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.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Brioche

As you may have noticed, I have been turning to mashed potatoes in more and more in my baking. In this recipe, they stand in for 5 eggs and give the final product a soft texture but also a durable structure that holds plenty of air pockets. The other thing that makes this recipe perfect is homemade vegan butter (you can use Earth Balance, of course, but I find it leaves an aftertaste (and you need to reduce the salt in the recipe by at least half)). I make it by the triple batch (blending it in a juice pitcher with my immersion blender) which fits perfectly into this pan. This recipe is a veganized version of Peter Reinhart's "Middle-Class Brioche," which you can reference in The Bread Baker's Apprentice if you want more direction. It is easiest to do this with a stand mixer, but a spoon and some elbow grease will also do the trick.

INGREDIENTS
Sponge
- 2.25 oz bread flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 4 oz lukewarm soy milk

Dough
- 4oz mashed yellow potato (i.e. whole potato boiled in its skin, cooled, peeled, and mashed)
- 1 tbsp finely ground yellow flax
- 4 oz soy milk
- 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional, for colour)
- 13.75oz bread flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 oz vegan butter, a room temperature

- soy milk for brushing

METHOD
Sponge
1. Mix together sponge ingredients until four is well hydrated. Cover and let sit for 45 mins.

Dough
1. Blend together mashed potato, flax, and soy milk (and turmeric if using) with an immersion blender in a 4 cup measuring cup until smooth. Warm in the microwave to room temperature.
2. Mix together flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add all of the sponge and the potato mixture and bring together into a dough. Let the dough sit for 5 mins.
3. Using the paddle attachment on a mixer, add in 1/4 of the butter, waiting until the previous amount has been fully incorporated before adding more. The final dough will be smooth, satiny, and soft.
4. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper. Lightly mist the dough with oil, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
5. Spray a muffin tin lightly with oil. Or brioche tins.
6. When dough is ready to be baked, divide it into 12 equal pieces. Shape per this video. Place in the prepared tin(s).
7. Cover and let rise for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the tins are filled. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
8. About 15 mins before baking, gently brush the brioche with soy milk.
9. Bake for 15-18 mins, or until golden brown. Carefully remove from the tin(s) and let cool before eating.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Baked Lemony Potatoes and Tofu

I think a roasted potato is one of the most delicious things in the world. Add in a hearty portion of  flavourful tofu and the zing of lemons and you have yourself a wonderful winter meal. How much of each ingredient you use is really up to you and the size of your baking dish. Drizzle some gravy over it all if that is your thing, and dig out that applesauce you made in the fall.

INGREDIENTS
- 2 1lb pkgs of extra firm tofu, brined, each cut into 4 pieces (or however you see fit)
- 2 tbsp margarine or oil
- fresh oregano
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- good roasting potatoes, cut into chunks
- 2 lemons
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup vegetable broth, plus more as needed

METHOD
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
1. When the tofu is done brining, heat a frying pan over med-hi heat. Add margarine and sear the tofu pieces on all sides. Do this in two batches, with more margarine, if necessary.
2. Place the pieces of tofu in a baking dish (I use a 8.5x11 cast iron one) with space in between. Drizzle the frying margarine over top. Place springs of fresh oregano and chopped garlic in between the pieces of tofu. Add the lemon slices and enough potato chunks to fill in the spaces. Don't make things too crowded, but they can be a bit snug. Grind fresh pepper over the whole lot.
3. Add 1 cup of veggie stock to the pan and place in the oven, uncovered. After the first 20 mins, baste about every 10 mins. If the stock dries up too quickly, add more in as needed. You don't want a cup of liquid left over at the end--you want just enough to keep everything moist. If your potatoes are browning too quickly you can reduce the heat to 425. Everything should be nicely roasted after an hour.