Bakewell Tart, Fondant Fancies, Tiramisu, and more – all suitable for sweet-toothed vegans! I liked the premise of this book, which has recipes for plant-based versions of favourite bakes and desserts with no weird ingredients and no pretence of being healthy. There is a definite Yorkshire flavour to the content. Freya Cox was on The Great British Bake-Off, a show I have never watched, but I really got a sense of her personality in this book. There are a lot of lovely photographs too.
The oven temperatures in the recipes don’t include gas marks but it’s easy to convert them. The ingredients were all supposed to be available from one’s local supermarket, which I decided was true for most of them but some may only be found at the largest supermarkets or possibly health food shops. I suppose if you get your groceries online there might be more choice.
I tried three recipes from the book, but not any of the cakes as I don’t have the correct sized tins. (Edit: I later bought the tins and you can see the results here). Although there are a few gluten-free recipes included, I tried ones that weren’t, using gluten-free flour. It wouldn’t work for everything but there is no harm in trying. There is a reliance on ‘vegan butter’, which I’d never used before. It worked well, however I’m not used to eating things with a buttery flavour any more so I don’t think I’d want to make things where that flavour dominates.
Jam Tarts: These were cheap and cheerful to make. The recipe was simple to follow and surprisingly easy, as I’d never made pastry before. I didn’t have the specified sizes of tray or cutter so I used smaller ones. I was worried they would get stuck to the tin but they came out easily. I had a bit of pastry left over for making lattices but they were too fiddly to do. I would make these again, with different jam flavours. It’s a long time since I even ate jam tarts, as I’ve never seen vegan ones in the shops.
Millionaires’ Shortbread: I left the peanuts and peanut butter out of the recipe. The recipe worked OK but the base was too crumbly (either because of the gluten-free flour or forgetting to chill the tin in the fridge before baking). I’m not sure I’d make these again, as they generated so much washing-up, the ingredients were a bit pricey and they weren’t as nice as some other things I bake. If I did make them again, I’d reduce the quantity of the caramel and of the white chocolate, as there was too much.
Triple Chocolate Cookies: These were easy to make, except that the dough was quite sticky so perhaps I would chill it in the fridge before baking next time. I couldn’t find vegan chocolate chunks at all, so I used a bag of dark chocolate chips and chopped up a small bar of dairy-free white chocolate. I would make the cookies smaller next time and bake them in more than the specified two batches, so they don’t end up too big and running into each other. They were rich-tasting and soft like the ones you get from a bakery.
In summary, a wonderful recipe book, ideal for vegans who don’t want to miss out on delicious bakes, or those who wish to bake for vegan friends and family.
Thank you to the publisher Murdoch Books for the advance copy via NetGalley. The book will be published on 29th September.