The Brellis House

 

Category Archives: Dessert

Quince Tarte Tartin

Posted on April 1st, 2014 by Dan

quince

We happened upon a few quinces and really weren’t sure what to do with them. For weeks they sat in our basement, until finally we braved this tarte tartin recipe. Although it may not have turned out as beautiful as hers, it was delicious! We opted for a shortcrust pastry for the crust, which turned out very good. Shortcrusts are a type of dough with a 1:2 ratio of fat to flour with enough water to hold it together. To make the shortcrust I pulsed 200 grams of flour in a food processor with 1/8 tsp of baking powder. Then I added 50 grams of vegetable shortening and 50 grams of butter (cold). After pulsing until sandy texture formed I added enough water to form a dough, wrapped it in plastic, refrigerated for 30 minutes, then rolled it out for the tartin. quince tart tartin

Quince are extremely floral in taste and smell and are one of the few fruits that must be cooked to release their peak flavor and texture. The sugar syrup that we cooked the quince in is tasty too. We ended up with about 1/2 cup and used it to sweeten a gin and soda beverage.quince tart tartin

Valentine Doughnuts & Marshmallow Cream

Posted on February 7th, 2014 by Dan

Doughnuts are the best baked good to celebrate holidays, birthdays or any special day really. I have the fondest memories of my grandmother whipping up batches and batches of doughnuts for Fat Tuesday before Lent. She makes enough chocolate, cinnamon, jelly-filled and cream-filled flavors for all 7 of her sons and their families. I was actually able to get her recipe, but I found it doesn’t veganize as well as my go-to doughnut dough. Never-the-less, as a result, I have a sentimental part in my stomach for deep-friend dough on Fat Tuesday. Last year we were too busy to make doughnuts on Tuesday, so we had Susanna’s niece over to help celebrate Fat Thursday with doughnuts 🙂 (which, coincidentally  was Valentine’s Day).

We made up two varieties, a yeasted gluten-free dough from VeganDad. This is more of a cake style doughnut (pictured below). Still deep-fried, still risen with yeast.

Gluten-Free Valentine Doughnuts

The second style was with my aforementioned go-to doughnut dough. With these I was able to make filled doughnuts with a delicious marshmallow cream. Oh, it was so good. Some we added a little peanut butter into the cream too.

Vegan Doughnut Marshmallow Cream:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup tofutti cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup ricemellow creme
  • 2 tsp smooth peanut butter (optional)

Methods

  • Mix everything together with an electric beater until fluffed and slightly runny.
  • Use a piping bag to fill the doughnuts, or poke a small hole into the doughnut and drizzle in the creme with a spoon.

Baked Chocolate Donuts

Posted on January 19th, 2014 by Susanna

Dan got a donut pan for Christmas- something I was pretty excited about since we can now decrease our fried food intake. I’ve had a hankering for regular old glazed chocolate donuts so we made them today. We used this recipe and just subbed the egg with a flax egg and milk with rice milk. Dan also decided to make a chocolate ganache topping. chocolate donuts chocolate donuts

They turned out pretty good but I think I’ll try a different recipe next time. They seemed a little too cakey and spongy.

Raspberry Chocolate Macarons

Posted on December 13th, 2013 by Dan

The Brellis House: Vegan Raspberry French Macarons with Chocolate GanacheWe had such an overwhelming reception to our updated French Macaron recipe. We were featured in 9 Vegan & Decadent French Desserts by Care2.com and had a big boost of visitors from pinterest, tumblr, and findingvegan.com. Thanks to everyone who visited the site, made the macarons, and commented on the recipe.

The Brellis House: Rows of Vegan Raspberry French Macarons with Chocolate GanacheI know, as a group of vegan bakers, we can perfect this recipe. I made this batch with my same base recipe (no lemon zest or yellow food coloring) and added a few drops of raspberry juice to the versawhip ‘egg whites’. The filling is a chocolate ganache left over from our Berger Cookies.

