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.
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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.

Sweetheart Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl Bars

Okay okay okay, this is a huge step for me but I finally did it. I officially conquered my fear of cheesecakes. 


Let me phrase this better, I do not have a phobia of yummy calorific dairy desserts. I am terrified of making them. What if it cracks whilst baking? What if it doesn’t set in the fridge? What if it tastes nothing like the cheesecake from that really great cafe?  These are the questions that haunt me whilst I sit at my desk wondering how I’m going to nail this next recipe idea.


‘You can’t do cheesecake. All your previous attempts have failed miserably. You can use those 2 tins of cream cheese to make a dip for some fries instead,’ my conscience says. ‘You’ll never be able to pull this one off.’ I take a deep breath and try to channel out the negative energy. You can do this. After pacing around the kitchen for an hour, I finally muster up the strength to pick up the whisk and attempt this cheesecake. 2 hours later, I’m asking myself why I was even doubting my abilities in the first place. It’s everything I ever wanted and yet more. I was a bit sceptical about abandoning the traditional Graham cracker base for a shortbread base, and I wasn’t 100% sure that the pattern would come out clearly but hey, I did it. I SUCCESSFULLY MADE A CHEESECAKE.


You too, can experience happiness and accomplishment through trying this recipe. There’s a lesson here friends: do not be afraid of failure, you will surprise even yourself when you just decide to try. Try and give your best effort always, you will never know if you don’t try.

Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl Bars

Ingredients

For the shortbread base: 

  • 2 and ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp ice water

For the cheesecake layer: 

  • Two 8 oz packages of plain cream cheese
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream (may sub Greek yogurt for healthier taste)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

For the strawberry swirl:

  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cornflour + 1 tsp cold water

Method: 

Start with the strawberry swirl: 

In a blender, combine the strawberries, water, lemon juice and sugar. Blitz until no large chunks of strawberry remain. Add the contents of the blender to a saucepan and gently warm the strawberry puree. Once boiling, add in the cornflour and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool whilst you prepare the cheesecake bars.

Then move onto the cheesecake: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a large bowl and toss to combine. Cut the butter into the dry mixture until you have a crumbly dough. Crack the egg into the mixture, pour in the ice water and stir until fully mixed and you have a uniform colour and there are no streaks of egg yolk. Turn the shortbread crust into the prepared baking dish. Press the dough into an even layer in the pan and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is just starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Whilst the crust is baking, add the cream cheese to a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the sugar and whip into the cream cheese. Pour in the fresh cream and stir until incorporated. Add in the egg, vanilla essence and lemon juice and whisk until just combined. Be careful not to overmix lest you get cracks in the cheesecake.
  3. When the crust has finished baking, pour the cheesecake mixture over the shortbread base. Dollop tablespoons of the puréed strawberries over the cream cheese mixture. Use the tip of a knife or a toothpick to swirl a pattern over the surface of the cream cheese, being careful not to scrape the shortbread base. Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the time has elapsed, switch off the oven but do not open the oven door. I repeat: DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR. This is for your own safety and for that of the cheesecake, it is to ensure you do not get any cracks that will spoil the wonderful wonderful pattern you made. I waited about another 30 minutes before removing the cheesecake and transferring to the fridge for an hour. Only then you can slice the cheesecake into 12 bars. Enjoy the fact that you have conquered the cheesecake!

 

Psssssst, once you’ve gotten over the excitement of making this yummy cheesecake, try your hand at this Chocolate Lover’s Fudge Brownie Cheesecake. It is TO DIE FOR.

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Easy Peasy Lemon Crepes

Everybody always talks about whether pancakes or waffles are better. Nobody ever bothers to include crepes in the equation. The answer became obvious to me this week: crepes would always win. Crepes have the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast. Breakfast or dessert, sweet or savoury, hot or cold, crepes have got your back. The French scored a huge W with these guys, and you’d be surprised how simple it is to get a hotel worthy breakfast on your table in less than 30 minutes.


Also I have a new YouTube video up and these babies make a sneak feature! I just happened to be shooting these crepes before getting the idea to get up and film this video. No planned outline, no script, this is pure freestyle. Make sure to like and subscribe to my channel!

Easy Peasy Lemon Crepes                                                                                     makes 12 crepes

Ingredients

1 cup flour

300 ml milk

2 eggs

2 tbsp melted butter + extra for cooking

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp castor sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

about ½ cup lemon curd, homemade or storebought

optional: ¼ cup icing sugar for dusting

Method

  1. Add the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add half of the milk, and use a wooden spoon to gently draw the flour into the milk, mixing it in bit by bit until you have a thick dough. Stir the eggs into the mixture before adding the melted butter, salt, castor sugar and lemon juice. Continue stirring whilst you gradually pour in the rest of milk. The mixture should be runny*.
  2. Heat a large non stick pan on high and brush the pan with some of the extra melted butter. Be careful not to over-grease the pan because then the crepes won’t spread properly. Add a ladle-full  (about 3 tbsp) of batter to the hot pan and tip the sides of the pan so that the batter spreads evenly. When the edges of the crepe start to curl up, use a spatula (or your fingers) to gently flip the crepe over. Reserve to a plate and keep warm in the oven.  Repeat until you’ve used up all the crepe batter.
  3. To serve, dollop a tablespoon of lemon curd onto a crepe and spread evenly, leaving a ¼ inch border around the edges of the crepe. Fold the crepe in half, then in half again. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.

