Pie crust

Chocolate Lover’s Brownie Tart

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2013-06-14 08.49.48

Denying me a tasty chocolaty treat is equivalent to denying babies their toys. Resisting chocolate is out of the question. That won’t ever happen. Even though I’ve learned to suppress my cravings, I haven’t completely shaken off my addiction to chocolate. I don’t think I ever will. As one of America’s popular treats, brownies are often laden with eggs, oil, and butter. There is nothing more that I love about a brownie other than its fudgy, chewy, and dense texture, the way it always should be.  Unfortunately, ingredients that are high in saturated fat are often used to bake brownies. A lot of people would think that there is no healthy alternative to making healthy but fudgy brownies. I beg to differ. You wouldn’t believe the ingredients I’ve used to make this brownie tart.  While I’ve heard people using tomato sauce and other mashed vegetables for their brownie batter, most people don’t normally entertain the thought of incorporating pureed beans into the brownies. Brownies baked in a tart form is another realm of oddity. It does, however, make it look presentable. While the idea seemed bazaar to me, I was overpowered by mere curiosity and I had to take it to the test myself. Alas, my experimentation was a grand success.  Pureed beans are my secret weapon that ensures this brownie tart’s fudgy texture. If you are hesitant to use beans as some of you may be, you can opt for bananas or even avocado. Okay. I used a bit of oil; only 3 tablespoons. This Chocolate Lover’s Brownie Tart recipe was borrowed from one of the cookbooks I own.  This brownie tart, like the original recipe, includes 3 components – a cookie pie crust for the base, brownie filling, chocolate ganache topping.  You will need a 9 inch tart pan as well or it wouldn’t be a tart without one 😉

This Chocolate Lover’s Brownie Tart is a great dessert that chocoholics, parents, children, and those with a sweet tooth can compromise on. And it’s nearly not as complicated to make. Oh, did I mention that there are no eggs added at all? Vegans can breathe a sigh of relief. Tasty chocolate vegan and soy-free desserts do exist despite what some skeptical dessert fanatics may say. This vegan brownie tart is rich, fudgy and dense. They are not too sweet but have a strong chocolate flavor. You can recreate a gluten-free version if you choose too. Or you can leave out the ganache and serve this tart hot along with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.

Exit statement: There is no such thing as a brownie being too fudgy for me 🙂

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 cup of flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, or oat)
  2. 1/2 cup of grounded walnuts or oats
  3. 1/3 cup of sugar
  4. 1/4 cup of oil

Brownie Filling:

  1. 12 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate
  2. 1 1/2 cup of cooked white beans or 15 oz can of white beans
  3. 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  4. 1 1/2 cup of flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, or oat)
  5. 3 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil
  6. 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  7. 3/4 cup of raw sugar
  8. 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  9. 12 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate chips
  10. Pinch of salt

Chocolate Ganache:

  1. 1 cup of soy milk
  2. 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
  3. 2 tablespoons of polyunsaturated spread

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the cookie crust: Pulse ingredients in a food processor till they are coarse and crumb-like. Press up against a greased 9 inch tart pan.

For brownie filling: Place all ingredients in the food processor except for the chocolate chips. Process till well combined. Melt chocolate chips and fold in brownie mixture. Transfer mixture to the tart pan. Bake for 27-30 minutes. Remove and allow it to completely cool.

For the ganache: Place chocolate pieces  and spread in a large bowl. Heat milk on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour milk over chocolate and stir until completely mixed and glossy. Allow ganache to cool before pouring over cakes as a glaze. The longer you allow the ganache to cool, the thicker it will set.

Yields 8-10 servings

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No-Bake Key Lime Pie

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key-largo-sunsets.comLimes can be difficult to find where I live. They are not the most popularly sold produce unlike lemons.  They are only sold at certain markets for a certain period of time during the conclusion of summer.  I was able to find some limes at the Farmer’s Market in Petach Tikvah. I’ve always wanted to attempt to make key lime pie. Key lime pie comes in many variations and can me made in many different way.  Not only did I take the easiest route but I found a healthier alternative to make this dessert as well. Besides, I am a number one fan of no-bake desserts.  This key lime pie version doesn’t require and usage of electricity nor ovens. There is nothing like beating the summer’s heat other that eating something refreshing and chilled. The simplicity of this dessert is compensated with the bold flavors it comes with.

Most key lime pies require condensed milk. My local supermarket normally sells a couple cans of those but for some reason, they were out of stock. I told a gamble and used low fat plain yogurt instead. It needed more chilling time but the wait was worthwhile. If you can find condensed milk, you can use that. If you decide to use the condensed milk, omit the sugar since it already contains a sufficient amount. Use about 1 cup or more of plain non or low fat yogurt instead. A long while ago, I made a non-dairy version of key lime pie. I used non dairy dessert whip in lieu of condensed milk. This pie needed to be baked though. Because this surprisingly delicious dessert is low in sugar and fat content, I would say it is almost guilty-free.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 “9 inch” cookie pie crust (use regular or vanilla cookies,graham crackers instead)
  2. Lime juice from 4-5 limes
  3. 1 teaspoon of lime zest
  4. 2 1/2- 3 cups of plain non fat/low fat yogurt
  5. 1/3 cup of sugar (not more)
  6. Whip cream (optional)
  7. Lime slice for decoration

Instructions

Whisk yogurt, sugar, lime juice, and zest till smooth and well combined. Pour into pie crust. Cover and refrigerate for at least  6 hours and up to 1 day. Serve with whip cream topped with a thin lime slice.

Yields 8 servings

Mushroom Quiche

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Quiche is one of my favorite dairy side dishes. It comes in many varieties. I chose mushrooms because I invariably use mushrooms in most of my dishes except for desserts.  A quiche consists of a savory pie crust and a vegetable/cheese filling. Quiches comes in many varieties with many ingredients. There are non dairy quiche recipes and  crust-less quiche recipes as well. I tried each on separate occasions and they were very delicious. Certain crustless quiche recipes may require a water bath. Meaning, you place the prepared quiche in a large roasting pan, fill the pan half way with boiling water and bake it that way. A lot of people use this technique with cheese cakes and flans. This method prevents curdling and crackling of the pie. For a non dairy version, you can replace milk and cream with soy/rice milk or non dairy creamer. Some use mayonnaise depending on what the recipe requires for. As I mentioned before, you don’t have to limit yourself with mushrooms. You can use any vegetable of your choice in the market. You can even use a little of each. If you want to make a quiche with mushrooms,onions,broccoli,and spinach, you can do that. While most quiches require a lot of heavy cream and cheese, I tried searching for viable healthy lighter  alternatives and my version worked just as well. Generally, quiches are served as breakfasts but they can be eaten as a side dish for lunch or dinner.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 9 inch pie crust
  2. 1 large onion diced
  3. 2 cartons of mushrooms washed and sliced
  4. 2 large eggs beaten
  5. 1 1/2 cup of low fat or skim milk
  6. 1/2 cup of plan low fat Leban
  7. 2 tablespoons of flour
  8. 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  9. Reduced fat cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  10. Salt and freshly ground pepper for taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil or cooking spray over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes or until they brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute for another2-3 minutes until no longer watery. Turn off the stove and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk eggs,milk,leban,flour,salt,pepper,and nutmeg. Fold in the mushroom onion mixture. Pour mixture into a prepared pie shell. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. bake for 45 minutes or until firm in the center.

Yields 6-8 servings