daring bakers, bakewell tart.

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The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England.

Don’t our hosts both have such great blog names? Both conjure up such delicious imagery for me. Thank you to our hosts for choosing something unique and for affording me the opportunity to try something different.

I completed this challenge just under the wire (again). The super hot and humid weather is not exactly conducive to spending time in front of a hot oven – yet I was determined to prevail.

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I chose cherry jam as my filling. In order to veganize the original recipe (which you can find in full here) I used earth balance in place of butter (omitting the additional salt) and chose to replace all of the eggs with a flax meal and water combination. Normally flax is my favourite egg substitute.

If I were to make this recipe again however I would go a different route with my substitutions. For the crust, I would choose soy yogurt for at least part of the egg substitution – perhaps in tandem with flax meal. For the frangiapane I would go a different way altogether, probably using a starch such as arrowroot or cornstarch – something lighter than flax meal. Flax meal, while delicious, ended up being too heavy for this implementation – the frangiapane settled more than I would have liked and was somewhat gooey. Tasty, but gooey. Definitely not photogenic. Meh.

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I could think of worse things than making more tarts to perfect the technique.

Be sure to check out the spectacular work of the the Daring Bakers at the Daring Kitchen.

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a vegan brunch.

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When Natala at Vegan Hope offered to give away a copy of the newly minted Vegan Brunch, I knew I had to jump on the chance to get my hands on what will undoubtedly be my favourite cookbook ever. To say that I’m a big fan of brunch is a colossal understatement. Breakfast is my favourite meal and brunch is like an extended, multi-course breakfast.

The condition for the giveaway was that we must cook a brunch worthy vegan recipe for someone who is not vegan. Now, in my badly-in-need-of-a-second-coffee haze I misread the instructions. I thought that we were meant to make a vegan brunch with said recipes for that someone today and then post about it on our own blogs, today, before tomorrow’s deadline. So I looked up three of my favourite online vegan brunch recipes, whipped them up and carted them off to share with my grandmother, whom I was planning to visit. She gave me that pretty tablecloth in the photos – my sweet mama.

Silly me. Upon revisiting the original post at Vegan Hope and after rereading said instructions (3 coffees later), I now see that I was meant to promise to make one of the recipes from the book – as in make in the future - not cook today.

So what did I make for our impromptu vegan brunch? The deliciously satisfying Vegan Omelette from FatFree Vegan Kitchen, the scrumptiously perfect 5 Minute Vegan Pancakes from Recipezaar, and the sweetly toothsome Buckwheat and Banana Pancakes from GOOP. You can’t have too many pancakes.

I’ve made each of these recipes countless times and will unreservedly attest to their awesomeness.

For the Vegan Omelette, I doubled the amounts to make two omelettes. Easily done. I also like to increase the nutritional yeast by about 50% (so an extra tablespoon for two people), double the onion powder, add a pinch of garlic powder per person, definitely use the paprika and reduce the turmeric by half (sometimes I leave it out). Whatever I do to this recipe it never lets me down, ever. You can use whatever filling you like. I’ve even made this omelette naked, and liked it. The omelette was naked – just thought I’d clarify that. I blanched some veggies for today’s omelette – asparagus, spinach, snow peas, broccoli, red and yellow pepper.

Don’t let the pictures fool you – there are no eggs here. This omelette is egg and dairy free, low fat, chock full of protein and so, so tasty.

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I have made the 5 Minute Vegan Pancakes a zillion times. The recipe says to use whichever flour you prefer and I’ve tried quite a few. For me, the best result comes from unbleached all-purpose flour or that mixed half and half with unbleached whole wheat pastry flour. So delicious. They puff up high just the way I like it. Maple syrup seals the deal.

Nothing is lacking in these babies.

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For the Buckwheat and Banana Pancakes I usually follow the recipe to the letter. I once substituted apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice and it worked fine. I haven’t tried this recipe with rice flour but they offer it as a gluten-free option – good to know. The only thing I like to add to this recipe is extra bananas. They say one banana, I say three. I like to cover the top of each pancake completely with slices of banana before flipping them. The bananas caramelize and become incredibly sweet. It’s entirely delicious.

Slathered with copious amounts of organic maple syrup, the deliciousness is hard to beat.

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I may have jumped the gun a bit, but that’s okay. My mama and I had a lovely meal together and I got to indulge in some of my favourite treats – plus I got to share my faves with you. Trust me, I could live on pancakes. If I could only bring one food to a deserted island, it would be pancakes. As for the vegan omelette: let’s just say that I wanted to kiss the ground that Susan from FatFree Vegan Kitchen walks on after coming across that one.

Clearly, I need to eat a good vegan brunch before reading instructions.