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June 2016 - Everyday Vegan Cooking

Everyday Vegan Cooking

Vegan Recipes for Everyday Meals

Month: June 2016

Vegan Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato (Yam) Quiche

This post is going to be a little bit extensive in details. If at any time you feel that you just want to read the full recipe, just scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a printable, consolidated version of this recipe.

However, I see this post as a vehicle that will carry you through some awesome tips, tricks and cooking techniques that should help you in achieving better results while cooking other recipes that you are already familiar with and will open a window to the thought process behind creating this recipe.

So, what I’m planning to cover besides giving you an awesome quiche recipe?

  • How to create an amazing crumbly but stable pie crust (shortcrust), that you can use for any quiche or a sweet pie (with the addition of just sugar)
  • A binding and delicious vegan custard mix for quiches, savory pies and casseroles (“eggs and cream” / custard substitute).
  • How to easily separate the quiche from a pan with a loose bottom?
  • How to avoid having a runny filling in a quiche that has greens (or mushrooms) in it.
  • How to get that shiny top without using eggs.
  • And probably more.

So let’s start.

What is a quiche?

Quiche  is (from wikipedia) “...a savoury, open-faced pastry crust with a filling of savoury custard with cheese, meat, seafood, and/or vegetables. Quiche can be served hot or cold. It is part of French cuisine but is also popular in other countries, particularly as party food…

From the definition above you can rightly assume that the custard part (usually cream and eggs) is the main barrier between many vegans and the perfect quiche. In addition to that, the pastry crust in the non vegan world is full of butter, that adds fat to the flour and creates a texture to the crust that semi melts in your mouth (butter is solid in room temperature and becomes liquid in your mouth) and very crumbly.

So how do we veganize the custard part of the quiche? 

Let’s start with the recipe and later break it down and explain the function each ingredient plays in this vegan custard version.

In a vitamix or a similar blender, blend:

  • 1 cup of soaked (for 3 hours) raw (unsalted) cashews (or macadamia nuts)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 200 grams (about 1 cup) firm tofu
  • 1 TBS cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Flavoring:

  • 2 TBS nutritional yeasts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp salt (I use grey sea salt)

Blend all the vegan custard ingredients in a blender to a creamy texture

How did I arrive to the above vegan custard recipe?

The custard plays several roles in the quiche. The main role is to  bind the veggies or other ingredients you decide to put in your quiche. Second, it adds fat and “fluffy” texture (mouthfeel) that is very pleasing, soft, yet with an omelette-like bite to it. The eggs that start as a liquid, become solid and “fluffy” when heated and bind the quiche ingredients to each other. The added cream, will soften the texture of the eggs and will add fat for a more pleasing mouthfeel (just like you would do when you make a non vegan omelette).

My substitute for the binding attributes of eggs is a cashew cream (cashews blended with water). It can basically be any type of nut cream (like macadamia or even almonds), but cashews have relatively high fat content and also serve as a substitute for the fat content a non vegan recipe will get from the cream. When you blend (soaked) cashews with water to a cream consistency and then heat it up, the water evaporates and the cashews  will go back to a solid state, but since it is now spread throughout the quiche, it now has the binding attributes similar to that of an egg. So we got ourself a binder, which adds almost neutral-nutty flavor to our quiche. BTW, why do you soak the cashews? when you soak the cashews they 1. It becomes softer and easier to blend to a smoother texture 2. It become neutral in flavor.

So what’s next? Eggs also tend to expand with heat, giving you this “fluffy” texture. For this attribute of the custard, we will add about 1 teaspoon of baking powder for each cup of soaked cashews.

Let’s move on. We are still missing some fat and protein content in this vegan custard. For that we will add a bit of olive oil and some Firm Tofu. Tofu is not a must here. I got similar binding results without tofu, however, texture wise, when water content evaporates with heat, the tofu serves as a binder as well and in addition, giving the mixture a scrambled-egg-like texture. The downside of having tofu in the mix is the after taste some tofu has. This can be resolved with adding some flavor to the custard like nutritional yeasts, garlic and salt and finding a tofu that is more neutral in flavor (experiment with different brands – go for the freshest tofu you can get).

Lastly, if we would like to get the sheen we get when baking a non-vegan custard, we should add the cornstarch. When cornstarch is baked or fried, it becomes crispy and shiny. 1 tablespoon of cornstarch will give us the desired sheen.

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) Quiche

Look at the sheen this quiche has thanks to the added cornstarch.

Ok, now what about the crust?

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour (it can be any flour, including GF flour. I used whole sprouted spelt flour)
  • 1/2 cup almonds flour / almonds meal
  • 3 TBS (of 15mL) aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup of refined coconut oil (refined coconut oil is neutral in flavor, you can use a non-refine coconut oil if you don’t mind the faint coconut aftertaste you get)
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix it all with your hand to a crumbly dough.

How did I arrive to this crust / shortcrust recipe?

