Plant-based recipes from Philip Khoury's A New Way to Bake

Karen Hardy
November 16 2023 - 11:02am
Chocolate ganache tart. Picture by Matt Russell
Chocolate ganache tart. Picture by Matt Russell

Chef Philip Khoury has delved deep into patisserie in an attempt to make desserts that are "cleaner", and that present finer flavours and textures. In A New Way to Bake, he transforms the traditional building blocks of baking by only using natural, plant-based ingredients.

Khoury, currently the head of pastry at the iconic Harrods, in London, has worked at Sydney's Quay and alongside Adriano Zumbo. He is known for pioneering plant-based pastry and captivating customers with his remarkable creations. Check him out at @philkhoury

  • A New Way to Bake: Re-imagined recipes for plant-based cakes, bakes and desserts, by Philip Khoury. Hardie Grant Books. $55. Photography by Matt Russell.
Chocolate chip cookies. Picture by Matt Russell
Chocolate chip cookies. Picture by Matt Russell

Chocolate chip cookies

This chocolate chip cookie is crispy around the outside and soft and chewy within. With rivers of dark chocolate flowing through the middle, it is a straight-up dough that just needs a one hour rest to firm up and hydrate the flour. This is chocolate chip cookie stripped down to its most functional components, each one carefully allocated a role in the delicate balancing act that gives the cookie its specific and much-loved qualities and attributes. Having said that, measure the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda carefully as they have been calculated to give just the right amount of lift, spread and browning.

Ingredients

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g brown or muscovado sugar
  • 0.5g ground cinnamon
  • 80g plant-based milk
  • 100g extra virgin olive oil
  • 5g vanilla extract
  • 260g plain flour
  • 4g baking powder
  • 3g bicarbonate of soda
  • 2g fine salt
  • 180g dark chocolate chips or block dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • sea salt flakes to sprinkle

Method

1. Whisk both sugars, the cinnamon, milk, olive oil and vanilla extract together in a large bowl until fully combined and there are no oily streaks. This is the syrup. You can also use a hand-held blender and measuring jug.

2. In another large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, fine salt and chocolate chips together.

3. Add the syrup to the dry ingredients and mix with a silicone spatula until a dough forms, then mix in the chopped chocolate or chips. Leave the dough to rest for one hour in the refrigerator.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C fan and line two large baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide and weigh the dough into 70g portions, then roll into balls and arrange them on the lined baking sheet, spaced 5cm apart and away from the edge. Sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt onto the dough.

6. Bake for about 12 minutes for a soft, fudgey cookie and up to 15 minutes for cookies that are crispier around the edges. Straight out of the oven, you can make your cookies sexy and perfectly round - use a plain cutter that is 2cm wider than the baked cookie, and rotate it around the cookie quickly to tuck in and "round" the edges. These keep well for up to seven days stored in an airtight container, although they are especially good on the first day before the chocolate has cooled down and reset into chunks.

Makes 12.

Chocolate ganache tart

Phil Khoury is known for pioneering plant-based pastry. Picture by Matt Russell
Phil Khoury is known for pioneering plant-based pastry. Picture by Matt Russell

A fine simple treat. Devilishly simple and decadent.

Tart case:

  • 400g short sweet pastry (see below), with added cocoa variation

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan with an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Make the pastry following the instructions and use to line a 23cm tart case.

2. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking parchment into a large 30cm disc, about 3-4mm thick.

3. You can remove the top sheet of baking parchment and use the bottom sheet to help flip it over into the dish, if you like. Gently press the pastry into a 23cm fluted tin with a removable base. For this tart, the ganache filling is quite rich so it shouldn't be too tall. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the tart so you don't get air pockets and it bakes evenly.

4. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through. If the edges brown too quickly, cover with kitchen foil.

5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before you prepare the filling.

Chocolate filling:

  • 450g plant-based milk
  • 20g cornflour
  • 40g muscovado sugar
  • 350g dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, coarsely chopped
  • pinch sea salt

Method

1. Pour a splash (about 50g) of milk into a small bowl with the cornflour. Mix until all the cornflour has dissolved.

2. Heat the remaining milk with muscovado sugar and bring to a simmer. Add a splash of the hot milk to the cornflour mixture. Return everything to a low heat and stir with a silicone spatula, constantly, cooking until thick and coats the back of the spoon.

3. Add the chocolate and use a hand-blender to blend everything really well. Everything needs to be glossy and smooth. Make sure to scrape the saucepan in between.

4. Pour into the middle of the pre-baked tart case. Smooth until levelled, using minimal movements.

A New Way to Bake: Re-imagined recipes for plant-based cakes, bakes and desserts, by Philip Khoury. Hardie Grant Books. $55. Photography by Matt Russell.
A New Way to Bake: Re-imagined recipes for plant-based cakes, bakes and desserts, by Philip Khoury. Hardie Grant Books. $55. Photography by Matt Russell.

