vegan baklava served with vegan lebanese rice cream and espresso

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vegan treats, greek and lebanese

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Two of my favourite desserts …veganised.

I love the flavours of the Mediterranean and the Middle East.  Here’s a special desert and a truly delicious combination. Served with bitter black espresso.

Baklava is a Greek pastry, made with filo and nuts soaked in syrup.

Rice cream is a simple blend of ground rice and milk.

Here are my vegan recipes for these classic desserts.

BAKLAVA

Ingredients:  

  • 6 sheets of filo pastry – (approx. 480mm x 255mm)
  • 6oz. /170gms. nuts ( I used walnuts and blanched almonds)
  • 1/2 oz /15gms .sugar ( I used soft brown sugar)
  • 1/2 oz./15gms. pine nuts
  • 12 green cardamom pods.
  • 4oz./115gms. coconut oil

 

For the syrup:

  • 280ml. water
  • 10 oz./280gms. sugar ( I used golden caster)
  • Juice half a small orange
  • Juice half a lemon

Method:

    • Roughly whizz the 6oz. nuts in a food processor. Use pulse. You don’t want the nuts too fine. It doesn’t matter if the nut pieces are of different sizes. This adds to the texture.
    • Bruise the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar, and remove the seeds. Grind the seeds into a fine powder.Mix the chopped nuts, the pine nuts, the cardamom powder and the sugar together in a bowl. Set aside.
    • Carefully unfold the filo pastry sheets and cut them in half cross-ways. So there are 12 sheets, that are approximately square.
    • Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan.
    • Take a 230mm/9″ square flan dish.
    • Using a pastry brush, brush the base of the dish with coconut oil.
    • Place one sheet of filo pastry in the bottom of the dish, and brush fairly liberally with coconut oil.
    • Lay a second sheet of filo on top of the first, and brush with coconut oil.
    • Repeat until there are six layers all brushed with coconut oil.
    • Take the nut mixture and spread it evenly over the sixth oiled layer of filo.
    • Now continue building the layers of filo, oiling each one, and oiling the top of the final piece.
    • With a sharp knife, make a cross-hatch pattern cutting into the top layers of pastry.
  • Place in a warmed oven Gas Mk 4 – 20 mins.
  • Reduce the temperature to gas mk 3 – 30 mins.
  • Raise the temperature Gas Mk 5 – 5 mins.
  • Depending on your oven you may need to shorten/lengthen cooking time by a few minutes.  Don’t let the pastry burn.

*Begin making the syrup while the baklava is baking.*

  • Now the top of the pastry should be pale gold and slightly puffed up.
  • Remove from the oven.

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cooked baklava – ready for syrup

Making the syrup:

    • Mix the sugar and water together in a pan, and bring slowly to the boil.
    • Cook on a medium heat for 15-20 mins, stirring fairly constantly.
    • Continue until it is reduced to a syrup. Test the thickness of the syrup on a cold plate. It should be medium thick when cold.  When you run you finger through it you should see a line.
    • When the syrup is cooked. Remove it from the heat. Add the orange juice and the lemon juice.
    • When the pastry is cooked, and slightly cooled ( just a few minutes) pour the syrup evenly over the top, so it oozes into the cuts in the pastry, and all around the edges.
  • Allow the Baklava to cool completely. Slice and serve.
  • Baklava will keep for a week or so in the refrigerator, but it is best served at room temperature.

 

LEBANESE RICE CREAM

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    vegan lebanese rice cream, topped with ground nuts

Ingredients:

  • 2oz./50gm ground rice powder
  • 500ml non- dairy milk ( I used oat milk)
  • 2.5oz./70gms sugar
  • Juice half a small orange
  • I tbs. Rose Water
  • 160ml can of coconut cream

 

Method:

  • Open tin of coconut cream and pour off a little of the watery liquid.
  • Whip the coconut cream for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  • Place the non-dairy milk in a pan, and bring to the boil slowly.
  • Add the ground rice, whisking it in so it doesn’t form lumps.
  • Continue whisking  on a low-med. heat, until the rice cream begins to thicken.
  • Allow to cook through on a low heat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Add the orange juice and the rose water, and whisk in well, making sure the rice cream remains smooth.
  • Fold in the whipped coconut cream  and stir until gently combined.
  • Transfer into serving glasses/bowls.

 

  • The rice cream is delicious warm…..otherwise, allow it to cool in the refrigerator.
  • Sprinkle with ground walnuts just before serving.

 

 

Rice cream could also be served with fresh or cooked fruits, such as blueberries, or apricots….

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