Easy Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes

After the crazy first week of college that I’ve had, I could use a batch of these deliciously light crepes.


Hi! It’s been a while, I know. Quick update: I have since relocated to Philadelphia. Pennsylvania in the USA from Zimbabwe to start college at the University of Pennsylvania! How’s the first few weeks of college been? Insane, wild and fun to put it in a few words. Expect a blog post detailing my experiences to come soon!

Anyways, on to this recipe. I think that crepes are severely underrated and underappreciated. The French really had something going with this one. Crepes can be had as either a breakfast option or a dessert, but the best part of having crepes is that the basic recipe never changes but there is an infinite combination of crepe fillings. I just filled these with cacao macademia spread (a vegan alternative to Nutella) and fresh strawberries but you can go with whatever you like! I’ve previously used lemon curd, strawberry jam and even plain sugar. You can top them with powdered sugar, ice cream, custard, the limits go as far as your imagination!


Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups soy milk (or any other plant based milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp any neutral oil (I used coconut oil but vegetable oil would work too)
  • ½ cup strawberry jam or chocolate spread
  • 100g fresh strawberries, sliced in half

Method

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir together before pouring in the soy milk, vanilla essence and oil. Stir with a fork until just combined. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out it’s okay if there are a few here and there. The batter should be very runny.
  2. Heat a large saucepan on high and brush with some oil. Try not to add to much oil to the pan otherwise the crepe batter will run with the oil. Use a ladle to pour the crepe batter in the saucepan. Swirl the pan around to spread the crepe batter all around the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges of the crepe start to turn up, about 2 minutes, before turning over. Remove the warm crepe to a plate and store in a warm oven so that they don’t get cold. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all the crepe batter.
  3. Once you’ve cooked all the crepes, spread the lighter side of the crepes with some strawberry jam or chocolate spread. Fold the crepes into half and then into quarters before serving topped with the fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
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Almond Caramel Apple Shortcakes

Today’s post is proudly inspired by Mary Berry.


If you’ve never heard of her, firstly, do you live under a rock? Secondly, I’d like you to Google the Great British Bake-Off. I’ll give you a moment to catch up with the rest of the world before coming back to this post. Are we all on the same page now? Good, let’s continue.



Last week my mum and I were watching her cooking show, Mary Berry Cooks, this particular episode being about summer entertaining and afternoon tea. In case you missed it: last week I hosted a Wimbledon afternoon tea party that included this cake. I opted to make one large strawberry shortcake but Mary Berry chose to make several smaller scones to make serving (and thus eating and clean-up) easier. As someone who had heaps of cream dropped over the table, chairs and floor next week, I can testify that making individual shortcakes is a superior method- plus they still look just as appetising.




I paid tribute to Wimbledon with the classic strawberries and cream last week, so I decided that this week would belong to a different combination- apples, cinnamon and caramel. Trust me, it will not disappoint you.



What are some of your favourite flavour combinations? I’m looking to be more adventurous in my recipe testing and I’d love to hear from some of you!

Almond Caramel Apple Shortcakes

Ingredients

For the scones:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar + extra for dusting the scones
  • 2 tsp baking powder*
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 tbsp) cold butter, grated like cheese or cut into small cubes
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 egg (optional, the recipe still works well without it)
  • a handful of crushed slivered almonds, optional

For the apples:

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, sliced thinly
  • 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • 2 tsp icing sugar, optional

For the caramel sauce: 