 

*The original recipe called for resting the crepe batter for at least an hour before cooking. I can honestly tell you that I did try this and did not notice a considerable difference between the rested batter and unrested batter. In any case, who would want to wait 1 hour to have crepes?!

No Bake Mini Lemon Mini Cheesecakes 

Who doesn’t love a good cheesecake? Dessert does not get better than this. And with the holiday season upon us, there’s no need to be counting calories and jumping on the scale. Now is the time to celebrate, to eat, drink and be merry!

I know a lot of people get intimidated by the idea of cheesecakes (me especially) because it always seems like a hassle. Firstly, I don’t own a springform pan: so any kind of traditional cheesecake is officially out of the question. Secondly, baking a cheesecake could lead to a multitude of problems, from cracks as deep as the Grand Canyon forming, to having the water leak into the crust from the water bath to yielding a cheesecake drier than the Sahara Desert. Thirdly, dressing up a cheesecake can be tricky. Honestly speaking, I think that dressing up your food is the best part of cooking, but when there’s a considerable disparity between the image in your head and what’s sitting in front of you, one tends to get discouraged easily. 

So my friends, I abstained from the art of cheesecake making until I realised that it didn’t have to be difficult at all. This recipe scores a 10 on the easy scale. It requires minimal effort, all you have to do is combine the ingredients in a bowl, whip them together, leave it to set in the fridge overnight, and you’re on your way to cheesecake goodness! If you’re too lazy to bake the crusts in the oven, no problem! Leave the crust out completely and scoop the cheesecake mixture into glasses instead. Top with lemon curd and crushed biscuits and you’ve got a killer dessert on your hands. Happy indulging! 

No Bake Mini Lemon Cheesecakes                                                             makes 9 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the crust:

About 15 Marie biscuits/Graham crackers/whatever takes your fancy (or 1 cup crushed biscuits) 

¼ cup melted butter 

¼ cup castor sugar

For the mini cheesecakes: 

2 packages full fat plain cream cheese (12 ounces) – at room temperature

1 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence 

2/3 cup fresh cream 

¼ cup lemon juice 

1 tsp lemon rind + extra for decorating

About 1 cup lemon curd, homemade or storebought 

Method

Make the crust: 

Preheat your oven to 180°. Line 9 cupcake tin spaces with paper wrappers, or if you have a mini-cheesecake pan, grease 9 of the available spaces. Add the Marie biscuits to a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them until they’re fine crumbs. Alternatively, you could add the biscuits to a food processor and pulse until they form crumbs but that isn’t as fun.

Transfer the cookie crumbs to a small bowl, add the melted butter and sugar and stir until combined. Add about a tablespoon of the crust mixture to each of the prepared cupcake liners, and use a shot glass or the back of the tablespoon to smooth it into an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to the fridge immediately to cool and switch off your oven. 

Make the mini lemon cheesecakes: 

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Don’t feel bad about overmixing, try and make sure that you get all the lumps out. 

Add the vanilla essence, fresh cream, lemon juice and lemon rind and beat again until incorporated.

Once the baked crusts have cooled, pour the cheesecake mixture into each of the moulds. Don’t be afraid to fill the mould right up to the brim, there is no risk of the cheesecake overflowing. Refrigerate for 4 hours (I just went overnight to be safe) or until set. Top with lemon curd and extra lemon rind when ready to serve. 


Tis the season for sharing, so if you’re feeling inspired by this recipe, tell a friend! Subscribe below to receive an email every single time I post a new recipe! 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

You guysssss. Remember when I posted these Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies? Long story short, I felt like I could do so much more with this dough that didn’t involve eating half of it before it got to the oven. Then again, I also needed to be able to eat a ton of cookie dough without feeling guilty that only half the cookie dough actually made it to the oven. At the same time, I was feeling major FOMO for summer. Here in Zimbabwe, we’re putting the winter blankets away and dusting off the barbecue grills, getting ready for summer.

Making ice cream has never been easier. No ice cream maker needed! For the base, all you need is fresh cream and condensed milk and from there you can customise it any way you like. I decided to mix ¾ of a batch of (eggless) chocolate chip cookie dough into the base, and drop in pieces of the other quarter of the dough to get little nuggets of cookie dough goodness. Pure gold. This will only take you 30 minutes at the most, and for all the wonderful ice cream goodness you get out, it is so worth it. I repeat: NO ICE CREAM MAKER REQUIRED.


