Cookbook review – Divine Vegan Desserts

by Amanda McInerney on 19/03/2013

Wickedly indulgent, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, decadent – these are not words that I usually associate with vegan food.  The words wholesome, nutritious and healthy are more likely to spring to my mind in association with this particular dietary regime – and don’t the latter descriptors actually preclude the former?  Read on, dear friend, because I might just have been wrong!   To be perfectly honest, I have always found the concept of veganism (or any restrictive form of diet) a little confronting – cutting myself off from entire food groups is not something that this greedy girl could ever contemplate.  So when a copy of Wakefield PressDivine Vegan Desserts” found it’s way into my inbox for reviewing I was a little unsure how to approach it.

Well, it turned out that was simple.  It seems that finishing off a meal with a sweet treat is not out of the reach of those who are endeavouring to make a switch to a healthier lifestyle (and even those who aren’t) and after a quick flick through these lavishly illustrated recipes I was making a list of what I would make first!  Many will be relieved to know that vegans don’t proscribe chocolate and the recipes, all dairy and egg-free, with many gluten free, low sugar and nut-free choices, are enough to lift the spirits of any dessert-lover and go a long way towards redeeming the reputation of the dessert course.

Apparently, most vegan recipe books are from overseas and contain ingredients which can be difficult to source here in Australia.  Author Lisa Fabry avoids the use of these and explains clearly and simply how to make brilliant dairy free desserts with ingredients many of us will already have on hand – or at least be able to source easily.  Fabry originates from London, but now lives in Adelaide indulging her two great passions – food and yoga. She shares her own dishes, plus a selection of vegan desserts being created by chefs in cafes, restaurants and cooking classes from around the world.

The book begins with a guide to the key ingredients in vegan baking, some baking tips and how to substitute natural colours for artificial in your cooking.  It is divided up into chapters covering baking, tarts, pies, puddings, fruit dishes, ice creams and sorbets, custards and creamy desserts and small treats, with each dish beautifully photographed.  The range of desserts is extensive and covers everything from wickedly indulgent Double Fudge Pecan Brownies, to decadent melt-in-your-mouth Banoffi Tarts and a traditional creamy, custardy trifle.  I challenge anyone to resist these dishes – they look, er, divine!

I road tested a couple of the recipes – the Las Vegan Sour Cherry Muffins and (in a diversion from my usually predictable preference for chocolate) the refreshing Lime Tart.  The muffins rose perfectly and were deliciously moist and sticky, without being too sweet, but the Lime Tart was the absolute winner.  It was so quick to make, with at-hand ingredients and has a delicious zesty zing to it.  I’d happily serve it to anyone as a dinner party dessert – even those who are cynical of raw foods.  This would certainly change their minds.

I can’t say this book would convert me – I still find veganism far too restrictive and just a little confusing – but it certainly is proof that a vegan diet can have plenty of indulgence in it.  Divine Vegan Desserts is perfect for those who are interested in pursuing a healthier diet, but reluctant to give up on their sweet tooth.

Divine Vegan Desserts Lime Tart
 
Prep time

Total time

 

A gorgeous, summery, zesty, dessert tart that comes together quickly and will please everyone.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, vegan, raw

Ingredients
  • Base
  • 1 cup (140 gms) brazil nuts
  • ½ cup (50 gms) dessicated coconut
  • ⅓ cup (70 gms) medjool dates, chopped
  • Filling
  • ⅔ cup (90 gms) raw cashews, soaked for 1-2 hours
  • 1 medium avocado (about 120gm flesh)
  • pinch of salt
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • ⅓ cup (80 mls) agave nectar
  • 1 tsp lime zest, plus extra for garnish
  • ⅔ cup (160 mls) lime juice or lime/lemon combined
  • ⅓ cup (80 mls) coconut oil

Instructions
  1. Grease 4 individual tartlet pans or one 23 cm fluted pan.
  2. For the base, place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until you can pinch the mixture together and it sticks. Press firmly into the pan and refridgerate for at least one hour.
  3. For the filling blend all the ingredients, except the lime juice and coconut oil, in a food processor until very smooth and creamy.
  4. Melt the coconut oil.
  5. Gradually pour the lime juice and then the coconut oil into the processor while the motor is still running.
  6. Pour over the crust and refridgerate for at least 3 hours, or place in the freezer for 1 hour.

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lizzy (Good Things) March 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Thanks Amanda for your candid review on this book. Appreciate it!

Jones the Writer March 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

The lime tart looks absolutely mind blowing. I am salivating up a small lake in my office and it’s not even 9.30am!

Now all we need is some enthusiastic person to bake these up and deliver them to offices and I would be a very happy woman.

I also have this book and find it incredible. Lisa has done a terrific job.

InTolerant Chef March 20, 2013 at 10:38 am

It is tricky trying to source some specialized ingredients from overseas, and I have to say it usually does put me off buying an otherwise great cookbook. I’m glad this one is more local and accessible to us too.
The lime pie looks amazing- nice and zingy!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef March 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I’ve eaten “vegan” food although I hate food labels. It’s food and some of it is healthier than others and some doesn’t have gluten and some doesn’t have meat. Labels make me crazy. It’s like if you’re not a vegan you should stay away or if you’re vegan you can’t find anything to eat in an “ordinary” cookbook.

Thanks for letting me vent. Now I’d love a piece of tart and a muffin if you have one left over. :)

That tart looks brilliant – well done.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella March 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I really like raw vegan desserts but I don’t think that my food processor is good enough!

Tandy March 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Great review! I’m glad you could share the recipe as I’m intrigued by vegan baking but not enough to buy a book :)

Kate March 21, 2013 at 7:49 am

What a find !! That tart looks anything but vegan !!

The Food Sage March 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

The lime tart certainly looks lovely, and it’s my kind of dessert. I don’t see the harm in cooking vegan dishes from time to time, but like you i’d find the diet far too restrictive. Great recipe plug-in.

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