Making perfect vegan pastries can be daunting since recipes often require loads of animal products. However, for most milk and dairy products, you can easily find alternatives made from soy, almond, or even coconut. Even cream cheese has an alternative that's easy to swap.
Eggs, however, are another story. While substituting eggs in many dishes can be as easy as adding oils or tofu, doing so in desserts requires a bit more finesse. Eggs play an important role in baked goods, so any substitution must have the same effect without impacting taste. Fortunately, many substitutes exist to fulfill all of your patisserie needs.
In order to find suitable replacements, you first need to understand why eggs are used in the first place. They provide structure, leavening, moisture, and richness to a variety of pastries, so finding a proper replacement isn't as easy as picking a common substitute and running with it. Whether you aim to emulsify or leaven, you must find a vegan substance that has the same effect.
The best substitutes for eggs fall into four categories - fruit, seeds, oils, and replacements. Each substitute will impact the structure and flavor of your desserts in different ways with varying benefits and drawbacks.
Applesauce and bananas make great coagulants and thickeners, and they add a healthy touch to your desserts. As a general rule, you should use a quarter cup of applesauce or banana per egg. However, keep in mind that fruit additions will alter the flavor of your confections.
Flax and chia seeds make great replacements because they act as coagulants when ground and mixed with water. However, they don't trap air or leaven, so don't use them in a recipe like angel food cake where eggs are the primary leavening agents.
You can replace eggs with oils, but adding too much can become greasy. Therefore, you should create a mixture of water and baking powder. Whisking together two tablespoons of water, one teaspoon of oil, and two teaspoons of baking powder create a mixture that closely replicates the function of eggs.
A store-bought replacement is often an ideal substitute. Because they are made of starches and leavening agents, these replacements mimic the functions of eggs well. However, they're a bit difficult to find in most grocery stores.
Because so many substitutions exist, selecting the right one can be daunting. Therefore, as a general rule, you should first familiarize yourself with popular vegan recipes, such as chocolate chip cookies made with bananas or applesauce. From there, you can continue to experiment, but keep in mind that not everything will work out. Therefore, in order to better select the perfect substitute, you may want to take a cooking class to improve your knowledge of the fundamental purposes of various ingredients.
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