The Brellis House: Vegan Raspberry French Macarons with Chocolate GanacheThese turned out beautifully, the pink shells and black chocolate contrast very nicely. To get rid of my hollow centers, I let them rest on the counter for 2 hours before baking and then baked them at 250°F for 25 minutes. This resulted in shells that mostly were not hollow, but still had porous centers. I have a few ideas to fix this, which I think comes from the batter being too thick- also this should help make a flatter, less puffed shell. Next time I think I’ll keep the 25 minute baking time at the lower temperature and try less almond meal/powdered sugar.

Let me know how your macarons are turning out and thanks for all your sharing & support!

Snow Day and Berger Cookies

Posted on December 8th, 2013 by Susanna

snow fernssnow squirrel Cosmo through window.We unexpectedly got about four inches of snow today, which didn’t really change our plans for the day (crunch time with schoolwork), but made the day cozy and put us in the mood for baking. With all the recent talk of the potential shutting down of Baltimore’s Berger cookie bakery because of the ban on trans fats, we decided we’d give making them a try. We used King Authur’s recipe and veganized it with the obvious substitutions of butter, milk, cream, and egg (vegg), and we also used agave syrup in place of corn syrup. They turned out delicious and the icing is pretty close to how I remember the original Berger cookie icing, but the cookie isn’t much like the original. But at least they are trans fat free!

Other notes on the recipe in case your going to try it: we cut the recipe in half and it made 9 Berger-sized cookies, but they didn’t need 10 minutes in the oven, they started to burn a little- so keep an eye on them.

vegan berger cookies

vegan berger cookies

 

 

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted on October 13th, 2013 by Dan

I get most excited for the first pumpkins to mark the fall harvest. I bought two sugar pumpkins last week and used it all up in a week. Since we did such a great job canning tomatoes, I was hoping to do a lot of pumpkin preserving for the winter. However, I was disappointed in finding out that you can’t safely can pumpkin puree, though you can do pumpkin chunks, which I plan on trying.

The Brellis House :: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since I immediately pureed my pumpkin, I had to find ways to use it all up (which wasn’t so hard). I made double batches of our pumpkin granola, delicious pumpkin cake (recipe to come), pumpkin red lentil curry, and these tasty cookies.

The cookies are soft and chewy with a hint of pumpkin and spice, though they probably could have taken more of each. The brown butter idea is from some similar recipes I found that used it to add flavor. Since Earth Balance doesn’t have as much lactic sugar as dairy butter, I added some Amaretto to add some toffee notes.

Makes 24 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
  • 1/4 tsp Amaretto (optional)
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Vegg powder + 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups AP white flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Methods

  1. Brown the butter in a small sauce pan on medium-low heat and melt, stirring in the Amaretto. Let bubble for a few minutes (no more than 5) until a slight, but noticeable color change (light brown) and a nutty odor occurs.
  2. Add the now browned butter to a large bowl (or one of your stand mixer) and beat with the sugars. Add the Vegg powder and water and combine. Then add in the pumpkin puree, spices, vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Sift in the flours, cornstarch and baking soda and fold with a rubber spatula, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop tablespoon sized balls on a baking sheet (parchment or silpat) and bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are browning (the tops will still seem soft, but they’ll firm up out of the oven).

Vegg Review: Tiramisu Cupcakes

Posted on September 3rd, 2013 by Dan

One of the things I’m most excited about with using Vegg is with desserts. I bought a “Chocolate Bible” from a discount store a while ago and every cake recipe calls for 7-10 egg yolks. I tried one once, using a combination of flax meal and Ener-G Egg replacer… it was a thick, dense disaster. I’m optimistic that I can figure out how to veganize a sponge cake eventually, and maybe the Vegg is in that equation.

tiramisu cupcake

The best-sounding dessert in the Vegg cookbook, in our opinion, was the Tiramisu Cupcake recipe by Matthew Calverley of Vegan Heartland. We made it for a family dinner with my parents and siblings to see how they felt about a Vegg dessert.

tiramisu cupcake

Overall, approval was high. The cupcake, was much denser and chewier than cupcakes I’ve had before (vegan or not). The cream cheese frosting was very tasty, though a bit runny on a hot summer day.

