Pumpkin Pie Squares

Here’s another take on those Sweet Potato pie squares I blogged a couple years ago. This one is lower in sugar and is fat-free as well. But, just as tasty! Makes 9 servings and will keep in the frig for about 5 days (if it lasts that long!).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ square baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. In a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

5 tablespoons warm water

Set aside for a few minutes to form a flax gel. In a food processor bowl, combine:

1 cup pumpkin seeds (or any seed your family likes, even walnuts or pecans if you can have them)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, etc., whichever you prefer

1 teaspoon date sugar

Process until the mixture forms a fine crumb. Add the flax gel and blend until the mixture forms a dough, about 30 seconds. Pour into the prepared baking dish and using your fingers, a spatula, or the bottom of a measuring cup, press firmly into the pan and up the sides. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

4 cups pureed pumpkin (2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin puree)

1/3 cup date sugar (or maple syrup, honey or agave)

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

dash of salt

Whisk until combined. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan for at least one hour before cutting. I like mine really cold so I cool on the counter for an hour and then in the refrigerator for several hours before I cut into squares. But as you see in the photo, I couldn’t wait that long this time and cut it before it was fully cooled. Once cooled it does stand up like it should! Can be topped with any non-dairy topping or frozen “nice” cream.

Vegan Creme Brulee

No eggs, no dairy – how can one possibly make creme brulee without these things? At least one that actually tastes good? Well, here’s how. Although it’s much more a pudding than a custard, this tasty vanilla creme brulee will satisfy anyone’s desire for a rich, creamy dessert. If you don’t have a brulee torch, simply put the ramekins under the broiler for a couple of minutes – be sure to watch them closely!

In a 2-quart saucepan whisk vigorously:

1 3/4 cups non-dairy milk (any milk except soy) – for a richer creme brulee, use 1 cup of non-dairy creamer and 3/4 cup milk*

1/4 cup avocado oil (or other mild tasting oil)

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1/4 cup date sugar

3/4 teaspoon agar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Whisk until the arrowroot, agar and date sugar are all dissolved. Place over medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture thickens and you see small bubbles along the outer edge of the pot. Remove from heat and pour into 1/2 cup ramekins and let cool on the counter for about 1 hour before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating until thoroughly chilled, 2-3 hours. Before serving, sprinkle the top of each ramekin with:

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of date sugar

Using either a torch or the broiler, caramelize the sugar. This should take about 1 minute per ramekin with the torch and about 3-5 minutes under the broiler. Date sugar doesn’t caramelize as easily as cane sugar and will not get hard. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

*If using a creamer that has added fat, reduce the amount of oil added to the milk or omit it entirely.

Plum Pie with Oatmeal Crust

I’m always looking for ways to make desserts that don’t contain lot of sugar and/or simple carbs. So when I found a recipe for an oatmeal pie crust, the thought hit me that this would be an interesting concept to investigate. Having more plums on hand than I could eat that were ripening rapidly, I thought it would be a tasty combination and indeed it turned out to be just that. If you’d like to make a crumb crust for the top as well, increase the crust recipe by 50%.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup rolled gluten-free oats

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (just brown rice, sorghum, oat, etc., would also work)

1/3 cup date sugar*

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

Stir until it forms a crumbly texture. Press firmly in the bottom of a 9″ pie plate. Cover with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until crust is browned. Let cool while the plums are prepared.

In a medium bowl combine:

3-4 cups (depending on how full you like your pie) diced plums (skins on is fine as long as they’re organic)

1/4 cup date sugar*

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour

2 tablespoons avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

zest of 1 small lemon and juice from 1/2 the lemon

Stir to combine ingredients before spooning into the pie crust. If desired, cover with more crust mixture before baking for 45-60 minutes (depending on how full the pie is). Cool completely before cutting. Serve with a non-dairy whipped topping or, vanilla or lemon sauce (see recipes under sauces).

*To lower the glycemic index value of the dessert even more, substitute 1/4 teaspoon of monk fruit powder in the plums and 1/3 teaspoon in the crust. If you choose this alternative, start with 1/4 cup of oil and add by tablespoons until the mixture is a crumbly consistency.

Black Sesame Seed Cake

My mother used to make a sesame seed cake recipe that she found in the NEW YORK TIMES. She frosted it with chocolate ganache and it was so delicious it never lasted more than one meal in our household. I’ve been searching for years trying to find that original recipe without any success. However, recently I’ve found several gluten-free sesame seed cake recipes, one of which I’ve adapted here. Of course, if you can have eggs, go ahead and substitute back the one egg for the flax gel. This makes one 8×8″ square or round cake so for a two layer cake, double the recipe or make it twice.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8×8″ baking pan. In a medium size mixing bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

3 tablespoons warm water

Whisk together and let sit for approximately 5 minutes until it forms a gel. To it add:

1/2 cup date sugar

1/3 cup Spectrum shortening (or vegan butter or margarine at room temperature)

1/4 cup black sesame seeds (or toasted regular ones if you prefer the taste)

I just used a spoon to mix this cake together but feel free to use a hand mixer. Combine the above until smooth and the shortening is incorporated. Add:

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (minus 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir in the liquid ingredients before adding:

2 cups oat flour (make sure it’s gluten-free)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum)

2 teaspoons baking powder

Stir until all ingredients are combined. Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Frost with chocolate or carob ganache if desired (see recipe under Sauces, Condiments and Dressings).

