Cold desserts

Μυρωδάτος χαλβάς με πολέντα, σαφράν και πορτοκάλι – χωρίς ζάχαρη, χωρίς γλουτένη - Gluten free, sugar free, vegan halva with polenta, orange juice, saffron and turmeric - Vegan in Athens

Fragrant Greek halva with saffron and orange – sugar-free, gluten-free

Semolina halva is one of the most popular traditional desserts! The reason is not only the amazing taste but also its minimal cost. Subsequently it’s not weird that for centuries now, the original recipe has survived from wars, poverty and wealth and still nowadays you can find a variant of it in almost every Greek house. In the family where I grew, we used to make it often, especially during the fasting periods, always using the classic recipe “1 – 2 – 3 – 4 “, which means one cup of olive oil, two cups of wheat semolina, three cups of sugar and four cups of water.  My mother makes this delight using freshly squeezed orange juice instead of water, and for extra taste and flavor she adds a pinch of orange zest, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts.

Although the taste of my mother’s recipe is etched deeply in my memory, I usually make a lighter but extremely delicious and aromatic variant, in which I use corn meal instead of wheat semolina, agave syrup instead of sugar and last but not least I cut the oil almost in half. For extra color and to give it an oriental touch, I also add saffron and turmeric.Because this delicious dessert is very simple to make, the recipe is ideal especially in times when you need to prepare an easy, tempting dessert for your friends or your family.

Μυρωδάτος χαλβάς με πολέντα, σαφράν και πορτοκάλι – χωρίς ζάχαρη, χωρίς γλουτένη - Gluten free, sugar free, vegan halva with polenta, orange juice, saffron and turmeric - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup organic cornmeal (polenta)
  • ¾ cup agave syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 10 saffron stamens
  • ½ tsp orange zest
  • ½ cup candied orange peel chopped or chopped dried fruit of your choice, such as raisins
  • ground pistachios for garnish

 

Μυρωδάτος χαλβάς με πολέντα, σαφράν και πορτοκάλι – χωρίς ζάχαρη, χωρίς γλουτένη - Gluten free, sugar free, vegan halva with polenta, orange juice, saffron and turmeric - Vegan in Athens

Method

1. In a heavy saucepan, add the olive oil along with the cornmeal and roast over low heat. Stir for about 10 minutes with a wooden spoon, until you get a nice color and a nutty aroma. Then add the orange zest, the saffron and the turmeric and continue stirring for five more minutes.

2. Add the agave syrup and the orange juice, stirring constantly, until the halva starts to get a thick texture. Pour the candied orange peel or dried fruits and mix.

3. With a spoon transfer the halva into a cake mold (0.8-1 liter capacity) and press to equally distribute and flatten the surface. Allow to cool for about two hours and then transfer in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Unmold from the pan on a platter, garnish with the pistachios and serve.

 

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Decadent orange tart - Τάρτα με κρέμα από φρέσκα πορτοκάλια - Vegan in Athens

Decadent orange tart

Some people are really obsessed with citrus fruits and citrus-flavored desserts and this is not surprising! Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines and lemons have distinct aromas and qualities, compelling sweet and sour tastes and freshness. Well, I am not exactly “obsessed” with citrus fruits but I like them a lot not only in their fresh, unprocessed form but also as a tasty addition to recipes.

One of our favorite dessert recipes is this simple but decadent orange tart. What I like in it, is the combination of the crispy, buttery crust with the sweet and sour, light and delicate orange cream.

Decadent orange tart - Τάρτα με κρέμα από φρέσκα πορτοκάλια - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 125 gr cold vegan butter
  • 3 tbsp cold almond milk or water
  • 3 tbsp raw cane sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • zest of 1 orange

For the orange cream

  • 4 cups squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup raw cane sugar
  • zest of 1 orange

Decadent orange tart - Τάρτα με κρέμα από φρέσκα πορτοκάλια - Vegan in Athens

Method

  1. Make the crust: In a bowl mix all the ingredients. If the dough is too soft, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of flour. Do not over-knead so as to get a nice crispy texture after baking. Form a ball with the dough, wrap it with a plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for half an hour.
  2. Take the dough out of the fridge and using a rolling pin, roll it out on a lightly floured greaseproof paper to a thickness of ½ – 1 cm. Use the sheet to turn the dough over into the tart pan. I used a tart pan of about 22 cm diameter. Fit the dough against the bottom and sides and trim excess pastry from top edge of pan. Prick it all over with a fork and chill in refrigerator for up to 30 minutes. Lay a greaseproof paper on the crust and pour over two or three handfuls of dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven at 175 oC. Remove the beans and the paper and bake for 20 more minutes or until golden. Let cool completely.
  3. Make the orange cream: Pour in a saucepan 2 cups of the orange juice with the sugar and the orange zest and bring to boil. In the remaining juice dissolve the flour, stirring well to dissolve clumps. Pour the flour mixture in the saucepan, reduce heat and stir for about 5 minutes or until a thick cream has been formed. Remove from heat and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Let cool completely (3-4 hours).
  4. Assembly: Stir the cream with a whisk or a wooden spoon for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Spread the cream onto the tart and flatten its surface. Put in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours before serving.

