Easy Vegan Pecan Pie

In today’s post, I’m sharing a recipe for an easy vegan pecan pie. This dish will be perfect for serving in the upcoming festive season. It looks impressive and slices beautifully.

Pecan pie hails from the southern US states. After a google search, I discovered that it’s traditionally made with eggs, butter, refined sugar and corn syrup. I decided to ditch all of these and use some of my favourite plant-based ingredients instead.

Easy Vegan Pecan Pie

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Christmas Pudding Cakes

When Vegan Life launched in September, I don’t know if anyone anticipated just how well the magazine would be received. It was such a hit that it won this year’s VegfestUK Awards for best publication, and that accolade was purely based on the first issue!

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Issue 2, and was especially excited that it would be the Christmas edition. When it arrived, I was hoping to savour it over a few days but alas, once I got started I couldn’t put it down.

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Just like the first issue, this one is packed with articles that I found both inspiring and thought-provoking. One feature in particular that caught my eye was the debate on whether vegans should feed pets meat. This is one issue that I’ve been struggling to get my head round. The Vegan Life article prompted a lively debate amongst my Twitter friends. I think I’ve finally decided my stance, but it’s a very tricky issue, and definitely one that people need to decide for themselves ;o)

I’m looking forward to trying all the recipes in Issue 2, but the one that immediately grabbed my attention was the Christmas Pudding Cakes by Harriet Emily. I love Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake, but I’ve never had a Christmas Pudding Cake before! I was intrigued to see how it would turn out. I had a quick scan down the recipe and it didn’t look too tricky at all.

Vegan Life Issue 2 - Christmas Pudding Cakes

The recipe is gluten free, cane sugar free, dairy free, egg free and soy free, so it ticks lots of allergy friendly boxes. It does include almonds, but I’m sure these could be subbed to make it nut free too.

The recipe uses two of my favourite ingredients – coconut sugar and coconut butter. I tend to buy these online as they’re not always available in my local health food shop. If you’re not so fussed about making these cakes super healthy, then I’m pretty confident you could sub them with cane sugar and non dairy spread. The recipe also calls for millet flour which I couldn’t find locally, so I used buckwheat flour instead. It worked absolutely fine. I’m sure you could use regular whole wheat flour too if you didn’t need to make it gluten free.

And the verdict?
I was so happy with the way the cakes turned out. They were moist and flavourful, plus they made the house smell amazing while they baked! They were a huge hit with the family. Hubbie has already requested another batch, and Lil’ L said they were absolutely delicious (and this is someone that usually avoids dried fruits!)

Hubbie preferred his pudding cake straight up with no toppings, while Lil’ L and I enjoyed it drizzled in salted caramel. We used the Considerit Special Edition Salted Caramel from November’s The Vegan Kind Box, but Harriet Emily also shared a recipe for home-made salted caramel, which looks super easy to make.

Christmas Pudding Cake

The treats certainly live up to their name. I really can’t decide whether they are a cake or a pudding. Definitely somewhere in between. They’re baked in ramekins, so you could serve them straight out of the oven, more like a pudding …

Christmas Pudding Cake

Or you could pop them out of the ramekins and serve them like cake. I did find that the portions were a little on the large side. While hubbie easily devoured a whole cake, I couldn’t manage a whole one by myself (and believe me I tried). Next time I make them, I’ll try baking six instead of five and see how the size compares.

Christmas Pudding Cake

I did make a few tweaks to the recipe. I subbed a couple of ingredients that I didn’t have on hand, and adjusted the spice quantities (I used ¼ tsp nutmeg instead of 1 tsp as I find the flavour of nutmeg really strong, plus I omitted the allspice as I didn’t have any). I also reduced the baking temperature from 200C to 180C and the baking time from 40 to 30 minutes. They came out perfect, so I’m guessing the recipe is pretty flexible.

