Category Archives: Dessert

Vegan chocolate pudding

There’s nothing like chocolate pudding to help two crabby and tired parents unwind at the end of the day.

I went through a chocolate pudding phase a couple of years ago and came across this recipe from smitten kitchen that I really liked.  Tonight I made a modified version of it that is vegan, has less sugar, and more chocolate and vanilla.  It was just exactly what we needed.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
1/8th tsp. salt
3 cups coconut milk beverage (I use So Delicious Original)
7 oz vegan bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Double boilerPut water into the bottom of a double boiler, or into a pot that fits on top of another pot, and bring to a simmer.  Mix the cornstarch, sugar, and salt together and put in the top of the pot.  Slowly add the 3 cups of coconut milk beverage while whisking to avoid lumps.

Continue stirring fairly often for about 20 minutes, until it thickens.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.  You could also add other ingredients at this point such as cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, almond extract, orange extract, mint extract, etc.

Pour into bowls.  I like to eat it warm, but it can also be refrigerated if you prefer it cold or want to eat it later.  Enjoy.

Updated 18 September 2012:
A commenter pointed out that I made this with Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips, which are not vegan.  I’ve changed the ingredient list to say “vegan bittersweet chocolate chips”, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.  I hope to get the chance to try it soon, and then I will post an update.

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Vegan Coconut Milk Chocolate Mousse

Vegan coconut milk chocolate mousse has revolutionized my life.  It is delicious and so simple.

1. Put a can or two of full-fat coconut milk into the refrigerator over night or until they are needed.

2. Flip the can upside down, open it, pour liquid into a container to use later in something else.

3. Scrape solid coconut milk out of can and whisk by hand until fluffy and mousse-like (I tried it with a standing mixer and it generated too much heat.  Doing it by hand worked  better in my opinion – extra points if you chill the bowl ahead of time).

4. Add approximately 1/4 cup of unsweetened Ghirardelli cocoa powder per can of coconut milk, or to taste
1 pinch salt
A splash of vanilla extract
Sugar or other sweetener to taste
Whatever else you want to add

The first time I made this I added a little almond extract too.  When I was at the parents’ house, my Aunt Indigo had the brilliant idea to do a cinnamon and cayenne one, so we added the above ingredients and then cinnamon and cayenne pepper to taste.  It was fantastic!

Refrigerate for a bit or stick it in the freezer if you need it to chill faster.  It is also very good frozen.

This is a variation on the recipe for Chocolate Frosting Shots from the blog Chocolate-Covered Katie

Charoses for Rosh Hashanah?

My favorite thing about Passover is getting to eat massive quantities of charoses (also charoset or haroset).  I always wonder though, why do we eat a dish made with apples in the spring when apples aren’t even in season?

With Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) coming up, I started thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be too sacrilegious to make charoses now, when there are lots of gorgeous local apples just waiting to be enjoyed.  After all, you’re supposed to eat apples during Rosh Hashanah too.  So if you would like to make charoses Rosh Hashanah-style, I recommend substituting honey for the sugar; that way you get in both the apples and the honey.

In April, when I realized I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to attend a Seder, I decided I still needed my yearly quota of charoses.  I called my grandma for a little help and she provided me with the general quantities and ingredients.  I list her recipe first and then the version I made, which has more exact measurements.

Whether you make this for Passover, Rosh Hashanah, or just a snack, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Grandma Gerry’s recipe:
2-3 apples (Jonathan, fuji, or gala apples)
Pecans
Cinnamon
A little sugar
Wine (sweet, red, like Manischewitz)

My version:
3 apples (I used fuji at the time, but now I’d use something local, like a honeycrisp)
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup red grape juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

I believe my grandma blends hers in the food processor, but since I prefer mine a bit chunkier, I cut the apples to the size I like.  I used an OXO Good Grips Mini Chopper to chop up the walnuts, but you could also chop them with a knife.

Mix all of the ingredients together.  You’ll want to adjust the amount of sugar you add based on the sweetness of the apples you use.

Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours to let the flavors meld.

Do you have a favorite charoses recipe you’d be willing to share?  Please leave it in the comments!

Helpful equipment:
OXO Good Grips Mini Chopper I don’t use this very often, but when I do, I find it very useful.  I mostly use it for chopping nuts.

Rhubarb Pie

The rhubarb in our garden was ready for harvest, so I decided today was a good day to make up a recipe for rhubarb pie.  The pie is a bit tart and perfect with vanilla ice cream.  I love the flavors of the orange and cardamon.

Pie crust:
13 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup ice water
1 3/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar

Mix together the 1 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 Tablespoons sugar.

Cut in 13 Tablespoons of butter. Add the 1/4 cup of ice water and quickly work together with a fork.

Switch to working with hands and as quickly as possible make the dough come together and knead briefly just until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide dough in half and on a lightly floured surface begin rolling out the dough. Roll it out until it forms a relatively even circle.

