So, I love cookbooks, of all kinds. I don't know if it's the same gene that makes me like blogs, but from the moment that I could get my own library card, I came home with at least three cookbooks every trip to lovingly read, page by page.
Since making the transition to vegan eating, I find that reading non-vegan cookbooks takes on a whole other feel. Not only am I adoring the chef's creativity, I'm VEGANIZING their hard work, especially when it comes to desserts.
Now when I read: "3 eggs whites, whipped", I'm thinking, "Okay, don't think egg replacer will work...but maybe flax seeds...wait, whipped silken tofu! That's it!"
And, of course, all the chocolate gets upgraded to vegan dark chocolate, which, in my humble opinion, is a replacement that every omnivore should make as well, but I don't want to open THAT can of beans. (People are so protective of their favorite chocolate...maybe if we put that on the ballot, EVERYONE would vote. But I digress.)
My mom has this series of cookbooks called "La Brea Bakery". One of them is for bread, the other for pastries. Just the thick paper in the La Brea cookbooks screams "heirloom", but the recipes themselves scream "EGGS, BUTTER, AND CREAM!!!" about as loud as possible...almost to the point that I think it would be safer to invest in butter than gold in these economic times.
Well, deep in the middle of that pastry book is a recipe for a Triple Almond Tart, with bittersweet chocolate glaze. I found it and I was transfixed for half a day. People would ask how work was going and I'd talk about veganizing that tart. My mom asked if I wanted coffee and I said that the almond tart would go great with coffee, thank you very much. Every trip to a grocery store was "can I find pure almond extract, you think?"...
So I did it...and it was ALMOST there. So, I figure I'll give the recipe and then I'll tell you how I want to improve it. =)
Triple Almond Tart - Veganized! (Adapted from a recipe by Nancy Silverton)
Filling: 3/4 cup whole *roasted* almonds - buy them roasted or toast in oven beforehand, allowing to cool 1/2 cup vegan sugar 3/4 cup vegan powdered sugar 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 1/2 cup silken tofu (like Mori-Nu), blended smooth 1 Tbls. pure almond extract 1 tsp. vanilla extract 6 oz (I know, yikes!) vegan margarine, melted and cooled slightly
Glaze: 2 Tbls. water 2 Tbls. brewed coffee or espresso 3 Tbls. unsweetened cocoa powder 1 Tbls. vegan sugar 1 Tbls. agave nectar 2 oz. vegan dark chocolate, as bitter as you can stand =) 1 Tbls. Disaronno amaretto
Prepare crust by directions, but instead of spreading it out on a cookie sheet, press into the bottom of a springform pan and build a two-inch side around the bottom of the tart. Put in the fridge until ready to fill. (Note: Part of my problem with the crust was how dense it was after cooking, so you might want to do my recipe testing for me and blind bake it for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven...let me know how it turns out...should be crispier...lol.)
For filling, in the bowl of a food processor, put in almonds and granulated sugar. Pulse until you get a fine "almond sugar". Add powdered sugar and flour and pulse until combined. Drop in the silken tofu, extracts, and melted margarine. Process until it makes a thick, well-combined paste.
Pour the almond mixture into the crust and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a dense, marzipan-like filling...you're mostly just cooking it until the flour cooks through and thickens. Check periodically, because the tart will want to puff up. Pop these puffs with a fork periodically so that the tart remains flat.
Remove from oven and cool completely before trying to glaze.
For glaze: In a saucepan on medium-high heat, mix water, coffee, cocoa powder, sugar and agave. Stir until the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat, and then mix in broken dark chocolate pieces. Once the chocolate pieces are combined, add in amaretto and stir until smooth. Pour over tart and allow to cool.
So: YUM! And veganized! Score one for the "no butter" crowd. =)
Note: I should've added almond extract to the crust, but I can try that next time. Also, I think a vegan-friendly whiskey or bourbon would give a good depth to the glaze, rather than amaretto.