5
  • Roll out the pastry into a long thin rectangle
  • Pile the frangipane into a long sausage shape nearer one of the long sides of the pastry. Lay slices of strawberry along the top of the frangipane
  •  Brush the remaining pastry strip with the oat milk, roll up to form a cylinder containing the frangipane.
  •  Cut into 6 even sized sections.
  •  With a sharp knife make slits all the way through the pasties, leaving one side holding them together. Slightly fan out the ‘toes’
  • Transfer to a lined baking sheet and brush with oat milk
  •  Bake for 15-25 minutes, until golden on top and the pastry is cooked through.
  •  Cool on a wire rack
  •  Once cool brush with the thin icing.