Amazing Dairy-Free Desserts:
A Comprehensive Collection of Dairy-Free Desserts and Information for All Occasions
by Penny Wantuck Eisenberg
By Alisa Fleming, www.GoDairyFree.org – This is a definite go-to cookbook for entertaining and serious dessert cravings. Loaded with dairy-free versions of old favorites (tiramisu, pound cake, crème caramel, éclairs, etc.), Penny Eisenberg’s recipes are sure to add some necessary indulgence back into special diets.
Amazing Dairy-Free Desserts contains 64 core recipes, several with additional varieties noted. There are many options for “ice creem”, pudding, kosher classics (i.e. Rugelach), “cheesecake”, cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, tarts and strudels. The format is beautiful, simple, and very easy to follow. The well-detailed instructions plus specific tips with every recipe eliminated virtually every question I had. I even learned a thing or two, including when to use chilled, warmed, or melted margarine; how to perfectly whip eggs; and the step-by-step process to creating 6-braid Challah.
The cookbook begins with a section on ingredients that includes an explanation of the dairy substitutes used in baking and specific product recommendations from the author. I found this chapter to be very useful, and essential to the rest of the book. Many of the recipes do call for one or more of the following ingredients: soymilk, non-dairy margarine, Richwhip, soy creamer, dairy-free sour cream or dairy-free cream cheese. Please see my notes below on ingredients. The author seems to have a talent for creating decadent desserts both from-scratch and by mastering the perfect combination of basic ingredients and dairy substitutes to transform treats that are traditionally dairy-loaded.
Since most of the recipes contain soy products and/or eggs, I would not recommend it for vegans or those who have an allergy or intolerance to either soy or eggs. However, it is a must have for kosher and lactose intolerant cooks who like to entertain. The author seems to have done her research on milk allergies also, as most, if not all, of the recipes seem to be well suited to this audience.
My Personal Notes on Ingredients:
- Soymilk – This is widely available (I have even seen it in convenience stores). Soymilk seems to be the milk alternative of choice for this cookbook, but I assume rice or almond milks would be suitable for many of the recipes unless otherwise noted.
- Soy Creamer – Silk is the only brand I have come across. It is available in many grocers, natural or otherwise, but if you are having trouble finding it in your local store, Silk Soymilk Creamer can be ordered online through Amazon for a fair price.
- Richwhip – I have heard this is an excellent product with spot-on results. I have not trialed it for two reasons. One, it can be a bit hard to find, as it is only sold through food service. However, Penny Eisenberg notes exactly in her book where it can be purchased. Two, the main ingredients are high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil. That being said, it is known for producing some of the best dairy-free desserts, and it may be suitable for the milk allergic (call directly to verify status).
- Non-Dairy Margarine – I lean towards brands such as Earth Balance (shortening for cookies and pies, buttery sticks for frostings and crumbles), which are all natural and free of hydrogenated oils. Though the author seems to have received the best results with Fleischmann’s, which is also available on Amazon if you are unable to find it locally.
- Non-Dairy Sour Cream – The only brand I am aware of is Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream. I was unable to find this online (will update if we find it), but it is available in many natural health food stores (Whole Foods, Wild Oats, etc.). I have heard rumor that Tofutti discontinued their partially-hydrogenated Sour Supreme brand, but I still see it on every grocery store shelf. Be sure to pick up the non-hydrogenated Better Than Sour Cream.
- Non-Dairy Cream Cheese – The only brand I am aware of is Tofutti. It is also available at stores such as Whole Foods. If you are having trouble finding it in your local area, the Non-hydrogenated Tofutti (yellow package) can be ordered online through Amazon. There are still packages of the partially-hydrogenated Tofutti floating around in stores.
Amazing Dairy Free Desserts is available from: