Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mexican Bread Pudding with Spiced Syrup

This recipe is a mash-up of Isa's bread pudding from Isa Does It and a recipe from the very first vegetarian cookbook I ever bought, Simple Vegetarian Recipes. I used the all white flour version of my Everyday Bread because it has a nice open crumb structure that easily soaks up the liquid. If you are using a denser or leaner bread, give it more time to soak. I think it's worth the time to use the vanilla bean, but your can sub in 2 tsp vanilla extract and forget heating it on the stove. The agar is probably not needed--I was just panicking that I was adding too much liquid. As written, the end result is a moist and custardy pudding that pairs nicely with the anise notes from the syrup. The almonds provide some texture to make for a perfect dessert.

INGREDIENTS
Bread Pudding
- 7 cups cubed stale bread
- 1 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 1/4 cups almond milk
- 1/8 tsp turmeric (optional)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp agar (probably optional)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp allspice

Spiced Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 4 cloves

METHOD
Bread Pudding
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 baking pan.
1. Put bread in a large bowl. Add raisins and almonds and toss to mix.
2. Scrape vanilla bean and whisk into the almond milk in a sauce pan. Whisk in turmeric. Add the bean pod and bring to bubbling over medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove bean pod.
3. Whisk in coconut milk, then whisk in cornstarch until smooth. Whisk in agar.
4. Whisk in the sugar and spices. Pour mixture over the bread and gently turn to coat. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the bread has soaked up as much liquid as it can. Gently mix the bread halfway through if necessary. Transfer to prepared pan and distribute evenly.
5. Bake for 35 mins, or until golden and the liquid has set.

Spiced Syrup
1. While the pudding is baking, add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Bring to bubbling over medium heat and let bubble away for 10 mins. Remove from heat. Remove spices just before drizzling over the served pieces. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Creamy Chickpeas and Biscuits


This is pure comfort food inspired by a frosty walk home one day. The creaminess of the coconut milk compliments the earthiness of the chickpeas and the sweetness of the roasted pepper. And all of that on top of a tender biscuit. The biscuits are a Reinhart-esque riff on The New Basics Cookbook recipe. The key here is to make sure all of the sides of your biscuit are cleanly cut--you can accomplish this with a good biscuit cutter, or by using a pastry cutter as I have suggested below. Cleanly cut sides allow the laminated dough to rise nice and high.

INGREDIENTS
Creamy Chickpeas
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 rib celery, small dice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 medium (yellow) potato, diced
- 1 spring fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3.5 cups warm vegetable stock (more as needed)
- 1 can chickpeas (or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
- 2 roasted red or orange pepper, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup corn
- 3/4 cup peas
- 1 can light coconut milk
- salt and pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion and celery for 5-7 mins, or until golden. Add garlic and saute for 1 min more.
2. Add carrot, potato, herbs, and a big pinch of salt and saute for 3-5 mins, until fragrant and sizzling. Add flour and mix well to coat. Cook for 1 min then stream in the stock, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
3. Add chickpeas, roasted peppers, and nutritional yeast and bring to bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 mins, uncovered, until veggies are tender. If the sauce reduces too much, add more stock.
4. Add corn and peas and cook for 3 mins, or until done. Remove thyme sprig.
5. Add in as much of the coconut milk as needed to get the consistency you want (I used the whole can).

Biscuits
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp (2.5 oz) cold vegan butter
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup plain soy milk

METHOD
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.
2. Add the vinegar to the bottom of a 3/4 cup measure. Fill half way with soy milk and mix until thick. Fill the cup measure full and add to flour mixture. Bring together into a soft dough with a wooden spoon.
3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Roll/pat into a rectangle then fold like a letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. Repeat again. The dough should have firmed up by now. Roll into a rectangle, trim the outside edges with a pastry cutter, and cut into 6 or 8 pieces.
4. Brush the tops of the biscuits with soy milk and bake for 14 mins.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Butter Tart Squares

Butter tarts are a staple of the Canadian holiday diet but are tricky to veganize. The problem is not replacing the butter, but the egg yolk which helps bind everything together as the tarts bake. I have gone for the butter tart square here because when I made tarts the filling kept rising right out of the shells and making a real mess. You can solve this problem, more or less (see the pic I posted on Facebook), by adding the extra flour indicated in the recipe, but I think this makes for a drier filling. So, the squares look a little messy, but the mess is contained in the pan and you still get that gooey, caramely, butter tart experience with less fat that a regular butter tart.

INGREDIENTS
Crust
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup vegan butter

Filling
- 2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
- 1 oz / 2 tbsp mashed potato (i.e. potato that has been boiled in its skin, cooled, skinned, and mashed)
- 1 oz / 2 tbsp water
- 1 oz / 2 tbsp soy milk
- 1 tbsp ground golden flax seed
- 2 tsp glutinous rice flour
- 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten (optional)
- 1/4 tsp agar powder
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp flour (+1 tbsp flour, optional)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

METHOD
Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Mix together sugar, salt, and flour. Cut in the butter, then work it into the flour with your fingers so that there are no chunks left. It will be crumbly.
2. Press the flour mixture into the bottom of a 9x9 pan, making sure it is and even depth and well-pressed into the pan.
3. Bake for 15 mins.