To transfer the dough to the pie plate, fold it into quarters and position the inner corner at the center of the pie plate, then open to fill the pie plate.

Form an edge by folding over or removing and/or repositioning any excess and pressing down with the side of your thumb to form a ribbed edge. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Makes two crusts.

Filling:
3 cups rhubarb
2/3 cup sugar (makes a tart pie that goes perfectly with vanilla ice cream)
Zest of one orange
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. cardamon seeds
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tablespoon flour
1 pinch salt

Wash and cut the rhubarb into approximately 1/2-inch pieces.


Mix the rhubarb with the other ingredients.


Pour mixture into pie shell.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Helpful equipment:
Pastry cutter: OXO Good Grips Dough Blender
This makes cutting in the butter for the pie crust much easier and faster.

Zester: Microplane 46120 Premium Red Zester/Grater
This is the zester/grater that I decided to purchase for myself.  It works great for zesting citrus and grating nutmeg.  I occasionally use it for cheese, but I don’t find it to work quite as well for cheese as a rotary or box grater.

Apple Cake

This is one of my favorite desserts.  I love the apples, nuts, and especially the brown sugar sauce that goes over the top.

Apple Cake
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, fresh grated
3-5 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tsp. vanilla

Sauce
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour a 10″ tube pan.

Beat eggs with sugar until thick and form a ribbon when a spoonful is lifted and dribbled.

Add melted butter and beat.  When blended, stir in flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and blend.

Stir in apples, pecans, and vanilla and mix.

Put in pan. Bake 1 hr 15 min or until cooked.  When cake is done, cool 5 mins in pan and then turn over on serving platter.

Sauce
Melt butter, add brown sugar, milk and pinch of salt and boil for 3 mins.  Prick holes in top of cake and pour sauce slowly over the cake.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

Plating done by Masha Rener

I would like to give credit to the person whose cake this is, but the friend I got the recipe from said she got it from a caterer in Kansas City over 15 years ago and she doesn’t know who it was.  Hopefully they won’t mind me reproducing it here, since they were willing to share it before.

Raspberry Chocolate Tarts

Raspberry sauce:
2 packages frozen raspberries
Sugar
Corn starch

Heat two packages frozen raspberries over medium heat until they soften and form a sauce.  Add sugar to taste.  Add corn starch a little at a time and stir in between until you get the desired thickness.  Chill.

Tart dough:
4.5 oz all purpose flour
3 oz cold butter
1.5 oz (2 1/2 Tablespoons) cold water

Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut 3 oz butter into the flour.  Add just enough water to make the dough come together, for me this was 1.5 oz.

Assembly:
Tart dough
Bittersweet chocolate
Raspberry sauce

Divide dough into five parts and press into the bottom of 5 (7-ounce) ramekins.  Grate or chop some bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips) and sprinkle a layer of chocolate on top of the dough.  Spoon the chilled raspberry sauce over the top.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet to make them easier to get into and out of the oven and bake 350 degrees.  I didn’t time how long, but I took them out when the raspberry started looking dangerously well-done on the sides.  The crust could have baked longer, so I might consider baking it a bit first and then assembling the rest on top.  Would be pretty dusted with powdered sugar and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Helpful equipment:
CorningWare French White 7-Ounce Ramekins, Set of 2
Oxo Good Grips Dough Blender (Pastry cutter)

Apple Pie

Pie crust
13 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup ice water
1 3/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar

Mix together the 1 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 Tablespoons sugar. Cut in 13 Tablespoons of butter. Add the 1/4 cup of ice water and quickly work together with a fork. Switch to working with hands and as quickly as possible make the dough come together and knead briefly just until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide dough in half and on a lightly floured surface begin rolling out the dough. Roll it out until it forms a relatively even circle. To transfer the dough to the pie plate, fold it into quarters and position the inner corner at the center of the pie plate, then open to fill the pie plate. Form an edge by folding over or removing and/or repositioning any excess and pressing down with the side of your thumb to form a ribbed edge. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Makes two crusts.

Apple pie filling
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
9 cups of peeled and chopped apples
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon of butter placed on top in pieces
Sprinkle sugar on top

Mix 9 cups of peeled and chopped apples, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tablespoon of flour, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp each of ground cloves, grated nutmeg, and salt. Pour the mixture into the pie plate on top of the crust. Cut up 1 Tablespoon of butter into small pieces and distribute them over the top of the apples. Sprinkle sugar over the top.

Bake at 375 F for 1 hour or until apples are soft and cooked.

Makes one pie.

Notes:
Either the filling can be doubled to make two apple pies or a single pie can be made with both a bottom and top crust. If a top crust is placed over the apples it can be brushed with milk and sprinkled with granulated sugar.

 

Over Thanksgiving I ended up with leftover pie crust, but not enough to make a whole pie.  We came up with apple pizza.  My crust rolled out and topped with apples, cinnamon, and sugar.