Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Vegan Pumpkin Peanut Butter Mini-Cheesecakes

Pumpkin and Peanut Butter may sound like an odd combination but it's actually quite compatible--somewhat reminiscent of the more popular peanut butter and banana pairing, just a little subtler.

I liked these cheesecakes. They're fun, nontraditional, and not very difficult. Including the optional lemon juice gives you a more authentic cheesecake tang, but I like them better without (That tang was actually part of the reason I never liked real cheesecake). Use as much or as little as you like.

These mini cheesecakes were an opportunity to try out my new silicon cupcake liners. They worked very well.  Paper liners don't do all that well with crumbs crusts; they tend to get greasy (or stick).
The silicon liners released the cheesecakes easily, and their floppiness allowed me to peel down the sides while pushing up the bottom, almost like a spring-form pan. I was quite pleased with them.

Cross-section view ; )

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Mini-Cheesecakes

1 ¼ cups vegan ginger snaps (about 23 1½ inch cookies)
3 Tbsp oil
1 ½ Tbsp sugar or sweetener

½ cup peanut butter (the thick no-stir kind)
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 12 oz package silken tofu
¾ cup sugar or sweetener
1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp dried orange or lemon zest
dash each cardamom and nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
optional: up to 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (only add if you prefer a distinctly tangy cheesecake; I leave it out)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Making the ginger snap crust
Pulse ginger snaps in food processor until they are fairly finely ground. Add oil and sugar/sweetener pulse until mixture looks like wet sand. Press crumbs into the bottom and up to ½ an inch up the sides of 12 silicon muffin liners. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Let cool five minutes.

Blending the filling

Place all filling ingredients into the food processor (no need to rinse it between crust and filling) and puree until completely smooth. Spoon filling into your cups and smooth the tops. Don’t worry about leaving room; these don’t rise.

Ready to bake

Bake for 20-22 minutes more. They should look firm and not at all wobbly. Let cool completely before you try to get peel them out of the cups

Then enjoy! This isn’t one of those cheesecake recipes where you have to chill forever before eating (although leftovers should definitely be stored in the fridge).

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a fun, stress-free holiday. Or failing that, just have some cheesecake!

Cheesecake: Therapy for Foodies

Friday, November 15, 2013

Savory Whole Wheat Herb Bread (and the really good stuffing you can make with it)

This post is part of the Virtual Vegan  Potluck, a blog ring in which vegan bloggers around the world post at the same time and link to each other. I participated this last May in the dessert category with this Cinnamon Snickerdoodle Sticky Bun Cake. My category is bread this time, and I have chosen to make a savory whole grain herb bread.

Whole Wheat Herb Bread

The classic approach to whole wheat bread is usually on the sweet side. In fact, in many cookbooks that have both a classic white bread recipe and a whole wheat recipe, the latter contains up to four or five times as much added sugar as the latter. Which somewhat counteracts the potential low-glycemic benefits of whole grains and can also be incompatible in recipes designed for less-sweet white bread.

But this is not the only possible option. A savory take on wheat bread can be quite refreshing and delicious. Such breads also work much better as ingredients in savory recipes such as stuffing or croutons. Here is my favorite “ingredient” bread—it’s flavorful, and has an absorbent but sturdy texture that toasts well and doesn’t get soggy with mixed with liquids.

It’s also a very easy and relatively quick recipe. Bread making can be both intimidating and time consuming. An average bread recipe typically takes at least three hours of rising, kneading and baking. And some extend the process over days. This one takes only an hour and a half total (quite short for a yeast bread) and requires no kneading or proofing. This makes baking a whole loaf of bread just to be hacked up and put into a recipe more feasible than with a more difficult bread recipe. The only problem is keeping people away from the bread long to make the stuffing. :)

Mmmm, fresh homemade bread....


Savory Whole Wheat Herb Bread

2 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour
2 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 2/3 cups warm water (about 115 degrees F)

Herbs and Seasonings:
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dill weed


Mix together all dry ingredients, including herbs and seasonings, in a large mixing bowl. Warm your water, being careful not to let it get more than a few degrees above your target of 115 degrees. Warm water helps yeast work efficiently; excessively hot water can damage or even destroy yeast. This a a step that's worth being precise with--I use a candy thermometer to check my water temperature.

