Accidental lemon fudge

I think I’ve accidentally invented lemon fudge! Is it already a thing? I don’t know, I’m pretty pleased with myself either way!

As I was working on the lemon curd recipe, some of it was cooked for slightly too long (like maybe a minute, not much). I could tell it was too much but I popped it in the fridge anyway to see how it would turn out.

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And the answer is delicious! Haha 🙂 The texture is exactly like a gooey fudge but with the flavour of lemon curd. It’s one mistake I will happily make again!

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Even better vegan lemon curd

Remember I made lemon curd a few weeks ago? It was pretty good, but after a little experimentation this afternoon I’m going to go ahead and say that this recipe is better, more authentic and downright delicious!

Ingredients (to make 1 jar)

9 tbsps aquafaba
9 tbsps lemon juice
6 oz caster sugar
3 oz coconut oil
3 oz vegan margarine
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and whisk continually over a medium-low heat.

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The mixture will start out clear but around the 7-9 minute mark will thicken and become opaque. Turn the heat right down and continue stirring for a further 2 minutes.

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Remove from the heat and carefully pour it into a sterilised jar. Leave it to cool completely, to make sure you don’t burn your tongue! (Not that I’m speaking from experience…. oh no 😉 )

Spread on toast and enjoy!

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No I haven’t eaten nearly three whole jar already, I made a 1/3 quantity as a test!

The next test will be to see if this lemon curd works better in a lemon meringue pie! Watch this space 🙂

Individual summer fruit pavlovas

We had friends over today for a “summer” barbeque (cardigans and jeans were worn, it was not a summer BBQ like some people might picture!). So I decided to add to the summery feeling with some individual summer fruit pavlovas.

These were easy but fancy looking little desserts that went down very well with everyone (we all had more than one!). Unfortunately they had to be assembled right before serving though as the coconut cream did start to dissolve the meringues, so if you decide to make these then make sure to leave yourself a few minutes for assembling!

Ingredients

For the meringues

  • liquid from one can of chickpeas/beans* (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

*this time I used a tin of 3 bean salad. Interestingly the aquafaba from this tin was much thicker than from chickpeas or butter beans, and it also took much longer to whip up. But it still worked and gave a lovely, thick mixture.

For the coconut cream

  • 1 tin full fat coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsps icing sugar

To finish

  • Stawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Brambles

(or any combination you like!)

To make the meringues: Preheat the oven to 100 degress Celsius. Add the aquafaba and vinegar to a non-plastic bowl and whip until you have stiff peaks. Slowly add the sugar a spoonful at a time, waiting until the previous spoonful is completely combined before adding any more. When all of the sugar is incorporated and there are glossy, stiff peaks, add the vanilla extract and mix it in.

Line a baking tray with parchment and pipe the mixture into meringue nests, or kisses for bitesized pavlovas. Place in the centre of your oven and bake for 90 minutes. Once baked turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside to cool for a couple of hours until they are completely cold.

To make the whipped cream: Chill the coconut milk in the fridge overnight, this will cause the contents of the tin to separate into the solid cream, which will float on the top, and the water underneath. Carefully spoon out the solid cream into a bowl, trying not to pick up any of the water as this will affect the consistency of your whipped cream. Add the icing sugar, then using an electric mixer whip your cream to the desired texture making sure you don’t leave any lumps.

To make up: Either spoon or pipe about a tablespoonful of whipped cream into the centre of the meringue nest, or about a teaspoon on top of the meringue kisses. Decorate with the fresh fruit and serve to your suitable impressed guests 🙂

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I have some ideas about different flavour combinations for these pavlovas, so watch this space…

Granny’s impossible pie

I’m sure this recipe has a proper name, but in our family it’s known as Granny’s impossible pie, for fairly self explanatory reasons. It’s called impossible pie because it all gets mixed in one bowl then poured into a pie dish where it ‘magically’ forms two distinct layers like a pastry pie. Well, it’s magical when you’re little, as an adult I quickly realised it’s because the coconut floats in the mixture. (Yes, I was sad when I realised it wasn’t Granny’s magic…)

I used to love it but (to me) it tasted so eggy that I went off it when I went off eggs. I tried making it once using an egg replacer but it just didn’t work, the flavour was fine but the texture just wasn’t quite right.

But thanks to the wonder that is aquafaba, I am now able to enjoy this tasty pud again without the eggy-ness and with the right texture. Perfect! I do hope my Granny would like it 🙂

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsps aquafaba
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 8 fl oz soya milk
  • 1 oz flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 oz melted margarine
  • 4 oz dessicated coconut

The instructions are so simple: preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix all the ingredients in the order listed above. Pour the mixture into a pie dish and bake for 30 minutes until the top turns a light golden brown.

