The Brellis House

 

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!

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.

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