What is a vegan dessert that tastes like real food?
October 7, 2007 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Help me make a vegan friendly desert that doesn't taste like substitute food!

Hi, I am hosting a dinner party tonight and unfortunatley one of the guests is a vegan, but he is still my friend so I want to feed him. My spagetti sauce is vegan on its own, so that is not a problem. But, I am stumpted as to what to feed this poor unfortunate for desert. I am aware that there are many websites that offer presumably delicous vegan alternative dessert options, but I personally do not like substitions, and would strongly prefer something that is vergan naturally as opposed to something that has been modified to be vegan.

Also in case any of you have been offended, I am just teasing, I think that fact that I am not just giving him a granola bar shows that I want to be considerate .

Give me your awesome recipes so we can see whose cuisine reigns supreme.
posted by BobbyDigital to Food & Drink (43 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
This will win the hearts and palettes of all that try it, vegan or not. I absolutely promise.

* 2 8 oz containers Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (non-dairy cream cheese)
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1/4 cup lime juice
* 2 tbsp cornstarch
* 1 pre-made pie crust (make sure it's vegan - most are)


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. Pour into pie crust.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving to allow pie to set. Garnish with fresh strawberries.
posted by item at 11:03 AM on October 7, 2007 [2 favorites]

I make these vegan brownies all the time, and they're amazing. No weird ingredients, either. Just buy some yummy soy ice cream and serve the brownies and ice cream to everyone - no need to make him a special dessert.
posted by iconomy at 11:04 AM on October 7, 2007

...and I realize that this is a 'substitution' of sorts, but trust me that it's absolutely wonderful and will be the hit of your party. The consistency comes out a bit more like a cheesecake, but it works nicely.
posted by item at 11:06 AM on October 7, 2007

If you can find some vegan bread, you can make a summer pudding:
-Get plenty of fresh berries. Heat in a saucepan with about 1/4 cup water and sugar to taste. Don't reduce it too much; you want to leave the berries mostly intact.
-In a loaf pan, layer berries with slices of bread (cut off the crusts).
-Cover with plastic wrap, weight down, chill for a couple hours.

You don't taste the bread very much once it's been soaked in berry syrup, so I can't see that vegan bread would do much to hurt the flavor.
posted by Jeanne at 11:06 AM on October 7, 2007

What kind of dessert are you serving the non vegans?

Perhaps you could make something fruit-based for everyone, thereby including the vegan.

Something like this
(sans honey), one of these, this, or maybe this.

Frozen fruit thawed out works just fine for these.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:13 AM on October 7, 2007

We are doing Lemon Squares for the non vegans, I am not making them, and I am pretty sure there are eggs and/or butter in them. For the purposes of this question assume that honey is ok.

Thanks for the suggestions so far!
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:19 AM on October 7, 2007

My friend claims she made this for a group of non-vegans, and they were a hit. She says no one believed they were vegan when she told them. I haven't tried them myself but they sound good.

Vegan Snowball Cookies

1 cup margarine (some "normal" varieties are; just check) or soy margarine
2 cups sifted flour
1 cup sifted powder sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups chopped pecans

Combine margarine and 1/2 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Blend at medium speed until fluffy. Mix in flour and remaining ingredients. Chill dough in refrigerator until firm. Form spoon sized portions of dough into balls and place about two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and roll baked cookies in remaining powdered sugar. Allow to cool and then roll once again in the sugar. Serve.
posted by sa3z at 11:19 AM on October 7, 2007

The Whole Foods around here makes a damn good vegan chocolate mousse. I can't find their recipe easily, but here's one you could try. I was extremely impressed when I first had it.
posted by Stewriffic at 11:23 AM on October 7, 2007

I'm bringing a dessert to a birthday party for a vegan friend tonight actually and making this apple crisp.
posted by stefnet at 11:24 AM on October 7, 2007

And I should mention that I'm not vegan and would happily eat any and all apple crisps put in front of me.
posted by stefnet at 11:30 AM on October 7, 2007

In Italy, they're fond of serving simple desserts like macerated fruit. This also happens to be vegan!

Here's what you do:

Take some fresh strawberries, slice 'em up, and toss 'em in a bowl.

Add a splash (more if you like more) of orange or grapefruit juice. I usually use fresh, and will squeeze out a single orange for a standard size pack of strawberries.

Add a generous splash of a white dessert wine. Riesling can do in a pinch, but moscato is best. If you are averse to using alcohol, then a much smaller splash of balsamic vinegar will do.

Now cover the berries in sugar. Seriously. Maybe not all the way covered, but add a lot. The idea is that, while this sits, the sugar mingles with the juices and wine and makes a really fantastic syrup.

Cover this, and let it sit in the fridge for...oh...about 2 hours at least.

