Double Daring Bakers

For the Double Daring Bakers Challenge this month I got to tackle a Lemon Meringue Pie!!!  It was actually, pretty easy!

Lemon Meringue Pie (from “Wanda’s Pie in the Sky” by Wanda Beaver)

Daring Bakers Challenge #15: January 2008 Host: Jen (Canadian Baker)

The pies had to be lemon, but other than that, we could play a bit. I made mine just like normal, except veganized it. I was really worried about how to make a vegan meringue, but I was able to find one online while looking for vegan marshmallow recipes. So, here is what I did:


Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust: I made an Oat Pie Crust

2 TBSP warm water

1 tsp ground flax seeds

½ cup old fashioned oats, ground

3 TBSP rice milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

For the Filling:

I used Colleen Patrick – Goudreau’s lemon filling recipe for Lemon Bars on page 126 of The Joy of Vegan Baking

For the Meringue: I used the Vegan Meringue recipe from Dave Soleil

To Make the Crust:

Whisk together the warm water & flax seeds, set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the rice milk & vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk the ground oats, flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder & salt. Drizzle the flax mixture onto the dry ingredients & stir with a fork until crumbly. With the fork, stir in the milk mixture, one tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface & knead 7 to 8 times. Wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Roll the dough out to an 11” circle, dusting with flour if necessary. Transfer to prepared pan, pressing to fit. Trim edges.

Line the tart shell with a piece of parchment paper & fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until set. Remove weights & parchment paper & bake for 8 to 12 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. (The shell will keep, loosely covered with foil, for up to one day.)

To Make the Filling: See page 26 of The Joy of Vegan Baking

Before the Meringue:


To Make the Meringue: Check out his recipe

For the Crust:

Let’s see, I didn’t get to make this while alone in the kitchen, so my many mistakes are

  1. Forgot the pie weights & parchment paper during the blind baking.

  2. Baked it for 20 minutes before remembering it.

  3. Didn’t refrigerate the pie crust before rolling out (hence, how think it was).

For the Filling:

Since I messed up on my crust baking times, I had to adjust my cooking method for the filling. So, I cooked it on the stove top while my crust was cooling. I cooked it for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring constantly until it set. Oh, I also added 2/3 cup lemon juice instead of 1/3.

After Baking the Meringue:


Okay, so my oven cooks hotter in the back then the front:




Verdict: YUM! Everything came out great, well, except for the crust being too thick. I will definitely be making this again.

Ugly, but tasty bread – FFTO

This months Fresh From The Oven challenge was hosted by Brooke of Ed and Brooke and she chose focaccia.


I was very excited when I saw this one. I love Focaccia! We also got to choose our own recipe. But, I have made Focaccia before. I actually made it as Christmas gifts one year. Well, instead of using that recipe, I decided to try a different one from the same cookbook. I made the Grilled Focaccia from The Bread Bible (page 216-219). I didn’t really make any changes, so I won’t post the recipe, you’ll just have to get the book, its a great one!


The recipe was pretty straight forward & easy to make. I didn’t have any problems until I realized it was a little too thin & a little small. I had planned on making pizza out of it, but it definitely wouldn’t feed the both of us without some sides. Well, I plunged on. I had it shaped & resting on a cookie sheet, then I remembered that I needed to move it to a grill pan. Well, I hadn’t greased the cookie sheet enough & I had spread it too thin, so it was a little hard to get off the pan. It did not fare too well, but still workable.


Well, I got it onto the grill pan, cooked the one side, flipped it over (pretty easily, actually) & then topped it. Now, it did not look pretty on its own, but it sure made a tasty pizza. Oh, I also over-kneaded it a little. I missed the part where it said to knead for about 20 seconds & I kneaded it for a minute. I am pretty sure that had something to do with my results.


Verdict: I will be trying this one again, it was very tasty, even if it didn’t look too pretty on its own.


Oh, the pizza toppings: faux saugsages, olives, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, tomatoes, & onions.



Daring Bakers for July 2009

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

I too am a big fan of Gale Gand, even though I don’t eat much of what she makes anymore. I am still able to take a lot of her recipes & veganize them though. I have actually never had a Milano Cookie before, I know, very sad. I also do not like marshmallows of any kind, I know, very strange. Although this months challenge got me interested. Even though I don’t like eating marshmallows, I really wanted to make some. Not sure why, but I couldn’t wait to get started! You can see the original recipes & everyone elses results here:

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I started off with Isa’s version of Milanos, printed with my changes. I wanted to make them lower in fat & a little healthier.


Vegan Milanos
Makes 16 cookies

1/3 cup rice milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Scant ¼ tsp orange extract
2 cups flour
2 TBSP cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a large mixing bowl, use a strong fork to mix together milk, sugar, applesauce, vanilla and orange extract.

