Friday, November 13, 2009

An Adaptable Vegan

Essential Baking's famous cinnamon rolls sans the butter, plus apples!
Inspired by Mark Bittman's Maple Upside-Down Pear Cake, this tasty treat adds a twist with a bit of cornmeal and cinnamon.
What does one do with a plethora of fall pears? Why make a chocolate pear cake of course!

In the two years that I've been a vegan, I have learned that the art of adaptation is essential to my happiness. As a lover of baked goods, leaving out the dairy and eggs often presents significant challenges. In the past two weeks I have been playing around with some recipes that caught my attention but unfortunately contained plenty of the taboo ingredients!

Recipe Alterations:

  • Substitute 8 tablespoons of oil for the 11 tbs butter (I used walnut for the maple toping and canola for the cake)
  • Swapped the measurements for maple syrup and brown sugar (because I am a poor unemployment recent graduate)
  • Swapped 1/2 cup of fine (or medium) ground cornmeal for 1/2 cup of all-purpose (note: you may need more flour if the batter is too runny)
  • Substituted one tablespoon of vinegar (white wine, rice, or apple cider) plus a tsp of baking powder for the eggs.
  • Plain or vanilla soy or almond milk is a perfect stand-in for cow's milk.
  • Add a few sprinkles of cinnamon to the batter or some walnuts to the pear layer if you are feeling particularly adventurous.
  • Substituted 3 tbs of oil for 1/2 stick of butter
  • For the egg I used a tsp of vinegar plus a 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • You can add more cocoa or melted chocolate if you want them to be richer
  • Chocolate Almond milk is my liquid substitute of choice, but soy or rice would also work fine.
  • If a whole pear doesn't fit into your ramekins, just use a half.
Now this was a little tricky and needed some serious adjustments to ensure that it isn't too dense with the tofu ricotta. And, make sure it is cooked all the way!
  • Use 1/2-2/3 cup of oil for the butter
  • 3 tbs of potato starch + 3 tbs water + 1 tbs baking soda + 1 tbs vinegar for the eggs
  • Nonna's Vegan Italian tofu ricotta: 1/3 cup raw ground cashews, 12 oz firm tofu, 1 tbs lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt; food process everything but half the tofu to a smooth consistency, then add the rest of the tofu until it has a coarse texture.

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