Big thank you to Harriet Emily for sharing her fab recipe If you’re interested in vegan, sugar free and gluten free cooking, definitely go check out her blog. I can’t wait to try her Chocolate Caramel Tarts. They look amazing!


Products used in this recipe (UK sources)

Biona Organic Coconut Sugar
Tiana Organic Coconut Butter (Aroma Free)
Clarks Original Maple Syrup
Doves Farm Wholemeal Buckwheat Flour (this does contain traces of gluten so use Doves Gluten Free Buckwheat Flour or Millet Flour for a 100% GF option)

In Vegan Life, Harriet Emily also shares a recipe for Caramel Sauce, which uses coconut sugar as its base. I’ll update this post once I’ve had a chance to try it (sadly I’ve run out of coconut sugar, but it’s on order).

I also have two caramel recipes by The Vegan 8 bookmarked, both of which I’d love to try with these Christmas pudding cakes. The first one – Caramel Sauce – has melted coconut butter as its base, and the second one – Salted Caramel – is made with sweet potato and coconut milk! It sounds weird but it’s received rave reviews so I’m excited to try it!

Did you get Vegan Life Issue 2? If so I’d love to know what you thought of it. Have you tried any of the recipes yet?

 

Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding

I first shared a recipe for chocolate orange chia pudding back in February 2012 and, to this day, it remains one of my family’s favourite desserts It’s such a simple pudding to make and, since I originally posted the recipe, I’ve refined the method so that it’s even quicker. Honestly, this recipe could not be more easy! The original photo I took doesn’t do this pudding justice, so I thought it was time for a re-post with the updated recipe and some shiny new photos.

Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding

Since that original post, chia seeds have become much more popular here in the UK. You can buy them in most health food shops, and even supermarkets have started stocking them. They’re also widely available (and often much cheaper) from online stores. I find they can vary a lot in price, so I always shop around for the best deal.

Since I use them daily in smoothies and puddings, lately I’ve been buying the Sevenhills 1kg bags as they work out much better value. You can buy them in a range of quantities though, so it’s probably a good idea to start with a smaller bag if you’re trying them for the first time (Holland & Barrett are currently selling a 100g bag for £2.49).

Chia Seeds

So why do I love chia seeds so much?

Well, there are two main reasons. The first is their amazing nutritional profile. Chia seeds are very high in dietary fibre, a good source of ‘complete’ protein, and rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids. They’re also hydrophilic and can absorb around 10 times their weight in water, thus helping to keep us nicely hydrated. Their fibre, fat and protein content, along with these hydrophilic abilities, means that the seeds are a great source of slow release energy, they help to balance blood sugar levels, and they keep us feeling full up for hours. Adding a spoonful to smoothies is a great way to keep hunger pangs at bay.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds contain a range of trace minerals, and are especially rich in manganese, phosphorus and calcium, which are all important for good bone health. A 28g / 1 oz serving provides 30% of the manganese RDA, 27% of phosphorus, and 18% of the calcium RDA. The seeds also contain a multitude of antioxidants, including the flavonoid quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties.

The second reason I love chia so much is that they make the most incredible chocolate puddings! Once blended with some cacao or cocoa powder and a little liquid, they transform into a delicious, silky smooth pudding that will easily rival any shop-bought chocolate dessert. And unlike the shop-bought varieties that tend to be laden with sugar and little nutritional value, these chia puddings are refined sugar free and packed with nutrition.

Chia Seeds

I used to soak the chia seeds in liquid for an hour or so until they’d transformed into a gel-like substance before blending them up, but these days I literally throw all the ingredients straight in the blender. High speed blenders are best for this job as they’ll blend the seeds smooth in a matter of seconds. Since I’ve had the Froothie, making chia puddings has been a breeze.

Lil’ L absolutely loves these puddings and sees them as a real treat. It’s great to be able to treat him to something that’s so nutritionally packed and full of healthy goodness.

Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding

 

Have you tried chia puddings before? If so, what’s your favourite flavour combo? If you’ve posted any recipes or pics, please do share the links below x

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Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble (Vegan / Dairy-free) for Suma Blogger’s Network

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This year we had a bumper crop of fruit on our apple tree. Thanks to the late September sunshine, within the space of two weeks the apples transformed from green and small to red and huge! We must have picked at least a hundred apples so far. And with this amazing bounty, we’ve been able to indulge in lots of delicious apple treats.

Orchard Apples

For this month’s Suma entry, I thought I’d share one of our all-time favourite Autumnal desserts – Apple Crumble I’ve lost count of the number of crumbles I’ve made this past month, but it could be getting on for ten!

Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble

As well as oats and wholegrain flour, I love to add some pecans and almonds into the crumble, which gives it a delicious crunch. Traditionally, this dessert has a fair amount of cane sugar and dairy butter in it. However, instead of cane sugar, I prefer to use coconut sugar and maple syrup as they add a delicious, caramel-like sweetness and beautiful golden hue to the crumble.

Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble

Instead of dairy butter, I use coconut butter (the aroma-free kind) or a non dairy spread. Through Suma, I discovered the Tiana Organic Coconut Cooking Butter and I’m loving it! It’s really versatile and you can use it for all kinds of cooking and baking. I made some scrumptious pasties with it last week. Unfortunately they were devoured before I could take any pics, so I’ll re-create them soon and post the recipe.

Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble

BTW, those lidded Pyrex glass dishes are really handy for cooking, storing and transporting the crumbles. I took a couple with me to Essex recently to share with our relatives. Stored in a thermal bag, six hours after I’d baked them they were still warm!

Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble

Products used in this recipe (UK stockists)
Pyrex Rectangular Lidded Dish, available from Amazon (currently discounted to £3.50)
Magimix Food Processor
Tiana Coconut Cooking Butter, available from Suma, health food shops and online
Biona Organic Coconut Sugar, available from Suma, health food shops and online
Suma Organic Sultanas, available direct from Suma, via Amazon, and independent health food shops (love that they come in recyclable packaging!)
Clarks Original Maple Syrup, available from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons

Apple Crumble & Oatly Cream

What’s your favourite fruit crumble? For me, it’s a close call between apple and plum 🙂

Have you made any crumbles this Autumn/Fall? If you’ve posted any recipes, please do share below xx

Pina Colada ‘Cheesecake’ (Dairy-free / Gluten-free / Vegan)

We’ve had a glorious summer here in the UK

This week, there’s been a change in the air. It’s cooling off, the rain’s returned and the evenings are drawing in.

But before we officially say goodbye to summer, I’m going to enjoy one last weekend of summer dishes, rounded off with a slice or two of this sunshine-filled Pina Colada ‘Cheesecake’. Cheesecake was my favourite childhood dessert, but I love this dairy-free version even more!

Pina Colada Dairy Free Cheese Cake #Vegan #Glutenfree

In this version, the dairy’s been replaced with delicious pineapple and coconut-flavoured cashew cream, gently sweetened with maple syrup. Instead of a biscuit base, we use crushed almonds and pecans for crunch, and dates for sweetness. The cake is then dressed with a layer of crushed pineapple and finished with a sprinkling of coconut flakes.

Pina Colada 'Cheese' Cake #Dairyfree #Glutenfree #Vegan

While cheesecakes aren’t usually considered to be a healthy option, this version is packed with goodness, including lots of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and heart-healthy fats. Like regular cheesecake, it is pretty calorie-intensive, but you’ll find that even the thinnest of slices will leave you feel satiated. Once the cake has firmed up, I slice it then pop it back in the freezer. That way, we can pull out a slice whenever we fancy one.

