Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lemon Meringue Pie

I know I am late to the aquafaba/vegan meringue party, but better late than never I suppose. The issue was that I was never able to get the aquafaba to beat into stiff peaks and so I stopped experimenting months ago. Even after endless whisking on high in the KitchenAid, very soft peaks was the best I could get. And then I recently happened upon recipes that use xanthan gum. Problem solved! Perfect peaks every time (and I wonder if you could cut it down to 1/4 tsp for this recipe). Lemon Meringue Pie is one of Vegan Mom's favourites (and we have not eaten it for over 10 years) so I was happy to be able to take her down culinary memory lane. The filling is tangy and sweet, and firm without being rubbery. The meringue is some serious vegan magic.

The filling calls for both corn starch (white) and corn flour (yellow). This may cause some confusion because what the Brits call corn flour, Americans/Canadians call corn starch.

This recipe makes one big 10" pie or, as I found out tonight in preparing for a departmental party, 42 tarts.

- 1 10" pre-baked pie crust

- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 cup corn flour
- generous 1/2 tsp agar powder
- 2 cups + 3 tbsp (17.5 oz) white sugar
- 1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (15 oz) water
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup soy milk

- 3/4 cup salt free chickpea aquafaba
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 7.5 tbsp (5 oz) superfine white sugar

Bake your shell per whatever recipe you are using. It is best if the crust is slightly underdone since you will be baking the assembled pie. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Whisk the corn starch, corn flour, agar, and sugar together in a saucepan. Whisk in water and lemon juice, then whisk in soy milk.
2. Bring to bubbling over medium high, stirring constantly. When bubbling, reduce heat to med-lo and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Immediately pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and set aside to start cooling. The filling will be a bit runny, but it will set in the fridge.
4. Make the meringue: whisk the xanthan gum into the aquafaba, then place in a stand mixer and whisk on high with a balloon whisk until stiff peak form.
5. Whisk in the 1 tbsp of lemon juice, then whisk in the sugar a bit at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly.
6. When the sugar is incorporated and the meringue is no longer gritty, gently spread the meringue over the pie filling. The filling will be wobbly, so be gentle (or pipe the meringue on).
7. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned (or browned to your liking). I like to use convection for this step.
8. Let the pie cool for an hour, then transfer to the fridge. When pie is cool, put in a container in the fridge and completely cool (about 4 hours or up to overnight). If you are in a rush, place the cooled pie on ice packs in the fridge.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


This recipe is a mashup of the two yogurt recipes Miyoko Schinner has given us in Artisan Vegan Cheese and Homemade Vegan Pantry. I like the thickness of the soy yogurt recipe, but I prefer the taste of almond milk so this recipe is the best of both worlds. A purely soy yogurt will set beautifully on its own without the aid of the cornstarch or agar, but I find it to be rather temperamental. If the yogurt gets too hot it will separate. Here, the starch and agar help set the almond milk whilst keeping the final product homogeneous. Perfectly thick yogurt every time.

NOTE 1: this recipe makes a lot (but with four kids it does not last long). Half the recipe if needed, but also note that it will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

NOTE 2: Start this recipe by using a commercially available yogurt as your starter (you can use a dried yogurt culture, but usually they contain skim milk powder). For the next time you make yogurt, save 6 tbsp of yogurt from this recipe. The first batch might taste a little weird (depending on the quality of the yogurt you bought--they are all pretty horrible around here) but by your second batch and beyond you won't taste it anymore.

Makes about 6.5 cups
- 1 cup raw whole cashews, soaked for a few hours
- 2 cups almond milk
- 4 cups soy milk
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp agar powder
- 6 tbsp yogurt with live cultures

1. Blend the soaked cashews with the 2 cups of the almond milk. If you have a super blender like a Vitamix, you don't need to soak the cashews. Blend until smooth.
2. Whisk the cornstarch and agar into the 4 cups of soy milk in a saucepan. Add the cashew mixture and place over medium heat.
3. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and glossy. You won't need to bring it to a boil (about 180 F), but it will be hot and steaming. You will notice the mixture getting glossier and sticking to the bottom of the pot a bit as you stir. It's going to take a good 15 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and let cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. When mixture is cooled, whisk in yogurt.
5. Pour boiling water into a large container with a lid to sterilize. Pour out water before adding yogurt. I use a massive 6 cup mason jar.
6. Pour yogurt into sterilized container and put on the lid. The trick now is to keep the jar warm (at around 110 degrees F) for the next 8-15 hours. I wrap my mason jars in a bunch of towels and leave it  near the heater. In the summer, I leave it out in the sun. The longer you leave the yogurt, the more it will set and the tangier it will get.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


I'm not sure why the perfect egg-free brownie has been so elusive--that perfect blend of fudginess and chewiness without being to dry or crumbly. As you can see from the ingredient list, the answer is not very complicated at all. This is pure, unadulterated, vegan dessert.

