Pareve Pastries to Swoon Over

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A piece of chocolate and raspberry torte on a plate.
martinturzak / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Kosher bakers are always on the hunt for dairy-free dessert recipes to end meals featuring meat with a flourish. They seek pareve pastries as tantalizing as recipes calling for butter, milk or sour cream. The lactose-intolerant baker shares the same goals.

Dairy products add rich flavor and a smooth finish. A satisfying substitute, almond milk equals cow’s milk’s velvety texture. In place of butter, oil and pareve margarine delicately moisten pastries.

But when you remove dairy products, you need to boost flavor. A generous dash of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cardamom excites the palette, as do nuts, dried cherries and raisins, bittersweet chocolate and the refreshing flavor of citrus fruit.

There is no reason to settle for disappointing desserts, ones that look appealing but don’t taste very good. Instead, strive for dairy-free pastries that are proven crowd pleasers and inspire calls for second helpings. If you’re going to eat dessert, you should thoroughly enjoy it.

Cherry Almond Mandelbrot | Pareve

Yield: 4 dozen

Equipment:

  • 4 cookie sheets
  • 4 pieces of parchment paper
  • 2 cutting boards

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • 3½ cups flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup dried cherries or raisins, or semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place one rack slightly above the center of the oven, and place the other rack slightly below center. Line 4 cookie sheets with a piece of parchment paper.

Place the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric beater, mix on a low speed until combined. Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves and mix again. Then gradually add the flour and mix on low until moistened. Add the almonds and cherries, or raisins, or chocolate chips. Briefly mix with the beater. Then knead the dough with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide the dough into four equal parts. Shape each part into a fat rectangle.

Dust a clean counter with flour. Move a dough rectangle to the dusted counter. Dust the top of the dough with some flour. Shape the dough into a log that is 2 inches wide by 10 inches long. Place this log on half of one of the lined cookie sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing 2 logs on each cookie sheet, 4 logs in all.

Place the cookie sheets in the oven, on the upper and lower racks. Bake for 15 minutes. Then open the oven and carefully place the upper cookie sheet on the lower rack, and the lower cookie sheet on the upper rack. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven. Using a large spatula, move the logs onto the cutting boards. The logs will not be baked through, so handle carefully. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

On a diagonal, cut each log into half-inch slices, which resemble biscotti. Turn the slices on their sides and move them to the second set of 2 parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Place the sheets in the oven and bake 5 minutes. Open the oven and reverse the cookie sheets, moving the lower one on top and the upper one on the bottom rack. Bake another 5 minutes.

Move the mandelbrot to platters and cool to room temperature. Serve immediately or store in airtight containers for up to a week. This recipe freezes well.

Flourless Chocolate Torte | Pareve

Yield: 10-12 slices

Serve this sensational torte at Passover.

Equipment:

  • 9-inch springform pan
  • Double boiler or a heatproof bowl that fits over a pot

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable spray
  • 5 large eggs
  • 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 ounces of best quality semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup water
  • 1⅓ cups sugar, divided 1 cup and ⅓ cup
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) nondairy margarine
  • Optional garnish: raspberries

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat the springform pan with nonstick spray.
Place 2 inches of water into the bottom portion of the double boiler, or the pot, if using. Bring the water to a simmer. Crack the eggs into the top of a double boiler or heatproof bowl.

Momentarily place the top portion or bowl over the simmering water to warm the eggs — not to cook them. Remove the eggs from the simmering water and set aside. Warming eggs encourages them to increase in volume.

In a medium-size pot, place the 2 chocolates, water, 1 cup of sugar and margarine. Heat over a medium flame, stirring with a spoon until the chocolates melt. Remove it from the flame and cool covered.

Transfer the eggs to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ⅓-cup sugar. With an electric mixer, beat until the eggs triple in volume. With a rubber spatula, fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs. Pour it into the prepared springform pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. The torte will be loose in the center. Remove it from the oven and cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate the torte for 4-12 hours. Remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Release the sides of the springform pan and serve with raspberries, if desired.

Zesty Orange Bundt Cake | Pareve

Serves 12

Equipment:

  • Bundt pan

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable spray
  • 8 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 large orange
  • 1-2 tablespoons bottled orange juice, if needed
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup melted dairy-free margarine

Generously coat a Bundt pan with nonstick spray.

Separate the eggs, placing all 8 whites into a large bowl. Into a small bowl, place 5 yolks and reserve. Use the remaining 3 yolks for another purpose or discard. Bring the eggs to room temperature before continuing.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. With an electric beater, whip the egg whites until firm peaks form. Stop the beater and check often to avoid over-beating and turning the egg whites watery. Reserve.

Squeeze the juice from the orange and measure it. If there’s less than half a cup, add enough bottled orange juice to equal half a cup. Zest the skin of the orange. Reserve.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a second large mixing bowl and briefly mix together. Gradually add the margarine, egg yolks, orange juice, orange zest and ¼-cup water. Mix together, forming a smooth dough.

Handling gently, spoon the egg whites into the dough. Mix together with the spoons and then use the beater on its lowest speed until all traces of egg white disappear. Move the dough to the prepared Bundt pan. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. Bake in an un-preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center returns clean. Move the Bundt pan to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Glaze:

  • ¼ cup bottled orange juice
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

In a small pot, warm the orange juice. Sift the sugar into the juice. Whisk until combined and all lumps are gone. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the top of the cake and serve within a couple of
hours.

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