Star-Spangled Berry Parfait

star spangled berry parfait

star spangled berry parfait

Happy 4th of July! Okay, it’s actually the 5th. But 4th of July, known in the United States as Independence Day, is a weekend long celebration. So, if you have not yet made a red, white, and blue dessert to go with tonight’s dinner, then try out this patriotic parfait.

For the conclusion of my holiday feast, I wanted a treat that echoed red, white, and blue in berries and cream. Parfaits are a wonderful way to achieve this look. I started with a box of vegan jello mix that I had on hand, and got fancy with a vegan cream recipe I rustled up. I added fresh berries then, admittedly the toughest part, a vegan meringue to complete my layered dessert. Altitude had no effect on any component, and each part was vegan, so no changes needed to be made. I’ve merely gathered the pieces together for you to enjoy.

Star-Spangled Berry Parfait with thanks to Rouxbe Online Culinary School

for the gelled layer
1 packet Simply Delish Jel Dessert in strawberry or raspberry
for the cream layer
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked for 3-4 hours to soften
1/2 cup water
5-6 tsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1 cup rough chopped fresh strawberries with stems removed
for the meringue layer
1/2 cup unsalted chickpea liquid, previously reduced and chilled *
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
4 ounces caster sugar
1 tsp non-alcoholic vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
for the fruit layer
1-2 cups fresh blueberries, or a combination of blueberries and sliced strawberries
for the garnish
several fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries

For the gelled layer: Prepare Jel dessert per instructions on the box. Pour into a heat-resistant glass bowl. Let cool on the counter for a few minutes to allow condensation to evaporate. Place the bowl in the fridge to cool completely and set up.

For the cream layer: Place cashews, water, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a high speed blender. Process on high until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. Add strawberries and blend well.

aquafaba meringue on whisk

aquafaba meringue on whisk

For the meringue layer: Place the bean liquid and cream of tartar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on low speed until the cream of tartar is incorporated and the liquid is semi-opaque. You may need to stop the mixer and stir the contents at the bottom a few times to get it fully mixed. Increase the speed to high and beat for an additional minute, or until opaque. Reduce the speed to low and begin adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. After the first addition, raise the speed to high, beating for 1 minute after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added, continue to beat for 10 minutes on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula once or twice. The meringue should be stiff, white, and glossy. If not, keep beating until it is.

Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add vanilla and lemon juice. Immediately raise the speed to high and beat for another 3 minutes, or until the meringue is stiff, white, and glossy and resembles marshmallow fluff. The total time needed depends on your mixer and the brine used. You cannot over beat aquafaba, so don’t worry. * Success Tips: Heat the bean water on the stove to reduce it by 1/3, then chill it before making the meringue. It should be thick and resemble egg whites. Also, vegan meringue keeps its loft best when prepared with a non-alcoholic extract.

To assemble: Take the bowl of set up gelled dessert out of the fridge. Add an even layer of blueberries for the fruit layer, extending to the edge of the bowl so the berries can be seen from the side. Pour the cream over the berries, leaving space at the edge of the bowl to allow berries to be seen through the glass. Either add dollops of meringue over the top, or put the meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a decoration over the top. Garnish with fresh berries.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Fruit Pocket Pies

Fruit Pocket Pies

Fruit Pocket Pies

Summer is all about the fruit as far as I’m concerned. And the best way to combine fresh fruit and baking is to make pies. If you are a regular reader, you know that I’m not fond of pies. So, the creation I found isn’t exactly a pie but a fruit pocket pie, a.k.a. a hand pie. It requires fewer steps and less perfection than a standard pie therefore it is a treat I will happily bake.

The recipe I used was already vegan and didn’t need high altitude tweaks, so I didn’t change much. However, I didn’t blend all of the berries together as the original recipe stated. Instead I made each pie its own fruit at my hubby’s request. Also, you may notice that my rolling pin looks like it has big rubber bands on it in the picture below. Those bands are an item that ensures the thickness of your dough without measuring or having to eyeball it. This dough-rolling novice thought they made the work much easier, and easier work in the kitchen is a good thing.

Fruit Pocket Pies based on Berry Hand Pies

For the pastry:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS mild-flavored vegetable oil
3 to 5 TBS water, as needed to bring dough together
3 TBS maple syrup

For the filling:
1/3 cup vegan sugar
1 TBS all purpose flour
1 TBS lemon juice
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 cup strawberries, destemmed and cut up
1/3 cup blueberries
1/3 cup red raspberries
1/3 cup cherries, pitted and cut in half
1/8 tsp ground ginger

For the topping:
1 tsp vegan sugar

For the pastry: to a large bowl, add both flours, cinnamon, and salt, and whisk to combine. Drizzle oil over the dry ingredients. Using your fingers, work the oil in so the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water and maple syrup and stir until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

For the filling: in a small bowl, place sugar, flour, lemon juice, and cardamom, and toss gently to combine. Add strawberries to the sugar mixture and roll around to coat. Remove the fruit and place in its own bowl. Repeat with the blueberries and then with the raspberries. For the cherries, add the ginger to the remaining sugar mixture and stir in. Then add the cherries and roll to coat. Set the four bowls of fruit aside.

berries, dough, and rolling pin

berries, dough, and rolling pin

Transfer the chilled dough to a floured work surface. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough out to 1/8” thickness, then cut it into 5” circles. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the circles to the prepared cookie sheet. Add trimmings to the remaining pastry dough and repeat the procedure to yield 7 or 8 circles. Add a fruit filling to the center of each circle. Carefully fold over one side of pastry dough, press down around edges of the dough to seal, then crimp edges with a fork. Sprinkle the pies with the remaining one teaspoon of sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Until next time, happy baking!

