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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

This time of year, when the thermometer can sometimes reach into the triple digits, an ice-cold dessert brings on the happy faces ready to welcome something that offers cooling sensations with each sweet bite. This eye-appealing, frozen torte seems as if it were just invented for the hot months of July and August.

The bonus for the host is that this tantalizing treat can be prepared several days ahead and left in the freezer until shortly before serving. Bring it out about 10 to 15 minutes before serving, making it easier to cut into serving pieces. Because this torte can be cut into small servings, it's the perfect dessert choice for a large dinner party of up to 15 guests.

The appetizers and entrée may be exceptional, and even lavish, but everyone will most likely remember the dessert. If you loved peanut butter since you were a kid and could never get enough of it, you'll find this well-endowed peanut butter torte easy to ravish. This torte is deliriously rich in flavor, densely packed with peanut butter, and perfectly accented with cinnamon to bring out its sweetness. The list of ingredients in this dessert relies mostly on simple, whole foods, yet, the dessert gives the impression of a much more complex preparation.

Enjoy with gusto!

Cinnamon Peanut Butter Torte


Yield: 10 to 12 servings

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whole almonds

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) sweetened dried cranberries
    4 to 5 tablespoons water

    1 1/3 cups (320 ml) pitted dates, snipped in half

    1 cup (240 ml) smooth or chunky unsalted peanut butter
    3/4 cup (180 ml) well-mashed firm tofu
    1/2 cup (120 ml) plain soy milk
    1/4 cup (60 ml) organic sugar
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    2 tablespoons sweetened dried cranberries
    1 tablespoon coarsely ground dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
    6 to 8 sprigs fresh mint

  1. Cover the base of a 9-inch (22.5 cm) springform pan with a piece of parchment paper 2 inches (5 cm) larger. Snap the collar back onto the base, and cut off the excess paper with scissors. Lightly oil the sides of the pan and set aside.
  2. TO MAKE THE CRUST, put the almonds into the food processor and process until they become a coarse, slightly chunky meal.
  3. Add the cranberries and water and pulse and process until the cranberries are broken down into tiny bits and the mixture holds together when gently pressed, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Spoon the crust mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and press the mixture firmly with the back of a spoon to distribute it evenly. Set aside and wash and dry the work bowl.
  4. TO MAKE THE FILLING, put the dates, peanut butter, tofu, soy milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in the food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the filling to the springform pan, spreading evenly over the crust.
  6. Sprinkle the cranberries and peanuts on top and gently press them into the surface. If desired, sprinkle them in a design of your choosing. Freeze the torte until firm, about 8 to 12 hours. Remove it from the freezer about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
  7. TO SERVE, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the torte. Place the pan on a large serving platter. Carefully remove the collar. Decorate the platter with the mint, if desired, and cut the torte into wedges.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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