The almonds flours helps a lot in achieving the desired crumbling effect of the crust. If you only use flour (and omit the almonds flour) and over process/kneed the dough,  there are high chances that the crust will be too stiff and dry, similar in texture to a cracker and will not be as pleasant to cut and eat, texture wise. The almond fine grains, are making sure that this will not happen, as they separate between the flour parts (gluten and starches). It also adds some awesome nutty flavor to the final outcome. #win

Aquafaba (AF). Well, for over a year now I use AF to sub eggs in pastry with amazing results. The AF will make the crust softer and will even help it rise a bit, just like an egg would do.

Refined coconut oil. Coconut oil is a fat that has some similar attributes to that of a butter. It does liquefy in a lower temperature than butter, but it works great in this recipe. You can use olive oil instead, however, the end result will be less “melt-in-your-mouth”. When the quiche cools down, the coconut oils solidifies and when you put it in your mouth – it melts, just like butter. If you have some time in your hand, and would like to achieve similar melting temperature for your fat content, you can melt 1 part of cocoa butter with 10 parts of coconut oil and use it in this recipe. I find it better to use in sweet pie crusts than savory crusts, though the cocoa flavor is hardly noticeable. you really have to look for it to notice it.

If you would like to use this shortcrust recipe in sweet pies, just add two tablespoons of sugar to this recipe and reduce the salt content to 1/4 teaspoon.

Shaping the crust

This crust dough, doesn’t need refrigeration before you put it in a pan. You simply crumble it onto your 10″ pie pan and press it to the pan evenly with your fingers:

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) Quiche

Here is how you shape some nice edge to the pie:

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) Quiche

Stab it slightly with a fork, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) Quiche

How do you make the filling?

Now, when you already know how to make the perfect crust and the perfect vegan custard, you can go wild with the filling you choose. You can basically veganize any non-vegan recipe of your choice.

In this case, I used the following veggies:

The Yam (sweet potato)

I’ve boiled diced sweet potatoes (to avoid undercooking) in salty water. Just bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Use the same process but boil for extra two minutes, if you decide to use potatoes in your quiche.

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) QuicheThe swiss chard

I’ve sauteed a big bunch of sliced swiss chard, making sure that there are no excess liquids. In this process, the chard loses about 4/5 of its volume! The same process is applicable to mushrooms in case you want to make a fried onions and mushrooms quiche.

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) QuicheThe shallots

I finely sliced two shallots and placed them in a large mixing bowl.

Assembling the quiche and baking

In a large bowl, mix with a spatula your boiled yams, chard, shallots and your vegan custard.

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) Quiche

Take your crust out of the fridge and spread the mixture evenly in the crust using a spatula.

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) Quiche

Bake on 320F for about 45 minutes or until you see that your pie gets the desired sheen.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.

Place your pie on a container that is slightly narrow than the perimeter of the pie and slide the metal edge down.

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) Quiche

Now it’s ready to cut.

Vegan Swiss Chard & Yam (sweet potato) Quiche

Some afterthoughts. I would add some roasted bell peppers to the next quiche I would made. I think it would add some nice texture and flavor to it.

Let me know in the comments what you think about this post and if you like me to post more posts in this fashion.

Guy

Here is the printable recipe:

5.0 from 3 reviews
Vegan Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato (Yam) Quiche
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a recipe that fits a 10" pie pan.
Cuisine: French
Ingredients
The vegan custard
In a vitamix or a similar blender, blend:
  • 1 cup of soaked (for 3 hours) raw (unsalted) cashews (or macadamia nuts)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 200 grams (about 1 cup) firm tofu
  • 1 TBS cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 TBS nutritional yeasts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp salt (I use grey sea salt)
The veggies
  • 1 large sweet potato diced and boiled in salty water for a minute.
  • 1 big bunch of swiss chard sliced and sauteed until all water content evaporates
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced
The crust
  • 1½ cups of flour (it can be any flour, including GF flour. I used whole sprouted spelt flour)
  • ½ cup almonds flour / almonds meal
  • 3 TBS (of 15mL) aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • ½ cup of refined coconut oil (refined coconut oil is neutral in flavor, you can use a non-refine coconut oil if you don't mind the faint coconut aftertaste you get)
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Make the crust. Mix all the crust ingredients with your hands to a crumbly dough. Crumble the dough evenly on a pie pan with a loose bottom. Use your fingers to flatten the dough evenly to the surface and edges. Stub the bottom of the crust slightly with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Bring the diced yam to a boil in a pot with salty water. remove from heat.
  3. Sautee a big bunch of sliced Swiss chard until all water evaporates.
  4. shallots - finely sliced
  5. Put the yums, shallots and chard in a large bowl.
  6. Blend all the vegan custard ingredients in a blender and mix, using a spatula in a bowl with the veggies.
  7. Take the crust out of the fridge and spread the above mix evenly using a spatula.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes at 320F until the quiche gets a sheen

 

Vegan Linzer Torte with Aquafaba

*as always, you can scroll down to the bottom of the post for a printable recipe.