Vegan No Bake Mini Blackberry Cheesecakes

no bake mini cheesecakes

no bake mini cheesecakes

The motivation for this post was the August Baking Challenge by Tessa of Handle the Heat. Tessa presented a recipe for bakers to make and share. It wasn’t vegan but that was simple enough to change. And, because there was no baking involved, high altitude adjustments were not necessary.

The vegan substitutions I made were to use vegan margarine in place of unsalted butter, vegan cream cheese for the cream cheese, and soy creamer instead of heavy cream. Another alteration I made was to put the cheesecakes in jars. Vegan dairy substitutes are often runnier than their dairy counterparts and make goopy cheesecake. I created a few in small mason jars where all they would require the eater to have was a spoon. The rest ended up in shot glasses for a fun party treat.

Vegan No Bake Mini Blackberry Cheesecakes adapted from Handle the Heat
For the crust:
1 sleeve (9 crackers) graham crackers (gluten-free, if desired)
4 TBS vegan margarine, melted
For the cheesecake:
12 ounces vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegan sugar
3/4 cup soy creamer
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup seedless blackberry preserves
For the topping:
1 cup blackberries
1 TBS vegan sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Blackberries, for garnish
For the crust: Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in melted margarine and pulse until moistened. Divide mixture among jars or glasses. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity.
For the cheesecake: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy and well combined. Add in creamer, lemon juice, and preserves and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes, until well combined and thickened. Pour mixture over crusts and cover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
For the topping: Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until pureed. Top each cheesecake with a dollop of sauce. Garnish with whole fresh blackberries.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Berry Coffee Cake

berry coffee cake

berry coffee cake

Who doesn’t like coffee cake? It’s good for breakfast, snack, dessert; basically whenever you’d drink coffee. But I was craving a coffee cake with a little difference. The recipe I found included blueberries, but my inspiration took me to add assorted berries for color and flavor. The batter turned a swirling purple color that I enjoyed. Don’t be scared; it gets muted during baking.

The recipe I looked to wasn’t vegan so I got the opportunity to try a different egg substitute – the chia egg. It’s made by adding ground chia seeds to warm water and letting it sit for 10-20 minutes to thicken. The result is gummier than flax eggs, so I can see recipes where it would be a problem but not this one. More substitutes were swapping butter and yogurt for non-dairy versions. For high altitude I reduced the baking powder and added non-dairy milk. So, grab a cuppa joe and dig in.

Berry Coffee Cake adapted from Blueberry Coffee Cake
2 TBS ground chia seeds whisked with 6 TBS warm water
2 TBS plus 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 TBS vegan margarine, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup non-dairy plain yogurt
1/2 cup non-dairy blueberry yogurt
1 TBS non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed and drained blueberries, divided
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8” cake pan. Prepare chia eggs by whisking ground chia seeds into a bowl of warm water. Set aside to gel. Put 2 TBS whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, margarine, cinnamon and cardamom in a bowl and mix together with a fork until well combined and mixture is in large clumps; set this streusel aside.
Put remaining 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, vegan sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a bowl, whisk together yogurts, vanilla and chia eggs then pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until combined. Gently fold in 1 cup berries. Spoon batter into pan and sprinkle streusel over top. Scatter remaining 1 cup berries over streusel and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Once cooled, loosen edges of cake and transfer to a plate.

Until next time, happy baking!

Berry Protein Muffins

berry protein muffinA while back I mentioned that one day I would bake with protein powder to see what kind of effect it would have on a final product. That day has come. I was alerted that taste, texture and color would change when adding protein powder to a baked good, but the only downside to my experiment was an oddly greenish colored muffin. But that seemed appropriate for a pre-Halloween treat.

I discovered a recipe that already included protein powder. The problem was that some of the ingredients seemed in odd proportion. So, I jumped right in and made many changes to the original. Most importantly I ensured that it had slightly higher than usual amounts of flour and liquids compared to the other ingredients. I also cut the baking powder in half; the amount listed would have made the muffins explode at high altitude. The vegetable oil was reduced because too much oil in high altitude baking can equate to greasiness. After a multitude of adjustments, I give you:

Berry Protein Muffins adapted from mindbodygreen.com
1 cup + 1 TBS almond milk
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup organic sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unflavored hemp protein powder
3 TBS vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen or fresh berries
Preheat oven to 350F and put liners in a 12-cup muffin pan. Combine milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle. In a bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and form a well in the center. To curdled milk, add hemp protein powder, oil, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
Pour milk mixture in the well of dry mixture, and stir only enough to moisten. Fold in berries and scoop dough into muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean; a few moist crumbs are okay. Remove from oven, cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Cool for 20 minutes.

Until next time, happy baking!