Almost raw gooey lemon cheesecake pudding – dairy and gluten free


I’ve been dying to create something new with my lemon curd for a while now. I’m a massive fan of lemon meringue pie so I was thinking along the lines of a healthy meringue pie but wanted something more “puddingy”.  So I decided to create a cheesecake-inspired layered pud instead and lo and behold this squishy, goey, sweet, lemony jar of goodness was created!

Not only do these taste heavenly but they’re full of goodness and I think they look pretty cool too! They’d make fab individual desserts for a dinner or lunch party.

IMG_0932.JPG

It passed the test of my chief taster and lemon curd fiend Colette and even managed to please my friend Dee who’s a self-confessed full fat, full sugar cheesecake addict!

Here’s the proof – Colette savouring the lemony goodness 😉

 IMG_0430IMG_0427-0IMG_0463

There are three parts to this pud: the base, the filling and the topping. It does require a little preparation in advance (for the filling and topping) but it’s super quick to put together after that.

Now depending how much you want to make you can adjust the quantities below. I tend to make big batches of all 3 components and then put together a few puds but also eat the various components on their own too! It will also depend how large your pud containers are. All of these components can be made in advance – the curd will last several weeks in the fridge, the base will be fine for 1-2 weeks and the topping will last a week in the fridge. So you can always prepare all the bits a few days in advance and then pop it all together on the day! The puds themselves will last a good few days in the fridge (if you can resist eating them!).

IMG_0931.JPG

For the topping:

You will be making a cashew cream (basic recipe here) – for this one though I leave out the sweetener. So you will need:

1-2 cups raw Cashews (depends how much you want to make)

Water (enough to cover them and then another cup or so)

(You will also need a few tbsp of lemon curd for the final construction)

First things first soak the cashews overnight (or for as long as you can) in water (so that they are well covered).

Drain and rinse them and then pop them in to the blender. Start by adding about half as much water as cashews to the blender and give it a blitz. Continue adding water until the cashews are smooth and you have the consistence of cream that you want – less water, thicker cream! You want it quite thick for this recipe. At this point you can pop it in the fridge while you do other bits.

For the filling:
You will need to make a batch of curd for the filling! I always have a jar in my fridge (I get palpitations when I start to run low 😉 ) so this is always on standby for me. The recipe has been posted before (here) but here it is again for ease.

You will need:

1 1/4 cups of Lemon juice (I used 6 very large lemons)

Zest of half of the lemons used (freeze the rest of the zest for use later)

1/2 cup of Cold water

1 3/4 cups unrefined raw Sugar (adjust to taste)

5 tbsp Cornflour (corn starch)

2 tbsp non-dairy margarine

6 tbsp Almond milk (you could also use soya or coconut milk)

Juice and zest your lemons. You only need the zest from half of the lemons but it’s worth zesting them all and keeping the remaining zest in the freezer to use in other recipes later.

Place the lemon juice and water in a cold saucepan. Add the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Add the sugar and turn on the heat. Continue to whisk as you bring the mixture to a boil slowly. Once boiling allow it to boil gently for one minute without stirring.

Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking the whole time, and cook for 3 minutes.  Have a little taste – if it’s not sweet enough for you then stir in some more sugar. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl or jars and allow to cool. Place in the fridge once cooled.

For the base:

You can adjust the quantities and types of fruit and nut to taste or depending on what you have to hand. You want to end up with a sticky consistency though so the dates are important. I used:

1/2 cup raw Cashews

1/2 cup raw Almonds

1/4 cup of Pecans

1/4 cup Raisins

1/3 cup of dates (if using dried dates then soak in warm water for 5-10 mins, keep the water to one side once soaked)

A good pinch or two of Lemon zest

Pop all of this lot into a food processor and pulse until blended and well combined. It will come together to form a sticky dough. If it’s not sticky enough add some more fruit and a little of the water from the dates. If it’s too sticky you can add some more nuts. Adjust the amount of lemon zest to taste.

IMG_0926.JPG

Construction of the pud!

You will need some jars, glasses, ramekins, or whatever you fancy serving this in.

First take a few spoonfuls of the base mixture and press well into the base of your chosen jar. I like to have a depth of 2-3 cm, but obviously you can add more or less as you like.

Then add a generous layer of lemon curd – this curd is beautifully tart so you don’t need a huge amount – I used about 1-2 cm.

Finally take your topping and stir 2 – 4 tbsp lemon curd through it (adjust to taste) and then layer on the top – as thick as you want!

Finish with some lemon zest. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to devour it!

IMG_0962.JPG

You can even supersize this and make a massive one – for sharing… (Or not 😉 )

IMG_0964.JPG

Advertisements

Blueberry and Lemon Curd with a surprise ingredient – dairy and egg free!


My lemon curd recipe (here) has gone down a storm so I thought I’d have a little go at some more curd! I’ve had some blueberries in my freezer for the last few months waiting to be used for something so I decided a blueberry and lemon curd was the one to try!