5. Leave to chill in the refrigerator for one hour, until set. Remove from the refrigerator and serve at room temperature. Use a knife dipped in a tall jug of hot water to cut clean slices of the tart once it is set. This tart keeps well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

6. Sprinkle with sea salt just before serving.

Makes 1 x 2cm pie or 8 individual tarts

Short sweet pastry

A fundamental pastry foundation that produces a crisp, short biscuit perfect for any size tart case. This pastry doesn't shrink and can be flavoured in as many ways as you can think of.

Ingredients

  • 50g soy milk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g muscovado sugar
  • 100g extra virgin olive oil or oil of your choice
  • 300g plain flour (gluten free will also work), plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1g salt
  • Method

1. Make the pastry syrup in a jug by whisking the soy milk, sugars and olive oil together until the mixture is glossy and uniform in colour.

2. Add the flour, vanilla seeds, lemon zest and salt to a large bowl, then pour in the syrup and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to combine the mixture together until an even dough forms. Turn it out onto a work surface and press it into a 2cm thick disc if rolling a round shape or square if you want to roll it into a square shape.

3. Lightly sprinkle some flour over the dough, then place it between two sheets of baking parchment and roll it out to the desired thickness: 3mm for small tarts and 4mm for large ones. You don't need to chill this dough beforehand.

4. Line the tart tin by removing the top sheet of baking parchment from the pastry and gently placing the tart tin on top of the pastry as a guide. Use a paring knife to trim the pastry around the tin, making sure there are a few extra centimetres, then remove the tart tin. Use the bottom sheet of baking parchment to help flip the pastry gently into the tin, then carefully ease it into the shape of the tin with your fingertips. Use the side of your finger to press against the edges (into the flutes if the tin is fluted). Before baking, chill in the freezer for 15 minutes, then use the tip of a paring knife to "dock" the base with a few pricks, about 2cm (3/4 in) apart, to stop the base from puffing up.

5. To blind bake, preheat the oven to 170C fan. Bake the chilled pastry in the oven for 12-15 minutes (no baking beans required). To fully bake, give it two to three extra minutes at 160C fan for a golden colour all the way through.

Cocoa variation: Remove 45g flour and replace with 28g cocoa and add 10g additional sugar.

Makes 550g, enough to line a large 23cm tart or 10 individual tarts.

Apple cake. Picture by Matt Russell
Apple cake. Picture by Matt Russell

Apple cake

This cake manages to squeeze in the goodness of up to four apples. The eternally delicious combination of apple and cinnamon makes this a cake (or brilliant muffin) everyone will love. I've talked before about all the incredible nutrients you'll find in apple skins so please don't bother peeling them (easy!) and just blend the apples with the cores trimmed.

Ingredients

  • 300g apples, cored (about 3 apples)
  • 6g ground cinnamon
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 80g extra virgin olive oil
  • 90g plant-based milk
  • 225g plain flour
  • 8g baking powder
  • 4g bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced, for topping
  • 40g demerara sugar, for sprinkling
  • 50g oat crumble (see below)
  • icing sugar for dusting

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan with an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Line the base of a 23cm cake tin with baking parchment or line a 12-cup muffin tray with paper cases.

2. Wash the apples well, quarter and cut out the seeds. There's no need to peel the apple. Add the apples to a high-powered blender or food processor with the cinnamon, sugar, oil and milk and blend until smooth.

3. Add the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to a large bowl and gently whisk to "sieve" and combine the ingredients. Add the apple puree and mix well with a whisk or silicone spatula until just combined and there are no dry streaks.

4. Pour the batter into the lined tin and top with the sliced apple, followed by the demerara sugar and oat crumble sprinkled across the batter. Bake for 40 minutes if making the cake or eight to 10 minutes for the muffins until golden and the top springs back when gently pressed with your fingertips, or a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake or muffin comes out clean.

5. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack, then remove from the tin. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar. This cake keeps very well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Makes a 23cm cake or 12 large muffins.

Oat crumble

Ingredients

  • 80g cold-pressed sunflower oil
  • 60g plant-based milk
  • 50g muscovado sugar
  • 230g plain flour
  • 4g baking powder
  • 1g fine salt
  • 60g rolled oats

Method

1. In a measuring cup or jug, add the oil, milk and sugar, then blend with a hand-held blender until smooth and emulsified. Alternatively, use a whisk and whisk until smooth and homogenous. This is the syrup.

2. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and rolled oats to a large bowl and use a whisk to gently combine them together

3. Pour in the syrup and mix with a silicone spatuala until everything is just combined. You don't need to mix it until a dough forms as it should be crumbly.

4. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and bake according to the recipe.

Makes 400g.

Karen Hardy

Karen Hardy

Canberra Times lifestyle reporter

I've covered a few things here at The Canberra Times over the years, from sport to education. But now I get to write about the fun stuff - where to eat, what to do, places to go, people to see. Let me know about your favourite things. Email: karen.hardy@canberratimes.com.au

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