Sunday, May 1, 2011

Egg Substitutions & Spring Bread Pudding

This Easter my sister found a really yummy bread pudding recipe. The challenge was how to make it vegan? Vegan baking is an art. If you live in Iowa and you want to see this art in action, visit Fairgrounds Coffee House in Iowa City, I worked at this coffee shop for a summer a few years back. They have a full line of vegan bakery items. While helping to bake bread, muffins and cupcakes each day, I learned to look at the baking process differently.

The question comes up a lot from people. “How in the world do you bake without eggs?” The answer is “I substitute the egg for something healthier!

The first thing to know about baking without eggs, is how the egg is acting or reacting in a recipe. So when you go to substitute an egg you want to make sure you use an egg substitute that will react similarly in a recipe. For example, when baking light items like cookies and muffins, substitute ¼ cup of soft silken tofu. I like using ground flaxseed with water in brownies…because then I can pretend like the brownies are really healthy. The flaxseed acts as a binding agent and helps give rise to the batter.

A great resource for anyone baking without eggs or dairy is a book by Celine Steen & Joni Marie Newman: The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions – Veganize it! Foolproof Methods for Transforming Any Dish into a Delicious New Vegan Favorite. This book has non-vegan recipes where the authors have highlighted the eggs, dairy, yogurt, etc. and wrote in the vegan substitutions you can use to make it healthier! The book also goes into how to make recipes that are soy free, gluten free, etc. A must have to any cookbook collection!

For your reference here are some common egg substitutions:

  • Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • Tofu
  • Applesauce
  • Ripe Bananas
  • Ground Flaxseed
  • Vinegar
  • Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer
  • Coconut Milk

Okay – now onto the good stuff! The recipe below originally called for 4 cups heavy whipping cream and 4 eggs. I think my recipe is MUCH healthier…and it came out tasting divine! (We didn’t want to stop eating it!)

Spring Bread Pudding

1 Package Soft Silken Tofu

1 large or 2 small Ripe Banana (brown bananas are best for baking!)

2 Cups Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

2 tsp Baking Powder

2 Cups Fresh or frozen blueberries

1 Cup Chocolate chips (dairy free)

1 loaf French Bread

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9X13 baking dish with oil or non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl, use a mixer or blender to whip the first four ingredients until smooth and thoroughly blended. Add baking powder and mix well.

3. Stir in the blueberries and chocolate chips

4. Cut or tear French bread into small 1 inch pieces and add to wet ingredients (my 4 year old nephew loved tearing the bread apart with me!) Let French bread sit in wet ingredients for 5-10 minutes to become saturated.

5. Pour pudding mixture into oiled baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean. (if you can find a spot that does not have a wet chocolate chip!)

After the dish cools you can add vegan whipped cream to the top and it tastes extra yummy. It is good with or without a topping!