Note: If you don't have a candy thermometer or are opposed to using one for a basic bread recipe, you can try bringing 2/3 cup of water to a boil in a kettle or microwave and then mixing it with 1 cup of cool tap water. Then you should have 1 2/3 cups of water that is (roughly) 110 to 115 degrees. This is not quite as reliable as the thermometer but should be good enough.
The rising dough

Mix your warmed water into your dry ingredients, stirring and scraping the sides and bottom until there are no dry patches. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray on the bottom. Place in a warm, draft-free place (I use a turned-off oven or microwave with the door closed) for 30 minutes. The dough should have doubled in size; give it another 5-10 minutes if it has not.

Before second rise

Stir the dough briefly to punch down and then scrape it into a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Using an oiled or sprayed spatula will make this process easier, as it will be a rather sticky dough.

After second rise and ready to bake

Cover the loaf pan with sprayed plastic wrap (you can use the same piece as before) and let rise again in your draft-free spot for another 20-30 minutes. The dough should rise up to the top of the loaf pan or a little over.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F five to ten minutes before the end of the second rising time.

Remove the plastic wrap from the loaf pan and bake the bread 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned.
in the oven
cooling on rack

Flip the loaf out of the pan to cool on a rack. Let cool about 45 minutes before slicing.

Savory Herb Bread, Sliced and ready to eat



Full-Flavored Whole Wheat Vegan Stuffing Recipe—Made with Homemade Herb Bread

So what can you do now that you have a nice savory loaf of wheat bread? Make stuffing!
Bread with herbs and seasonings baked right in makes an excellent stuffing or dressing. Using homemade herb bread is a very effective way to get great flavor deep into bread, rather than just mixing the herbs in at the end and hoping they soak in. This technique of using pre-flavored bread is actually used by major brands of store-bought dressing mixes, too.

 (Did you know, using the term dressing for stuffing comes from the Victorian era, when the word stuffing was considered “vulgar.” Probably because it put people in mind of where it was going to be shoved.)

Anyway, this dressing was the best I have made from scratch so far. There are a lot of different ways to vary it—add-ins that can be sautéed with the onions and celery, mix-ins that are stirred in right before baking. The leek version (which is pictured) was very good.

Whole Wheat Leek Stuffing


Savory Vegan Stuffing


¾ of a loaf of Savory Whole Wheat Herb Bread, above (one recipe minus 3-4 slices)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery

1 ½ cups thinly sliced leeks OR other sauté-able add-ins such as mushrooms, shallots, bell peppers, diced apples/pears, fennel, zucchini, squash or mock meats/sausage

½ tsp salt (more to taste)
2 ¾ cup low sodium vegetable broth

½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp lemon pepper
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp dill weed
½ tsp parsley
¼ tsp ground sage
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Optional Mix-ins to stir in at the end (choose 1 or 2, use up to ½ cup): dried cranberries, cherries, apricots or other dried fruit, nuts such as pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, chestnuts, etc., olives, capers, artichoke hearts, fresh greens such as spinach or chopped fresh herbs (decrease dried to compensate)

Cut the bread into ¾ inch cubes. Spread the cubes out on two baking sheets and toast them in the oven for 50 minutes at 325 degrees F, stirring halfway through. Let cool.

Toasting the bread cubes

Sauteing the veggies

Meanwhile, sauté garlic, onion, celery, and leeks or other sauté-able add-ins in 1-2 Tbsp of the oil. Add the salt and cook until veggies are softened and somewhat browned. Add the rest of the seasonings and cook a minute more. Add the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Cook for a minute or two, then pull off heat.

Stirring in the bread

Stir in the toasted bread cubes and cover the pot. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then stir and let it sit 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust salt and other seasonings. Stir in any last minute mix-ins such as nuts or dried fruit.

