3 Vegan Desserts Your Non-Vegan Friends Will Love

Sadhbh O'Sullivan
·6-min read

If you've ever ventured into making vegan cuisine, you'll know that vegan baking is a whole world harder than vegan cooking. The sad fact is that the texture and flavour you get from butter and eggs can be far harder to replicate than making a vegan version of your favourite curry.

However, with the right guidance, it's far from impossible.

Shannon Martinez is the chef mastermind behind Smith & Daughters, a deli and restaurant which has become a household name on the Australian vegan scene. Though not vegan herself, she's known for her killer vegan recipes, especially when it comes to desserts and baked goods. The secret? Adding a savoury element to make the sweetness pop, and using ingenious tricks and substitutes to emulate the texture of a regular bake.

Ahead are three recipes from her newest book Vegan With Bite that will wow vegans and non-vegans alike. Just make sure you get the best quality vegan milk and butter you can find.

<strong>Apple, strawberry and rhubarb pie</strong><br><em>Serves 8–10</em><br><br><strong>Ingredients</strong><em><br></em>vegan milk, for brushing<br>raw (demerara) sugar, for sprinkling<br><br><em>For the pie crust:</em><br>425 g plain flour<br>50 g icing sugar<br>½ tsp salt<br>90 g cold vegan butter, diced<br>150 g cold vegetable shortening<br>100–120 ml iced water<br><br><em>For the filling:</em><br>250 g strawberries, hulled and halved<br>300 g rhubarb, cut into 5 mm thick slices<br>300 g peeled, diced apple<br>170 g caster sugar<br>finely grated zest of 1 lemon<br>1 tsp vanilla paste or extract<br>1 tsp ground cinnamon<br>1 tsp chopped thyme<br>50 g plain flour<br>2 grinds of pepper<br><br><strong>Instructions</strong><br>1. To make the pie crust, place the flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times until combined. Scatter over the butter and shortening and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running on medium speed, slowly pour in the iced water, stopping as soon as the dough begins to form a ball. You may not use all the water.<br><br>2. Tip out the dough onto a floured surface and bring together with your hands until it forms a fairly smooth ball. Flatten into a disc, then wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.<br><br>3. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and leave to macerate while the pastry is resting. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).<br><br>4. To assemble the pie, divide the dough into two pieces, making one piece slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger piece on a floured surface to fit a 23 cm (9 in) deep pie dish, then line with the pastry, pushing it evenly into the base. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the filling into the pastry case, leaving behind any juices.<br><br>5. Brush the lip of the pie with a little milk. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry to fit the top of the pie and gently place over the fruit. Press the edges together with your thumbs, then trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife. Create a pinched (crimped) effect around the edge of the pie by pressing the top and sides of the pastry together using your thumbs.<br><br>6. Brush the top of the pie with more milk, then sprinkle with raw sugar. Place the pie on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170°C (340°F) and bake for another hour, or until golden. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
Apple, strawberry and rhubarb pie
Serves 8–10

Ingredients
vegan milk, for brushing
raw (demerara) sugar, for sprinkling

For the pie crust:
425 g plain flour
50 g icing sugar
½ tsp salt
90 g cold vegan butter, diced
150 g cold vegetable shortening
100–120 ml iced water

For the filling:
250 g strawberries, hulled and halved
300 g rhubarb, cut into 5 mm thick slices
300 g peeled, diced apple
170 g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chopped thyme
50 g plain flour
2 grinds of pepper

Instructions
1. To make the pie crust, place the flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times until combined. Scatter over the butter and shortening and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running on medium speed, slowly pour in the iced water, stopping as soon as the dough begins to form a ball. You may not use all the water.

2. Tip out the dough onto a floured surface and bring together with your hands until it forms a fairly smooth ball. Flatten into a disc, then wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

3. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and leave to macerate while the pastry is resting. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

4. To assemble the pie, divide the dough into two pieces, making one piece slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger piece on a floured surface to fit a 23 cm (9 in) deep pie dish, then line with the pastry, pushing it evenly into the base. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the filling into the pastry case, leaving behind any juices.

5. Brush the lip of the pie with a little milk. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry to fit the top of the pie and gently place over the fruit. Press the edges together with your thumbs, then trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife. Create a pinched (crimped) effect around the edge of the pie by pressing the top and sides of the pastry together using your thumbs.

