Chocolate orange and amaretto mousse

3 celebratory vegan desserts that are much simpler than they look

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Whether you’re craving a bowl of steaming pudding or a spoonful of chocolate mousse, these vegan desserts are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Let’s be real: anyone who follows a plant-based diet will knows that’s it’s totally possible to whip up a satisfying pud without the help of dairy or eggs. Whether you’re craving a caramel pudding, a chewy chocolate chip cookie or a slice of lemon meringue pie, there’s no shortage of sweet treats that will please any vegan in possession of a remotely sweet tooth.

What can be trickier, though, is finding vegan desserts that don’t come with complicated recipes. We want ingredients won’t require five different shopping trips to track down - or even better, might already be sitting in our kitchen cupboards. We want recipes with minimal step-by-steps. In short, we want an easier life.

Celebrate Plant Based Recipes For Every Occasion
Celebrate: Plant Based Recipes For Every Occasion by Bettina Campolucci Bordi

Enter Bettina Campolucci Bordi, who has arrived right on time with her new cookbook Celebrate: Plant-Based Recipes For Every Occasion. A vibrant celebration of food, community, cooking and being together with the people we love, the book is filled with fuss-free recipes that promise to please any palate. Not only is everything entirely free from animal products, but Campolucci Bordi makes helpful suggestions for local, seasonal ingredients where possible, meaning your creations will be kinder on the planet too.

Sound good? Whether you’re a lifelong vegan or simply fancy cutting back on meat and dairy, we’ve three heavenly desserts to cap off a meal in style.

We begin the end-of-meal treats with Campolucci Bordi’s silky chocolate orange and amaretto mousse, which is ideal if you’re in the mood for something light, and looks incredibly chic when poured into 70s-style glasses.

For grey days when you’re in need of a hot-from-the-oven bake, reach for the bread and butter pudding with roasted vanilla rhubarb and homemade custard. Not only it is a great way to make use of leftover stale bread, but there’s a glut of rhubarb now coming into season – stand by.

Lastly, the risalamande takes a classic Danish Christmas dish and remixes it into a plant-based treat. The creamy slow-cooked rice pudding is topped with a sprinkling of warm berries, and in keeping with tradition, a single almond is hidden in the mix for one lucky finder. The only requirement is to keep eating until it’s found – but we reckon that shouldn’t be a problem. 

  • Chocolate orange and amaretto mousse

    Chocolate orange and amaretto mousse
    Vegan desserts: chocolate orange and amaretto mousse

    Bettina says: “Very few ingredients are needed to make this incredibly light and satisfying mousse. It has an added grown-up twist of amaretto, which can easily be skipped for little ones.”

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    • 320ml good-quality coconut cream or refrigerated full-fat tinned coconut milk
    • 3 tablespoons runny peanut or almond butter
    • 3 tablespoons cacao powder
    • 2–3 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons amaretto
    • zest of 1 orange

    For the caramelised oranges

    • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
    • 3 oranges, peeled and cut into slices
    • ½ vanilla pod, split and the seeds scraped out, or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

    To serve

    • grated dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa solids
    • 4 slices of orange (optional)

    Method

    Add the coconut cream and all the other ingredients to a bowl. Use an electric hand-held whisk to mix everything together until fluffy (be careful not to overblend).

    To make the caramelised oranges, heat the coconut oil in a small to medium saucepan and fry the orange slices before finishing off with the vanilla.

    To serve, add a couple of caramelised orange slices to the bottom of each serving glass and spoon in the mousse.

    Top with grated chocolate and an orange slice (if using).

    Refrigerate before serving or eat immediately.

  • Bread and butter pudding with roasted vanilla rhubarb and custard

    Bread and butter pudding with roasted vanilla rhubarb and custard
    Vegan desserts: bread and butter pudding with roasted vanilla rhubarb and custard

    Bettina says: “Do you have leftover stale bread lying around? I know exactly what you can make with it. Reimagined bread and butter pudding with rhubarb and custard. So good!”