Vegan Carrot Spice Cake

I’m updating this recipe. Just spoke with my son and daughter-in-law who said it was good but it wasn’t sweet enough! I admit, I don’t like my desserts as sweet as most people so I’ll adjust the recipe so that those of you who want a sweeter cake can still use this recipe.

I love carrot cake but I love my carrot cake to be more like a spice cake with some carrots in it. So unlike most carrot cakes, I add more spices. If you don’t, feel free to stop with the cinnamon. I was easily able to divide this cake into two bowls and mix some ground walnuts into one bowl (for my son and his family) and some chopped dates and pumpkin seeds into the other for me. This cake only takes one bowl and is fairly easy to mix even for me with 2 rotator cuff tears.

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2, 8″ baking pans (I used one square and one round so that I knew which was which!). In a medium-large bowl, combine:

3 tablespoons ground flax

7 tablespoons warm water (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon)

Whisk to combine and then let sit for 5 minutes or so to form flax gel. When ready add to it:

1/3 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

Whisk or stir to combine and then add:

1 scant cup unsweetened fruit sauce (apple, pear, peach, oh pineapple would be good) [I actually only had 7/8 of a cup and it worked fine]

1/2 to 1 cup date sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Stir or whisk to combine. Add:

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

Stir or whisk to combine (by now the whisk will be having a difficult time so use a hand mixer if necessary). Add:

1 cup grated carrots

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 cup oat flour

Stir to combine adding another 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk if necessary. Stir in:

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, feel free to mix it up using chopped pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and/or dates, chopped raisins, cranberries, or dried pineapple also work (Optional)

Spoon the batter equally between the two pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (I would actually bake it about 5 minutes more after the toothpick comes out clean). Don’t worry if it’s slightly overbaked since gluten-free baked goods take longer to cook than regular ones, it still comes out fine.

Remove from oven and let cool, on a cooling rack, for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before frosting or serving. For faster cooling, place in the refrigerator for about a half hour. Serves 8-12.

Vegan “Cream Cheese” Frosting

One just has to have cream cheese frosting on carrot cake! I’ve tried several nut-free, tofu-free recipes for vegan cream cheese and none of them worked very well until I found this one, delicious! Of course, if you don’t care for sweet potatoes, it may not be your cup of tea. It uses white flesh sweet potatoes which are starchier and not as sweet as the ones we’re used to here in the U.S. They can be called Japanese, Hannah, or Batata.

Wash, peel and dice:

1 large or 2 medium-sized white flesh sweet potatoes

Since we don’t want to add any liquid to the sweet potatoes, it’s very important that they are steamed rather than boiled. Steam until fork tender. Place in a small to medium bowl. Using a potato masher, mash and then measure out 2 cups.

Transfer the 2 cups to another medium bowl (or the same one if it used all the mashed potatoes). Add:

1/3 cup avocado oil

Juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

There’s the basic recipe for vegan “cream cheese”. To make it into frosting, whip in using a hand mixer:

1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Will frost two layers of a naked cake (no frosting on the sides).

Vegan “Cream Cheese” Frosting

One just has to have cream cheese frosting on carrot cake! I’ve tried several nut-free, tofu-free recipes for vegan cream cheese and none of them worked very well until I found this one, delicious! Of course, if you don’t care for sweet potatoes, it may not be your cup of tea. It uses white flesh sweet potatoes which are starchier and not as sweet as the ones we’re used to here in the U.S. They can be called Japanese, Hannah, or Batata.

Wash, peel and dice:

2 medium-sized white flesh sweet potatoes

Since we don’t want to add any liquid to the sweet potatoes, it’s very important that they are steamed rather than boiled. Steam until fork tender. Place in a small to medium bowl. Using a potato masher, mash and then measure out 2 cups.

Transfer the 2 cups to another medium bowl (or the same one if it used all the mashed potatoes). Add:

1/3 cup avocado oil (coconut would also work)

Juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

There’s the basic recipe for vegan “cream cheese”. To make it into frosting, whip in using a hand mixer:

1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc. (or more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Will frost two layers of a naked cake (no frosting on the sides).