I served it with some aquafaba marshmallow fluff and fresh Scottish strawberries. Delicious!

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Note: If you use a smaller pie dish you will have a better definition between the layers. Unfortunately I only have a small pie dish and a large one and nothing in between. I think I need to shop!

Coffee and hazelnut macarons

Remember a few weeks ago I made vegan meringues? Well since then I’ve had a few more experiments and also found a great group on Facebook, Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses!, dedicated to all the wonderful uses for aquafaba. This is the term which has been coined to describe the “bean water” that everyone is going mad for!

I first of all learned that the reason for the failure of my other meringues was not under cooking, but the use of the stevia. It would seem that nobody has managed to get good results with it. I tried again using only caster sugar and didn’t have the same trouble. The aquafaba and sugar mixture whipped up brilliantly and gave a beautifully thick and shiny meringue which held its shape. Mary Berry would have been proud! Haha

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So of course the next challenge, inspired by some very talented people in the group, was to attempt that wonderful French classic, the macaron. It took me two attempts to get these right but it was so worth it, the light and delicate biscuits were a delicious triumph and went down very well at my dad’s birthday lunch.

I slightly winged it with the recipe first time, hence their failure, so for the second batch I adapted my recipe a little and based it on the recipe and technique used by the very talented Charis of Floral Frosting, but with my own flavour combination.

So, without further ado, I give you vegan coffee and hazelnut macarons. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the macarons:
Liquid from 1 can of chickpeas (you will get around 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee
1tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:
90g icing sugar
40g margarine
~1 tsp hazelnut syrup

Start by reducing the aquafaba until you have roughly 1/3 cup of liquid remaining. This reduction is key I think and was a step I missed in my first batch which were much too wet. Set aside to cool completely as it will then whip up much quicker and more easily.

While it is cooling you can prepare the dry ingredients. Put the ground almonds into a food processor and blitz until you have a fine powder. Don’t overdo it though as you might end up with almond butter! Add the icing sugar and mix until fully combined. Transfer the mixture to a sieve and pass it through, discarding any large pieces of almond which won’t pass.

Then blitz the instant coffee and sieve into the bowl with the almond mixture, or simply break up the pieces in the sieve and pass them using the back of a spoon.

Once the aquafaba has cooled, pour it into a non-plastic bowl and mix on a high speed until you have stiff, white peaks. I used my Kenwood chef, but I have also done it by hand before with a little whisk so you don’t need a fancy stand mixer. Then slowly, a spoonful at a time, add the caster sugar to the aquafaba. Waiting until the previous spoonful has been fully incorporated before adding more. When all the sugar is mixed in add the vanilla extract and whip until it’s all combined and you have a glossy meringue mixture.

Remove from your stand mixer if you’re using one as the last part needs to be done by hand. Add 1/3 of the almond/sugar/coffee mixture to the meringue and very gently mix it in using a spatula. Repeat twice more until the whole mixture is incorporated, being careful to not knock the air out of the meringue as you mix.

Then comes the ‘macaronnage’. Basically you use the spatula to spread the mixture across the inside of the bowl, then scrape the spatula against the edge of the bowl under the mixture, folding half of the mixture over onto itself. Repeat 15 – 20 times. Does that make sense? If not, or if you’d like to see some pictures of the process, Charis shows it here.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a round tip, and pipe one inch round circles onto baking paper on a baking tray. Don’t put them too close together as the macarons will spread slightly.

Once you’ve done a whole tray you need to knock out the big air bubbles by lifting the tray about a foot off the work surface and dropping it back down. This will also help to even up the shape of your macarons. If any of them still have a point sticking up from where you piped, use a clean, wet finger to gently press it down to the level of the top of the biscuit.

Set the tray aside and leave it for at least an hour or two to allow the macarons to form a hard shell on top. This will give them the classic shape and shiny top, and help to form the pied or foot. After this time you should be able to gently touch the tops without them sticking to your finger, this tells you they are ready to bake!

Heat the oven to 100°c and place the trays of macarons inside. Now, my oven’s fan is efficient and the temperature is fairly even throughout and I’ve found that I get an even batch without only using the top shelf. If your oven is hotter at the top then only bake one tray at a time at the top of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes then, without opening the door, turn off the oven and leave the macarons inside for 15 minutes. Finally crack the oven door open using the wedged wooden spoon method and leave to cool for another 15 minutes before taking them out. Repeat for all your trays until they are all baked.

