Improvising Vegan Desserts

Improvising Vegan Desserts


In this topic, we learn by understanding the form we are creating and the function and action of how to work with alternative ingredients, without following recipes.  The dessert forms of cookies, cakes and custards are designed for satisfaction while maintaining their innate, whole nutritional value  as closely as possible.  This topic, along with the Dish Grain topic, prepares students who want to develop gluten free dishes.

Whole sugars, whole fats, and a myriad of quality binders easily come together to accomplish the basic dessert forms of cookies, bars, pies, cakes, muffins, clear and creamy custards, frostings, and fruit desserts.

Description and Inspiration

One day I was preparing dessert because my first husband and I were going to a couples pot-luck. Ambitiously, and secretly wanting to please him,  I’d volunteered to make a lemon meringue pie. Never having made one before, I thought I should follow a recipe. At that time there weren’t any recipes without white sugar, so I substituted honey. Big mistake. Not using the honey, but following a recipe!

When I tasted it in process, it was over the top too sweet and too sour. Our natural food palate wasn’t happy with such drama.  This was the last time I followed a recipe, for anything. I made a commitment at that time to trust my knowledge of ingredients and cooking methods for desserts, the way I did with savory ingredients. I would learn to improvise my desserts, in all forms of cakes, cookies, pies, cakes, custards, pancakes, muffins… everything.

That was at least twenty years after I began baking and cooking. Without a recipe, before The Language of Intuitive Cooking, I winged it. These forms were named “Friday Night Desserts,” because in my youth, Friday night was movie night and I wanted to get the ingredients into the oven as quickly as possible. What freedom! The theory inspiring intuitive pastry has become this: if you have sweetener, fat, and flavor, with a select binder, it creates a form. But more importantly, something delicious is happening.  If the form goes flat, I would call the cake a cookie; if the custard is too thin, I would use it as a dessert sauce.

Now, I can share with you how to master the creative process and the forms. We improvise to stretch ideas, tastes, forms, and concepts. With that, a personal signature and identity emerge, and these can be captured into recipes.

The information in this topic is foundational for studying desserts and pastry. Students learn how and when to use ratios and where to use our theories. This is an important study in the topic of sugars and dessert forms for any commercial enterprise.  Or just because you want a Friday Night Dessert.