Plum Cottage Pudding

Cottage pudding is a basic fruit pudding that’s often used to make fruit puddings. It’s a lot like my recipe for blackberry pudding. Very easy to make, the consistency of a muffin batter, it can be used to top a variety of fruits or can be baked on its own and served with sauce such as my mother’s hard vanilla sauce, or a fruit coulee. If you’re looking for a fairly quick and easy to make dessert, a fruit cottage pudding is a good answer. Delicious with any kind of whipped topping, sauce, or frozen vanilla dessert. Serves 8.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bottom of an 8″ cake pan, pour:

1/4 cup avocado oil or spread 1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine

Spring the fat with:

1/4 cup date sugar

Line the pan with fruit slices. I used plums cut in half and then eighths to fit between the halves but all slices works just as well. Cut and place cut side down:

5 plums (be sure to remove the pits first!)

Sprinkle with:

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Set the pan aside and make the pudding. In a small bowl make the flax gel by combining:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons hot water or aquafaba

Set aside for about 3-5 minutes. In a medium size bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (feel free to use more to your taste)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Once dry ingredients are combined, add:

1/2 cup avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

2/3 cup non-dairy milk

1 flax gel from above

Stir to combine until incorporated, batter should be the consistency of muffin batter. Spread over the fruit and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding

It’s called a pudding but it’s more like a cake in consistency. Easy to make but takes a while to bake. The only suggestion I have is to be sure you have enough people to eat it before you make it or else you’ll end up eating the whole thing yourself, it’s that delicious! Sweet, moist, and very satisfying. If you can use coconut milk, do so for a more authentic flavor. And it calls for batata, purple skinned and white meat sweet potatoes. The original recipe notes that orange sweet potatoes (the ones we’re mostly use here in the U.S.) can also be used but double the flour (and I would decrease the sugar as well).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9-10″ cake pan (I used my 7″ casserole dish which also worked fine, just harder to slice). Peel and cut into chunks:

2 pounds batata sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sized ones)

Place the chunks in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are finely grated. Put into a medium bowl and add:

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (coconut milk if possible, I used my oat milk)

2 tablespoons avocado oil (omit if using coconut milk, just add 2 tablespoons more of the coconut milk)

1 cup date sugar (or coconut if you can use it)

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (I used 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) – or cardamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional) – or coriander

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix together to combine and then add:

1 cup brown rice flour

Stir in the flour and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. While it bakes in a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

2 tablespoons avocado oil (omit if using coconut milk)

1 tablespoon date sugar (or coconut sugar)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

dash of cinnamon (optional)

After 45 minutes, pour the above mixture over the pudding and continue to bake for another 35-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve hot for a softer pudding or cool for about 15-20 minutes for a firmer texture. Serve with a non-dairy whipped topping if desired.

Chickpea Frozen Dessert

I love chickpea brownies and carob chip cookies but it never occurred to me to use them in a frozen “ice cream” until I saw a recipe on Pinterest. I’ve had to adapt it slightly to omit the nut butter and chocolate but it is very delicious, lusciously smooth and creamy. I added some carob powder but flavor it any way you like – some strong coffee in place of half the non-dairy milk, carob chips, or using various seed or nut butters will add various flavors. Also, using various extracts or oils could add different flavors, instead of vanilla extract, use some mint, orange, lemon, or even butterscotch flavored extracts.

In the bowl of a blender place:

1 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

1/2 cup dates (I used chopped but if using whole dates, be sure to soak them if they’re dried so that they will break down in the blender)

1/4 cup seed butter – tahini, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, etc.

1/3 cup protein powder (any kind or flavor)

1/4 cup carob powder

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend until the dates are broken down and the mixture is smooth. If one is available, put mixture into an ice cream freezer for 30-40 minutes and then transfer to individual serving dishes to freeze or eat immediately. If an ice cream freezer isn’t available, transfer to individual serving dishes and freeze for 1-2 hours or until you want to eat it!

Carob Pudding

This is a very quick and easy pudding to make and tastes creamy and rich just like one made with milk and cream. I garnished mine with roasted pumpkin seeds but if you can have one of the plant based whipped creams, that would work even better.

Put in a medium saucepan (2 quart):

2 cups oat milk (any milk EXCEPT soy would work)

about 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup carob powder

1/4 cup agave nectar (or 1/3 cup honey or date syrup)

Whisk until well blended. Place over medium high heat. In a small bowl whisk:

1/2 cup oat milk

3 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca flour

When the carob mixture begins to steam showing that it’s getting hot, pour in the arrowroot mixture and begin whisking the pudding as it will thicken quickly once the mixture comes just to a boil. Continue whisking until it thickens. Remove from heat and add:

1/4 cup carob chips (Optional but makes for a richer pudding)

1 tablespoon vegan butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk until smooth. Pour into ramekins and cool. Cover with small amounts of plastic wrap to keep the pudding from forming a skin (I actually like the skin the best so I don’t mind it). Makes 4-6 servings depending on the size of your ramekins (or old-fashioned pudding bowls!).