Haven’t posted for almost a year now. I was remodeling my house for many months starting last summer and haven’t had a proper kitchen to experiment in and to inspire my cooking. I will probably post about the kitchen remodeling process as I have many lessons to share about design, appliances etc….stay tuned for that.

Vegan Linzer Torte with aquafaba

I also made these two lovely tartlets 🙂

I was inspired to veganize this Linzer Torte recipe my good friend, Sharon Heinrich, posted recently (recipe is in Hebrew). She got this recipe from a chef patisserie, so all the ingredients are specified in weight.

Linzer Torte is an interesting (and one of the oldest documented) kind of cake, the base is sort of a mix between a Shortcrust pastry (Pâte brisée) and a Pound cake, with ground almonds or nuts and usually spiced with spices like cinnamon, cardamom. clove, vanilla etc. On top of the thick crust, there is a layer of tangy jam like strawberry, rhubarb, raspberries, apricots etc. It was relatively easy to veganize the original recipe and the results are superb! The only two ingredients that I needed to sub were butter (replaced with an equal weight of refined coconut oil) and two eggs (replaced with 9 TBS of aquafaba and 1 TBS of cornstarch).

Vegan  Linzer Torte with Aquafaba ( one 10″ Linzer Torte)

Ingredients: 

270 gram white flour

40 gram ground almonds

3 gram ground cinnamon

7 gram cacao powder

3 gram baking powder

a pinch of salt

130 gram refined coconut oil

130 gram sugar

9 (15mL) TBS of Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) (for a total of 135mL) + 1 TBS of cornstarch slightly whisked

400 grams of tangy jam (I used raspberry, cherry, and rhubarb jam)

DSC_6371Directions:

  1. Make the dough for the crust: In a bowl of a mixer with a guitar hook, put: flour, almonds, cinnamon, cacao, baking powder and salt and mix slightly. Add the coconut oil and sugar and mix for a couple of minutes. Add the whisked aquafaba and whisk until a sticky and moist dough is formed (about two minutes).
    Vegan Linzer Torte with aquafaba
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten slightly with a rolling pin and place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  3. Take out of the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface. Flatten with a rolling pin into a 12″ in diameter and 1/4″ thickness.
  4. I used a pan to cut the dough into the shape of my 10″ pan and transferred it to the base of the pan.  Using a fork, slightly stab the dough and put the pan with the dough in the fridge for additional 30 minutes.
  5. Make some shapes with cookie cutters (or use strips of dough) to put on top of the pie and store in the fridge with the pie for 30 minutes.
    Vegan Linzer Torte with aquafaba
  6. Take the pie and the decorations out of the fridge. put an 1/8″-1/4″ layer of jam on top of your torte base and place your dough decorations on top.
    Vegan Linzer Torte with aquafaba
  7. Bake for 30 minutes in 350F.

I really think that this “cake” could be exceptional with a homemade jam. Let me know in the comments if you made it and what share your thoughts.

Vegan Linzer Torte with aquafaba

Guy

Printable recipe:

4.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Linzer Torte with Aquafaba
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Linzer Torte is an interesting (and one of the oldest documented) kind of cake, the base is sort of a mix between a Shortcrust pastry (Pâte brisée) and a Pound cake, with ground almonds or nuts and usually spiced with spices like cinnamon, cardamom. clove, vanilla etc. On top of the thick crust, there is a layer of tangy jam like strawberry, rhubarb, raspberries, apricots etc. It was relatively easy to veganize the original recipe and the results are superb! The only two ingredients that I needed to sub were butter (replaced with an equal weight of refined coconut oil) and two eggs (replaced with 9 TBS of aquafaba and 1 TBS of cornstarch).
Cuisine: French
Ingredients
  • 270 gram white flour
  • 40 gram ground almonds
  • 3 gram ground cinnamon
  • 7 gram cacao powder
  • 3 gram baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 130 gram refined coconut oil
  • 130 gram sugar
  • 9 TBS of Aquafaba + 1 TBS of cornstarch slightly whisked
  • 400 grams of tangy jam (I used raspberry, cherry, and rhubarb jam)
Instructions
  1. Make the dough: In a bowl of a mixer with a guitar hook, put: flour, almonds, cinnamon, cacao, baking powder and salt and mix slightly. Add the coconut oil and sugar and mix for a couple of minutes. Add the whisked aquafaba and whisk until a sticky and moist dough is formed (about two minutes).
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten slightly with a rolling pin and place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  3. Take out of the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface. Flatten with a rolling pin into a 12" in diameter and ¼" thickness.
  4. I used a pan to cut the dough into the shape of my 10" pan and transferred it to the base of the pan. Using a fork, slightly stab the dough and put the pan with the dough in the fridge for additional 30 minutes.
  5. Make some shapes with cookie cutters (or use strips of dough) to put on top of the pie and store in the fridge with the pie for 30 minutes.
  6. Take the pie and the decorations out of the fridge. put an ⅛"-1/4" layer of jam on top of your torte base and place your dough decorations on top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes in 350F.