Shooting this was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. This is someone who’s also an A Level Maths student. I felt a stab in my heart every single time the ice cream began to slowly drip down the cup to form a puddle on the board. It took every bone in my body to resist the urge to stuff every last piece of cookie dough into my mouth. I have never been so relieved to finish a shoot before. And for anyone out there who’s wondering, it tastes even better than it looks.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Ingredients

Eggless chocolate chip cookie dough:

½ cup melted butter

½ cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 ½ cups flour

2 tbsp milk

1 cup chocolate chips/chopped chocolate

Ice cream: 

2 cups fresh cream

14 oz can condensed milk

2 tbsp hot fudge sauce (optional)

Method 

Make the chocolate chip cookie dough: 

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter and brown sugar. Add the vanilla essence and mix again. Sieve the flour into the butter mixture and stir until combined. At this point the dough will be quite dry and tough, add in the milk, one tablespoon at a time until loosened. Once you’re happy with the consistency of the dough, add the chocolate chips and use a rubber spatula to incorporate them evenly through the batter. It’s okay if some of the dough disappears right about now, I won’t tell.
  2. Take ¼ of the cookie dough, roll it into a bowl and wrap it tightly with cling wrap. Store in the freezer. To be used later in this recipe.

Make the ice cream: 

  1. In a large bowl, whip the fresh cream using an electric whisk until medium peaks form. This takes about 5 minutes. Pour in the condensed milk and stir together gently until incorporated. Take the ¾ portion of the cookie dough that you didn’t put in the freezer and gently break it up over the cream mixture. Gently fold it into the cream mixture, try to really blend it into the cream mixture, but it’s still totally okay if you’re left with bits of cookie dough.
  2. Pour the ice cream mixture into a loaf pan. Remove the other portion of cookie dough from the freezer, and chop it into bite sized pieces. Drop the cookie pieces into the ice cream and use a spoon to distribute them through the ice cream. If you like, you can drizzle the hot fudge sauce over the surface to create a pattern. Freeze for 5 hours, or overnight. Serve with crushed chocolate chip cookies and more hot fudge sauce.

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Gutentag to all you lovelies out there reading this! Today I bring you these chewy chocolate chunk cookies, and I dare you to try saying that 3 times fast.

Everybody has a different idea of what their ideal chocolate chip cookie looks like. If you’re my dad, then you want thin, crunchy cookies. If you’re my brother, then you’re going to want them thick and gooey. And if you’re my mother, then you have a headache. Just when you thought all hope was lost, this banger of a recipe shows up to reunite your cookie conflicted household. These cookies have a rich butterscotch flavour, chewy texture and banging taste. A glass of milk on the side makes these even more delectable.


Allow me a brief moment to discuss what exactly makes these chewy chocolate chunk cookies just so incredibly fantastic. This recipe does not call for you to mix two different types of sugar; it’s all brown sugar for double the butterscotch flavour. Refrigerating the dough overnight makes for an even more intense flavour, but I know that ain’t nobody got time for that. These can be baked straight away, or if you aren’t in a rush then I seriously recommend that you leave this in the fridge overnight. The best part about these is the dark chocolate pieces that will take your taste buds to paradise.


There is a serious shortage of chocolate chips in Zimbabwe right now. I’ve been to about 5 stores in the past 2 weeks and I’ve been told the same thing over and over again, “We haven’t had them in about a month”. The restrictions on various imported goods has meant that certain items such as coconut milk and the beloved chocolate chips haven’t found themselves in stores recently. But fear not fellow Zimbos! For in times of crisis, we make a plan. Case in point: we chop a bar of dark chocolate into little pieces and call them chocolate chunk cookies. Problem solved. The fact that all the chocolate pieces are different sizes ups the wow factor of these cookies by 387629. It’s a mathematical fact, I totally calculated it.


Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies                                                 makes 9 cookies

Ingredients

½ cup butter at room temperature

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 ½ cups + 2 tbsp self-raising flour

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

A pinch of salt

1 cup chocolate chips/chopped chocolate

Method

  1. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and line it with baking paper. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Crack eggs into the bowl, one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla essence and mix well.
  2. Measure out the flour and add it to the wet ingredients, followed by the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use a paddle brush to incorporate, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to get every little bit of goodness in there. Stir in ¾ cup of the chocolate pieces and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  3. Using a cookie scoop/ice cream scoop/tablespoon, shape the dough into cookies and spoon them into the baking sheet. I used about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie*Leave about 2 cm of space between each cookie.  After you’ve scooped all the dough and formed cookies, sprinkle the last ¼ cup of chocolate pieces over the cookies. **Refrigerate for 24 hours. This step is optional but vital in order to obtain that intense butterscotch flavour.
  4. About 10 minutes before you plan on baking, remove the cookies from the fridge and let sit at room temperature whilst you preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes at room temp before moving to a wire rack to let cool further. Serve with a tall glass of milk.

Notes:

*These cookies spread quite a bit and end up being quite large as a result, so if you would like smaller cookies then I suggest using 1 tablespoon. You would also have to reduce the baking time to 9 minutes.

**Refrigerating is completely optional but keep in mind that the cookies will spread even more, and you’ll lose a bit of the butterscotch flavour. You can keep these in the fridge for up to 48 hours before baking, or you could even freeze them for 24 hours before baking.