Despite all my sugary excesses I do try to make an effort to eat healthier. Recently I started adding super foods in my daily meals, like hemp seeds, cocoa nibs, and maca among others.
I´m not a vegan nor a vegetarian person, however I´m not a meat enthusiast either. Actually, I do remember, along with my siblings, asking mom to remove meat from many traditional dishes, and we were always happy with the result. Moreover, our Eastern Mediterranean diet features many scrumptious dishes that are entirely based on vegetables; that's why I have a natural penchant for vegetables, herbs and spices and could go through many days without eating a single piece of meat.
Though I won't become a vegan anytime soon, I am enjoying making vegan desserts knowing how hard it can be to give up on dairy products in baking. During the lent season, I challenged myself to have daily vegan meals and few desserts to keep me going. I was more than satisfied with the results. Vegan meals shouldn't compromise on taste but just be really healthy, comforting and delicious in equal measures.
One of my earlier vegan baking attempts was a vegan carrot cake in which I just needed to substitute the eggs with something else. However, with cakes that demand butter or for shortcrust pastry, things get a little bit trickier as butter substitutes rarely deliver in both texture and flavor. Luckily, a German shop selling premium quality coconut butter close to where I live. Now I no longer had an excuse not to make a vegan pie or galette!
Though I went with strawberries for the filling, you can use any fruit you like. It's strawberries season now and the fruits are at their prime so it was a natural choice for me.
Working with coconut butter is a new thing for me, therefore, I am confident that with time I will get better results. The dough was a bit tricky to handle, especially when cold, however, it tasted great and had the crumbly texture that I wanted.
I made two galettes, a big and a small one. I varied the fillings slightly between the two, but kept both really simple.
Now let's bake, vegan style!
For the crust you need:
- 300 g flour (I used cake flour)
- 165 g cold coconut butter
- 30 g sugar
- ice cold kirsh, vodka or just water (about 4 to 5 tbsp)
- dash of salt
Combine all ingredients but the liquid, and process for few seconds, when you get a sandy texture start adding the liquid, one tbsp at a time, once you see the dough coming together, stop your processor. Now, line a clean working surface with cling film (or aluminum foil if you prefer), remove the dough from the food processor onto the cling film. Work the dough slightly with your hands so it comes together and shape it into a disk.
Cover it with the cling film and place it in the fridge for at least an hour. It is better if you prepare the dough one day ahead, which is what I usually do.
The amount of water that you will add depends on the quality of the flour and the water contained in the butter. Don't be tempted to put more water as the dough might seem dry at first, but when it rests in the fridge, it comes together nicely and the butter is absorbed by the flour.
Remove the pie dough from the fridge 20 to 25 min before you start working with it. I divided the dough into 2 parts, With the big portion I got a 23 cm disk (6 mm thick) and with the smaller one a 15 cm disk.
For the filling: big galette
- Strawberries (the quantity depends on how you arrange them and to which thickness)
- 1 to 2 tbsp sour cherry jam
- lilac sugar (or vanilla sugar)
Spread the jam in the middle of the dough, leaving 3 cm from the edge and then arrange the strawberries. Fold the edges of the dough and sprinkle with sugar. You can brush the edges with vegan milk or cream.
- 1 tbsp apple butter
- 1 tbsp ground almond
- cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle
Mix apple butter and almond and the spread in the middle of the dough, again leaving about 3 cm free. Arrange the strawberries, fold the edges, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake the galettes, in a preheated oven (180C) for about 20 to 25 min, or until edges are golden.
Once the galettes are cooled a bit, give them a shower of powdered sugar and serve with the ice cream of your choice, preferably vegan but a regular ice cream would do.