Triple Chocolate No-Bake Cheesecake

 

In my opinion free-from puddings are much harder that cakes, biscuits or treats. I have a fair few favourites, but I’m always looking for a new exciting pudding option. Do you have a go-to pudding favourite? I’d love some ideas to get excited about 🙂

Cheesecake is a perennial favourite in this household (it’s even been requested instead of a cake for a birthday before now!), and the larder is still groaning with leftover Easter chocolate, so in a way my decision was made for me. I fairly often make a knock-out chocolate cheesecake, so this new version had to stand out and wow the crowd! Since extra chocolate is always a crowd pleaser, I’ve created this standout triple chocolate layer cheesecake, to tempt even the most fussy cheesecake afficionadoes!

It may look complicated, with the different layers, but actually it’s very simple. You’ll just have a couple more bowls to wash up, but surely that’s a small price to pay for such a deliciously decadent dessert.

This is a tofu based cheesecake. Sounds unappetising, right? Well, it’s certainly enough to put off my sister-in-law who will happily devour this saying ‘oh that’s delicious’ until I tell her it’s made from tofu, then she immediately puts her fork down! Tofu really divides people, but when you think about it it’s just a thick paste made from a milk, just like cream cheese; it just needs to be treated right and then it can taste top notch, and this cheesecake is a case in point.

Triple Chocolate No-Bake Cheesecake

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

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

175g crushed biscuits, ideally chocolate flavour but I used Lotus Biscoff

40g dairy-free margarine, melted

350g pack firm silken tofu

100g dairy-free dark chocolate, I particularly like Kinnerton

75g dairy-free white chocolate

5 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 margarine and stir into the crushed biscuits. Press into the bottom of a loose base tart tin. Place in the fridge to set.
  2. Meanwhile, portion the tofu into 200g and 150g.
  3. In a blender pulse the 200g of silken tofu with 3tbsp syrup/honey until smooth.
  4. Melt the dark chocolate and 1/2 tbsp oil together either over a bain-marie or in a microwave. Stir until smooth.
  5. Carefully stir the chocolate into the tofu mix until well combined.
  6. Pour over the biscuit base. Smooth over the top and then leave to set in the fridge for at least a few hours.
  7. Clean the blender and pulse the remaining 150g of silken tofu with 2 tbsp syrup/honey until smooth.
  8. Melt the white chocolate and 1/2 tsp oil together, stir until smooth.
  9. Carefully stir the white chocolate mixture into the tofu mix. Pour over the set dark-chocolate layer and level off. return to the fridge to set.
  10. Decorate the top as desired, I used grated ‘milk’ dairy-free chocolate.

Confetti Traybake

Easy, tasty and pretty what more could you want from a cake recipe? I needed to make a quick after-school snack and thought something pretty was what was needed with the May sunshine shining through the windows, and surely no-one can resist a colourful sprinkle strewn traybake when they return home from a long and busy day at school.

I think the combination of vanilla sponge, baked with sprinkles stirred in for a colourful ‘funfetti’ effect, vanilla buttercream and a topping of more sprinkles is as pretty as a picture. The added bonus is that this recipe can be whipped up in about 40 minutes, which includes cooking and cooling time, you can’t get much quicker than that for a wow-worthy cake.

Confetti Traybake

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

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

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp sprinkles

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 5
  2. Line a square baking tray with parchment
  3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Stir in the sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dairy-free milk, lemon, vanilla and oil.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix, until well combined. Stir through the sprinkles.
  6. Pour the mix into the lined tin, level off and bake for 20-22 minutes, until lightly golden and a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

for the buttercream:

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine
1 tbsp vegetable fat
around 2 cups icing sugar
a splash of dairy-free milk

  1. Whisk together the fats
  2. Whisk in the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, adding a splash of dairy-free milk. You may not need all the sugar, just keep checking the taste and texture
  3. Spread the buttercream over the cooled traybake and scatter liberally with sprinkles

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

This time of year is just wrong without Hot Cross Buns. I eagerly await the criss crossed beauties appearing in the shops, and very year there’s a new variety to tempt and inspire. These days I wouldn’t buy a Hot Cross bun as I’ve not found any safe ones (I know vegan versions exist but they’re generally not free-from enough for us) and so come March I make batch after batch of buns. I’d really recommend giving it a go, they’re not hard to make and the satisfaction of a house filled with a spicy aroma and perfect buns appearing from the oven is second to none!