NOTES.
The reason for the chewiness, I believe is over mixing. The recipe called for whipping the wet ingredients. Then, folding in the dry ingredients.  Then, stirring in additional milk and vanilla extract. I think this caused too much mixing and thus too much gluten development, thus a denser, chewier cupcake. I think the milk and vanilla extract should have been added to the wet ingredients to reduce the amount of mixing.

Also, the tiramisu flavorings came from cocoa powder in the frosting and a coffee glaze poured over top the cupcake. Unfortunately, I don’t think this provided enough flavor, especially since the coffee glaze didn’t really soak into the cake. Instead, next time I would add some coffee liquor/ground coffee powder and cocoa powder into the batter from the start.

I didn’t have enough cream cheese on hand for the frosting recipe, so I subbed in enough shortening to make it hold together. This worked pretty well and made a nice frosting which was easy to pipe onto the cake.

 

Overall, we were really pleased with how these cupcakes turned out, we can’t wait to experiment a little more with them.

1

Plum Crumble Pie (Gluten Free)

Posted on July 19th, 2013 by Dan

Now that summer is in full swing and farmers’ markets are starting to overflow, I need to finally use up all my preserved fruits and vegetables from last year. As of last week, my freezer contained two freezer bags of wineberries, one of black berries, three of strawberries and one of plums, all of which were harvested or bought from a local market. This isn’t even to mention the jars I have stacked in cabinets.

Gluten-free Plum Crumble Pie

Gluten-free Plum Crumble Pie

I know it defeats the purpose to use frozen fruit from last year, when in a few weeks I can have it fresh again- I need to get better about enjoying our hard preserving work, instead of harboring it. So, l am now down a bag of plums in the freezer and up two plum cobbler pies. Using guidelines from a recipe from the Kitchn: Summer Recipe: Whole Wheat Plum Crumble Pie, I used up all my plums and made two pies. To share with Susanna’s mom who is experiemnting with eating gluten-free, I made one of them gluten-free. The gf pie was actually a better product; the crust held together nicer and didn’t have any sort of grainy texture or taste. So I thought I’d share the gluten-free version of the recipe I made with some additional changes.

Gluten-free Plum Crumble PieThis is a great dessert for picnics or other outdoor summer meal. Depending on your plums, you might want to add or reduce the sugar. Peeling the plums isn’t necessary, since the skins practically dissolve while baking.

Ingredients (makes one pie)

Filling
1-1.25 lbs of plums, pitted and quartered or halved
2 Tbl sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla

Crumble
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
90 g vegan margarine, melted

Pie Crust
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp xantham gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp sugar
96 g vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
1-2 Tbl cold water
Extra shortening for greasing the pie plate

Methods

Before anything, get the crust ingredients cold: weigh out the shortening and put in the freezer, flours in the fridge and put an ice cube in the water.

First, let’s prep the plums. After you quarter and pit the plums, mix them with the sugar and place in a colander over a bowl and place in the fridge for at least an hour or longer.

Meanwhile, make the pie crust. With your cold ingredients, put the flours, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Now put the cold shortening in the processor and pulse 6-8 times to make a sandy mixture. While pulsing, add a tsp of the water and pulse and additional 2-4 times. The dough should appear crumbly and barely hold together when pinched (see simplygluten-free.com for more tips on pie crusts, gf or wheat). Pour the crumbly dough into ziplock bag, compact into a disc, seal and put in the fridge to rest of an hour or up to 3 days.

After your dough rests, roll it out between two sheets of rice floured wax paper until it’s about 1/8-1/4″ thick. Grease a 9″ pie plate with shortening and carefully transfer the rolled out dough onto the dish. It will likely rip, but don’t worry, this buttery dough can easily be pieced back together. Now put the pie plate in the freezer for 45 minutes.

