Sugar Plum Vegan

Sweetly Humane musings from a vegan bakeress

Daring Bakers Challenge–Eclair–Making it Vegan August 31, 2008

A vegan puff--gooey and delicious

A vegan puff--gooey and delicious

This is my second Daring Bakers challenge and boy what a challenge it was this month for a vegan! The recipe was from a cookbook written by Dorie Greenspan: Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme.

Pierre Herme is a world-renowned French pastry chef who Vogue called, “The Picasso of Pastry”. His website demonstrates his beautiful creations that can be found in at his jewel box pastry shop in France.

We were given his eclair recipe to replicate. I’ve made eclairs before in my past non-vegan life and they are quite delightful to make and eat. Pate a choux is the dough that is used to make this puffy babies. One of the key ingredients is the eggs to help them rise. I thought about this for some time and tried to figure out how this was going to work for a vegan. I surfed the web to find any inspiration for this recipe and found a lot of chefs saying it’s just not possible. Well, I did not want to give up so I daring took this challenge on not sure of my success.

Eclair and a Cream Puff--Twice as nice!

Eclair and a Cream Puff--Twice as nice!

So I used Ener-G Egg Replace and whipped the heck out of it with my mixer. My pate a choux did not turn out as puffy as it should be but I kind of expected that. I filled them with a coconut pastry cream and dipped them in a delicious dark vegan chocolate ganache and drizzle some homemade white chocolate on the tops.

Homemade White Chocolate is so yummy!

Homemade White Chocolate is so yummy!

If I had more time in my life I would spend hours and hours perfecting the recipe but I have to run a business and be a mom.   Maybe when I retire and Sugar Plum Vegan is so successful that I have other people doing my job for me I will tackle the vegan eclair again.  Until them I am satisfied with my outcome, they are good enough for me to eat and sometimes that’s just all you need.

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One Hot Mama!! Coconut Serrano Cupcakes with Avocado Lime Filling and Toasted Coconut Buttercream– My Iron Cupcake:Earth–Chili Challenge Entry August 23, 2008

Filed under: 1 — Jivana @ 4:33 pm
Vote for my Coconut Serrano Cupcake!!  Click on the photo to vote.

Vote for my Coconut Serrano Cupcake!! Click on the photo to vote.

Ever since I joined the Daring Bakers I’ve really enjoyed the idea of challenge baking with a group of talented chefs from all over the world. It really inspires me and helps get my creative juices flowing. So when I came across Iron Cupcake:Earth I was estatic! I’ve watched the original Iron Chef on TV before but was always grossed out by all the meat they used; however I thought the idea of using a specific food to make your items with was interesting. You can get so many different takes and ideas using this one food and that fascinated me.

Iron Cupcake:Earth is similar to this concept and the best part is that there is voting for the best ideas and they offer prizes!! Woo Hoo! Who doesn’t like a prize for baking? This is the first challenge for the group and the ingredient is the chili pepper. I liked this ingredient because it’s fun to add spicy or savory item to your sweet baking. It brings out a complexity that you just don’t get from only using sweet ingredients. I really think I’m going to like being a part of Iron Cupcake!

And now for the prizes.. We will be competing to win original artwork from the wonderful and talented Etsy artist Cakespy as well as a awesome Cupcake Courier, a cute as a button apron from Jessie Steele Aprons and finally a cookbook from Taste of Home.

I’m happy with my entry. I really think the flavors blend together tastefully and delicously!

So Vote for me at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner from Sunday, August 31, at 9 a.m.PST until Thursday, September 4, at 9 a.m.PST. Support your local vegan Hot Mama Baker.

Beautiful Serrano

Beautiful Serrano

Coconut Serrano Cupcake with Avocado Lime Filling and a Toasted Coconut Buttercream
(Vegan and Wheat Free)

Preheat Oven 350 degrees

Cake

1 1/2 cup organic white spelt
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
Combine these dry ingredients in bowl and set aside

Cream in a mixer
8 Tbs Earth Balance Vegan Spread
1 cup organic sugar

Add first and mix
1/2 cup natural coconut milk (get one with no preservatives)

Add Second and mix
1/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt

Add Third and mix
2 En-R-G Egg Replacer “eggs” whisked stiff

Now add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients

Finally add 1-2 Tbs pureed serrano chili pepper, adjust the hottness to your likening

Scoop mixture in cupcake holders a little less than 3/4 of the way up–these babies rise!
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before filling and frosting.

Avocado-Lime Filling

This is actually “raw” and I use it in one of my raw tarts. It’s delicious to just eat on it’s on so don’t be upset if you have a little extra.
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup agave nectar
Juice from 1 large, ripe lime–or 2 small ones if you can’t find a large
1 Tbs of lime zest
1 Tbs coconut butter
1/4 tsp sea salt
Blend all ingredients in the food processor until smooth and creamy and oh so good!
Cover and refridgerate for 2 hours before using so it sets. Don’t worry about the avocado turning brown–the lime stabalizes it and keeps the lovely green color.

