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your best dairy-free dessert recipes, please

A group of friends and I get together every so often for dinner; some of the group keep kosher. I am the baker of the bunch, and am often asked to bring a dairy-free (parve) dessert. I've managed to make about a dozen desserts without the aid of butter, but am starting to run out of ideas. It's much easier in the summer, when there's an abundance of fresh local fruit, but this time of year, in Toronto, the pickings are very slim indeed.

So, if you have any killer recipes for dairy-free desserts (eggs are ok, but no milk or milk products) that you wouldn't mind sharing, I'd be very grateful.

Thanks!

p.s. if you have experience with what kinds of recipes can best stand substituting veggie shortening or oil for butter, I'd love to learn about that, as well.

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  1. fruit salads

    Poached pears/apples

    Baked apples (butter,oatmeal, flour and cinnamon)

    Many cakes can be made with eggs and oil in place of butter

    angel food cake only has egg whites

    Can you substitute soy milk for dairy?

    1. I'm going to reprise my suggestion from a recent thread: Armenian Christmas pudding, which is a thick pudding of barley or wheat, cooked with dried fruit, honey, and toasted almonds. Very dense and rich; easy to make; keeps well; and no dairy! Pretty healthy for a dessert, too.

      Here's the recipe I use: http://www.recipelink.com/mf/31/16179

      There are lots more online if you do a recipe search.

      1. Sweetened polenta, marbled with lightly cooked berries (may be from frozen), topped with more pureed berries.
        paulj

        3 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          That sounds delicious. I have a friend who can't eat dairy or gluten, and that would be great for her!

          1. re: jlafler

            The proportions (from B Kafka, Microwave Gourmet) are
            3/4 c cornmeal, 4c water, 2/3c sugar, lemon zest
            She cooks it in the microwave (in an 8c glass measuring cup), but stove top would work fine as well.
            1 pint of raspberries, zapped with 1/4c sugar. I've been using a frozen berry mix.
            When the polenta is done, stir in vanilla (1 tsp), and gentle fold in 1c of the berry mix. Chill in a mold (any qt plastic storage container works).
            Blend the remaining berries, adding water to make a thin sauce to serve over the polenta.

            paulj

        2. Olive Oil chocolate mousse for Passover

          Adapted from "Dulce lo Vivas," by Ana Bensadón (Ediciones Martínez Roca)

          Time: 30 minutes plus 24 hours’ refrigeration
          11 ounces bittersweet (60 percent cacao) chocolate
          8 large eggs, separated
          3/4 cup sugar
          1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
          2 tablespoons kosher for Passover brandy.
          1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate over low heat. Cool slightly. Beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until light. Whisk in olive oil, brandy and melted chocolate.
          2. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, whisking until stiff but not dry.
          3. Fold whites into chocolate mixture so that no white streaks remain. Spoon into an 8- or 10-cup serving bowl or divide among 8 or 10 dessert cups or glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Adrienne

            this looks so good I saved it to my passover file

            1. re: doc_k55

              It's really delicious. Getting rid of the cream doesn't make the texture less creamy, it just makes the flavor more chocolatey.

          2. Just remembered another good one: Marcella Hazan's almond cake. Ingredients are almonds, sugar, egg whites, lemon peel, salt, and flour. It calls for butter to grease the pan, but you could easily substitute another fat. If you have "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking," it's in there. Or I can post the recipe if you want it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: jlafler

              That sounds great - I love baking with almonds. I don't have the book, so if you don't mind posting it, that would be very helpful. Thanks!

              1. re: chloe103

                Almond Cake (Marcella Hazan)

                10 oz., shelled, unpeeled almonds, about 2 cups
                1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
                8 egg whites
                salt
                zest of one lemon
                6 tablespoons flour
                8 or 9-inch springform pan
                butter or oil for greasing the pan

                1. Preheat oven to 350F.
                2. Put almonds and sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse to grind to a fine consistency.
                3. Beat the egg whites with the salt until they form stiff peaks.
                4. Add the ground almonds and the grated lemon peel to the egg whites, a little bit at a time, folding them in gently but thoroughly. The whites may deflate a bit, but if you mix carefully there should be no significant loss of volume.
                5. Add the flour, shaking a little of it at a time through a strainer and again, mixing gently.
                6. Grease the pan generously, and pour the batter into the pan, shaking/tapping the pan to level it off. Place the pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. Before taking it out of the oven, test the center of the cake by piercing it with a toothpick. If it comes out dry, the cake is done. If it does not, bake a little longer.
                7. When done, unlock the pan and remove the hoop. When it is lukewarm, loosen it from the bottom of the pan. Serve when completely cold. This keeps for a while if stored in a cookie tin.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Thanks for saving me the trouble of typing that all in. :-)