High-concept vegan baking / pâtisserie recipes?
August 6, 2017 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Looking for tried-and-tested recipes that are vegan, delicious, posh, and look impressive/elegant.

Hello, I want to bake a vegan mate something for a birthday gift. Not a one-item thing like a cake, rather a batch of something. I want things that do not taste 'vegan for the sake of it', if you'll excuse the expression: not too much coconut oil or wholemeal, nothing raw. Something that doesn't need eating straight away. Classical French style or even Japanese would be lovely, as would savoury. Or something very 'clever' and ingenious, but not overly 'cute'. Healthy is not the goal. Gluten and nuts are fine.
I have no sugar thermometer or special moulds, can get most specialty vegan ingredients/substitutions. Only have a fairly basic kitchen but have patience and can do fiddly.
Would be very grateful for any recipes you have tried and liked, I know this is an exceptionally picky question!
posted by runincircles to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
The Vegetable Wellington from Serious Eats - it's not just for Thanksgiving!

Really, anything with phyllo dough gets automatic pizazz points.
posted by metaseeker at 5:23 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure about refined, but my cousin is vegan and she posted this recipe on FB the other day. Pulled jackfruit.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:28 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

One person's clever is another person's overly cute, so I"m not sure if these are what you're looking for, but they're certainly tried and true - I've made both (and both are by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the queen of vegan baking that doesn't seem vegan).

Fauxstess cupcakes (Hostess cupcake look-a-like - require black cocoa powder and the ability to make icing squiggles on top).

Lemon gem cupcakes. These are extremely delicate, like a light spongecake, and very pretty. It is absolutely shocking to most people that they're vegan. I ice them with a glaze made of confectioners sugar and lemon juice rather than the frosting recipe here.

More recipes that might be fancier but that I cannot personally vouch for are at Moskowitz's website.
posted by FencingGal at 5:39 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

One more impressive recipe I can vouch for is Moskowitz's vegan spanakopita. But it will definitely call on your ability to be patient and do fiddly.
posted by FencingGal at 5:51 PM on August 6, 2017

I've made this caponata recipe several times and it's delicious and (I think) impressive.
posted by bdk3clash at 7:03 PM on August 6, 2017

I don't think there's a ton of pastry recipes, but avantgardevegan has a pretty high-concept channel.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:16 PM on August 6, 2017

Best answer: Have you looked at aquafaba recipes? They use the liquid from cooked chickpeas (you can use tinned, just make sure it's unsalted) as a vegan egg white replacer. You can make fancy-looking meringues and macarons.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:44 PM on August 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Vegan brie made of cashews is incredible- I had some at a party and could not stop eating it. It's probably kind of labour-intensive to make but so good. I don't know which recipe I tried, but I bet you can find some with ratings/comments reassuring you that the recipe is reliable. Then once you've made it, maybe you could put it in phyllo or something- make some kind of tart out of it.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:13 PM on August 6, 2017

Vegan Dad (google him) has a lot of cake, dessert and pastry recipes.
posted by mymbleth at 11:14 PM on August 6, 2017

This Tarte Soleil has a non-vegan filling, but it can easily be converted into a billion different things - savoury and sweet. I can confirm, even in slightly sloppy panic mode it can be made to look that good, with the bonus that it's packet puff pastry so it takes way, way less time than it looks like it should.
posted by AFII at 3:12 AM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm not vegan but people I work with are and I've made both the pulled jackfruit and vegan meringues from chickpea water (I hate the term aquafaba). The meringues were essentially the same as a normal meringue and they would make excellent macaroons if you had the skill with a piping bag.

The pulled jackfruit was so much like meat that the people who were vegan wouldn't eat it because it reminded them too much of meat. The carnivores liked it, but I also did an entire pulled pork shoulder at the same time and that did get eaten faster. The pulled jackfruit was close, but no quite the same as the pulled pork, but works better as an ingredient in other dishes as a sub for pulled pork, such as a pizza topping.
posted by koolkat at 3:39 AM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Vegan macarons
Daifuku mochi (see also variants with strawberry or matcha)
Vegan Pots de Creme. I love this recipe -- you'll just need to use an appropriate vegan substitute for the egg yolks.
Vegan Baklava - keeps well and can be made in a variety of fancy shapes
Crispy Vegan Smoked-Mushroom "Bacon" - I haven't made this one myself because it looks expensive and time-consuming, but it sounds delicious. If you're looking for something extra special, this might be just the ticket.
posted by ourobouros at 6:48 AM on August 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I gather from your post title that you are looking specifically for something spectacular and sweet. I'm nthing the suggestion of aquafaba to make hitherto unachievable meringue and meringue-based sweets like macarons or pavlova. Aquafaba is really magic, and has revolutionized vegan baking. Please take a look at the Facebook group that started it all for ideas.
posted by QuakerMel at 9:38 AM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers, I went for the meringues - surprisingly good - but totally wanna work through all the other great suggestions.
posted by runincircles at 11:36 AM on September 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

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