Toasted Coconut Buttercream

Blend in mixer until smooth
1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Spread

Add
2 1/2 cups of sifted, organic powdered sugar (use organic!)
Blend for a few minutes and then

Add
1/4 cup coconut milk (there should be leftovers from your cake so conserve a can and use it)!
Add
2 tsp organic coconut extract
Blend until it becomes powdery and fluffy. Refridgerate a few hours or make the night before.

Garnish
Toast unsweetened coconut flakes in a 325 oven for a few minutes. Be sure to watch them because they can burn easily.

To Assemble

Scoop a hole into your cupcakes for the filling. Eat the scraps and get yourself on a sugar high.

Fill each cupcake with the avocado lime filling. I used a pastry bag and piped it in.

Refridgerate for 30 minutes so the filling can set again.

When set, frost the edges with the coconut buttercream using a piping bag.

Sprinkle the toasted coconut around the edges.
Viola!
Enjoy the firey cupcake balance by the cool filling and sweet frosting.

 

Gluten Free Vegan Latkes! August 14, 2008

Filed under: gluten free,vegan — Jivana @ 5:48 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Are you excited?  You will be once you try these!  My man grew up Jewish and latkes were a big part of their family during the holidays.  Once becoming a vegan, he stopped eating them because of the eggs in the recipe.  Since moving to Sacramento, I have embraced his Jewish side and have undertaken the fine art of vegan Jewish cooking.  Our favorite item to eat any time of the year is latkes.  We are crazy about potatoes and latkes bring out the yummy flavor of them.  I started out veganizing them by using spelt as the flour but then I moved on to making them gluten free due to his allergy to gluten.

I chose garbanzo bean flour for this recipe because I think it pairs nicely with the other flavors and gives it a Mediterranean aspect and delicious flavor.  Besides, every body loves ‘banzos, right?  Just kidding.  If you can’t find it, use brown rice flour to keep it gluten free or spelt to just make it wheat free.

We go for the traditional sour cream and apple sauce method of enjoying our latkes.  For the sour cream, we absolutely love the vegan sour cream by Follow Your Heart – it tastes just like the real thing when you add a latke and a little apple sauce.  You can also add a little bit of hot sauce if you like it spicy.

If you can make it to the farmer’s market, get some fresh zucchini and carrots – I’ve also added them to the original latke repertoire which makes them subtly delicious.   Our whole family has given Huge Mazel Tov’s on this recipe and I hope you will enjoy it too.

Gluten Free Latkes

6 starchy white potatoes, peeled if you don’t like the skins

1 medium onion (we like the sweet red ones)

1 large or 2 smaller zucchini

2 carrots, peeled

½ tsp sea salt, or to taste

¼ tsp pepper

¼ cup of organic non-GMO corn starch or potato starch

1 ½ -2 cups Garbanzo bean flour

Safflower oil or your favorite oil for frying

If using a food processor:
Use the grating blade to shred the potatoes, onion, zucchini and carrots.

If shredding by hand, use a grater to shred all the potatoes, zucchini and carrots. Dice the onion as finely as possible.

Put all vegetables in a large mixing bowl and blend.Add the starch of your choice and mix.Allow it to dissolve for a couple minutes and get sticky from the moisture of the potatoes.

Add the salt, pepper and flour combining well.The mixture should get sticky and be able to hold together and form well.Use more or less flour to get to this consistency.Let mixture sit while heating up the oil.

In a non-stick skillet, add the oil for frying and heat on medium-high heat.Do not let the oil smoke—it too hot!Turn me down!You want to have a good amount of oil in your pan because these babies love to suck up the oil and get crispy good.

While the oil is heating up, set your oven to warm to keep the latkes warm until you’re ready to serve.Also have a plate with paper towels ready to soak up their oil when you first bring them out of the pan.

When the oil is hot and ready, take a large cookie scooper and scoop the latke mixture into the pan and press them flat with a spatula.If you don’t have a scooper, just use your wet hands and roll into medium balls and flatten with spatula.Fry the latkes on one side for about 4-5 minutes, or until they are golden brow.Flip and fry for another 4 minutes.We like ours a bit crispy here so reduce the frying time by a minute if you want them less crisp.

Transfer to the paper towel plate and to dry and them place in warm oven on baking sheet.Continue the process until you’re out of mixture. Munch on a latke while completing, it takes some time.

Serve warm with applesauce and our favorite Follow Your Heart Sour Cream, which we tossed some fresh parsley and chives into.