Laplace

Dairy Free Strawberry Orange Shortcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

If an intelligence, at a given instant, knew all the forces that animate nature and the position of each constituent being;
if, moreover, this intelligence were sufficiently great to submit these data to analysis, it could embrace in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the smallest atoms:
to this intelligence nothing would be uncertain, and the future, as the past, would be present to its eyes.

—Pierre-Simon Laplace

Dairy Free Strawberry Orange Shortcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

I took a class this past quarter called History of Statistics.
It was taught by a professor who knew my grandfather well. Additionally, in an amazing twist of small-world fate, his father taught MY father in a class called History of Economics, when my dad was getting his PhD at UChicago. It was an excellent class to cap off my stat minor, and I recommend it to anyone who can get in off the competitive waitlist.

At the beginning of the quarter, we had a question on a homework that stumped (I think) everyone in the class. The question that was posed was: what was the dessert that Pierre-Simon Laplace invented?
Don’t even try to google it, guys. Been there, done that. It is thoroughly un-googleable.

The answer: in 1826 there was a landmark two volume book about gastronomy published by Brillat-Savarin (as in the Savarin cake). In it, a dessert was attributed to Laplace.
Strawberries sprinkled with orange juice.
Literally, that’s the whole of it.

Dairy Free Strawberry Orange Shortcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Anyways, the other day I found myself with a bunch of spring strawberries and some aging oranges that needed to be used or eaten. I thought back to Laplace’s dessert, and how I could modify it and make it… more, um, interesting.

These dairy free strawberry shortcakes are what I came up with, because I’ve been eating dairy free a lot lately and want to challenge myself to bake dairy free as well.
The cake itself is a dairy free pound cake, made with vegan butter, cashew yogurt (I like Forager), and a hint of orange zest; it is moist and dense and bakes up perfectly golden.
I brushed the cut cakes with an orange simple syrup to infuse them with stronger flavor.
The strawberries are treated as Laplace would have demanded: sprinkled with the juice of an orange (and a little hit of sugar), but then I roasted them in the oven to bring out a toasty, caramelized flavor that is absolutely divine.
The cakes are layered with the roasted strawberries, topped with lightly sweetened coconut cream, confectioner’s sugar, and more orange zest.

Overall, they’re not too sweet and preserve a true strawberry and orange flavor; they store very well as the syrup helps retain their moisture. The serving size is just right for one person, although I know for a fact that some of my testers ate two…
They would be perfect for any summer event, from a BBQ to a tea party.

Note that you can substitute dairy items and still have very happy results: butter for the vegan butter, sour cream or full-fat yogurt for the cashew yogurt, and whipped cream or ice cream for the coconut cream.

Dairy Free Strawberry Orange Shortcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy summer, friends! Here’s to strawberry season.

Dairy Free Strawberry Orange Shortcakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Dairy Free Strawberry Orange Shortcakes
makes 6 large, 12 small shortcakes

ingredients:
for the cakes:
113 grams (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) vegan/dairy free butter, softened (can substitute regular butter)
250 grams (1 1/4 cup) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
120 grams (1/2 cup) cashew yogurt (can substitute sour cream or yogurt)
180 grams (1 1/2 cups) AP flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
zest of 1/2 an orange

for the strawberries:
15-20 large strawberries, sliced thinly (about 2-3 cups)
juice of 1 large orange
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

to assemble:
45 grams (3 tablespoons) water
15 grams (1 tablespoon) orange juice
50 grams (4 tablespoons) sugar
zest of 1/2 an orange
coconut cream (see here for a tutorial) (can substitute whipped cream or ice cream)
zest of 1/2 an orange
confectioner’s sugar

directions:
Make the cakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour 6 extra-large muffin tins, or 12 regular sized muffin tins.
Whip vegan butter on high speed for 3 full minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add in the sugar and salt and beat for another full 2 minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the eggs; beat for another 3-4 minutes until fluffy and not gritty.
Stir in the cashew yogurt.
Add the flour, baking soda, and orange zest.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean (small cakes will likely need shorter baking, check them around 15 minutes).
Allow to cool completely before cutting in half.
To make the strawberries, lay the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the orange juice and sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until softened, juicy, and fragrant.
Allow to cool completely.
Make the orange syrup: stir water, sugar, orange juice, and orange zest together and bring to a boil.
To assemble, brush the cut halves of the cakes with the orange syrup.
Sandwich a few strawberries with the cakes.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar, orange zest, and serve with coconut cream or ice cream on the side.

Waste Not

Vegan Banana Muffins | La Pêche Fraîche

Or, the infamous “Trash Muffins” of 2015.

Vegan Banana Muffins | La Pêche Fraîche

Let me explain:

 The making of these muffins was prompted upon my discovery of 3 sad, brown bananas that had been discarded into our trash (in a ~new~ trash bag, friends.  Worry not.).
I snatched them up, whispering sweet reassurances of grand destinies, and these (vegan! whole wheat! wholesome!) muffins were born.

Vegan Banana Muffins | La Pêche Fraîche

I am so not ready for life to have begun again.
I wish I were back in spring break mode, chilled out and tanned and full of fresh fruit and contentment.
(Side note: I bought some ataulfo mangoes, which come from Mexico, on sale at Whole Foods the other day and they are the MOST delicious mangoes (ataulfo or otherwise) I have ever tasted.  Talk about transporting me back.)