Now, I like to serve this topped with some whipped cream or sweetened creme fraiche. In your vegan case, I would buy Tofutti's vegan sour cream and mix one of the following combinations into it until it's sweet enough for you:

kirschwasser (cherry brandy), vanilla, and sugar
lemon zest and sugar
brown sugar and amaretto
vanilla and sugar
brandy and brown sugar

Personally, I find the amaretto/brown sugar combination to be the best... Though the cherry/vanilla one is pretty spiffy, too.
posted by kaseijin at 11:30 AM on October 7, 2007

Olive Oil Cookies. There are other variations which you can Google up.

In my experience, the olive oil cookies don't keep as nicely as butter-based ones. They're best eaten right away.
posted by Orinda at 11:31 AM on October 7, 2007

Fruit crumbles are always good - some seasonal autumnal berries - say blackberry and apple - might be nice (if you're notrthern hemisphere, of course). Very easy to make vegan (use margarine instead of butter); simple and delicious.
posted by Abiezer at 11:33 AM on October 7, 2007

Crazy [chocolate] cake! It's completely delicious and incidentally vegan.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:35 AM on October 7, 2007

Fruit pie? Use two vegan pie crusts (someone up-thread suggested store-bought; otherwise use a pie crust recipe that calls for shortening instead of butter or lard (and I think you can now get Crisco that has no trans-fats (although I'm not sure how that works, exactly, since I thought trans-fats were a consequence of hydrogenation!))). My favorite filling involves a 16 oz package of frozen blackberries, 1/2 - 1 c sugar (depending on how sweet you like things) and 1/4 c minute tapioca.

Mix those together, put one pie crust into the bottom of a pie plate, add the fruit, put the top crust on, crimp the edges and poke holes in the top, put into the oven for 15 minutes at 425 and then another 35 or so at 350.

It's vegan, but not on purpose.
(Serve with whipped cream or ice cream for the non-vegans.)
posted by leahwrenn at 11:36 AM on October 7, 2007

There are a bunch of variations on a chocolate cake without eggs, butter, or milk, developed during the Depression era--I think it's usually called "wacky cake." It's not gourmet but it's a perfectly decent, moist chocolate cake.

The recipe I've used is:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa

3/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBS vinegar
2 cups water

combine dry ingredients, add in wet ingredients, mix, dump into 9x13 pan and bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 (fahrenheit.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:42 AM on October 7, 2007

The Joy of Cooking (recent versions) has an orange cake that is vegan and delicious. One of my coworkers used to make it regularly to accommodate both the vegans and the cake-scarfers in the lab.
posted by janell at 11:43 AM on October 7, 2007

(and I should add to the recipe above: this is something you want to pop in the oven right away, since the vinegar and baking soda start reacting right way.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:49 AM on October 7, 2007

I just want to add a caveat: sugar is not always vegan, so be aware of what type you are using.
posted by kitty teeth at 11:54 AM on October 7, 2007

Silken tofu, whirled in the blender with melted semi-sweet chocolate, makes an amazingly tasty vegan chocolate mousse.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:55 AM on October 7, 2007

kitty teeth - that is something up for debate. No sugar actually contains animal ingredients, and up to 85% of sugar is not bone char refined. Tap water is sometimes bone char refined. Is water not vegan?

Just go ahead and not worry about minor things like sugar, BobbyDigital.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:58 AM on October 7, 2007

www.havecakewilltravel.com has plenty of great ideas (with recipes and pictures) for awesome vegan desserts.
posted by RoseovSharon at 12:01 PM on October 7, 2007

cmgonzalez, sorry if that came across as nitpicky. But I thought BobbyDigital might want to know about the sugar issue since he is making a genuine effort to accommodate his friend's veganism.
posted by kitty teeth at 12:07 PM on October 7, 2007

Just want to add more votes for item's Lime Pie and for thirteenkiller's and needs more cowbell's Chocolate Wacky Cakes. The Tofutti fake cream cheese in the pie sounds weird but it's a ridiculously easy to make recipe and it really is amazingly good. A wacky chocolate cake also comes together pretty fast and it's been my basic chocolate birthday cake recipe - with added pure chocolate chips for richness - for my whole vegan existence. It's even richer if made with chocolate soymilk...

Now, about these Lemon Bars... there was a (very nonvegan) recipe in my family for these amazing lemon bars, only made for special occasions, with a shortbread base and lemony sweet topping, dusted with icing sugar. Are these the same ones that will be coming as dessert for your nonvegans? If so, here and here are a couple of vegan recipes for lemon bars in the same style, not just with substitutions. I've made the first recipe and it turned out great (I just doubled the tofu in the filling). Good luck...
posted by onoclea at 1:02 PM on October 7, 2007

these pumpkin cookies are excellent. we usually add in a lot more spice, dark brown sugar instead of light, wheat flour instead of white. it's easy (mainly baking time) to have them come out cakey or chewy or crunch-chewy.
posted by dorian at 1:27 PM on October 7, 2007