I’ve made many friendly hot cross buns and they’ve become a firm favourite, so much so that Little S has them for breakfast if she gets the chance. For some reason my children have an aversion to dried fruit, so I concocted this variation that appeals more to them.

The addition of chopped chocolate may be slightly unconventional, but the resulting buns are delightfully aromatic and tasty with the bonus prize of the chocolate going oozy and gooey when the buns are toasted. The added bonus is that they freeze beautifully. Simply defrost and then warm in an oven or toaster, and enjoy perfect hot cross buns anytime 🙂

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

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

 

makes 9-12

500g strong bread flour

1 tbsp dried yeast

3 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 or 2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

500ml warm dairy-free milk

2 tbsps melted dairy-free margarine

100g dairy-free chocolate, chopped

for the crosses:

2 tbsp flour

3 tbsp water

for the glaze:

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp water

  1.  In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices. Make a well in the centre and pour in the dairy-free milk and dairy-free margarine, bring together to form a dough (adding more flour if too wet, or more liquid if too dry)
  2. Knead for about 5 mins until the dough is smooth
  3. Place in a bowl and cover, leave in a warm place to double in size
  4. Knock back, knead again and then form into 9-12 even sized balls. Place well spaced on a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper
  5. Leave to rise again for 10-20 minutes
  6. Mix together the water and flour to make a paste and pipe onto the top of the buns in crosses
  7. Bake at 190 degrees/Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes until risen and the buns sound hollow
  8. Make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the water and boiling briefly. Brush over the hot buns.
  9. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  10. These buns are best kept loosely covered or the glaze will make them go a bit soggy.

 

Marshmallow Filled Chocolate Cookies

Cookies are a perennial favourite in this household, and for the majority chocolate wins every everytime. So as you can imagine, I spend a lot of time thinking up new exciting cookie ideas. I can think of a lots worse ways to spend my time!

So picture a deep, intense freshly baked chocolate cookie, with crisp edges and a soft and slightly chewy interior? Sounds good? Well, let me make it even better….. Now picture a deeply chocolatey freshly baked cookie, with crisp edges and a soft and slightly chewy interior, wrapped around a sweet vanilla melted marshmallow with has remained gooey even once it has set. That does sound better doesn’t it!

These mallow stuffed cookies are a revelation, they’ve quickly become a firm favourite. Little S took one into school in her packed lunch and her friends all asked for a nibble and then asked where to buy them. High praise indeed 🙂

Marshmallow Filled Chocolate Cookies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan [if using vegan mallows])

makes about 9

200g (1 cup) soft brown sugar

115g (1/2 cup) dairy-free spread

2 tbsps golden syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder

150g (1and1/4 cups) plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

For the filling:

standard size marshmallows

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  2. Cream together the spread, sugar, syrup and vanilla. Sift in the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt and mix to a stiff dough.
  3. Take tablespoon or two sized amounts of the chocolate dough and pat out to a small round. Place a marshmallow in the middle of each and bring the sides up and around to form a chocolate ball with no gaps.
  4. Place on a lined cookie sheet and slightly press down with the fronts of a fork.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool for a couple more minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  6. These cookies keep well for a few days in a sealed container, and are lovely warmed for 20 seconds in a microwave before eating.

 

Perfect Egg-free and Dairy-free Pancakes

 

I haven’t posted a pancake recipe for ages, but since it’s Shrove Tuesday, today is the day for an updated version. I first devised my pancake recipe when Big S was in nursery and everyone else was partaking in pancake day, and i just couldn’t let her miss out. It was moments like these that were the driving force for starting, and then carrying in my blog. Food is such a big part of life, particularly any social or celebratory occasions that I have always been desperate to make sure my girls (and everyone else with allergies) don’t feel left out.

This pancake recipe is as simple as anything and gives fabulous results from a few store cupboard ingredients. They have a bit more pouf than traditional English style pancakes or French crepes; think one step towards a big puffy American version. We’ll be having them tonight for Shrove Tuesday with sugar and lemon or garnished with Plamil chocolate spread – delicious 🙂

These also make a wonderful breakfast, and also reheat successfully so you can make a batch on a Sunday and have exciting breakfasts for the next few days. I’ve added the quantities in both grams and cup measurements because pancakes are sometimes easier to make using cups than scales

Perfect Egg-free and Dairy-free Pancakes

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

makes 10-12 small or 6-8 large pancakes

 120g plain flour (1 cup)

2 tsp baking powder

30g caster sugar (2 tbsp)

pinch of salt

2 tbsp sunflower oil

250ml dairy-free milk (1 cup)

  1. Sift the flour and mix in the other dry ingredients
  2. Add oil and dairy-free milk and whisk until smooth, add more oat milk as necessary to make a ‘single cream’ consistency
  3. Fry on both sides in a hot pan wiped with a smear of sunflower oil
  4. Eat hot topped with lemon and sugar, honey, maple syrup etc.

