The following is a simply veganized version of a recipe I found by Cooking on the Weekends blogger Valentina Wein. I love her creative dessert ideas, but not all of them are really suited for vegan diets. However, with some quick substitution work, we have an end result that is just as rich and delicious as the first - but 100% cruelty (and cholesterol) free! Make this dessert for your next big date night. It's bound to impress!
Port Wine Glazed Plum Cookies with Vegan Vanilla Cream
(Makes 4 servings)
About 5 fresh plums, washed and dried
1 cup ruby Port wine
1/2 cup soy creamer, original flavor (You could probably get away with vanilla flavor too.)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 of a large vanilla pod
1 dozen Newman-O's cookies (Plain Oreos work well too if you can't find Newman-O's.)
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted margarine, melted (Don't bother using Earth Balance for this one because they do not make an unsalted variety yet.)
12 ounces vegan cream cheese, softened at room temperature (about 1 1/2 packages)
1/3 cup sweetened coconut milk
1) Slice as large a piece as possible on each side of the plums, leaving the pit with a bit of the plum around it. Then put each of these pieces on a cutting board, round side up, and with a very sharp knife, cut as many thin slices as possible. Gently place them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and keep refrigerated until you're ready to use them.
2) Add the port to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until it has reduced by about half and is a thick consistency -- like syrup. This should take about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool when it's done.
3) Pour the soy creamer into a small saucepan or sauté pan. Cut the vanilla pod in half, and use a very sharp paring knife to make a slit down the center of one of the halves. Then use the back of the knife, pressing down firmly, to scrape the vanilla beans directly into the cream. Add the emptied half of the vanilla pod, along with the vanilla extract to the cream, and place it over medium heat. Heat just until it begins to bubble along the edges -- it should be hot, but not boiling. Remove from the heat and set aside for at least 20 minutes.
4) Use a food processor fitted with the blade attachment to finely grind the sandwich cookies. You want the result to be smooth and without large chunks. Pour the ground sandwich cookies into a small bowl and mix in the melted margarine. Place four ramekins on a baking sheet, and add 1/4 of the cookie mixture to each one. Using your fingers, gently press it to evenly coat the bottom of each ramekin. Set aside.
5) In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine the softened vegan cream cheese, vanilla cream mixture, and the coconut milk. Mix until it's very smooth, and then add 1/4 of it to each ramekin, on top of the crust.
6) Place the baking sheet with the ramekins in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and ideally overnight.
7) Arrange the plum slices on top of each one, in any pattern you'd like, covering all of the cream mixture. Then pour the (completely cooled) port glaze over the plums, dividing it evenly among the ramekins. Refrigerate at least 2 - 6 hours before serving.