Transfer the stuffing to a baking dish and brush the top with 1 tablespoon more oil. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for 15 minutes more. Watch carefully—the stuffing should be quite toasty and crunchy on top but not at all burnt. You may need to adjust the temp and time if your oven runs hot. Let cool ten to fifteen minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Fresh out of the oven

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in the potluck:
To the previous blog in the VVP
To the next blog in the VVP

By the way, if you're looking for other Thanksgiving ideas to go with your stuffing, you can check out the Thanksgiving, holiday, pie, and pumpkin tags. You might get inspired to try something new this year!
I particularly recommend the Pumpkin Sweet Potato Pecan Streusel Pie and the Seitan Pot Pie with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Wafer Cookies & Icebox Cake

There are quite a few uses for wafer cookies in baking: they can be ground into crumbs for use in pie crusts, layered into retro desserts or even used as a candy base. Unfortunately, most store-bought versions are not vegan. When you make your own version you can customize them even further for special diets. I’ve made a sugar free variation, for example, which worked quite well.

Chocolate wafer cookies


Vegan Chocolate Wafer Cookies

¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
6 Tbsp cocoa or carob powder
½ cup sugar or sweetener
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp instant coffee or caffeine-free coffee substitute
¼ cup oil
¼ cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together all dry ingredients. Stir together wet ingredients, and then pour over dry ingredients. Combine until homogenous, trying not to overmix.

Form into 1 or more logs of 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap with wax paper or plastic wrap and freeze for about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment or silpat. Unwrap each log and slice into ¼ inch discs. Arrange cookies on cookie sheets. Press and shape each cookie with your fingers a little to help it hold together.

Bake for about 11 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let cool completely before assembling into icebox cake or other dessert.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Icebox Cake


And here’s one of those retro desserts I was talking about. An icebox cake is a dessert made of cookies (usually store-bought) layered with either whipped cream or pudding and then chilled overnight. When it is sliced the next day it resembles a layer cake in miniature. Icebox cakes come in many shapes and flavors, most of them not vegan, but some with promise for modification : ).
Here I’ve used a tofu-hazelnut mousse in place of the whipped cream and these homemade wafer cookies in place of storebought ones.

Chocolate Hazelnut Icebox Cake


Vegan Icebox Cake

Vegan Hazelnut Mousse (whipped topping substitute):
1 12 oz pkg firm silken tofu
½ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/3 cup sugar or sweetener
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp soymilk (optional)
dash of cinnamon

One recipe Vegan Chocolate Wafer cookies (above), cooked and cooled completely

For Hazelnut Mousse: Puree all mousse ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely smooth, adding the soymilk if necessary to help out the blender.

To assemble:
Spreading the lined pan with mousse
Line one large loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans with plastic wrap. Smear the bottom of the lined pan with a thin layer of the hazelnut mousse.

Take one cookie and smear it with mousse. Press it against one inner edge of the plastic-lined loaf pan. Take another cookie, smear it with mousse, and press it against the first cookie.

Arranging the cookies in layers

Keep smearing cookies and pressing them against each other until the row reaches the other side of the pan. Make sure the last cookie in the row is smeared on both sides.
If you’re using the large loaf pan, start another row and keep going until you fill up the entire pan. If you are using the small loaf pans you will probably only need the one row per pan.

Covered and chilled

Smear more hazelnut mousse over the top and into the corners and edges.
Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, peel back the plastic wrap, and then slice and serve.




If you don’t want to use wafer cookies, you can use thicker cookies (such as chocolate chip) as long as you briefly dunk each one in soy milk before you put the cake together.

Icebox cakes can be made in different shapes. You could try a round one, or a tall tower.

The sugar-free version of this icebox cake (with both the wafer cookies and the hazelnut mousse made with stevia or splenda in place of sugar) was one the best-received sugar free desserts I have made. It’s definitely worth a try.

If you have access to a commercial version of vegan whipped topping, you could certainly use that in place of the hazelnut mousse.

Icebox cake made with store-bought vegan whipped topping

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Scrambled Tofu Rancheros

A vegan riff on Huevos Rancheros, this was a pretty satisfying meal. It’s a bit of a fancier take on a Mexican meal without being overly difficult or time consuming. If you’re a talented enough multitasker, you can have all three components going at once and finish fairly quickly.

The tostada-like crispy tortilla adds a nice textural component and doesn’t get soggy like a fresh tortilla would. If you’d rather skip it you could use a bed of tortilla chips instead but it wouldn’t be quite the same.

The ranchero sauce is hearty but fairly mild; you can spice it up with some red pepper flakes or ground cayenne if you want to, or just use a spicier salsa.

Scrambled Tofu Rancheros on a Crispy Baked Tortilla


Scrambled Tofu Rancheros

Scrambled Tofu with mushrooms:

1 Tbsp oil
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 14 oz package firm or extra firm tofu, crumbled
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste

Ranchero Sauce:

1 Tbsp oil
½ cup diced onions
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup salsa (mild or spicy according to your taste)
½ cup canned hominy
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp curry powder
½ tsp oregano
1 tsp veggie broth powder
¼ tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Crispy tortillas:

4 6-8 inch tortillas (flour or corn)
approx. 1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
a few dashes of garlic salt


Mushroom Scrambled Tofu
First, make the scrambled tofu: sauté the garlic in the oil until fragrant and very lightly browned. Add the mushrooms. Keep cooking until the mushrooms release their liquid, the liquid evaporates, and the mushrooms begin to brown. Pull about half the mushrooms out of the pan and set aside to add to the sauce.
Add the tofu to the pan with the remaining mushrooms. Add spices and remaining scramble ingredients. Saute until the tofu is fairly dry and somewhat browned.

Ranchero Sauce
Meanwhile, make the ranchero sauce: In a separate pan, saute the onions in the oil until transparent. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, then the beans and the rest of the sauce ingredients, including the reserved sautéed mushrooms. Let the sauce simmer until it’s thick and everything else is ready, at least 10 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

To make the crispy tortillas: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray. Place 4 tortillas on the cookie sheets with as little overlap as possible. Brush the tops lightly with lime or lemon juice then sprinkle evenly with garlic salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes until crispy (watch out for burning!).
Sauce on crispy tortilla

To assemble: Take a crispy tortilla and spoon sauce around the edge in a thick ring. Pile scrambled tofu in the middle. Top with guacamole or vegan sour cream if you wish, and serve immediately.


Tofu in the middle




The sauce can be simplified down to just salsa if you wish, or fancied up further with extra sauteed veggies (bell pepper might be nice) and/or a vegan ground meat substitute.

The scrambled tofu and ranchero sauce could be assembled breakfast burrito style as well.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

White Bean and Leek Soup

This a lower-glycemic, higher protein take on the classic potato-leek soup (vichyssoise). I found it very tasty and satisfying. The white beans gave it an excellent texture without any of the glueyness of the potato version. If you've never experimented much with leeks, you should give them a try. They have a unique mild onion flavor.

White Bean and Leek Soup
White Bean and Leek Soup

3 large leeks
2 15 oz cans white beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 cups cooked from scratch)
5 cup water or veggie broth
2 bay leaves

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon pepper or other salt free seasoning
¾ tsp dill weed
½ tsp dried tarragon
½ tsp dried thyme
3 tsp veggie broth powder or bouillon (omit if using veggie broth instead of water above)

1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional, brightens flavor)

Prepping the leeks
Prep the leeks: Cut off a ¼ inch or so of the scraggly root end, wasting as little as possible. Cut off 3-4 inches of the dark tops and set aside. Take the rest of the leek and cut it in half lengthwise, then slice into very thin half-moons. Separate the layers with your fingers, then place in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with water and swish around to clean off any dirt from between the layers. Pour off the water, refill with fresh, and repeat until you are satisfied with the cleanliness of the leeks. Drain thoroughly. 

Sauteing the leeks

Oil the bottom of a large soup pot. Add the leeks and the salt and cook over medium heat until tender (but not necessarily brown). This will take at least 10 minutes, maybe 20.