Add half of the flour, along with the cornstarch, baking powder and salt; mix well. Add the remaining flour and mix until you have a soft dough.

Fill a pastry bag, or zip-top baggie with the dough & pipe onto your cookie sheets so that it is 1 ½” long. Wet your hands a bit with cold water, it will keep your hands from sticking to the dough. You will need to do this after every couple of cookies. Flatten with the palms of your hand to create an oval that is 2“ long and 1“ across, then straighten the edges out with your fingers. You are going for the milano cookie shape, don’t be too perfect with it though, let it have some character. Continue shaping the cookies until you have 16 cookies placed about 1“ apart (they don’t spread much.) per tray.


Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until tops are firm and edges are ever so slightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes. Use a thin, flexible spatula to transfer to a cooling rack. Meanwhile, bake your next batch and melt your chocolate.

Let the cookies cool for about 10 minutes, then take a cookie and dip the bottom into the chocolate. Then take another cookie and dip it, and place the dipped sides together to form a sandwich. Don’t press them hard or else the chocolate will smoosh out. Place them on a tray & put in the fridge to set for at least an hour. Continue with the remaining cookies until you have 16 sandwiches. Have a wet rag at the ready to wipe your fingers between putting the cookies together, to avoid chocolate fingerprints on the cookies. Bring to room temperature before serving.  I filled half with the melted chocolate & half with my leftover almond-ella.


We only had to make one of the cookies, but who can resist Milano type cookies & I really wanted to make some Marshmallows, so I made both.

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For the Marshmallow recipe, I used David Soleil’s recipe that you can find here: I followed it exactly (except using Lyle’s Golden Syrup & Barley Malt Syrup in place of the corn syrup), so I won’t reprint it here.


I also used silicone molds to shape the marshmallows.

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I made the regular vanilla flavored marshmallows for all. On some, I used chili powder to dust with & some I used cinnamon. On 2 of the big ones, I coated with coconut flakes & 2 of them I mixed in some peppermint, soy cream cheese frosting. The peppermint is yummy!


For the Mallows, I used leftover chocolate shortbread that I had made for pie & made a quick chocolate ganache to pour over the top, yum!

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Verdict: Milanos – YUM! I did under cook them a bit, I should’ve left them in for another 2 minutes, but they were still really good, just a little chewy. I also made them too thick, which didn’t help with the chewiness. They sure tasted good though, & I will be making these again.


Mallows – YUM! I had so much fun making the marshmallows. The texture was a little different, but they tasted like marshmallows. This was good though, because the main thing I don’t like about marshmallows is their texture. Once you put them into a cookie & cover with chocolate, well, who could resist!

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Daring Cooks


Our Host: Sketchy, from Sketchy’s Kitchen

The Challenge: Skate, traditional flavors powdered (slightly altered) This is a dish from Grant Achatz, found in the Alinea cookbook – page 230. Skates are part of the family of rays (think manta ray or sting ray). Our challenge this month was based on molecular cuisine.

You can find the original recipe here:  as well as to see how everyone else did.  Below I have put my changes.


Skate, Traditional Flavors Powderedwith changes

In place of the skate, I made Tofu Fish Sticks from Vegan Lunchbox.

  • *150 fresh green beans

  • sea salt/kosher salt

  • ¼ banana

  • 75g cilantro

  • 75g parsley

  • 50g dried banana chips

  • 150g better than milk powder

  • 50g cup minced red onion

  • 100g capers (brined, not oil)

* For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)

Powders – prepare ahead of time
caper / onion
garlic powder
cilantro/parsley powder
‘brown butter’ powder


once dried, all powders should be pulsed in a coffee grinder/spice mill/morter & pestle then passed through a chinois or fine mesh strainer.

cilantro/parsley powder
75g cilantro
75g parsley

I actually found freeze dried cilantro & parsley, so I used that.

garlic powder (my addition)

75g freeze dried garlic

onion powder
50g cup minced red onions

again, used freeze dried
pulse in coffee grinder.

Caper powder
100g capers (get the ones packed in brine/vinegar)

run the capers under cold water for two minutes to remove some of the brine.
I microwaved the capers on a paper towel for 1 minute, then let it sit for a minute. I repeated heating them in the microwave for 30 seconds and resting for 1 minute until they were done. They were in the microwave for a total of 4 minutes.

Once dry, pulse and sift the powder. Mix it with the onion powder.

Brown Butter powder

50g Dried banana chips (unsweetened if possible – many are coated in honey – the freeze dried ones would be brilliant) – I could only find sweetened
150g spray dried cream powder

I did not toast the cream powder.

grind the banana chips in a coffee grinder and mix with the toasted cream powder. Pass this through a chinois and reserve.

