Three fruits and a nut. Still Summer, already Fall.
A dessert out of this world.
Poires au vin (drunken pears).
Caramel coated walnuts.
You’ve counted only 2 fruits ? True. There is raspberry jam hidden somewhere.
Choucroute en croûte. Sauerkraut in a crust. Hey, why not ? That’s a really nice on a chilly night, with hot spices and it’s quite light actually.
Yes, that’s this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge.
Our lovely Monkey Queen of Don’t Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys, was our May Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to dive into the world of en Croute! We were encouraged to make Beef Wellington, Stuffed Mushroom en Croute and to bring our kids into the challenge by encouraging them to create their own en Croute recipes!
I didn’t have the courage for a Welly. I didn’t even took the time to make a classic pie pastry. No, I couldn’t use some bought pastry as I am stubbornly against the principle of buying it. OK, I could make exceptions easily in France as they sell quality doughs, usually too expensive for what it is, but good in taste. The *products* they sell in Japan are really very bad. The last time I tried to buy some, I have not eaten it. So I’ve taken shortcuts :
Sauerkraut rinsed and reheated in red wine. I’ve added to it onion cooked in a little oil, pepper, nutmeg, spice mix and potato starch to absorb excess liquid. Let cool.
The dough is flour with spices (turmeric, ajowan, salt) and hot water.
To make it flaky, there are 2 layers of dough. I oiled all around with a brush.
Locked with cloves. Then baked till it sounds hollow and gets a nice color.
Serve hot. Break the piñata…
I hope that can give ideas to anyone needing to replace dairies from their diet, or just looking for new flavors. Here is my guide book.
It’s about variations. So, no, I’m not renouncing to the wonderful French cheeses. I eat less dairies than I used to for a number of reasons.
I am not going to make you a list of the infamous industrial recreations, margarines and blocks of soaps marketed as cheese. I don’t find those products interesting. They are extremely processed, and not even cheap.
I found or rediscovered many cousins of dairies, mostly plant based cousins. Cheese-less dishes are not less good nor better than the others. They are different, new dishes. Don’t compare !
Disclaimer : I tried to organize it by ingredients (soy, coconut, millet, sesame, oil… and by use as “subs” (cottage cheese, cream, butter, stinky cheese, runny cheese…), and… you get that confusion ! Sorry, it’s a random mix. The topic is so vast…
Soy milk : It’s thicker and richer than milk. The drink you buy is diluted and sweetened, so to reproduce just add sweetened water to the “whole” soymilk. You can use it as a drink, as ingredient and also to make tofu or yuba.
DIY soy milk
tonyu milky cake
French-Chinese milky chervil soup
Almond milk :DIY almond milk
Corn milk : DIY sweet corn milk
Hemp milk : I didn’t find the one I made was good raw. Well, I make it from whole hemp seeds, maybe if they are hulled it’s different. But it’s delicious cooked.
hemp milk quiche
spouted hemp seed bread
hemp seed pain brioché
Coconut milk : I take big cans of thick milk, I chill and open to separate the floating cream and the skim milk. I don’t usually make it into butter to cook (and we can’t buy it here), but I sometimes clarify a small amount for cosmetic purposes.
The whole milk is very fat, too much for my gut, I make sure I use it diluted into sauces or in small amounts.
Café au lait, revisited
Coconut cauliflower creme soup
Butters, hard creams : I use mostly coconut cream. I sometimes buy cocoa butter but it’s a pricey rarity here. Both are perfect for chocolates, ganaches…
silky chocolate tarte
nama choco,vegan ganache sweets
coconut cream vegan scones
The whip question :
Commercial soy based whip is convenient, but very chemical and not very tasty. Pure coconut cream whip is really too fat to digest. A solution is to mix half coconut cream and half of either tofu or some starched based cream when everything is at room temperature, and to whip in a bowl bathing in iced water.
It exists in different textures, and you’ll get different results if you change.
The silky tofu can become creamy if you whip it. Use it whipped instead of sour cream, cream cheese…
a vegan flower of marron cream
silky tofu cream
tofu pumpkin cake
tofu chi cakes, 3 flavors
shira-ae Japanese creamy dressing
The medium soft tofu, particularly tasty hand-made can be served like fresh mozzarella, either cold, or topping a pizza (slice thin as it won’t spread much, drizzle olive oil and salt and bake).
tofu in Caprese salad
tofu on a pizza
The firm (cotton, momen-dofu) can be crumbled and salted to be like a cottage cheese, served cold. To get it more grainy, place it 20 minutes between 2 plates with something a bit heavy on top, so most water gets out.
silky tofu broken as fromage blanc cottage cheese
fromage de tofu (tofu cheez loaf)
Also in the tofu family :
Yuba : It is tofu skin. Fresh, it’s served like a cottage cheese. I buy it but you can make yours (it’s a bit long and tricky).
Okara : It’s the fiber you obtain when you make soy milk. Using it as a base for cake, you don’t need dairies.
cakes made with okara
OIL CAKE BAKING
To replace butter in cakes, cookies… Any oil can be used but you get different added flavors.
I find white sesame oil, the odorless cold pressed type, is excellent and very comparable to butter in taste in fine cakes. Almond oil has the same properties and brings an Oriental flavor.