- 2 cups all purpose flour (scooped and levelled)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Bring yogurt, and non-dairy milk to just bubbling over medium heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until smooth. Add oil and vanilla and mix until smooth.
3. Mix wet ingredients into dry with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be thick but spreadable. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
4. Bake for 25-28 mins. Cool and serve.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Good and Lovely Christmas Ice Cream

Last night I had the great fortune of not only seeing The Good Lovelies in concert during their Christmas tour, but making dessert for the band. I wanted to make something holiday-ish to fit with the theme of the night and came up with this. The word is that the band loved the ice cream, hence the name.

The method for the ice cream is from Homemade Vegan Pantry, and the method for sugaring the chestnuts comes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The recipe works best with a high powered blender like a Vitamix. If you don't have one, just make sure your cashews are nice and soft before blending

Ice Cream
- 1 cup whole raw cashews
- boiling water
- 1.5 cups non-dairy milk of your choosing
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- large pinch of salt
- 1 can coconut milk (light, or regular)
- 2 tsp vanilla

Sugared Roasted Chestnuts
- 1 cup chopped roasted chestnuts (about 3/4 lb whole chestnuts)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- pinch of salt

Ice Cream
1. Cover the chestnuts with boiling water. Let sit for 15 mins then drain.
2. Blend cashews and non-dairy milk on high in a blender until smooth. Add sugar, cinnamon, and salt and blend until dissolved.
3. Add coconut milk and vanilla and blend until smooth.
4. Place mixture in the fridge until cold.
5. When mixture is cold, make in your ice cream maker per the directions. Mix the sugared chestnuts in before transferring to the freezer.

1. Roast the chestnuts: preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a slit through the shell of each chestnut (to let the steam escape). Place nuts, slit side up, on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 mins, until shell splits around the slit. Wrap in a towel and set aside to cool.
2. When chestnuts are cool, peel, and roughly chop. 
3. Place the rest of the ingredients in a cold pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until mixture bubbles. Keep stirring for 3 mins, until mixture is thick. 
4. Remove from heat, add chopped chestnuts and mix to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Transfer to the freezer.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Savoury Stuffing Rolls

What?! A new post?! As I explained on ye olde Vegan Dad Facebook page, I have been battling Crohn's this entire year and that has very much dampened my enthusiasm for cooking and eating. I think I am finally getting it under control, so here's hoping! I have also spent the last three weeks on strike which was the inspiration for these buns. On the picket line we have been blessed by endless treats from supporters. I thought it would be nice to have a handheld savoury snack instead and these fit the bill. They are reminiscent of stuffing, hence the name. You could easily add some cranberries in with the apple, or raisins. Use this as a starting point and go nuts (maybe even add nuts?). Could be great for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Makes 24 rolls
- 1 recipe everyday whole wheat bread (make with all white bread flour, if desired, as I did)
- 2 potatoes and 1 carrot, small dice (about 2 cups total)
- olive oil
- sea salt
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 leek, white and light green part, halved and thinly sliced
- olive oil
- 1 cooking apple, peeled, small dice
- 1/4 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- freshly ground pepper
- soy milk for brushing

1. Make the dough per the recipe link above. While the starter is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss the diced potato and carrot in a splash or two of olive oil and season lightly with sea salt. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment and bake for 20 mins, turning the veggies after ten to ensure and even roast.
3. Wrap the unpeeled garlic cloves in a piece of aluminum foil and roast along with the veggies for 20 mins.
4. Set veggies and garlic aside to cool.
5. Heat a splash of olive oil in a small frying pan over med-lo heat and saute leeks until softened (about 5-7 mins). Add apple and cook for a minute more. Skin and chop up roasted garlic and mix through. Remove from heat.
6. Continue making the dough but add the herbs in to the dry ingredients. Add the veggies and diced apple/leek mixture in during the final two minutes of kneading. I like to start this in the stand mixer with the dough hook, but finish on a lightly floured counter to make sure nothing gets too smushed up. Add more flour is the dough is too wet. It should be slightly tacky but not sticky.
7. Transfer dough to a oiled bowl and let rise for an hour, or until doubled.
8. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper (or two smaller trays). Divide dough into 24 equal pieces and shape into rolls (a little tricky with all the veggies and apple, but be patient). Place on tray (in six rows of four), mist with oil, and cover with plastic wrap to let rise.
9. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
10. When rolls have almost doubled and are touching one another, brush tops with plain soy milk and bake for 15 minutes, rotating tray half way through for an even bake. Cool but enjoy while still warm.