Monday, November 17, 2014

Vegan Orange Pistachio Cake with Spiced Pomegranate Cabernet Poached Pear and Coconut Whipped Cream

I love simple. Give me a brownie or a cookie any day and I am a happy happy vegan. But every once in a while, the occasion calls for something a little more fancy. With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to come up with a dessert chock full of rustic seasonal flavors that would be delicious as well as beautiful. When I was a teenager first starting to realize my passion for cooking, I would watch Food Channel constantly. And one of the first dishes I ever proudly presented to my family was Micheal Chiarello's wine poached pears.  To this day, I remember that dish and how special it seemed to me.

In my vegan version, I added a pistachio orange pound cake and coconut whipped cream. I made a pistachio pomegranate brittle for garnish and mixed the remaining caramel with a bit of the reduced wine poaching liquid for drizzling.

For the Pears

6 pears
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup red wine (I used a vegan cabernet)
1/4 cup raw sugar
Juice from 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves

Peel the pears, careful to keep stem in tact. This is simply for looks so its okay if you do loose a stem. From the bottom, core the pear and remove the seeds. I used a combination of an apple corer, a knife and a small spoon. Cut a thin slice off the bottom so the pears sit evenly. 

In a small to medium sized saucepan, combine pomegranate juice, wine, sugar, orange juice, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Turn down heat to simmer. Place pears into wine mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let pears sit in the liquid for about 2 hours. Turn occasionally to ensure even poaching if the pears aren't fully submerged. Remove pears from liquid and set aside.

Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and reduce in half. Set aside for the caramel sauce and let cool.

For the Brittle and Wine Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon organic corn syrup
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1/4 cup almond milk 
2 tablespoons reduced wine poaching liquid

In a small saucepan, combine all ingrediets. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until mixture starts to turn an amber color. Do not stir, but rather swirl the pan in small circles to mix. Remove from heat when the caramel reaches a deep amber color. Let cool for a few minutes. 

Using only 1/4 of the caramel, spread and drizzle the caramel into interesting shapes onto a silpat. Sprinkle on the pomegranate and pistachios. Drizzle with more caramel. When cooled, break into desired shapes.

To remaining warm caramel, add in the almond milk. Whisk to combine. Add in the reduced wine liquid. Let cool.

For the Orange Pistachio Pound Cake

I used this amazing pound cake recipe as the base. Thanks to Vegan Richa for this perfect recipe.

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp almond milk
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp ground raw sugar or other fine sugar
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Juice from 1 whole orange

3 Tbsp coconut oil
6 Tbsp flour (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp)
1/2 cup almond milk

3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup medium ground roasted pistachios
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Zest from 1 whole orange

In a bowl, mix the ground flax seeds and almond milk, let sit for a minute. Then add the salt, vanilla, vinegar, sugar, coconut oil, and orange juice. Mix until well combined.

In another bowl, combine flour, ground pistachios, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest. Set aside.

For the roux, in a small pan, heat  coconut oil on medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.

Take the pan off heat and add a little bit of the almond milk. Whisk in and add the rest of the almond milk. Mix and put back on low-medium heat. Mix until a thick roux is formed and the it leaves the pan. 

Let the roux cool for a minute then mix into the wet mixture. Mix until well combined.

Combine the wet and dry. Drop batter into a greased and flour 8 inch square baking dish. Spread out with well oil hands.

Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 30 minutes. 

Cool completely. I used a 3 inch round biscuit cutter to cut circles from the cake. But you can do squares and eliminate any scraps this way. Although, eating the scraps is half the fun!!

For the Coconut Whipped Cream

2 cans full fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Refridgerate cans of coconut milk overnight. When you open your cans, there should be a fairly thick layer of solidified coconut cream on the top that you can scoop out before you reach the clear coconut water on the bottom. Every brand is different here. I had 2 different brands and one had a 4 inch thick layer of coconut cream to scoop out where as the other one had maybe an inch. But get as much as you can out. Keep very cold until ready to use. Mix with the whisk attachment in a standing mixer. Add in powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip until creamy and fluffy. Place into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. 

To Assemble 

Start with a piece of the pound cake on a plate. Pipe the coconut whipped cream onto the top of the cake. Also using the piping bag, fill the poached pear with coconut whipped cream. Place pear right on top of the cake. Add some more coconut cream around the plate. Drizzle with the wine caramel sauce and top with brittle. Get creative here!! Do whatever you think looks awesome.

1 comment:

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