Now that I’m back at school, anxiety has begun to sink its sharp little claws into my brain.
It’s only the third second day of school, for crying out loud.
But I have constant fears that I’ve forgotten an assignment, or left something somewhere etc. etc.
(I’ve already been at the library for, like, 5 total hours and it’s only day 2!!!!!!!!)
Do I need some sort of intervention?  Maybe…

Vegan Banana Muffins | La Pêche Fraîche

 Anyways, back to the banana muffins.
I used a recipe from the fantastic blog Minimalist Baker.  They looked so crumbly and so delicious.
The catch is that I found them to be not sweet enough.
I only used 3 large bananas, and I felt like they were needing the recommended fourth, or another 1/3-1/2 cup sugar.
They were a bit too bland for my taste.
(This may be due to the fact that I’m used to in-your-face banana bread.  These were very subtle.)

I recommend, if you make the recipe, to add 1/3 cup more sugar, plus all 4 bananas.

Vegan Banana Muffins | La Pêche Fraîche

The crumb topping was divine—sweet and salty and buttery—and the texture of the muffins was great—firm bite, but not rubbery, crumbly but not fall-apart dry, and a slathering of Nutella not only remedied the sweetness issue, but also added Nutella into the mix, hellooooo duh always delicious.

With a few small tweaks, this may become a winner in my book.
Head over to Minimalist Baker (gosh, I love their site) to get the recipe!

Back soon with a very exciting cake! xx

Vegan Banana Muffins | La Pêche Fraîche

Ironic

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It’s Spring!  That’s spring with a capital S, because it was official as of March 20th.

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And yet here I am sharing a treat that’s chock full of fall fruit.
While in the tropics, feasting on pineapple and papaya.

Bad blogger!  Bad, unseasonal blogger!

Are you really surprised?  Remember when I gave you candy canes in January?  That was cruel.

To make up for it, I’m sharing some spring-y things that I’ve been diggin’ lately.
Yay for links!  Click ’em.  You know you want to.

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First, this cake!  Lemon is top on my list of favorite, fresh flavors.  I love the edible flowers that Jen used to decorate, as well.  Totally spring-appropriate.
(And that pup!  Oh, those photos of Kaweah make me miss Ginger so much.)

In the vein of flowery cakes, I think I pinned every. single. one. of these photos.  OHMYGOD. I can’t describe how obsessed I am.  Wow.

It’s like Laura is in my brainthese heavenly, spiced falafels accompanied by tons of fresh veggies look like the definition of a perfect, light lunch.  Currently craving.

And helloooo another winner from Annie.  This gorgeous tart is so simple, and the accompanying story is quite heartwarming.  Raspberries + pistachio for life.  One of my favorite combinations.

How cute are these little cakelets!  Mini cakes for life! Molly has won me over.  I give in, I think they are the cutest thing to ever happen to the planet.  Feed me, Molly.

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Thanks to this board, I am becoming obsessed with floral arrangements… Oh Pinterest, you do me wrong.

Linda’s amazing instagram feed satisfies me when her posts are far between.  All those flowers and sunsets make me dizzy with envy!  And so many breakfast bowls.  Gah.

When can I move into this beautiful loft-to-be? ASAP, please.

I want to be here. Spring rooftop dinner party.  Wait, why is this not my life again?  (Pinterest, you devil.)

What is inspiring you this spring?  Share your photos, links, and love–I’d love to see!
I’m quite excited for the change of seasons, though, to be honest, I will be less than glad to leave México.

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You can’t tell that I’m very excited for spring based on these muffins, but let me explain myself.
There were quite a few lonely, leftover pears and apples in the house fridge, just calling to be folded into a spicy batter and baked into muffins.

These muffins are soft, with lovely chunks of sweet pear and apple, the buttery batter made with nutty whole wheat flour and 5-spice and cinnamon for a kick.  It’s topped with a crunchy streusel with a touch more of the numbing, warming spices.

The recipe would be equally wonderful with fresh blackberries or even blueberries, and I could see peaches eventually making their way in.  For now, I made due with what I had on hand.

These are a perfect breakfast treat– they are not too sweet, and feel wholesome while still being a treat.

They’re splendid with a good strong cup of tea.

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Whole Wheat 5-Spice Pear Muffins 
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes 12 muffins

ingredients:
for the muffins:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons 5-spice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 small pears, peeled and chopped
1 small apple, peeled and chopped

for the streusel:
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons turbinado sugar
pinch of cinnamon and 5-spice
2 tablespoons butter, cold

directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a muffin tin with papers.
Make the streusel: whisk the flour and sugar together with the spices.
Using a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is clumpy.
Make the muffins: cream butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add sugars, salt, and spices and beat for 3 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the egg.
Beat for 4 more minutes; mixture should be very fluffy and not gritty at all.
Whisk the milk and vinegar together.
Scrape the bowl and add the flour and baking powder and baking soda on top of the butter.
Begin to slowly mix the batter as you pour in the milk/vinegar mixture.
Batter will be thick; gently stir in the chopped pears and apples.
Scoop batter into muffin tin, then top with streusel.
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.