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh cream
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Start by baking the scones. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350F°. Grease a large rimless baking sheet and like with parchment paper.
  2. Sieve the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the butter to the dry mixture and use our hands to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a dry coarse sand.
  3. Whisk the buttermilk and egg (if using)  together in a large measuring cup or a small bowl, making sure there are no streaks of egg yolk remaining. Reserve about a tablespoon of this mixture for brushing the scones.
  4. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. The dough should be slightly wet but not so much that it is sticking to your hands. If the dough is too wet then add flour, one tablespoon at a time until it holds together.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and use your hands to press it into a large circle, about 2 cm/¾ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or a small glass to cut the dough into scones. Gather any remaining scraps of dough and mould them together to make one huge scone.
  6. Add the cut scones and your scrap-scone to the prepared baking sheet. Brush with the reserved egg/buttermilk mixture before topping with the granulated sugar and almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are just starting to turn golden brown. Allow to cool at room temperature before serving.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Whilst the scones are baking, core the apples and cut into thin slices. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Toss with the apples, making sure to coat them in the lemon juice. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the caramel. Add the brown sugar to a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Allow the sugar to melt, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula to prevent it from burning. Once the sugar has melted completely and you have a smooth dark brown liquid, pour in the fresh cream. The mixture will sputter and spurt and that’s okay. Cut the butter into the hot brown sugar and stir until it’s completely melted. You should have a smooth, golden brown caramel. Stir in the vanilla essence and a pinch of salt, if desired.
  3. Once the scones have cooled, cut them in half. Layer first with sliced apple, followed by whipped cream and finally topping with warm caramel. If desired, you may dust with icing sugar. Enjoy!

Vegan Lemon Coconut Cream Pie

I’ve been dying to try out a vegan dessert that isn’t based on soaked cashews and this is THE ONE.


When I was thinking about this one, I came across a couple of obstacles. #1 being how does one make pastry vegan? Figure that one out and all problems would magically disappear. Shortcrust pastry is basically flour, butter, salt and water; the only non-vegan ingredient in the equation being the butter. Well butter is desired here for it’s fatty content, right? So what else is rich in fats but does not come from an animal? Spoiler alert: vegetable oil. As it’s already liquid, this completely eliminates the need for us to include water.


The second thing I had to think about here was the filling. My traditional lemon curd recipe used egg yolks to thicken it, but that was not an option here. Next best thing was cornflour. I was a bit worried about the cornflour drastically altering the flavour but thankfully it remained just as lemon-coconutty as ever.


Despite my many fears when making this (Will it set? Will the pastry fall apart? Will it taste good?) this dessert turned out to be a delight. Now that I can add this notch to my belt, I’m ever more motivated to try out more vegan desserts!


Vegan Lemon Coconut Cream Pie

For the crust:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup dessicated coconut
  • ¼ cup icing/powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup neutral vegetable oil e.g. sunflower, canola

For the filling: 

  • 1 and ½ cups lemon juice
  • 1× 14 oz can coconut milk
  • ½ cup castor (granulated) sugar
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ cup cornflour + ¾ cup water
  • 2 drops yellow food colouring (optional)

For the topping: 

  • 1 cup coconut cream (or 1 cup aquafaba)
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp dessicated coconut

Method

  1. Start by making the crust. Sift the flour, coconut, sugar and salt in a large bowl and shake to combine. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix until it comes together. Shape into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a large saucepan on medium high heat, combine the lemon juice, coconut milk, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Dissolve the cornflour in the water and stir well to ensure there are no lumps. Pour the cornflour into the lemon coconut mixture and whisk vigorously to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce the heat to low and stir continuously until the mixture has thickened considerably and coats the back of a spoon. If you find that the colour is too pale, add the food colouring drop by drop until you’re happy with the colour. Remove from heat and set aside
  3. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out into a 10 inch circle. Grease a non stick 9 inch springform pan. Line the bottom and sides of the pan evenly with the pastry, using any scraps to go around the sides. Top the pastry with some parchment paper and pastry weights (you can use dry unsoaked beans in this case) and blind bake the pastry for 25-30 minutes or until it is golden brown. Set aside to cool before filling.
  4. Spoon the lemon coconut filling into the baked pastry case and level off with a spoon. Refrigerate for about 2 hours to set.
  5. Add the coconut cream and icing sugar to a small bowl and whisk until thickened and fluffy. Use this to top the pie once set. Decorate with lemon rind and dessicated coconut. Serve chilled and enjoy! Will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

Raw Avocado Lime Cheesecake Bites

When your dessert is made of avocados, you can eat as much as you’d like without feeling guilty #score.