* For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)


Take the tip of a small spoon and make a small mound of the citrus powder, the onion-caper powder, and the cilantro parsley-powder. Swirl these around in a hurricane type pattern. I found that it is easier, and you get finer lines if you lightly shake the plate to flatten out the mounds, then swirl the spoon through it to get the pattern. (I need to work on my swirl work, mine is pitiful) I served this with a side salad & boiled potatoes with garlic pepper.

peel the remaining banana into very think slices (3mm) fan three slices on the plate, place green beans on top and place skate wing portion on top. On the tall edge, sprinkle the brown butter powder.

Verdict: While this challenge was definitely a challenge & I learned a lot, I would not make it again. Hubby did give it a good try & liked the tofu fish sticks & the salad & potatoes that I served with it. He tried the sticks with each of the powders, as well as banana & green beans with each bite, he wasn’t sold on it. The bananas actually complement the raw green beans very well. The tofu fish sticks turned out really good. I would use more kelp granules next time though. Thank you so much Sketchy for this interesting challenge, it was something very new for me. It was nice to learn how to make the powders. This is an adventure, it is fun to try.


Just wondering how subbing potatoes would work with this?

June R2R – Beef Wellington

Recipes 2 Rival – June 2006 Challenge

Our challenge this month is Beef Wellington! My first thought was, hmmm, not something I have ever wanted to eat. But isn’t that what these challenges are all about, making things you wouldn’t normally make, giving new things a try. So I read on.


According to wikipedia, Beef Wellington “is a preparation of beef tenderloin coated with pâté (often pâté de foie gras) & duxelles, which is then wrapped in puff pastry & baked.”

Okay, my next hmmm was with the pate. I knew I could find vegan puff pastry (albeit with hfcs), I could even make it if I had the time (which I didn’t), but I wasn’t sure I wanted to try to find or make pate, which isn’t hard, its just a texture issue. Luckily, I kept reading & realized that it was optional.

This months host is Mz Kitchen of Madame Chow’s Kitchen. After doing quite a bit of research & experimentation, she put this recipe together. It’s based on the Ultimate Beef Wellington by Tyler Florence, but I added a couple things & eliminated a couple others.

We had to use the puff pastry, some type of protein & the duxelles. Seitan would work well, as would tempeh. Tofu was not recommend because of its high water content & moisture is the enemy here! I chose to go with tempeh because I like the flavor more & it has a very low moisture content. Here are some more tips from our host:

Cook the duxelles on low heat so that you have a chance to evaporate the liquid, but so that you don’t burn the mushrooms & shallots. If you like your meat rare or medium rare, I suggest keeping the seared beef in the refrigerator until just before you put everything together – it took so long to brown my puff pastry, that the beef was well done. It was still moist, but using cold beef means that it will take longer to cook, giving your puff pastry the time to brown.”


On to the recipe, which I cut in half:
Beef Wellington
For the Duxelles:
3 pints (1 ½ pounds) white button mushrooms
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil used vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Beef:
1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed used tempeh
Extra-virgin olive oil did not use
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only used dried
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen (follow directions on the package)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten didn’t use
8 ounces mousse pate, available in specialty cheese & appetizer cases of larger markets (optional) didn’t use pate

To make the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, & thyme to a food processor & pulse until finely chopped. Add butter & olive oil (veg broth) to a large saute pan & set over medium heat. Add the shallot & mushroom mixture & saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt & pepper & set aside to cool completely. This is really good, a great topping for burgers too!

To prepare the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt & pepper & sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil – about 2 to 3 minutes. I skipped this step, didn’t need to do it with the tempeh.

Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool completely.

From our host: “I made the duxelles and seared the tenderloin about 10 hours in advance, and refrigerated both of them. It is important that these items are cold because you will be working with puff pastry, and if they’re warm, they may cause the dough to melt before you get it in the oven.”

About an hour before you plan to serve the Beef Wellington, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a ¼” thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. I used just one piece per serving.

Spread the duxelles mixture down in a column down the middle of the rolled out puff pastry. Thinly slice the mousse and cover the duxelles with it – every square millimeter doesn’t have to be covered, but you’re trying to make sure that every serving gets beef, duxelle, and mousse.

Remove beef from refrigerator. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and brush all the edges of the pastry with egg wash. Fold the longer sides over the beef, and seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef – saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet. I didn’t use the egg wash.

Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife – this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F (rare) on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into ¾” thick slices. I baked it for 20 to 25 minutes.


Verdict: We really enjoyed it. Hubby would’ve preferred tofu, he just likes the flavor better, tempeh is too strong for him. We both were glad I didn’t use the pate, it would’ve been too soft/mushy in texture. I served it with huge artichokes, which tasted great.  A nice salad & some green beans would’ve tasted amazing as well.  I have some puff pastry left, so I am going to try this again using seitan. It really doesn’t take that long to make, most of the time is inactive, so you can be doing something else as well (like making some Rustic Bread). Great challenge! Thank you Mz Kitchen of Madame Chow’s Kitchen.