What’s Valentine’s Day without a little chocolate? While most chocolate cream pies require mountains of whipped heavy cream and sugar, this vegan version uses luxurious coconut milk for a dairy- and soy-free take on the French classic. And the press-in crust means you don’t have to turn on the oven.
Tip: Make this pie into single servings by using removable-bottom mini tart shells.
Line bottom of 9 in (23 cm) springform pan with round of parchment paper. Line side of pan with strip of parchment paper. Set aside.
For crust, in food processor, pulse dates until minced, stopping to scrape down sides. Add sunflower seeds and salt. Pulse again until fully incorporated and mixture holds together when pressed between fingers. Transfer to bottom of prepared pan and press firmly to compact.
For filling, in medium saucepan over low heat or using double boiler, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil. Cool to room temperature, but still liquid. In bowl of stand mixer or using hand mixer, beat 1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk until fluffy. (Use thick cream top of milk only; discard water or save it to use in smoothies and soups.) Whisk in cocoa powder or raw cacao powder and vanilla. Fold chocolate mixture into coconut milk mixture until blended. Pour on top of prepared crust, smoothing out top. Chill overnight.
For coconut whipped cream, whip 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut milk until fluffy in bowl of stand mixer or use hand mixer. (Again, use thick cream top of milk only; discard water or save it to use in smoothies and soups.) Chill until ready to serve.
To serve, unhinge springform pan and carefully remove parchment ring around sides. Slice pie and dollop with coconut whipped cream and a few raspberries.
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.