Friday, September 14, 2007

Egg Substitutes.

Eggs are using in cooking mainly as a binder, but (especially when making lighter cakes) beating eggs traps the air which helps the cake rise. Other ingredients can be used instead of eggs to bind, and adding extra raising agents will also help cakes to rise. Replacing an egg with a substitute works better with heavy cakes, such as the fruit cake (recipe mentioned above which used syrup and milk instead of an egg, which maybe would have used only one egg anyway), where lightness is not of paramount importance. The same goes for dense squidy cakes, such Chocolate Brownies.

For light-textured cakes, which use more eggs, it was stated that one egg only be substituted, still keeping at least one or two to add to the batter. It seems a cake would be doomed to failure if all the eggs were substituted. But it would be interesting to see what would happen if they were. Over to you if you wish to experiment and if you do - please let us know the results.

For savoury dishes, tofu - blended with a little milk - is said to be a good substitute for eggs in quiches, sauces etc. Am not sure how much tofu should be used, possibly a tablespoon, but it would probably be no cheaper than using an egg in the first place. When using tofu in a quiche, it was suggested blending in a little mustard to look like eggy-yellow (a white quiche would not look so appetising). An alternative suggestion of mine is to blitz the flesh of half a yellow sweet pepper to a puree and add that to the tofu as a colouring (memo - hold that thought, it could be used in another recipe).

For cakes, there are several alternatives to eggs, the important thing being that any mixing that needs to be done is at the last minute, not in advance.
egg substitutes: each replacing one egg
1 small ripe banana, mashed.
1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tblsp water, 1 tblsp. vinegar.
1 tblsp. apricot puree (as in baby foods).
1 tblsp. applesauce.
1 pkt. plain gelatine dissolved in 2 tblsp warm water.
1 tblsp. golden syrup (used in wartime).
1 1/2 tblsp. oil and the same of water plus 1 tsp. baking powder.

Obviously fruits and syrup help to bind, but it could also be the vitamins in the fruit that might help to give a lift. It is a known fact that vitamin C, added to bread dough, help it rise faster, and having myself added grated apple to a bread mix, have found this does seem to be true, it also made a lighter-textured loaf - good to know when home-made, hand-kneaded bread ends up a bit on the heavy side (as mine was before I got a bread machine).

This may seem strange, but using mayonnaise as an cake ingredient to replace all eggs (and some fats) is fairly common in the US. But, when you think about it, mayo - being made with oil, eggs and vinegar, is not really a million miles away from using the ingredients in their original state. Have used mayo when making a chocolate cake, I can say that it did work. So that's another egg substitute suggestion.

Here is yet another eggless cake from my collection, which (having a feeling of deja vu here) I may have already given, but - due to the topic of the day - worth another airing:
Spicy Yogurt Cake:
8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb. soda
4 oz (110g) soft margarine
4 oz (110g) caster sugar
4 oz (110g) mixed dried fruit with peel
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 dessp. golden syrup
1/4 pint plus 1 tblsp natural yogurt
Sift the flour with the bicarb and spice and rub in the margarine until like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, and fruit. Warm the syrup and pour into the cake along with the yogurt. Mix to a soft consistency. Pour into a greased loaf tin and bake for at 179C, 325F, gas 3 for one hour. After 20 minutes baking time, place a tent of foil over the cake to prevent it browing too quickly.
Tip: to prevent browning, place foil shiny side up to reflect heat away.
Nothing to do with cooking, but place a strong sheet of kitchen foil (or cardboard covered with foil) behind central heating radiators (shiny side towards the radiator) to stop heat escaping through the walls and reflect heat back into the room.