Pina Colada 'Cheese' Cake #Dairyfree #Glutenfree #Vegan

This recipe first appeared in Issue 3 of the fab e-magazine Fresh Vegan. One of my lovely readers has already made the cheesecake and I was thrilled to hear how much her family enjoyed it. It’s one of my family’s all-time favourite desserts and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do

Note: Recipe updated 9th July 2017 – this is the new and improved version that features in the Bit of the Good Stuff cookbook.

 

Pina Colada 'Cheese' cake #Dairyfree #Glutenfree #Vegan

Do you have anything special planned for this last weekend of August? I’ve got lots of jobs to tackle this weekend… like my jungle of a garden & school uniform buying (as usual I’ve left the latter to the last minute!) Once the jobs are out the way, I’m looking forward to heading out on my bike in the beautiful English countryside.

Whatever you’re up to, have a great weekend everyone! xx

Raspberry and Lemon ‘Cheese’ Cake Hearts… Perfect for Valentines or any Special Occasion!(Vegan / Dairy-free)

When I was young, cheesecake was my number one favourite dessert. When I quit dairy, I never imagined that I’d ever eat it again! However, in the past few years, some very talented vegan chefs have been creating a mouth watering array of dairy-free ‘cheese’ cakes that easily rival the traditional dairy-laden dessert. Not only do they taste scrumptious, but they’re far healthier too!

Strawberry Cheese Cake (Vegan / Dairy Free)

At the Alley Cafe in Nottingham, I experienced my first blackcurrant vegan cheesecake, made with tofu (not that I realised it was tofu – I had to ask the chef for the secret ingredient!) I loved it so much that I went back the next night, just so I could indulge in another slice 😉

Blackcurrant Cashew Cheese Cake (Vegan / Dairy Free / Gluten Free)

On my first trip to Saf in Kensington, my jaw dropped when I saw the selection of vegan cheesecakes on offer. I was amazed when the waitress told me that the creamy filling was actually cashews! (By the way, it’s so sad to hear that Saf’s shutting… I loved that place so much I even chose to go there for my 40th birthday lunch … and had cheesecake for dessert of course!)

Me at Saf Restaurant on my 40th birthday

Since my first visit to Saf, I’ve made numerous cashew ‘cheese’ cakes at home, some of which you’ll find in my recipes section.

It’s Valentines Day tomorrow, which gives me the perfect excuse to indulge in my love of making (& eating!) these scrumptious desserts. Last year, I made six mini chocolate cheesecakes for friends and family (I halved the quantities in this recipe).

Chocolate Cashew Cheese Cake (Vegan / Dairy Free / Gluten Free)

This year, I chose a chocolate crust, but couldn’t decide whether to make lemon or raspberry cheesecake, so I made some of each. I topped both with freeze-dried raspberries, and added a sprinkling of grated chocolate to the raspberry cakes.

Lemon Cheese Cake Heart  (Vegan / Dairy Free / Gluten Free)

Raspberry Vegan Cheese Cake

These scrumptious cheesecakes would make a wonderful treat for Valentine’s Day, birthdays… or any special occasion! They freeze well so you can make them days in advance.

And you’ll be pleased to hear that they’re not labour intensive at all. It’s jut a case of blending and freezing!

Lemon & Raspberry Vegan Cheese Cake

 

Products used in this recipe
Aasani Cashew Kernels, available on the world food aisle in Tesco (the cheapest cashews I’ve found so far!)
Aasani Almonds, available from the world food aisle in Tesco (nuts from the world food aisles and Asian supermarkets tend to be far cheaper than those found in the home baking or whole foods sections)
Essential Organic Virgin Coconut Oil – I bought this from Harvest in Bath, but it’s also available from online stores, including Amazon.
Clarks Original Maple Syrup – available from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s supermarkets and online stores, including Amazon
Magimix 3200 Food Processor, purchased from Amazon

[This recipe has been shared at Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend]

Are you planning on making any special Valentines treats? If you’ve posted any recipes, please do link up below x

What was your favourite childhood dessert? Is it something you still enjoy eating now?