2014-05-03 18.43.29

This curd is lovely! It’s especially yummy smothered on sourdough fruit toast 🙂

2014-05-04 13.31.44

What’s this surprise ingredient then? Well it’s certainly not something you’d expect to find in a fruit curd! The problem with blueberries in baking is that they do tend to lose their flavour and I didn’t want to overpower them with the lemon. After a bit of research I discovered a nifty little trick to enhance the blueberry flavour; the addition of coriander seeds! Trust me you will not taste the coriander at all but it does bring out the blueberry flavour. This is because they both contain a similar compound so adding the coriander gives the blueberry flavour a real boost!

So you will need:

approx 400g Blueberries (don’t worry if you have a few more or less – it’s not critical)

1/2 cup Water

12 Coriander seeds ground (or a 1/4 tsp ready ground coriander)

Up to 1 cup of Lemon juice (see below) – I used 4 very large lemons

3/4 cup of unrefined raw Sugar (but adjust to taste)

10 tbsp Cornflour

zest of 2 – 3 Lemons

4 tbsp Dairy-free margarine

12 tbsp Coconut milk (or other non dairy milk – almond milk or soya milk will also work)

Pop the blueberries in to a saucepan with the water and heat gently until the blueberries are softened.

While the blueberries are softening you can juice and zest your lemons. You only need the zest from 2 – 3 lemons but it’s worth zesting all of them and keeping the remaining zest in the freezer to use in other recipes later.

Once the blueberries have softened add the ground coriander seed, stir well and heat for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pass the blueberries through a sieve. Use a wooden spoon to push as much through the sieve as you can. You will be left with a small amount of skin and pulp. Save this and use it in a smoothie! 🙂

Measure your blueberry juice out  – you need a total amount of liquid of 3 cups. The blueberry juice will be about 2 cups or so,  so make it up to 3 cups with the lemon juice. Place it all in to a cold saucepan. Add the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Add half the sugar and turn on the heat. Continue to whisk as you bring the mixture to a boil slowly. Taste as you go and add more sugar until you get to a sweetness that suits you. Once boiling allow it to boil gently for one minute without stirring.

2014-05-03 18.26.18

 

Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking the whole time, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl or jars and allow to cool. Place in the fridge once cooled. Then enjoy! 🙂

Lemon curd thumb biscuits!


Having made a big batch of lemon curd (recipe is here). I thought I’d better find some yummy ways to use it!

photo 5

Now I could just eat it straight from the jar (and actually I do!), or with yoghurt and fruit for brekkie….

photo 1

… but… it’s also pretty delicious combined with almonds in these divine little biscuits.

photo 4

They are super easy to make and take less than 30 mins.

To make about 12 biscuits you will need:

130g Ground almonds

1/4 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Zest from 1 – 2 lemons (you can use any left over zest that you froze after making the lemon curd)

2 1/2 tbsp Coconut oil

2 tbsp Maple syrup

1 tbsp Lemon juice (or 1/4 tsp Lemon extract)

1 – 2 tbsp Lemon curd (recipe here)

a handful of Dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 180 C

Place the ground almonds, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a bowl and mix well. Add the vanilla extract, maple syrup and coconut oil and use your hands to mix into a dough.

Take tablespoon-sized portions of the dough and place on a greased baking sheet. Pat down and then use your thumb to make an indent in the center.

photo 1 (2)

Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. After 5 minutes check them and if the indents are starting to close just gently use your thumb to re-shape them. Bake until they are brown. If you like your biscuits a bit crunchier then bake a little longer.

Remove from the oven but leave the oven on. Fill the indents with lemon curd and place a dried cherry in the middle. Pop them back in the oven for 2 – 3 minutes.

Allow to cool.

They will be lovely and crunchy if eaten straight away. If left for the next day they become soft and macaroon-like – which is simply yummy! You can always pop them back in the oven to re-crisp if you fancy it 🙂

photo 2

 

 

 

 

Easy Lemon Curd – dairy and egg free (vegan)


I’ve been on a bit of a lemon obsession lately so decided I would have a go at making some homemade lemon curd. The curd you buy in the shops is full of refined sugars, dairy and eggs so this is a much healthier option. It was super easy to make too!

010b9fb8821b6cbee7feae8525ef841334295f5675

This is divine mixed with some natural soya yoghurt, or of course it will make the perfect filling for a lemon meringue pie (recipe here)!

You will need:

1 1/4 cups of Lemon juice (I used 6 very large lemons)

Zest of half of the lemons used (freeze the rest of the zest for use later)

1/2 cup of Cold water

1 3/4 cups unrefined raw Sugar (adjust to taste)

5 tbsp Cornflour (corn starch)

2 tbsp non-dairy margarine

6 tbsp Almond milk (you could also use soya or coconut milk)

Juice and zest your lemons. You only need the zest from half of the lemons but it’s worth zesting them all and keeping the remaining zest in the freezer to use in other recipes later.

Place the lemon juice and water in a cold saucepan. Add the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Add the sugar and turn on the heat. Continue to whisk as you bring the mixture to a boil slowly. Once boiling allow it to boil gently for one minute without stirring.

Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking the whole time, and cook for 3 minutes.  Have a little taste – if it’s not sweet enough for you then stir in some more sugar. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl or jars and allow to cool. Place in the fridge once cooled. Then enjoy – right off the spoon! 🙂

0186a357b21a9c6cb37175d74c6d76cecb0813a872

The Great Custard Taste Challenge


My challenge this weekend from my lovely taster friends was to whip up some dairy-free, vegan friendly custard..How?! I hear you cry! Is that even possible?

Well first off, did you know that Bird’s custard powder is completely dairy free? I bet you didn’t – the only vegan I know didn’t either! Bird’s custard powder does not and has never contained egg, or milk powder! All it contains is starch, salt, colouring (Annatto) and flavouring. When you make it you add the milk and sweetner, so you can make it dairy free if you like but using an alternative milk. So that’s all good I guess but frankly I don’t want to be eating articifical colourings and flavourings so I still thought I’d have a go at recreating that custardy yumminess myself and to make it just a little more fun I asked my two official tasters, Colette and Mel, and some special guest star tasters, Rod, Ben, Debs and Sue, to try all the recipes out to see which they liked best.

Top row from left – custard 5, custard 2, custard 4. Bottom Row from left – custard 3, custard 1

So my 5 recipes were:

1. Bird’s custard powder, made following the instructions using Soya milk and unrefined raw sugar.

2. 1 pint soya milk, 3 tbsp unrefined raw sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp cornflour and a little water. The soya milk needs to be heated in a pan with the sugar to just below boiling point, stirring all the time to dissolve the sugar. meanwhile mix the cornflour with a very small amount of cold water to form a paste. Add that to the soya milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir all the time. Heat until you get the consistency you want. If you want it thicker add more cornflour.

3. 1 pint soya milk, agar flakes (follow the instructions on the packet for the amount of liquid used, I used 2 tbsps), agave nectar or sweet freedom to taste (about 2 – 3 tbsp but taste as you add!), half the seeds from a vanilla pod.  Heat the soya milk in a pan with the agar flakes stir until the flakes dissolve and bring to a very gentle boil then continue to heat for as long as it takes to dissolve them! Add the agave and vanilla at any time. It won’t set in the pan so it will still appear very runny, but as it cools it will start to get thicker so once the agar is dissolved you can take it off the heat and allow to cool.

4.1 carton of silken tofu (approx 350g or so), 1/3 cup of agave nectar or sweet freedom, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, pinch of salt. Blend all the ingredients together using a wand blender or normal blender. Chill to set.

5. 1 pint almond milk, agave nectar or sweet freedom (to taste – probably about 2 – 3 tbsp), seeds from 1/2 pod of vanilla, 1 tbsp cornflour and a little water. As for number one, heat the milk in a pan with the sugar to just below boiling point and add the agave or sweet freedom – stir to dissolve. Meanwhile mix the cornflour with a very small amount of cold water to form a paste. Add that to the soya milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir all the time. Heat until you get the consistency you want. If you want it thicker add more cornflour.

If any of them have lumps (which depending how good your stirring is then then may!) then just pass them through a sieve. They can be served chilled or warm!

Right so what was the verdict?

Debs and Sue braving the taste challenge...

  • Number 1 came in top from all my tasters – Debs said it was perfect and Sue agreed. This was Colette, Rod’s and Ben’s favourite.
  • Number 2  Joint top! Mel said it looked funny but it tasted lovely, Debs would be very happy to have over crumble and Sue said it was fab. Rod and Ben liked this and Colette thought it could be as good as number 1 with a bit more sweetner
  • Number 3  Mel wasn’t keen on this one, Debs said not much taste and Sue didn’t like the texture. Rod liked this one.
  • Number 4  – Everyone thought it was too cinnamony – and generally would be a nice accompaniment to things but wasn’t really a custard (and I agree).
  • Number 5 –  they all said it was ok but not great

So unsurprisingly everyone liked number 1! I think a big part of this is the fact that it “looks” like custard (i.e. fake yellow!) and of course it’s the taste we’re all conditioned to! But I’m pretty chuffed that number 2 came in joint top as it was my attempt to replicate it. In fact it’s not surprising as it’s basically the same ingredients, just without the articifical flavourings and colourings.

Number 5 was probably a bit too almondy but if you like almond milk it’s worth a try. The tofu one is a pretty nice accompaniment for a warm dessert but it’s not a custard really. The agar one was the least successful and I’m not surprised  – it sets too hard and becomes more of a pudding, it’s also hard to work with.

So the winner is soya milk (or whatever milk of your choice), cornflour, unrefined sugar and vanilla!

Top tip – if you hanker for a dairy free crème brûlée you can use this recipe with just a bit more cornflour. Pour into ramekins and leave in the fridge to set! 🙂 Pop a few raspberries or blueberries in before it sets if you want a fruity version, then when you’re ready to eat just remove from the fridge, sprinkly with coconut palm sugar (or unrefined raw sugar) and melt with a blowtorch or under the grill until you get a cripsy topping! 🙂 ta da!