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I bet you thought I’d completely abandoned this project, right? Right? Wrong, darlings. But I do work in the vegan goodies business, and the holiday season tends to be rathah bizzay, as I’m sure you can imagine.
Despite the radio silence, I did in fact make a couple of items for this blog, it’s just been a matter of finding the time to sit down and write about them! Since I’ve been working through the list of desserts in the Savoy Truffle song in order, that’s how I’m going to finish the song up – one by one – until the grand finale, which will of course be the Savoy Truffle itself. (I actually haven’t a clue about what to do for the savoy truffle but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.)
This installment is all about the cool cherry cream.
It’s really a sort of vegan mousse. I had planned on using frozen cherries I’d stashed away back in the summer, but those were hijacked for the trifle I put together for family and friends on Christmas Day. So I was reduced to using a can of bing cherries bought from the supermarket. They weren’t organic, and they were packed in a mixture of their own juice and corn syrup. Had I been using pitted, fresh or frozen cherries, I would have made my own syrup with them, which is what I recommend you do. I’ll include a little note at the end telling you how to do this. It’s quite simple, really; which is an adequate descriptor for the remainder of this recipe, actually.
Vegan Cherry Mousse
14oz can of cherries, drained and liquid reserved (about 2 cups pitted cherries)
1 cup sugar
1 box firm, silken tofu, pureed until smooth
1 tub vegan cream cheese (about 8oz)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp agar powder
toasted and crushed pistachios as garnish (optional)
Mix cherry liquid, sugar, agar and salt together in a small saucepan, and bring to a low boil, whisking all the while, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Place the vegan “cream cheese” in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add in the pureed tofu and mix. With the beaters still working, slowly add the cherry syrup until it is completely incorporated and you have a nice pink creamy mixture. Refrigerate this for an hour, stirring occassionally, until it has thickened. Add the vanilla extract. Take the electric beaters to it a second time, on high speed, to incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture. Gently fold in the reserved cherries, keeping four aside as garnish.
Spoon the mousse into 4 serving dishes. Top with a cherry and toasted, crushed pistachios, if desired. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
To make a cherry syrup:
Place 2 cups of fresh or frozen cherries in a saucepan with 4 tbsp each water and liquid sweetener (maple syrup, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar). Bring to a low boil and cook, uncovered, until the cherries release their juice. Let cool.
This mousse was a HUGE hit with the family, and I loved it because it was so simple to prepare.
Now THIS was a lyric I could get behind, because from the moment I concieved of this blog, I knew how I was going to put Harrison’s words into consumable form: by making a delicious alcoholic beverage. A cocktail of mine own creation.
I must be a bit of a lush since as soon as I heard the word “sling” I immediately thought of a Singapore Sling cocktail, which is some ghastly fruity concoction that only girl-drink-drunks would ever consider slurping back. Being a pretty dedicated consumer of dirty martinis, I do not particularly enjoy sugary alcoholic beverages. I like my booze to be astringent and pure, free of sugary mixers (aside from club soda) and maybe only mildly flavoured with real lemon or lime. So I knew I didn’t want to just make a cloyingly-sweet version of a Singapore Sling. Instead I came up with this punchy, spicy, only slightly-sweet cocktail, that I think just about everyone can enjoy. Responsibly, of course.
A Ginger Sling With A Pineapple Heart
1 oz each gin, brandy, and Fireball whiskey (regular whiskey will do in a pinch; the cinnamon just adds a nice kick)
2 oz spicy ginger syrup (see below)
club soda, sparkling mineral water, or a spicy natural ginger beer if you want the flavour to pack even more punch
pineapple heart* and pomegranate seeds for garnish
Shake boozes together well in a martini shaker. Strain into a glass. Add syrup and soda to the top. Garnish with pineapple heart and some pomegranate seeds if desired.
*My heart-shaped cookie cutter wasn’t sharp enough to actually punch the shape out of the pineapple slice, so I just used a sharp knife to trace around the edges. If you don’t care about your pineapple actually being heart-shaped, just cut a slit in it and hang it off the edge of the glass.
Spicy Ginger Syrup
1 1/2 pounds fresh ginger, coarsely grated
1 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup water
Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in pan. Strain into a jar. Store in refrigerator. Yields enough for 4 Ginger Slings.