Filling
1. Blend together potato, water, and soy milk with an immersion blender in a small cup until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in melted butter. 
2. Whisk in flax seed, then the rice flour until well blended. Whisk in wheat gluten (if using). Whisk in the agar.
3. Add sugar and whisk vigorously until very well blended.
4. Mix together flour (with additional flour, if using) , baking powder, and salt, then mix into the sugar mixture until well blended. Add in raisins and walnuts.
5. Pour onto the baked crust an spread to cover evenly.  Bake for 20 mins. 
6. Let cool and cut into squares. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lemon Squares

Vegan Mom loves lemon squares for the holidays but has been unhappy with any vegan recipe I have tried. So I started experimenting. My basic thinking was to use potato and a variety of binders and proteins to replace the egg so that the filling would both rise and bind in the oven. These are a little more firm/gummy than I would like but I think the recipe is good enough to post. The top bakes evenly to a golden colour and the filling is nice and lemony. You can fiddle with the recipe as you see fit.

INGREDIENTS
Crust
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup vegan butter

Filling
- 1 oz / 2 tbsp mashed potato (i.e. potato that has been boiled in its skin, cooled, skinned, and mashed)
- 1 oz / 2 tbsp water
- 1 oz / 2 tbsp soy milk
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp glutinous rice flour
- 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 1/2 tsp agar powder
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda

METHOD
Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Mix together sugar, salt, and flour. Cut in the butter, then work it into the flour with your fingers so that there are no chunks left. It will be crumbly.
2. Press the flour mixture into the bottom of a 9x9 pan, making sure it is and even depth and well-pressed into the pan.
3. Bake for 15 mins.

Filling
1. Blend together potato, water, and soy milk with an immersion blender in a small cup until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in turmeric.
2. Whisk in rice flour until well blended, then whisk in wheat gluten, then the agar.
3. Add sugar and whisk vigorously until very well blended.  Then whisk in zest and lemon juice.
4. Mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda, then whisk into lemon mixture.
5. Pour on top of the crust and bake for 20 mins.
6. Let cool in the pan, then cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Panettone



Warning: this recipe is not as accessible as some of my other baking recipes and will require a bit of experience and time to pull off. The recipe is similar to the brioche recipe I posted last week in that it uses mashed potatoes in lieu of eggs, and in that you need to work a fair amount of fat into the dough. A stand mixer is key to getting this done efficiently. The other key ingredient is sourdough starter/barm which will give your final loaves a spectacular taste and texture. I like to make a firmer barm because it holds up in the fridge for longer--my barm is 12 oz of flour, 5-6 oz water, 4 oz old barm. If your barm is wetter you might have to add more flour to the final dough. I like to make two smaller loaves because they are easier to bake consistently. The recipe is veganized from Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Makes 2 loaves
INGREDIENTS
Sponge
- 7 oz barm
- 8 oz lukewarm soy milk
- 4.5 oz all purpose flour

Fruit Mix
- 6 oz golden raisins
- 3 oz currants
- 3 oz dried cranberries
- 4 oz alcohol (rum, brandy, whiskey)
- 1 tbsp lemon extract
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Method, Day One:
1. Cut up the barm and place in the warm soy milk for 5 mins to soften. Add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth.
2. Cover the bowl and let rise until bubbly--about 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight.
3. Mix together all of the fruit mix ingredients in a bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight. Stir occasionally to coat the fruit.

INGREDIENTS
Final Dough
- the sponge from Day 1
- 13.5 oz all purpose flour
- 1.5 oz sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 2 oz mashed potato (i.e. potato that has been boiled in its skin, cooled, skinned, and mashed)
- 1 oz water
- 2 oz soy milk
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 4 oz vegan butter, at room temperature
- 5 oz sliced almonds
- soy milk for brushing

Method, Day Two:
1. Remove sponge from the fridge and let warm up for an hour.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.
3. Blend together potato, water, soy milk, and turmeric with an immersion mixer (I do it in a glass 4 cup measuring cup). Heat to room temperature in the microwave.
4. Add sponge and potato mixture to the flour. Use the dough hook to bring everything together into a dough. Let rest for 5 mins.
5. With the dough hook on med-lo speed, add in the vegan butter 1/4 at a time making sure the previous addition is incorporated before adding them next. This will take around 10 mins. The dough should be very soft and shiny.
6. With the speed still on med-lo, add the fruit mixture with any remaining liquid, and the almonds. Knead until well incorporated. The final dough will be very soft.
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Using floured hands, Stretch and fold the dough about six times. If the dough is too wet to work with, gently knead in flour before stretching and folding again. Resist adding too much flour--the dough will be very tacky but not sticky. It will firm up as it rises.
8. Shape into a ball and place in a large well-oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 2 hours.
9. Prepare two 8 inch round pans. Cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom. Cut a 3" strip of parchment to make a collar on the inside of the pan. Hold it in place with a a piece of tape on the outside or a staple (like you see in this picture, but not so high).
10. Divide the dough into two, and shape into balls. Gently press into the prepared pans. The dough does not need to touch the sides but it should mostly fill the pan.
11. Brush the loaves with soy milk, then mist with oil. Cover the pans and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. The trick here is to make sure you wait for a good rise or the loaves will split in the over from rising too quickly. The dough should have just about doubled.
12. Preheat the oven to 325 with the rack in the bottom third of the oven.
13. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the loaves reach 185 in the middle.
14. Remove the bread from the paper and pans and let fully cool before serving.