Cape Gooseberry & Raspberry Clafouti


Being indigenous to South American countries like Columbia, Physalis doesn’t exactly fit into the local food movement around here. However, they are in season right now.

Physalis, or Cape Gooseberries, come naturally wrapped, giving them a shelf life of over a month or more. Described as a cross between sweet cherry tomato and pineapple flavours, the Cape Gooseberry actually isn’t a gooseberry at all. In fact, it’s about the closest to the tomato, coming from the nightshade family.

An interesting combination of tart and sweet, they are a perfect and versatile match for desserts, preserves, salads or savoury dishes.

From the moment I saw my little package of Cape Gooseberries, it was destined for my grocery cart and clafouti. Most typically toped with cherries, clafouti is a French baked custard that’s super simple to make and rustic yet elegant to present.

Having not baked with Cape Gooseberries before, I still wasn’t so brave as to go it alone to tempt my clafouti solo. I opted to pair the Gooseberries with a handful of raspberries, which turned out to be a tasty choice. Both seedy, a bit tart but sweet, they balanced really well.

So well, my vegan friends thought I might just have been pulling a fast one this time.

CAPE GOOSEBERRY & RASPBERRY CLAFOUTI

1/2 Package Firm Silken Tofu, about 210g
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Soy Milk
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Brandy
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Pint Cape Gooseberries, about 1/2 cups halved
1/2 Cup Raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tablespoons Demerra Sugar

Combine the soy milk, lemon juice and brandy; Stir and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
In a food processor, blend the tofu until very smooth
Add the sugar and vanilla, continuing to blend.
Pour in the soy milk mixture into the tofu.
Sift the flour and baking powder and add just to combine.
Pour the batter into a cast iron skillet, soufflé or oval baking dish.
Evenly top with fruit.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until the edges are browned and the center is set.
Cool and dust with confectioners sugar.

Chocolate Raspberry Torte


Not like there is any mystery that I love chocolate, but I’d realized that I hadn’t yet created a torte recipe.
What better than Valentine’s week to do the dessert cart?

Generally, a torte is a flourless cake, often using bread crumbs or ground nuts in it’s place, resulting in a dense and intensely rich cake.

I love the contrast of a tart, red raspberry with the intense chocolate, and not only because it’s Valentine’s Day. Raspberries perfectly balance the richness with a bit of pucker making this a pretty sexy end to any meal.

EGGLESS CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TORTE

1 Cup Almonds, finely ground
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder, sifted
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Safflower Oil
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 oz Broken Chocolate Pieces, 70+% Dark, Semi Sweet or mixed
1/2 Package Firm Silken Tofu
3/4 Cups Frozen Raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Lightly spray or grease an 8″ cake or spring form pan, dusting it lightly with cocoa and removing any excess.
Finely grind the almonds in a food processor, adding a spoonful of the sugar, as necessary to keep it from clumping.
Transfer the ground almonds to a bowl.
Purée the tofu in the food processor, until very smooth, add the remaining sugar, cocoa, vanilla, oil and salt.
Using a glass bowl or a double boiler, heat water to a simmer in the lower pan to gently melt the chocolate above.
Pour the melted chocolate into the tofu, mixing to incorporate.
Add the ground almonds, pulsing just to combine.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan then evenly sprinkle the raspberries over the top.
Cover the raspberries with the remaining batter.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until the sides have crackled and the center is firm.
Cool the cake completely in the pan or refrigerate until serving.
Run a knife around the edge and release the sides of the pan.
Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with a raspberry emulsion, if desired.

Raspberry Tart


After a meal last week, I thought about some of my recipes on the site.
You see, my sister in law, along with being vegan, suffers from Celiac Disease which is a gluten intolerance restricting her diet of all wheat, rye and barley products.
No meat, no dairy and no bread. Poor girl.

To her, wheat shows it’s ugly head often. It’s in so much more that the mere loaf of bread – it’s in cakes, pastries, muffins, most veggie burgers, hot dogs and soy sauce.

This was the problem I feared when I first met with my vegan cooking challenge. I’ve gone on about creating a satisfying meal for my guests. I have to admit I feel just awful when I see her eating only hummus or grilled vegetables then skipping dessert, all while we’re all slathering our freshly toasted buns with bar-b-qed goodies.

It’s not the full meal, but here’s a little more than a popsicle for your next dessert; a gluten free, no bake raspberry tart. Happy early birthday, my dear. I hope you like it.

RASPBERRY TART

You will need about 2 Pints (3-4 cups) of fresh raspberries for the final topping.

CRUST

1/3 Cup Almonds
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Margarine
1/8 teaspoon Salt (pinch)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, melt the margarine. Add the vanilla and brown sugar; mix well.
Simmer over a medium heat and allow to simmer for 2 -3 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the almonds and half of the oats, until well ground.
Add the remaining oatmeal, cinnamon and salt; pulsing to combine.
Empty the dry mixture into a medium sized bowl and pour over the hot syrup.
Once the crust mixture is well combined, transfer to an 8 inch tart pan.
Spread out and evenly press the mixture along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Chill to set, about 20 minutes or just while you prepare the filling.

TOFU CREAM

1/2 Package Soft Silken Tofu
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 Tablespoons Confectioners Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
2 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Combine tofu and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth.
With the machine running, add the arrowroot, soy milk, lemon juice and vanilla through the feeder cap.
Taste and adjust vanilla and soy milk for flavour and consistency, if necessary.

Pour into the waiting crust and return it to the refrigerator.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

1/2 Cup Chocolate Pieces, vegan
1 Tablespoon Margarine
2 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Melt the chocolate pieces in a double boiler or in a heat safe bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water.
Stir in the margarine.
Whisk in the milk to combining until smooth.
Pour over chilling tart.

Top with raspberries and dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.
Chill until ready to serve.

Raspberry Coulis


Perfect and quick addition to pancakes, swirled into cheesecake and of course, anything chocolate.

RASPBERRY COULIS

1 Cup Raspberries, frozen is fine
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup water
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Heat everything in a saucepan, bringing it to a simmer.
Once the sugar has dissolved and the raspberries have broken down slightly, cook for 1 – 2 minutes more then remove from the heat.
Using an immersion blender, purée the mixture.
Strain through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds, if desired.