Tag Archives: caramel

Poached Pear Chestnut Galettes


Every year when fall rolls around everyone gets super hyped about seasonal flavors, but inevitably pumpkin, sweet potato, cinnamon, and nutmeg steal the show and get all the attention. Although today’s global food supply allows us to get just about anything we want year round, fall is the time when many fruits we take for granted come into season. The humble pear, for one, comes into season in the fall. Here I decided to pair them (no pun intended) with another overlooked winter time flavor: chestnuts. Continue reading Poached Pear Chestnut Galettes

Basic Vegan Cheesecake with Earl Grey Salt Caramel

A trend I have noticed in many of the vegan cookbooks siting on my shelf is that often basic recipes are omitted and  they go straight for variations. This seems to be particularly true for “cheesecake” recipes. A few weeks ago when I was stuck with the need for a plain cheesecake recipe I looked through my library of cookbooks and found macadamia cheesecake, mango cheesecake, chai cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, pineapple cheesecake, and on and on, but not a recipe for just cheesecake. Now, I understand this in older books from before the wide spread availability of decent vegan cream cheese, as you needed something to cover the inevitable tofu-ness, but now I don’t get it.

While I may occasionally make a flavored cheesecake (like this pumpkin one), I tend to prefer basic cheesecake as a canvas on which to add flavors through sauces or toppings. You can top this cheesecake with, jam, chocolate ganache, a raspberry sauce, or perhaps a fruit topping. The possibilities are endless. Here I used an earl grey salt caramel sauce. This particular endeavor was brought about by my friend Karen, who regularly seeks me out for pastry related advise. She was looking to infuse a salt caramel sauce with earl grey to go on a cheesecake. Since she isn’t vegan, and neither was her cheesecake, I didn’t get a chance to try the final result, but I thought it was a splendid idea and needed to try it.

“Cheesecake”

Crust
2 1/2 cups vegan graham cracker or cookie crumbs
pinch of salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted

Filling
2 8 oz packages Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (non-hydrogenated if available)
12 oz package firm silken tofu, drained of any extra liquid (I use Mori-nu organic)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 370°f. In a mixing bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, pecans, and salt. Slowly add melted margarine and stir to evenly moisten crumbs. Lightly oil the sides of an 9” springform pan (there is plenty of oil in the crust, but you want to make sure the sides are oiled in case any of the filling is higher than the sides of the crust). Press the crumbs into the pan and use a clean measuring cup or drinking class to press the crust evenly into the bottom and about an inch up the sides of the pan. Place the crust in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the filling.

In a blender or food processor, combine filling ingredients and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Pour into the crust. Lightly lift and drop the pan on the counter several times. This will help even the filling and reduce air bubbles. Smooth top with a spatula. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 min. The center will be a little wiggly still, but it will firm up as it cools. Cool to room temperature, then chill for several hours or over night before serving. To remove from pan, run a thin knife or metal spatula around the edge, then remove the ring from pan. Slice with a thin, sharp knife that has been dipped in warm water and wiped dry.

Earl Grey Salt Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp agave
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1 cup MimicCream, plus more if needed
3 Tbsp loose leaf earl grey tea
1.5 tsp grey salt

In a small sauce pan, heat Mimic Cream to just boiling. Stir in tea, cover, and let steep 5 min. Strain, pressing the tea with a rubber spatula,  and measure 3/4 of a cup. Add additional MimicCream if necessary to equal 3/4 cup. Add Earth Balance and salt and set aside.

In a medium, heave sauce pan, stir together sugar, water, and agave. Bring to a boil, and let cook, swirling the pan, but not stirring, until it reaches 248° on a candy thermometer. Add the MimicCream mixture, carefully as the caramel will bubble violently, and whisk to combine. Cook for 2-3 min, stirring (the temperature should not raise past 220°). Remove from heat and cool. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

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Caramel Apple Crisp

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While I love a expertly spiced apple pie or an elegant apple tart, sometimes I don’t have the desire to make a pie crust or slice and layer apples in a tart. Apple crisp is a delightful, and simple alternative. My pet peeve for fruit crisps is bad toppings, I have had far too many toppings consisting of mostly unadorned oats, sitting atop poorly cooked fruit. There is no reason that a crisp has to be boring, even if you don’t go through the trouble of making pastry. Continue reading Caramel Apple Crisp

Vegan Caramel Sauce

Update: Here is an updated (and I think supirior) caramel sauce recipe. The original one I posted last year is still below.

Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp agave
1/4 cup Earth Balance
3/4 cup MimicCream (or coconut milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium, heave sauce pan, stir together sugar, water, and agave. Bring to a boil, and let cook, swirling the pan, but not stirring, until it reaches 248° on a candy thermometer. Add the MimicCream and Earth Balance, carfully as the caramel will bubble violently, and whisk to combine (some caramel may solidify. Don’t worry it will melt back into the sauce). Cook for 2-3 min, stirring (the temperature should not raise past 220°). Remove from heat and cool. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Old recipe—————

caramelsauce1

My new found love for making caramel and my prevailing love of sauced desserts finally lead to its logical destination. This is a fairly simple caramel sauce and is good on well… everything. Pour it over pies, cakes, tarts, cheesecake, ice cream, or dip fresh fruit in it. Continue reading Vegan Caramel Sauce