Friday, September 28, 2012

Vegan Nashi Tart

I love nashi pears, pity that the season is short... mostly I eat them raw, cut into thin slices, but since I had quite a few I wanted to make a quick tart. This is too easy! I just used one sheet of ready rolled vegan puff pastry, then I peeled and cut 2 big nashi pears and placed the slices on top. I finished everything with a dusting of icing sugar and placed the tart in the oven until the edges of the tart were puffy and golden. As a final touch I sprayed the tart with some grappa spray. Nashi are good for cooking and baking because they keep their shape and don't become brown! This I will make again, it was even better than an apple tart, which is saying a lot (for me!).

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mandarin Chocolates

This is too easy! I just used some Fresh As  mandarin segments (they are freeze dried) and dipped them in melted dark chocolate (I used Whittaker's 72% Dark Ghana). That's all.

I am entering this super easy and almost "not even a recipe" in Sweet New Zealand, the blogging monthly events for Kiwis. 

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Vegan "Cape-pops", and a vegan pear and chocolate pie

Almost cake-pops because they look like cake-pops, but they are not made from cake! In fact these are Cape Gooseberries (therefore I am calling them Cape-pops :-)), dipped in dark chocolate. I left some plain, while I rolled the others in shredded coconut, ground pistachio nuts, and plum powder (my new discovery, I talked about it already in here). I let them set first at room temperature and then, because it was a warm day, in the fridge. These are gluten free too!

But more to come...

I had melted far too much chocolate for the Cape gooseberries, so I made a pie which, I must say, came out better than I had anticipated. But sometimes new discoveries are born out of chance, or leftovers!

I had a few sheets of filo pastry left, I placed them into a 23 cm pie dish lined with baking paper, leaving the corners to spill out. I peeled and cut four pears and placed the slices over the pastry, then drizzled the lot with Frangelico liqueur. I added the melted dark chocolate and closed the four corners of pastry over the filling. I wetted the top pastry with water and I added the rest of the coconut/pistachio stuff on top too (why waste it!). I baked the pie until the pastry was golden, and then I sprinkled a little icing sugar on top (this was the only sugar needed). I pie was perfect! Bittersweet and with an amazing texture, the chocolate had 'melted' into the pear slices... I will need to work on this and make it again, on purpose, and with more filo pastry, but I wanted to share it with you now because to me this was the perfect Vegan pie!!

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Monday, September 10, 2012

Polenta cut with a string, like Grandma used to make

Usually I make soft polenta, I always preferred the soft type that you spoon into a plate and cover with a thick wild mushroom sauce or a stew, but memories are coming back of the type of polenta my Grandmother used to make in the North of Veneto: it was dense and stirred with a thick wooden stick in a gigantic pot over a wood fire, and then she pour the hot golden mass on a big wooden tray where it set hard in no time. She kept the polenta in the drawer of the kitchen table so you could get a slice at any time, and attached to the wooden tray there was a piece of string used to slice the polenta, so you didn't even need a knife.

Cutting polenta with a string

Of course I attached a string to my chopping board: I wanted to do the same as Grandma, and I hope that you will like the idea too. Serve the slices with your favorite casserole, or when the polenta is cold just grill the slices or fry them, or cut them really thin and use them instead of pasta for a gluten free lasagna.

Photos and Recipes  by Alessandra Zecchini ©