White sesame oil chiffon cake
Bayonesa sweet pie with almond oil pastry
olive oil oatmeal scones
olive oil baked donuts
SESAME (and peanuts, etc)
Pasted sesame is a whole world. It’s the tahini of Middle-East and the neri goma of Asia. They are similar and they are not… If you paste raw or roasted sesame, if it’s white, yellow or black sesame, if you use a mortar or a mill, you get different flavors and textures. These tahinis are perfect to cream a sauce and replace butter as your fat spread. Sesame powder can also bring the “milk touch” to smoothies and soups.
creamy sesame sauce for wine mandarin sauce tofu
DIY gomadofu sesame tofu (a creamy custard)
goma dare (Japanese sesame creamy dressing)
And as a butter alternative for baking :
tahini Venitian snails (not fully dairy free)
black sesame croissant pastry
Peanuts can also be used to cream sauces, make peanut butter, peanut tofu. Of course, there are possibilities for other types of seeds or nuts, but I don’t get them easily.
creamy peanut sauce on gado gado
Millet : The upper photo shows a runny cheez sauce, nice for gratins and casseroles.
millet cheez on canneloni
millet cheez in tarragon gratin
millet cheez in moussaka
That sounds weird. Let’s be frank, if I were you reading this, I’d say “that’s gross…”. But I was given to eat mayonnaise pizza without knowing what it was, and it tasted good. It’s really much less heavy than what you expect. Even if the mayo is fat, you don’t put so much so the result is lighter than a classic cheeese pizza. So you can make your melted toasts with mayonnaise. Well I’ve tried with classic egg yolk mayo, but I think it would work with mayonnaise without egg, since the main ingredient is the oil.
Brown rice natto pizza
Some veggies have a sluggish texture (moloheya, nagaimo yam, etc…) and the most known is okra (gumbo) :
okra and coconut chizz chilled sauce
To make white sauces, corn starch, rice flours, powdered oatmeal are white and creamy.
Starch replaces the cream in ice-cream. Turkish ice-cream is based on arabic gum, and I’ve used kudzu to get a similar result.
Banana can give the creamy texture in ice-creams and smoothies.
Natural yummy banana pudding
CHEEZESQUE FLAVORS :
Nutritional yeast is well know. I don’t think it’s a wonder on its own. I add a little amount to many savory cheez dishes, but I find it brings a weird taste to sweet dishes or in big amounts. I also adds salt, paprika, wheat germ, other spices.
The Japanese trinity :
Sake kasu is sake lees, a white paste of very fermented rice. The closest I know is goat cheese. Like natto, it’s not salted. It can be used to make a milky soup, and a milky drink. It can be grilled, and you get like a goat cheese melted toast.
Miso, the different types have that fermented flavor, but are extremely salty, so use by touch like very salty aged Holland or Parmesan cheese.
miso + sake kasu toast
miso + sake kasu dip
miso marinated tofu (bought version)
pide, Turkish pizza with grilled sake kasu
Fermented soy beans. It is like a strong French cheese already. It has the smell, the strong flavors, the slugglish factor… It’s a cheese, it’s the vegan cheese. Not some recreation. The only thing is it’s not salted.
Munsterious natto (the stinkiest)
Even if it’s not exactly restaurant grade for the shape, the freshness and the taste are here !
What make it a restaurant millefeuille is it’s prepared last minute, on the plate. The concept is different from the take out millefeuille, prepared advance by the baker. The plated version plays more on freshness.
Coconut milk and cream custard, vanilla flavored.
I’ve let it creamy and very soft.
A red mango, on sale because it’s super ripe.
Lots of fibers, but they are soft and it’s delicious, super fragrant.
Quick pastry dough.
Baked just before.
So let’s compose it : still hot pastry cookies, fresh coconut cream, mango cubes.
Finish touch : dry coconut flakes.
Nazuk, nazook… so nazouk in French ? They are buttery vanilla flavored Armenian biscuits.
The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.
More about it here.
I had never cooked anything Armenian, so that’s an interesting culinary trip.
I have not followed totally the given recipe as I have used ingredients I had to “cook or lose” in my fridge : vege cream and coconut butter for the pastry. And I have brushed with yogurt. Then you see that my technique is less expert than the Armenian aunt in the video. That’s my first try.
Filling 1 : butter and vanilla
Filling 2 : coconut butter and coconut flakes
Filling 3 : Butter and cinnamon
They are all delicious with coffee. I expected something softer like sweet bread, but they are more like cookie. They are very close to some kinds of vanilla bredele, Alsatian Christmas cookies.
Recipe from the challenge :
Yields 40 pieces
Video instructions by aunt Aida
3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
2½ teaspoons (12½ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) softened butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (210 gm) (7½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (340 gm/12 oz) sugar
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) softened butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
1-2 egg yolks (for the wash; alternatively, some yogurt, egg whites, or a whole egg)
Make the Pastry Dough
1. Place the sifted flour into a large bowl.
2. Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
3. Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.
4. Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough.
5. If using a standing mixer, switch to a dough hook. If making manually, continue to knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands. If it remains very sticky, add some flour, a little at a time.
6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.
Make the filling
7. Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl.
8. Add the vanilla extract.
9. Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.
Make the nazook
10. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
11. Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.
12. Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
13. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not
14. Spread 1/4 of the filling mixture across the rolled-out dough in an even layer. Try to spread the filling as close as possible to the edges on the short sides, but keep some of pastry dough uncovered (1 inch/2.5 cm) along the long edges.
15. From one of the long sides, start slowly rolling the dough across. Be careful to make sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Roll all the way across until you have a long, thin loaf.
16. Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
17. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.
18. Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
19. Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.
20. Allow to cool and enjoy!