Fair warning though: this dessert is not as sweet as my other vegan cheesecake recipes. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, look here for some golden caramel goodness and over here for a sweet passionfruit glaze. Everyone who’s up for a tangy dessert stay with me!


I finally found a use for the Weetbix biscuits that were taking up space in the pantry and that is ——–> the base for these lime cheesecake bars! At the end of last year, we ran a triathlon for women’s cancer and every team that competed won a box of Weetbix biscuits and a Snickers bar (you can guess which one I went for). Unfortunately that means the Weetbix has been at the back of the pantry, feeling lonely and ignored. To be honest with you, I hadn’t thought about it until I ran out of almonds to use for the crust and had to look to alternative methods. Needless to say, it worked out well! You can still go with almonds if you wish, it will still yield a delicious dessert!

 

Here’s to friends who come over to hand model food for you! 

Raw Avocado Lime Cheesecake Bites

Ingredients

  • about 10 Weetbix biscuits, crushed (may substitute 2 cups sliced almonds)
  • 8 medjool dates, soaked in hot water and deseeded
  • 3 ripe medium avocados
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup cold water (may need more)
  • 2 ounces chocolate, melted

Method

  1. Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper. Combine the crushed Weetbix biscuits and dates in a food processor and blend until it forms a sticky dough. Press the dough into the bottom of the loaf pan in an even layer. Freeze whilst you prepare the filling.
  2. Rinse out the food processor and proceed to blend together the avocados, cashews, lime juice, syrup and water. If the mixture is too thick to pulse, add more water 2 tbsp at a time until the machine can smoothly process it. Pulse for 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
  3. Spread the mixture in an even layer on top of the base. The mixture should be very thick. Freeze for 1 hour or until solid. Store in the fridge, do not freeze after it has set. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Drizzle with melted chocolate and enjoy!

Vegan Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars

I have big news for you all: I HAVE A BLENDER!


Shout out to mummy for recognising the struggle that was my culinary life without a blender. I honestly don’t care how broke I am in college, as long as I have a blender to cuddle at night.


I think it’s only fitting that the first vegan dessert I attempted with the blender was this millionaire’s shortbread. This has always been one of my favourite desserts to make so it was only natural that I attempted a no-bake version. If you follow my Instagram @thefoodscientistblog then you’ll know that I’ve been cooking a storm with this vegan caramel (tomorrow guys!). For now, let’s sit back and enjoy this lush dessert.
Vegan Millionaire’s Shortbread

For the crust:

  • 2 cups rolled oatmeal
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3 pitted medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

For the vegan caramel sauce:

  • 2×14 oz can coconut cream (just leave a tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight)
  • 1 and ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
  • ¾ cup maple syrup

For the topping:

4 ounces vegan chocolate

Start by making the vegan caramel sauce:

In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut cream and brown sugar over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is at a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla essence and salt. Add to a glass jar and refrigerate for an hour. Will keep for a week in the fridge.

Then move on to the base:

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Add the oats and almonds to a food processor and pulse until it forms a fine, crumbly meal. Add the dates and maple syrup and process until you get a thick, dough. Press the dough into the bottom of a loaf pan in an even layer. In the same blender, process the vegan caramel you made earlier with the cashews and maple syrup. Pour the caramel layer over the base and freeze for 4 hours, or until solid. Slice into bars, and let chill at least 5 minutes at room temperature before consuming. Enjoy!

Vegan Sticky Praline Pull Apart Bread

As Easter is this week, I’ve felt inspired by all sorts of sweet breads and chocolatey desserts, it’s like Christmas- but in April! It has been a while since I’ve done any sort of homemade bread so this week, I decided to roll with this idea of praline. And boy, oh boy did it turn out to be a gem. 
I had a packet of pecans lying around that I had to use soon, and nothing beats ye olde combo of caramel and pecans. At this point, I had also started craving cinnamon rolls but there was no way that I would break apart these 2 culinary lovebirds with that common tart cinnamon. So, pecans and caramel, rolled up to look like cinnamon rolls? Sure, let’s go with that.