Making the leek-top broth

Take the leek tops that you set aside and wash them, separating the layers. Place them in a saucepan with the water/veggie broth and bay leaves. Simmer for anywhere from 10-30 minutes, whatever is convenient—I stopped when the other leeks were done. Strain, and discard the leek tops and bay leaves.

Add the white beans and remaining seasonings to the large soup pot. Add the leek-top broth from the saucepan too. Take an immersion blender and partially puree the soup, leaving a few chunks for texture.

Stir in the lemon juice. Let simmer for a few minutes to blend flavors, then taste and adjust for salt and other seasonings.

You can serve the soup hot with crackers or croutons.  This soup would also be very good served in a bread bowl.

White-Bean Leek Soup with crumbled saltine crackers

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Easy Lemony Glazed Carrots (Low-Cal)

This is a nice way to make vegetables more interesting without adding a bunch of calories. The tangy, lemony sauce is a good balance for the sweetness of the carrots--a better one, in my opinion, than the super sweet and buttery traditional version of glazed carrots.

I like having cooked vegetable dishes like this in the fridge; I find I’m more likely to eat healthy when it’s convenient and already prepared.

Lemony Glazed Carrots

Easy Lemony Glazed Carrots

1 lb carrots

½ cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar or sweetener
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp turmeric
a dash of cinnamon
a dash of ginger
Salt and pepper (optional)

If you’re using big carrots, slice them into coins or sticks. If you’re using baby carrots then just leave them whole.

Steam the carrots until tender (about 10 minutes). You can cook the carrots by an alternate method such as roasting, sauteing or microwaving if you prefer.

Lemon Sauce
While the carrots are cooking, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened. You can use either the stovetop or microwave for this.

When the carrots are done, transfer them to a serving bowl and pour the sauce on top. Stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper if you wish; the lemon makes it taste fine with no salt though.

Stirring in the lemon sauce

Note: The sugar free version of this recipe (using a sweetener such as stevia or splenda) is very good, and so low calorie it's virtually equivalent to eating plain vegetables—just tastier.

Tasty and healthy

Friday, August 16, 2013

Curried Apple and Onion Pan Sauce

A pan sauce is usually a quick sauce that you can whip up in the same pan you cooked your main dish in. Multitasking with two pans is a lot faster if you can manage it, though :)

I served this spooned over Mashed Tofu Cutlets, but other baked or sauteed tofu dishes would work too.

Curried Apple-Onion Sauce

Curried Apple and Onion Pan Sauce

1 large apple
1 medium onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2-3 tsp oil
1 tsp curry powder
1/4-1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
salt & pepper

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar or sweetener
2 tsp cornstarch
6 Tbsp water
1/8 tsp turmeric


Sauteing the apples and onions
Slice the apple and onion into 1/4 inch strips, then halve the strips down to a more manageable length. 
Saute the garlic in the oil over medium heat until fragrant and very lightly browned. Add apple and onion and saute until softened and browned. A minute or two before the apple and onions are done, stir in the curry powder, ginger and cinnamon and let them toast but not burn.

Whisk together all the rest of the ingredients (lemon juice through turmeric) in a small bowl, making sure to mash out any clumps in the cornstarch.

When the apples and onions are done, pour in the lemon juice mixture. Stir continuously as it thickens to your liking; this should happen quite quickly (possibly less than a minute). Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Spoon over tofu or seitan.

Curried Apple-Onion Sauce over a Mashed Tofu Cutlet

If you'd like a juicier sauce, you could double the lemon juice mixture while keeping the amount of apple and onion the same.

You could dice the apple and onions finely and add a little dried fruit or crystallized ginger for a chutney-like effect.

Other fruits and vegetables could be used in place of or in addition to the onions and apples. I think a red bell pepper would add a nice splash of color.

The sugar free version of this recipe, using stevia or splenda in place of the sugar, works very nicely.

