Eggless baking: Try these egg substitutes to make flawless desserts this Diwali
The festive season calls for eggless confectionery. We round the substitutes the experts are using. And the ones they’re avoidingHT48HRS_Special Updated: Oct 20, 2016 17:36 IST
For the last seven years, Pooja Dhingra of Le15 Patisserie was trying to perfect an eggless macaron. Running a bakery in Mumbai — where a sizeable chunk of her customers are vegetarian, and festivals such as Diwali and Navratri often involve vegetarian cooking — having eggless versions of signature desserts was important. “Egg white is the main ingredient in a macaron. People, including my own staff, who don’t eat eggs wanted to eat a macaron, but couldn’t. When I visited Paris a few years ago, I spoke to my teachers and chefs at LCB (Le Cordon Bleu) and asked if eggs could be substituted, and even they said no,” says Dhingra.
After years of research, Dhingra had her eureka moment recently. She’d managed to create an eggless version of macarons, now available at her bakery. “I used a protein replacement for the eggs. It’s like a natural protein powder. One teaspoon of this powder is equivalent to one egg,” she says, adding, “That’s my secret ingredient.”
While our grandmothers may have perfected the art of eggless baking in the age of pressure cooker cakes, modern desserts such as mousse, brownies and cookies require some amount of egg. Eggs — whether used wholly, just the yolk or whites — give texture, and offer certain airiness to desserts.
Baker Mohit Khilnani of Cocoatease, an Andheri-based bakery, uses applesauce for his eggless treats. “We get a lot of requests for eggless desserts, especially for events, and larger functions like weddings,” he says. Another favourite substitute at Cocoatease is condensed milk, as it gives a nice creamy texture to desserts. It works particularly well for dense chocolate cakes.
Nuts and seeds
According to chef and baker Sunil Shanmugaum of Wisk By Cakesmiths, a baking studio in Kala Ghoda, flax seeds mixed with warm water is an ideal replacement for egg. “Grind a tablespoon of flax seeds with three tablespoons of water. This mixture is equal to an egg,” he says. However, be sure to use only freshly ground seeds as they tend to go rancid soon. Tofu (made with soyabean) is an ideal vegan replacement for eggs. It is flavourless, and helps make dense cakes and loaves.
Apart from natural substitutes, the market is flooded with synthetic replacements such as agar agar, egg replacer powders and xanthum gum. However, Prangi Jain, research and development head at The Boston Cupcakery (Andheri and Bandra), prefers natural replacements such as apple or banana puree. “These make for fluffy cakes and fruity desserts,” she says.
At Hakkasan, known for its signature desserts such as dark chocolate mousse with mandarin sorbet and citrus tart, agar agar features prominently in eggless variations. Agar agar acts as gelatin in dishes that require structure. For desserts like the chocolate pebble and chocolate hazelnut, a combination of cream, eggless custard powder and unsalted butter often does the trick.