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.
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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….