While the dough is in the freezer,preheat the oven to 300°F and make the crumble topping. Use a large bowl to combine the oats, flours, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the melted butter and form clumps, about 1″ big or smaller. The topping will barely form together and that’s okay.

Take the plums out of the fridge and take the juice that has strained out and mix with the cornstarch until it is complete dissolved. Bring the juice to a boil and then simmer for 2 minutes. Once cool, add the vanilla extract. Take the pie plate/dough out of the freezer, add the plums, pour the juice over it, sprinkle with extra sugar is desired, then cover with the crumble topping. Bake for 45 minutes at 300°F, then increase the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes. It’s done when the crust has darkened and the plum juice is bubbling over. You might want to place a sheet pan under the pie plate to avoid and plum juice overflow.

Serve with vanilla ice cream!

2

Vegan Strawberry Cannoli

Posted on July 15th, 2013 by Dan

What an adventure we’ve had with this one. I won’t lie, it’s a time intensive project, you need some patience and special equipment, but these vegan strawberry cannoli are delicious.

chocolate-dipped-cannoli-shells

strawberry-chocolate-cannoli

We got the shell molds from a local home and hardware store nearby, though you can buy them online at Bed, Beth & Beyond. We did a lot of research into making these, and have a result to prove it. In fact, we entered them into a dessert competition at a native berry festival and won the judges pick! This was exciting, especially since we were bitter last year after not winning with our blueberry doughnuts.

strawberry-cannoli

We had some problems with the shells at first, basically they expanded and puffed up in the oil, coming unraveled. However, after letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight and rolling out thinner, we didn’t have that problem again. Another thing that may help if you’re experiencing this problem is to dock (make holes in) the rounds before rolling them around the molds with a fork, like you would with a pie crust.

Ingredients

For the Shells:
7 oz all purpose flour
1 oz pastry flour
1 oz sugar
1 oz shortening
1 Tbl ground flax seed
2 Tbl water
1/4 tsp vegg powder (optional)
3.5 oz dry Marsala wine
pinch of salt
Neutral oil for frying                                                                                                                                                      

For the Ricotta:
8 oz well pressed extra firm tofu
3 Tbl canola oil
2 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbl suagr
1/4 tsp yellow barley miso paste

For the Filling:
3/4 cup strawberry puree
2 Tbl cornstarch
1 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
16 chopped strawberries
9 oz Ricotta (from recipe below)
zest of 1 lemon
8 oz cream cheese

Methods (shells):

  1. Make the egg by whisking the flax meal, water and vegg powder together, let sit a few minutes, then whisk again until thick.
  2. Sift the flours, sugar and salt together. Cut in the shortening till the flour is a fine, sandy mixture. Add the egg mixture and wine. Stir, adding just enough wine until you have hydrated all the flour and the dough is slightly sticky.
  3. Shape into a disk and tightly wrap in plastic wrap for 3 hours, or overnight**.
  4. Divide the dough in half, then roll out on a floured surface until very thin, about 1/16″ (I rolled it out until it was transparent and I could see the counter underneath)**.
  5. Fill your dutch oven or deep fry pot with at least 2″ of oil and bring it to 360-375°F.
  6. Cut with appropriate circles for your cannoli molds (we used 3″ diameter narrow mouth mason jar lids for our 5/8″ molds). Wrap around the molds and use some water to seal the edges**.
  7. Drop the cannoli into the oil and fry until it is golden brown, just about 1 minute. I used tongs to scootch them around so the cannoli wouldn’t burn on the bottom, or you could use a basket so they don’t sit on the bottom.
  8. Let cool on a drying rack and remove your molds. You can apparently store the shells in an air tight container for a month or two after they cool.

cannoli-shells

Methods (filling and assembly):

  1. Make the ricotta by combining all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth (it won’t be super smooth, but there shouldn’t be any big chunks of tofu).