When I have vegans for dinner, I usually serve lemon sorbet/sherbet with fruit slices (kiwi and bloodoranges are particularly nifty looking and tasting), shaved vegan dark chocolate curls (check label), and some syrup that I make by cooking up some honey, a little maple syrup and some rosemary together drizzled on top (strain rosemary out before serving). You can also make lavender syrup. It's light and refreshing after a big meal and no one even notices it's vegan. You can prepare a lot of it ahead of time too so it's good for dinner parties and you can really fancify it up so it looks really special.
posted by jessamyn at 1:35 PM on October 7, 2007

i bet you could make a good fruit crumble with a vegan margarine. just peel and dice your fruit, toss with sugar and a bit of cornstarch, and top with a mixture of brown sugar, rolled oats, nuts, and margarine.
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:40 PM on October 7, 2007

and bake, of course.
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:41 PM on October 7, 2007

The Post Punk Kitchen has some great vegan dessert recipes. I've tried a couple of their cupcake recipes, and they were all delicious, but I think their Chocolate Bomb Pudding Cake has them all beat.
posted by amarynth at 1:57 PM on October 7, 2007

Poached pears. I like to poach them in apple cider with a little bit of vanilla bean and perhaps some nutmeg and cinnamon. After the pears are poached remove them from the poaching liquid and boil it down into a syrup to pour over them for serving (either warm or cold). You can serve them standing up (try to retain the stems, it looks nice) or cut in half and flayed into slices but keep the cuts short of the top so you can fan them out on the plate.
posted by caddis at 2:00 PM on October 7, 2007

These are some fantastic answers!

I think my family already has a recipe for pumpkin currant cookies, I will see if its vegan friendly.

Also out of curiousity, what side of the fence do you guys tend to end up on regarding whether honey is vegan or not?
posted by BobbyDigital at 2:09 PM on October 7, 2007

what side of the fence do you guys tend to end up on regarding whether honey is vegan or not?

I let the vegans tell me if they think honey is vegan or not, assuming this is a question about food planning.
posted by jessamyn at 4:41 PM on October 7, 2007

Similar to ottoeroticist's idea (and if you have a good vegan chocolate), Alton Brown makes a delicious chocolate cream pie using silken tofu. It's incredible, probably one of my favorite pie fillings (and I'm not vegan).
posted by artifarce at 5:07 PM on October 7, 2007

Baklava is almost always vegan. You can usually just buy some, but it's fun to make, too.

If you just want to whip up some simple cookies, brownies, or muffins, there is something called egg replacer that's not too hard to come by (I've been experimenting with this brand lately with some success). And it can be such a treat for a vegan to get a nice cookie or brownie! Note: I am not referring to "egg beaters" which are actually egg whites; the link is to a vegan product. Note: I wouldn't attempt meringue with it.
posted by amtho at 6:07 PM on October 7, 2007

Re: baklava: Honey is not vegan, according to most vegans I know.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:05 PM on October 7, 2007

Baklava - good point about the honey. The one time I made baklava, though, it had a sugar syrup rather than honey (I've never liked honey), and it never occurred to me that most baklava would contain honey.

I think it would be possible to buy some made without honey, but if one were to make it, a non-honey recipe would be quite achievable - not tricky at all.

A search for vegan baklava recipe yields several promising recipes.
posted by amtho at 9:20 PM on October 7, 2007

My vegan friends rave about Booja Booja ice cream. I think it might only be available in the UK, though.
posted by corvine at 6:28 AM on October 8, 2007

Baklava is almost always vegan. You can usually just buy some...

Except for the butter, yeah.
posted by ottereroticist at 8:56 AM on October 8, 2007

I always thought baklava (or anything) containing honey was non-vegan.
posted by dorian at 9:33 AM on October 8, 2007

posted by dorian at 9:33 AM on October 8, 2007

Most vegans think honey is not vegan, so if you don't know, I would err on the side of caution. Agave nectar (also known as agave syrup) is an excellent substitute.
posted by davar at 9:38 AM on October 8, 2007

fruit salad (berries, mango, lychees, peaches, whatever) with a tablespoon or two of white creme de menthe is nice and easy. the creme de menthe adds a special something (and despite the misleading name, contains no cream, it's just clear minty liquer).
posted by twistofrhyme at 5:38 PM on October 8, 2007

If you can find some vegan bread... [snip] ...You don't taste the bread very much once it's been soaked in berry syrup, so I can't see that vegan bread would do much to hurt the flavor.

Coming in a bit late, but I had to respond to this. I think maybe you're confused as to what "vegan" means since most bread, especially the best tasting bread, such as the bread you might get at a fancy French-style bakery, is going to contain flour, salt, yeast and water, and that's it--in other words, vegan. Crappy white bread, the wonderbread kind, is also usually vegan as well. In general, it's really only the countrystyle white that might contain milk or butter. In general, however, vegan bread is the rule not the exception.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:19 PM on December 13, 2007

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