At the last minute I decided to use up the almonds that were hogging my shelf space, and as I had a jar of vegan caramel sauce in the fridge, I thought it might be fun to incorporate that too. And ta-da, the outcome was this masterpiece! Fresh out the oven, this could not be any closer to oven. Despite the use of caramel and extra brown sugar, this bread manages not to be overly sweet, and the use of buttermilk over regular milk makes it super soft. Do your family a favour and make this for Easter- I only advise you to make 2 batches as it probably won’t last long!


Vegan Sticky Praline Pull Apart Bread

For the vegan caramel sauce:

  • 1×14 oz can coconut cream (just leave a tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp salt

For the bread:

  • 2 cups vegan buttermilk (2 cups non dairy milk+2 tbsp vinegar)
  • 2 tsp dried active yeast
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 and ½ cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup of the vegan caramel sauce

Method

Start by making the vegan caramel sauce:

In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut cream and brown sugar over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is at a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla essence and salt. Add to a glass jar and refrigerate for an hour. Will keep for a week in the fridge.

Then move on to the bread:

  1. Heat the buttermilk to about 30°C (or the recommended temperature on your yeast packet) and dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the warm buttermilk. Let sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and foaming.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the centre, and pour the buttermilk mixture and vegetable oil into the middle. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together then remove to a floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and elastic. If the dough is too sticky then add flour in, one tablespoon at a time until it holds. Set aside and allow to rest 30 minutes, whilst you prepare the filling.
  3. Add the pecans and almonds to a large roasting pan and roast at 200°C/400°F for 15 minutes, or until darkened and very fragrant. Allow to cool at room temperature before crushing to small pieces using either a food processor or a meat hammer. Add to a small bowl along with the brown sugar. Reserve a ¼ cup of this mixture for topping the dough.
  4. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Once the dough has rested and you’ve prepared the filling, roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 9×13 (I just eyeballed it and made the dough slightly smaller than the baking pan). Spread the vegan caramel over the surface of the dough, leaving a ¾ inch border. Sprinkle the nut/sugar mixture over the surface of the dough in an even layer.
  5. Starting at the longer end, roll the dough into a long cylinder, as if you’re making cinnamon rolls. I would advise that you transfer the dough to the baking pan you’re using at this point. Use a paring knife or a pair of kitchen scissors to make incisions in the dough, every 1 inch. Be careful not to cut all the way to the bottom of the log. I just pulled and twisted any loose ends, but you don’t need to do any more as far shaping the dough goes.
  6. Once you’re done shaping the dough, sprinkle the extra brown sugar/nut mixture you’d set aside earlier over the dough. If desired, you can also drizzle any extra caramel sauce you have left over the dough. Bake the bread in an oven at 180°C/350°F for between 35 and 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Let sit for at least 10 minutes at room temperature before slicing and serving. Best served warm and on the same day that it’s baked.

Raspberry Coconut Nana Ice-Cream

To be honest with you, I didn’t even like bananas.


Not until I discovered the wonderful magical ways in which they can be used. They can be baked in cakes, mashed and stirred into ice cream or frozen and blended here to get a dreamy soft serve ice cream! 


Sadly, my blender sacrificed itself in the making of this dessert. RIP, you will be missed. Luckily, there are kind people in my life who are willing to help out when I’m in trouble, thank you! In my current blender-less state I’ll have to become more creative with my recipe creating process so stay tuned! 


Raspberry Coconut Nana Ice-Cream

Ingredients

  • 2  frozen bananas, peeled and chopped (Top tip: peel and chop your bananas before freezing them, a lesson I learnt on my second attempt)
  • 250g frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup coconut cream (refrigerate 1×14oz can coconut milk overnight and scoop the cream out in the morning)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • flesh of 1 coconut (optional)

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Scoop and serve immediately!

If you want to keep some for later then you can add any leftovers to a loaf pan, smooth into an even layer and freeze. Before serving, remove from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before briefly blending again to get it smooth and creamy.