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    For the pudding

    • 500ml coconut milk
    • 100g pitted dates
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
    • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 baguette or 500g stale bread (preferably white)

    For the roasted rhubarb

    • 380g fresh rhubarb
    • zest of 1 orange
    • ½ vanilla pod, split and the seeds scraped out, or ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

    For the homemade custard

    • 2 tablespoons cornflour or 2 tablespoons dairy-free custard powder 360ml whole plant milk (I prefer full-fat oat milk)
    • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1 vanilla pod, split and the insides scraped out, or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
    • 2 tablespoons caster sugar or a sweetener of your choice
    • zest of ½ lemon

    Method

    Whizz the coconut milk, dates, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom in a food processor or blender until smooth.

    Tear the bread into a deep baking dish, then pour the coconut milk mixture over the top. Let the mixture soak into the bread for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

    When you are ready to bake the pudding, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4 and bake for 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, make the roasted rhubarb by cutting each stalk into three pieces. Add to a bowl with the orange zest, vanilla and maple syrup. Mix well to coat the rhubarb.

    Line a baking tray with baking parchment and add the marinated rhubarb, pouring any remaining marinade on top. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes once the pudding has been baking for 15 minutes, so they are both ready at the same time.

    While the bread and butter pudding is cooking, make the custard.

    Serve the bread and butter pudding with the roasted rhubarb and some homemade custard on the side.

    Homemade custard

    Whisk the cornflour/custard powder, milk, turmeric, vanilla and sugar together in a small saucepan.

    Bring to the boil on the stovetop while stirring until the custards thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, then remove from the heat.

    Stir in the lemon zest and set aside to cool.

  • Risalamande

    Risalamande
    Vegan desserts: risalamande

    Bettina says: “This is a classic Danish Christmas dish that I have made into a plant-based version. Slow-cooked rice pudding is made extra luxurious with cream ladled in at the end and there’s also a hidden almond for one lucky finder.”

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    • 200g sushi rice (or any rice will do)
    • 500ml water
    • 250ml coconut cream or refrigerated full-fat tinned coconut milk (see cook’s tips)
    • ½ vanilla pod, split and the seeds scraped out, or ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
    • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar or 1 tablespoon maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar
    • 1 almond (to hide inside the pudding once cooked)

    To finish

    • 100ml coconut cream, whipped (see cook’s tips)
    • ½ vanilla pod, split and the seeds scraped out (see cook’s tips), or ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

    To serve

    • warmed berries (such as blueberries, blackberries and strawberries) and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon
    • basil sprigs

    Method

    Boil the rice in the water in a medium saucepan until all the liquid has completely evaporated. This should take no more than 20–30 minutes.

    Add the coconut cream, vanilla and sugar (or whichever sweetener you are using) to the rice and let everything simmer for a further 20 minutes until you have a beautiful, creamy, rice pudding-like consistency.

    Once the rice pudding is ready let it cool down completely.

    To finish, whip the cream and fold in to the rice pudding with the vanilla and cinnamon – and don’t forget to add the almond.

    Ladle into serving bowls, top with warm berries and basil, and whoever finds the lone almond in their dish has a lot of good luck coming their way!

    Cook’s tips

    Whatever quantity you would like to make, just use 1 part rice to 2 parts water to scale the recipe up or down.

    If using a fresh vanilla pod, once you have scraped out the seeds, pop the pod in the rice while it’s cooking for extra flavour and remove before serving.

    Whipped coconut cream

    Select a good-quality brand of full-fat coconut milk.

    Chill the tin overnight in the refrigerator to harden (chilling in the freezer doesn’t work as well). You want to separate the solidified cream at the top of the tin from the liquid. Chilling overnight is key, or the coconut cream won’t harden and will probably be too soft to whip.

    Before you whip the cream, chill a large mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.

    Scoop the hardened cream into the bowl, leaving any clear liquid behind (reserve this for smoothies, soups and stews).

    Whip the cream with a handheld mixer or stand mixer until light peaks form. Be careful not to overmix.

    Use the whipped cream immediately or, preferably, make ahead and chill for at least 4 hours after, which it will have firmed up even more!

    Cook’s tip

    If the coconut cream is too stiff when whipping, add some of the reserved liquid from the tin to help it whip more easily.

    Celebrate: Plant-Based Recipes for Every Occasion by Bettina Campolucci Bordi (Hardie Grant, £20) is out now

Photography: Louise Hagger

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.