What replaces fat and eggs in vegan baking?
My absolute queen of fats is extra-virgin olive oil, though I sometimes use coconut oil. Often eggs can simply be replaced with water or plant-based milk. You just let the flour and moisture do the binding/gelling instead. For my crème brûlée recipe I used custard powder, which was invented by Alfred Bird in 1837!
Can people tell the difference between your plant-based desserts and their traditional counterparts?
I do a maple cake in the book, which is my vegan alternative to honey cake. The flavour of honey cake doesn’t actually come from the honey; it comes from the honeycomb flavour you get when the bicarbonate soda reacts with the biscuit dough. You get the same reaction with maple syrup. You get fewer floral notes, sure, but I’ve added a bit of orange blossom to my recipe.
People will recognise all the textures and they may be able to notice a few differences in flavour, but no more than you might expect from trying one recipe to the next.
Are there any plant-based desserts in your book that you think taste better?
The vegan chocolate-chip cookie [available in The Food Halls]. It’s actually mind-blowing. It has just the right amount of crispiness around the edges, a fudgy and soft middle and rivers of high-quality chocolate running through – plus a sprinkling of sea salt on top to temper the sweetness. Oh and a little bit of cinnamon. The olive oil gives it a new kind of depth and complexity. I’d describe it as a chocolate chip cookie that grew up and became sophisticated. A debonaire cookie!