    Tofu Ricotta

    Tofu Ricotta

  2. Now, take the strawberry puree and combine it with the cornstarch, cup of sugar and lemon juice and place in a saucepan. Whisk until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved, then heat, whisking constantly. First it will foam and bubble, then start to thicken. The idea is to simmer it down until it’s almost the consistency of jelly (not runny). If this is runny, your filling will be runny.
    strawberry-jelly
  3. Once the strawberry is thick and not runny, add in the chopped strawberries and let cool to room temperature.
    strawberry-tofu-ricotta
  4. Whisk the ricotta, lemon zest and cream cheese in a stand mixer or with electric beaters until combined and then fold in the strawberry mixture (if the strawberries got too thick to fold in, simply heat it up for a bit until it’s workable). You can decide how much you want to mix these together, but I like a mostly white filling with streaks of red (see photo).
  5. Use a pipping bag to fill both sides of a cannoli, then top with chocolate or powdered sugar. You can dip the cannoli shells in melted chocolate before filling as well.
29

French Macarons (Part II)

Posted on July 4th, 2013 by Dan

French macarons are the holy grail of vegan dessert in my opinion. Following a combination of Hannah Kaminsky’s mint macaron recipe in Vegan Desserts and research into foams and non vegan macarons, I’ve got a macaron now that is fairly reliable, though not close to perfect.

lemon-macarons

My problem, still, is hollow centers. I have theories, but I don’t get around to making macarons everyday to experiment. I think my biggest problem is that the batter is too thick (too much almond meal slash powdered sugar), so the shells get too big and puffy. Playing around with temperature and the egg whites might also help.

A macaron after a bite. It's crushed because of the hollow center of the shells.

A macaron after a bite. It’s crushed because of the hollow center of the shells.

Regardless, I’ll share with you my macaron recipe as I work on it now. I hope this can be useful for many people as a jumping off point and I really hope we can collaborate to improve the recipe. As before, my recipe relies on Versawhip as the main foaming agent. Also, I’ve since gotten a stand mixer, and I love it. The whisk attachment is good for making the foam.

Vegan egg whites with my Artisan stand mixer.

Vegan egg whites with stiff peaks using my Artisan stand mixer.

This recipe is a lemon variation, which is all too appropriate for summer.

Ingredients

  • 15 g cane sugar
  • 57 g almond meal
  • 115 g powdered sugar
  • 57g water
  • 1/2 tsp Versawhip
  • 15 g Ener-G Egg Replacer powder (~2Tbl)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine lemon zest
  • 2 drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

Methods

  1. Put the 15 g cane sugar in a food processor and pulse to create superfine sugar, set aside.
  2. Whisk the water and egg replacer until foamy, let stand for 2 minutes.
  3. Put the almond meal and powdered sugar in the food processor and pulse to combine and destroy any clumps. Don’t over mix or over heat the mixture (we don’t want almond butter).
  4. Place the egg replacer/water foamy mixture in the bowl of your stand mixture along with the Versawhip and xanthan gum. With the whisk attachment on low, slowly add the superfine sugar. Increase the speed to medium, add the lemon zest and food coloring, and then increase to high until you get stiff peaks (the volume wasn’t enough to get my whisk attachment into, so I had to lift the bowl up a bit).
  5. Once you have stiff peaks, turn off the machine and fold in your almond mixture, carefully. Many macaron recipes say that the batter should flow in ribbons like hot lava (whatever that means).
  6. With a piping bag or zip lock bag with the corner cut, pipe 1.5″ circles of batter onto a silpat or parchment paper which is on a baking sheet. Smooth out any bumps and tap the sheet pan to knock out any air bubbles.
  7. Now, importantly, let the batter sit, at room temperature, in a well ventilated room for 1-3 hours. This is essential in keeping the shape and making feet. You want the shells to be dry to the touch.
  8. Bake the shells at 300°F for 10-14 minutes. You can double stack your sheet pans to help with insulation so the bottoms don’t burn.
  9. For these lemon macarons, I sandwiched them with left over lemon icing for cupcakes from my sister.

Additional shots of my stand mixer. I love that it’s red. We actually got it for about half off at TJ Max.

kitchen-aid-stand-mixer

artisan-kitchen-aid-stand-mixer