6. Brush the top of the pie with more milk, then sprinkle with raw sugar. Place the pie on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170°C (340°F) and bake for another hour, or until golden. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
<strong>Apricot crumble cake</strong><br><em>Serves 8–12</em><br><br><strong>Ingredients</strong><br>225 g plain flour<br>3 tsp baking powder<br>½ tsp salt<br>1 tsp ground cinnamon<br>½ tsp ground cardamom<br>115 g caster sugar<br>3 tsp <a href="https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/orgran-no-egg-60072854?skuid=072854&utm_campaign=shopping&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIor-S-ZyO7AIVlentCh2xUwA6EAQYASABEgK67fD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:No Egg" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">No Egg</a><br>80 ml cold water<br>125 g vegan butter, melted<br>125 ml vegan milk<br>1 tsp vanilla paste or extract<br>1 × 825 g tin apricot halves, drained (reserve the liquid for another use or reduce it with a little sugar and use as a syrup to drizzle over the cake)<br>icing sugar, for dusting (optional)<br><br><em>For the crumble:</em><br>60 g plain flour<br>1 tsp ground cinnamon<br>100 g caster sugar<br>55 g cold butter, cut into cubes<br><br><strong>Instructions</strong><br>1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Grease and line the base of a 20 cm (8 in) round cake tin.<br><br>2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and ground spices into a bowl. Mix in the sugar.<br><br>3. In a jug, whisk together the No Egg and water, then mix in the melted butter, milk and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until combined (the batter will be quite thick).<br><br>4. To make the crumble, place the flour, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingertips to make a coarse crumble.<br><br>5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Arrange the apricots on top, cut side up, then sprinkle over the crumble. Bake for 45–55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.<br><br>6. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then carefully remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Finish with a light dusting of icing sugar if you like.<br><br>Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Apricot crumble cake
Serves 8–12

Ingredients
225 g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
115 g caster sugar
3 tsp No Egg
80 ml cold water
125 g vegan butter, melted
125 ml vegan milk
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 × 825 g tin apricot halves, drained (reserve the liquid for another use or reduce it with a little sugar and use as a syrup to drizzle over the cake)
icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

For the crumble:
60 g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100 g caster sugar
55 g cold butter, cut into cubes

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Grease and line the base of a 20 cm (8 in) round cake tin.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and ground spices into a bowl. Mix in the sugar.

3. In a jug, whisk together the No Egg and water, then mix in the melted butter, milk and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until combined (the batter will be quite thick).

4. To make the crumble, place the flour, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingertips to make a coarse crumble.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Arrange the apricots on top, cut side up, then sprinkle over the crumble. Bake for 45–55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

6. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then carefully remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Finish with a light dusting of icing sugar if you like.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
<strong>El’s rum, rye and sea salt cookies</strong><br><em>Makes 12</em><br><br><strong>Ingredients</strong><br>210 g vegan butter<br>190 g brown sugar<br>1 tsp vanilla paste or extract<br>1½ tbsp rum<br>1 tsp No Egg<br>1 tbsp cold water<br>70 g rye flour<br>200 g plain flour<br>½ tsp ground cinnamon<br>½ tsp bicarbonate of soda<br>100 g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks<br>salt flakes, for sprinkling<br><br><strong>Instructions</strong><br>1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F) and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until pale. Beat in the vanilla.<br><br>2. In a separate bowl, combine the rum, No Egg and water, then add to the butter mixture.<br><br>3. Mix together the flours, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda, then add to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks.<br><br>4. Roll the dough into 12 even-sized balls. Place them on the prepared tray, allowing room for spreading, and gently press to flatten.<br><br>5. Sprinkle a pinch of salt flakes on each cookie and bake for 8–10 minutes. Cool completely on the tray before removing.
El’s rum, rye and sea salt cookies
Makes 12

Ingredients
210 g vegan butter
190 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1½ tbsp rum
1 tsp No Egg
1 tbsp cold water
70 g rye flour
200 g plain flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100 g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
salt flakes, for sprinkling

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F) and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until pale. Beat in the vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the rum, No Egg and water, then add to the butter mixture.

3. Mix together the flours, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda, then add to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks.

4. Roll the dough into 12 even-sized balls. Place them on the prepared tray, allowing room for spreading, and gently press to flatten.

5. Sprinkle a pinch of salt flakes on each cookie and bake for 8–10 minutes. Cool completely on the tray before removing.
<br><br><strong>Hardie Grant</strong> Vegan With Bite: Because Taste Matters, $, available at <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vegan-Bite-Shannon-Martinez/dp/1743796242" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>


Hardie Grant Vegan With Bite: Because Taste Matters, $, available at Amazon

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?