Tarte aux Framboises (Raspberry Tart)

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I’ve updated this delicious celebratory tart with a far better Creme Patissiere recipe. One of my lovely followers has a daughter who is using this recipe for her GSCE food tech exam. I’m so proud and happy that she is using one of my recipes! Anyway, they were having problems with the original recipe and the creme pat was ending up lumpy. Seriously not good, and I felt so bad that one of my recipes was failing at such a crucial time. So, the recipe has been tested and tweaked and we now have a creme pat that is as smooth as you like. Good Luck Charlotte, I hope the teachers like the result 🙂

There’s so much more buzz around free-from than when I started my blog 7 years ago, and certainly many more products for sale (although I’d have to say the egg-free options are still sadly lacking) which is fantastic. But, it seems to me that lots of the products and recipes available fail to think about flavour or appearance. I don’t see why a free-from foodstuff should not be as pretty as a ‘conventional’ one and it should certainly taste as good. I bought some highly recommended ‘freeform’ doughnuts recently – they looked great but oh my, I have never eaten anything so heavy or unappealing masquerading as a doughnut before! In fact both girls took a bite and threw them straight in the bin, which was especially galling as they’d cost a pretty penny! Why do people accept such offerings? Maybe deep-down inside many people think sweet treats can’t be really tasty without dairy or eggs?! Well, I’m telling you they can be (sometimes they can be far nicer!). Ok, they’re often not identical, but I’m on a mission to prove the friendly food can be delicious food – there’s no making do or missing out with my recipes!

This tarte aux framboise is a perfect example. I think it looks good (I hope you agree!) and it certainly tastes good – I ramped up the vanilla in the creme patisseriere to compensate for the richness which is lost when eggs are not used. I don’t think anyone feels like they were eating an inferior ‘free-from alternative’ –  so job done 🙂

Whilst the delicate arranging of fruit makes this tart look complex it really is very simple – a crisp blind baked pastry case (shop bought shortcrust pastry is fine), a rich vanilla scented custard, fresh fruit and an apricot jam based glaze. All that is required is a little patient arranging and you have a pudding worthy of any patisserie window! p.s. note the difference between the next two photos – the apricot glaze really is the icing on the cake!

Tarte aux Framboises

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

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make one 12 inch tart

for the pastry case:

1 recipe shortcrust or 1pack of shortcrust pastry

  1. Follow this recipe substituting dairy-free margarine for the butter, or use shop bought that is dairy-free
  2. Roll out the pastry and line a tart tin. Fill with cling-film or parchment filled with baking beans. Bake at 200 degrees Centigrade (180 degrees Fan) for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for a further five minutes until golden. Cool.

for the creme patisseriere:

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1/2 cup corn flour (cornstarch)

2 cups dairy-free milk

1/3-1/2 cup caster sugar (depending on how sweet your tooth is)

1tsp vanilla paste or extract or seeds from I vanilla pod

Salt, a pinch

  1. Pour the milk, sugar and vanilla into a saucepan. Heat until hot but not boiling.
  2. Pour the cornflour into a bowl, stir in a small amount of the hot milk mixture to make a smooth paste. Then add the rest of the milk mixture and stir well.
  3. Return to the saucepan and stir continuously whilst heating. It will initially look like it’ll become lumpy, but these will disappear as it gets thicker. You want it to be thick enough to be able to be piped.
  4. Pour into a bowl and cover with cling film (touching the top of the creme pat so no skin forms) and leave to cool

for the nappage (glaze):

1 tbsp apricot jam

1 tbsp water

  1. To make the nappage (apricot jam glaze) heat the apricot jam with 1 tbsp water (strain if lumpy) until bubbly and sticky.
  2. Brush over the fruit whilst hot

to assemble:

  1. Whisk the creme pat thoroughly and either pipe or spoon a 1/2 cm layer into the tart shell.
  2. Top with raspberries (whole or sliced in half) and bush with hot nappage.
  3. Leave to cool before eating.