A good sauce can really round out a nice meal

Vegan Chocolate Éclair Cake (with Vegan Vanilla pudding and Chocolate Glaze)

Vegan Chocolate Eclair Cake
If you’ve never heard of a Chocolate Éclair Cake before, I must warn you that it is neither an éclair nor a cake. Instead it is a one of those classic assembled desserts that combine various types of instant pudding, whipped topping and other prepackaged foods to a very tasty if not necessarily nutritious or sophisticated effect. These nostalgic recipes are often somewhat troublesome to veganize because of all those inflexible prepackaged ingredients.

The traditional recipe involves mixing prepared instant vanilla pudding with whipped topping, and then layering the mixture with graham crackers and finally topping the whole thing with an entire jar (!) of melted chocolate frosting and chilling overnight.

To veganize it, I whipped up a quick from scratch vegan vanilla pudding in place of the instant pudding (although you may actually be able to find a vegan brand if you like) and replaced that jar of frosting with a light, not-too-sweet chocolate glaze. For the whipped topping, I actually have a local source for a store-bought vegan whipped topping called Smackin’ Whip, so I used it. However, homemade would have worked okay for that too. For a discussion of homemade vegan cool whip strategies and a recipe, look here. I also replaced the graham crackers, which are sometimes difficult to find honey-free, with gingersnaps. Any other thin, crunchy cookie would work too.

With all these homemade components, there’s the issue of taking a very quick and easy recipe and making it much harder and more involved. I compensated for this by making some of the components (such as the pudding) on different days in larger batches, and then assembling the leftovers into this dessert. The final result was therefore not too time or energy intensive.

Vegan Chocolate Éclair Cake

2 cups chilled Vegan Vanilla Pudding (recipe follows)
1 ½ cups vegan whipped topping
30-36 gingersnaps (enough to line the pan three times)
1 recipe Chocolate Glaze (see below)

1st layer of cookies

Line the bottom of an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with 1/3 of the gingersnaps, breaking some of them if necessary.

Mixing the pudding and whipped topping

Fold the vanilla pudding and whipped topping together.

Spread half of the resulting mixture in an even layer over the gingersnaps. Lay a second layer of cookies over the pudding. Pour on the second half of the pudding mixture.
Arrange the final layer of cookies on top, then pour on the chocolate glaze and smooth with a spatula. The top can be decorated with sprinkles or toasted coconut if you like.

Covered with glaze and ready to chill

Chill overnight and cut into squares to serve.

Vegan Vanilla Pudding:

Vegan Vanilla Pudding
2 cups vanilla or plain soymilk
1/3 cup sugar or sweetener
2 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp oil (margarine would be okay too)

Mix together sugar/sweetener, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Add about ¼ cup of soymilk and stir into a smooth paste, mashing any clumps. Whisk in the rest of the soymilk and bring to a simmer over medium heat (or medium low if your stove runs hot). Stir constantly. Simmer 3-5 minutes, until thickened with large bubbles forming. The pudding should be a little thinner than you like because it will continue to thicken as it cools
Simmering away
Take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla and oil. Transfer to a bowl and chill for at least a few hours.

The flavors, such as spices and extracts could be varied as much as you want. Ground cinnamon or coconut extract would be particularly nice.
The amount or type of thickener can be changed as well if you prefer a different texture or have a corn allergy. Potato starch or arrowroot can be substituted for the cornstarch 1 for 1.

Chocolate Glaze:

1 cup water
½ cup sugar or sweetener
¼ cup cocoa or carob powder
2 Tbsp cornstarch 
pinch of salt
½ tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp vegan chocolate or carob chips (more if you like)

Vegan Chocolate Glaze
Whisk together sugar/sweetener, cornstarch, salt and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continually. Simmer about 2 minutes, or until thickened. Pull off the heat and stir in vanilla and chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate melts, then pour on top of the éclair dessert.

This recipe can also be used as a cake glaze, or a hot fudge sauce.

I like this Chocolate Eclair Cake quite a bit. It was creamy and refreshing on a hot day, and convenient to make ahead. 

Chocolate Eclair Cake