To make the icing, cream together the margarine and the icing sugar and slowly add the hazelnut syrup until you get the desired consistency. Transfer to a piping bag (I used a star tip) and pipe the icing onto half the batch of macarons. Match up a second macaron for the top of the sandwich and voilà!

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Now I’ve caught the macaron bug I’m sure I’ll be making these again and experimenting with other flavours. Give it a try and let me know how you get on!

Tropical pineapple and coconut cake

As promised here is the follow up post with the cake recipe. This is my first cake recipe that has gone from idea in my head to plate and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It’s loosely based on the golden vanilla cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, and is a positive tropical treat to get you in the mood for summer! Oh, and of course it’s also vegan 🙂

Ingredients

For the cake:
2 cups soya milk
2 tsps cider vinegar
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsps cornflour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup oil (vegetable or coconut)
1 cup granulated sugar (I used 1/2 caster sugar and 1/2 stevia)
2 tbsps maple syrup
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup desiccated coconut

For the icing:
75g coconut oil, softened
175g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsps pineapple juice (depending what consistency you want)

For the finishing touch (optional)
2 tbsps toasted dedicated coconut
7-8 pineapple rings

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 180° C/ 350° F and prepare two 20cm cake tins.

In a large bowl whisk together the soya milk and vinegar and leave to one side to curdle while you prepare the dry ingredients.

In another bowl measure out the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

Go back to the milk mixture and add in the sugar, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Then slowly add in the flour mixture, whisking until there are no large lumps. Finally add in the ground almonds and desiccated coconut and stir until evenly combined.

Split the mixture evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 28-30 minutes until a cake skewer comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing:
Weigh out the coconut oil and icing sugar and mix with a fork (to prevent an icing sugar cloud!). Once combined add the vanilla extract and a little of the pineapple juice, adding more to slacken the mixture once it’s well combined, until the icing is at the consistency you want.

To finish:
Turn the completely cooled cakes out of their pans and cut a flat top on one to create the bottom layer. Spoon about 1/3 of the icing onto the bottom cake and spread evenly. Decorate with 3 of the pineapple rings, I cut them in half and made a short of curvy star shape.

Place the second cake on top and spoon the remaining icing on, spreading it evenly over the surface of the cake.

Toast a little coconut to finish the decoration by heating a couple of spoonfuls in a frying pan over a low heat until it turns golden brown. Make sure to keep it moving as you don’t want it to stick and burn. Allow it to completely cool before using.

Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the icing and add the final pineapple rings to decorate. (Note: of you are using pineapple from a tin make sure to dry off some of the liquid first otherwise the fruit can make your icing side off the cake! Not that I found that out by doing it… 😉 )

Now stand back, admire your creation, then dig in!

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As we clearly have! Haha, it’s too yummy not to!

Enjoy! Let me know what you think of my recipe 🙂

PS: I think mango would also work well in this cake, and given my love of mangoes I think I shall have to test my theory!

Update: I made this cake again for my dad’s birthday and remembered to take a photo of the uncut cake! This time I made it without the toasted coconut on top as I had a dish of fresh coconut pieces to go with it. And I can confirm it was just as delicious second time round and went down very well with everyone!

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Lemon meringue pie! Well, sort of…

Did you guess this is what was coming? I’m sure you did, it was a pretty obvious next step after meringue and then lemon curd!

I’ll admit right now that this post is a bit of a tease as I’m not including a recipe or method just now, for reasons that will become clear. However I’ll be back with one soon!

It all started out so well: I had little brother asleep on my back in the wrap, big brother helping out as only a toddler can (ie pulling things out of drawers and cupboards and intermittently demanding toast…). The pastry was made, chilled and blind baked with no problems.

I spooned in the lemon curd, licked the spoon, life was good.

Then I thought I’d experiment and I think that was the problem. I tried an Italian version of the meringue recipe and added hot sugar syrup to the whipped chick pea water, but I think all that happened was it made the meringue too wet and gooey. But I topped the pie and popped it in the oven, keeping my fingers crossed. It certainly looked the part!

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However…

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You might notice the meringue is really gooey and the lemon curd ran once the pie was cut (which was quite possibly because the pie was still warm as we were too impatient to wait for it to totally cool). But it was still delicious! Those plates are testament to that fact 😉

So I shall have another go and when I’m happy with my method I’ll share it with you.

Anyone else got a delicious baking experiment/mishap they want to share to make me feel better?!