Can we mix it? Yes vegan!
If you’ve never heard of aquafaba then you’re about to get a masterclass in tonight’s Great British Bake Off’s vegan week.
The proof is in the pudding that vegan cakes are delicious – as the dairy has been ditched and eggs replaced with plant-based alternatives.
We have been promised ‘a savoury pastry signature without butter, a cracking technical, and a risky but spectacular showstopper.’
Even host Paul Hollywood, who is not vegan, told the press he was ‘shocked’ and 'fascinated’ by the incredible bakes on tonight’s episode.
So if watching Rahul, Ruby, Bryony and the others has inspired you to get your aprons on, here are our top five tips from charity V for Life’s roving chef, Maggie Lister.
1. Egg-cellent choice
Eggs used in cakes are there to bind ingredients together and help them all rise. But there are several vegan alternatives to use in place of eggs to ensure your cakes are delicious, light and airy.
Aquafaba, which is the drained juice from chickpeas, flax meal and mashed bananas are perfect substitutes. Aquafaba is also cheaper to use because it’s a by-product of chickpeas.
2. Keep it moist
The majority of cake recipes will work well with oil instead of butter – and ensure your cake is moist, light and airy. Mix the oil with other liquids in the recipe first, and then mix with the dry ingredients. Also, ensure you are using a mild flavoured oil to ensure the flavours of your cake come through as planned. Rapeseed oil is a great choice.
3. Light mixing
It might seem the easier option to use an electric mixer, but don’t do it. Egg-free mixtures don’t need the amount of whipping, beating, and stirring that other mixtures do. So be gentle for a perfect bake every time.
4. The icing on the cake
Vegetable-based margarine, coconut oil or Trex are all great alternatives to butter for creating decadent icing that is fit for any taste test.
5. Flan-tastic tarts
Savoury dishes can also be made without the need for eggs. Flans, quiches and tarts can be made by adding silken tofu to the recipe. This is readily available from most supermarkets and health food shops.
Amanda Woodvine, Chief Executive of V for Life, said:
Vegan baking is incredibly easy and can create some incredibly delicious meals. It’s fantastic to see a whole week dedicated to creating vegan dishes on The Great British Bake Off. People who are catering for vegans for the first time might feel slightly apprehensive, and have many questions running through their minds – so V for Life has put together a free Vegan Rescue Pack. We’re sure that in no time at all novice vegan chefs will feel confident and become happy vegan cooks!
V for Life is the UK charity supporting older vegetarians and vegans. For more information, and a free Vegan Rescue Pack, please visit www.vegetarianforlife.org.uk or call the charity on 0161 257 0887.
If you want to put vegan baking to the test, here’s a recipe from the V for Life 2018 calendar.
Strawberry Bakewell Tart
Time to prepare: 20 mins
Time to cook: 1 hr
Dietary requirements: Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Kosher
For the pastry (OR use a packet of shortcrust pastry)
- 125g vegan margarine
- 220g plain flour
- 30g icing sugar
- 300g strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 1–2 tbsp caster sugar
For the sponge
- 170g self-raising flour
- 170g ground almonds
- 170g caster sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 150ml vegetable oil
- 200ml water
- Flaked almonds and icing sugar to decorate
- Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5.
- If making the pastry, rub the margarine into the flour and icing sugar until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add a little cold water until it comes together as a dough.
- Roll pastry to about a 3mm thickness. Line a tart tin with it and blind bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place strawberries and sugar in a pan. Cook for around 15 minutes until mixture is thick and reduced. Set aside to cool.
- Make the sponge by combining the dry ingredients, then adding the wet ingredients. It should be quite runny.
- Spread the cooled strawberry reduction onto the pastry case. Pour the sponge batter on top and finish with flaked almonds.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Bake for a further 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool then dust with icing sugar and serve with vegan cream, ice cream or custard.
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