Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

High Holiday Desserts for Vegans, The Lactose-Intolerant, Kosher-Keepers and Other Weirdos

For once, that's not my heading, though it sure sounds like something I'd write.

It's the headline for an article by Linda Morel at

It continues yesterday's kosher theme and offers tips on nondairy baking, with some especially good advice on how to best substitute nondairy margarine for butter and still get tasty desserts, although margarine is not a necessity.

The kosher baker's best option when meat was served was to replace butter with margarine, which traditionally yielded flat flavor and texture ranging from dry to gooey--sometimes in the same cake. But home bakers now can produce luscious desserts equal if not better in taste than their buttery counterparts without margarine.

The article interviews Isa Chandra Moskowitz,the co-author of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World: 75 Recipes for Cupcakes That Rule. I've written about her a couple of times before, in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Post Punk Vegans.
During two decades of trial and error, Moskowitz aced the chemistry of dairy-free baking. She learned that in most pastry recipes, when substituting oil for butter, less oil is needed than the butter measurement.

"There are structural differences between oil and butter," Moskowitz says. "Oil doesn't flake as nicely in pastries."

To encourage flakiness, she keeps oil in the freezer for several hours before making dough. To achieve thick, fluffy frostings, Moskowitz sometimes relies on margarine, but only the non-hydrogenated variety, which doesn't impart a chemical taste. She opts for the Earthbalance brand because it is free of trans-fats and dairy.

Morel also talked to Ann Amernick, the co-owner and executive pastry chef at the Palena Restaurant in Washington, D.C.
"Don't mix margarine into pastry dough of any kind," Amernick says. "However, neutral vegetable oils have their place in professional baking. They perform well in cakes with heavy texture."

Typical of this genre are honey, apple and carrot cakes, which are popular at Rosh Hashanah because they symbolize a sweet new year.


While oil marries well with sugar in dough, enhancing heavier pastries, Amernick has learned the two are not a winning combination in frostings. She recommends adorning pareve cakes with glazes, a mixture of confectioner's sugar and freshly squeezed juice, either lemon or orange. But don't expect glazes to be creamy and rich like frostings.

A supple liquid, they gracefully run down the sides of cakes, creating the quaint homey look seen in food magazine pastries.

The article reprints a number of recipes from Moskowitz's book, including:

● Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake
● Chocolate Mousse Topping
● Toasted Coconut Cupcakes
● Coconut Pecan Fudge Frosting
● Honey Cake
● Carrot Cake with Lemon Glaze

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