Decadent orange tart - Τάρτα με κρέμα από φρέσκα πορτοκάλια - Vegan in Athens

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Βέγκαν τιραμισού με ωμοφαγική παραλλαγή - Vegan semi-raw tiramisu (with a fully raw option) - Veganinathens.com

Vegan tiramisu semi-raw (with a fully raw option)

Since I remember myself, I am passionate with Italy, Italian language and Italian culture. Of course tiramisu couldn’t be an exception and, indeed this is one of my favorite desserts. However tiramisu contains animal products and thus I had to come up with a recipe for vegan tiramisu that would be not only ethical but also tasty and healthy.

Βέγκαν τιραμισού με ωμοφαγική παραλλαγή - Vegan semi-raw tiramisu (with a fully raw option) - Veganinathens.com

Tiramisu is made with ladyfinger (or Savoyard) biscuits soaked in strong coffee, cream cheese and unsweetened cocoa. In order to prepare a vegan tiramisu, I used a type of Swedish crisp breads that have the same shape, size and fluffy texture as ladyfingers and instead of mascarpone I made some vegan cashew cream cheese.

Βέγκαν τιραμισού με ωμοφαγική παραλλαγή - Vegan semi-raw tiramisu (with a fully raw option) - Vegan in Athens

This vegan tiramisu is wonderful, creamy, fluffy and sugar-free. Cashew cream-cheese, both vanilla and chocolate-flavored are combined beautifully with the coffee, reminding us of an afternoon walk on Gianicolo hill a warm August afternoon and two cups of morning espresso in Trastevere.

The recipe contains crisp breads so it is not raw-vegan (or, one could say that, it’s semi – raw!) but if you want a 100 % raw vegan tiramisu, plus gluten-free, I’ve written my raw vegan and gluten-free recipe in the end of this article!

Vegan tiramisu semi-raw (with a fully raw option) - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

20 Swedish crisp breads (as those in the photo)

Βέγκαν τιραμισού με ωμοφαγική παραλλαγή - Vegan semi-raw tiramisu (with a fully raw option) - Vegan in Athens

  • 1 cup strong coffer
  • 2-3 tbsp coffee or cocoa liqueur or agave nectar

Βέγκαν τιραμισού με ωμοφαγική παραλλαγή - Vegan semi-raw tiramisu (with a fully raw option) - Vegan in Athens

For the vanilla cream

  • 2 cups raw cashews soaked for 4-6 hours and drained
  • ½ cup agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
  • ½ cup nut milk (I used coconut milk)
  • ½ tsp agar agar powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4-5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp natural vanilla extract

For the chocolate cream

  • Half of the vanilla cream
  • 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

2-3 tbsp cocoa powder for dusting

Βέγκαν τιραμισού με ωμοφαγική παραλλαγή - Vegan semi-raw tiramisu (with a fully raw option) - Veganinathens.com

Method

  1. Put the coffee in a square bowl with the liqueur and dip half of the crisp breads (2-3 each time) for half a minute, until they absorb enough coffee.
  2. Arrange the crisp breads on the bottom of a medium- sized baking dish or a round baking dish of 22 cm diameter.
  3. Prepare the cream: Put the cashews along with agave syrup, salt, vanilla and lemon juice in a blender and blend until a smooth cream has been formed. I’ve found that to me is more convenient to start with half of the cashews and once they’ve become a smooth cream I slowly and the rest of them. Dissolve the agar agar in the nut milk and bring the mixture to boil and thicken while stirring. Add immediately into the cashew mixture and keep blending for a few minutes until smooth.
  4. Divide the cream into two equal parts. In the one part add the cocoa and mix well, until the cream is homogenous and there are no lumps in.
  5. Assembly: Spread the chocolate cream over the crisp breads. Dip the rest of the crisp breads into coffee and arrange over the chocolate cream. Cover them with the vanilla cream and leave in the fridge for at least six hours to set.
  6. Serve: Sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa, cut into pieces and serve.

Βέγκαν τιραμισού με ωμοφαγική παραλλαγή - Vegan semi-raw tiramisu (with a fully raw option) - Veganinathens.com

For the 100% raw vegan tiramisu instead of ladyfingers you can use:

  • 1 cup dry coconut, grated
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup blond raisins
  • 2-3 tbsp espresso coffee or water

Wash the raisins and drain well. In the bowl of the food processor, add the almonds and process until powdered. Add the remaining ingredients and process at medium speed for about 5 minutes, until all the ingredients are well mixed. The mixture should form a small ball that comes off the walls of the food processor bowl.

Divide the mixture into two equal parts.

Sprinkle a greaseproof paper with grated coconut, put over it the one part, flatten with your fingers and using a rolling pin roll out a disc of 0,5-1 cm thickness and 22 cm diameter. Repeat the process with the second part and put aside.

For the assembly follow the process as described above but instead of crisp breads use the raw cake-disks you made.

Additionally, instead of boiling agar with the nut milk you can boil it with the same amount of water.

Βέγκαν τιραμισού με ωμοφαγική παραλλαγή - Vegan semi-raw tiramisu (with a fully raw option) - Vegan in Athens

 

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