Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! Week two: VEGAN Margarita Bombe with a Lime Cookie, Tequila Mousse and Grand Marnier Crème Brûlée—three ways!  »

Last week, Laura made an incredible-sounding vegan double-chocolate mousse torte to inaugurate Vegansaurus’ Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! For the second week, we are honored to welcome the proprietor of Vegan Feast Catering, a.k.a Wasabi Peas, a.k.a Janet Hudson to veganize the winner’s dessert, a "Margarita Bombe with a Lime Cookie, Tequila Mousse, and Grand Marnier Crème Brûlée." Sounds insane, right? The elimination challenge was to make a dessert “inspired by a cocktail,” and all their theme ingredients came from “behind the bar,” which is to say, liquor, juice, and garnishes.

In comparison to winner Erika Davis' recipe, Janet substituted agar agar for gelatin, MimicCreme and her famous nut cream for heavy cream, soft tofu for egg yolks, and ground flax seeds in water for eggs. That’s not a lot of substitution, right? Well, first you have to figure out what substitute vegan ingredient would be appropriate where; then you have to know how to manipulate them into behaving like the non-vegan items they’re replacing. Janet, however, is a talented vegan chef, and she came up with an incredible recipe that you could, if you dared, replicate at home! Oh man, you think you’re ready for these bombes—you’re not ready. Too late, here’s Janet!

Trio of Vegan Margarita Bombes, by Janet Hudson

This winning dessert has five components: a lime cookie base, luscious mousse, surprise custard filling, saucy tequila coulis, and fresh fruit topping with a salty kick. And this one is vegan. Top this, Top Chef.

Citrus Crème Brûlée
2 cups MimicCreme or soy creamer
1 cup  soft tofu
¾ cup raw sugar
1 vanilla bean scraped
zests of ½ lemon; 1 lime; ½ orange
3 Tbsp agar agar, bloomed in ¼ cup warm soy creamer

Tart Dough
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup raw sugar
½ cup vegetable margarine
flax seed to replace 2 eggs
zest of 1 lime
2 pinch salt

Tequila Mousses
¾ cup each vanilla sauce ( ¼ cup each flavor)
4½ cups non-dairy whipped cream or nut cream (1½ cup each flavor)
6 tbsp agar agar, bloomed in warm fruit juice (2 Tbsp each flavor)
Tequila to taste
½ cup each: strawberry puree; orange juice; grated melon in Midori Melon Liqueur, to taste

Tequila Compote
1 cup lemonade
zests of ½ lime; ½ orange
3 Tbsp cornstarch

Trio of Vegan Margarita Bombes unsliced, by Janet Hudson

Crème Brulée
1. In a bowl mix sugar, tofu and zests. Bring MimicCreme/soy creamer and vanilla to a boil.
2. Temper hot and cold mixtures together and add agar agar. Bake at 325 degrees till set; this will take approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool down until very cold.

Tart Dough
1. Mix sugar, butter, salt, and flax eggs until creamed. Add lime zest and flour, and mix until incorporated. Place in cooler for 15 minutes; then roll out to ¼-inch thick and cut with 3” round cutter. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Tequila Mousse
Prepare three bowls: melon, strawberry and traditional.
1. Whip nut cream to a soft medium peak. Warm the vanilla sauce with each flavor and add the agar agar. Allow to cool a bit and fold in cream. Refrigerate until cool.
2. Scoop the crème brulée with a small ice cream scoop. Pour a little mousse into individual round molds, place the crème brulée bomb in the middle, and cover with more mousse. Place in the freezer to set.

Tequila Compote
1. Bring the sugar, juices and zest to a low boil. Then tighten a little with cornstarch and add the tequila to taste.
2. Slice some thin lime wedges, strawberries and melon. Set aside.

Paint a plate with the coulis, place the lime cookie on the plate, and unmold the bombe in the center of the cookie. You may cut in half as you wish. Sprinkle with some lime zest and garnish with sliced fruit or lime wedge. Top it off with some coarse sea salt.
Yields six servings: melon, strawberry, and traditional, or a total of 18 bombes.

Trio of Vegan Margarita Bombes, by Janet Hudson

We cannot thank Janet enough for making these for us. The most unbelievable part is that she is this creative on a daily basis! Now ideally, we’d have been onsite to witness her genius in action, and then we’d have eaten them all up (perhaps with a mezcal cocktail), but sadly distance kept your Vegansaurus from devouring these brilliant little bombes immediately after plating. We’ll all just have to make our own, just like you. Let us know if you attempt this recipe, or Laura’s mousse torte, or any of the recipes to come! Tell us how well you did, send us photos! Play along!


Top Chef: Just Desserts, episode two airs tonight, and our second chef is revealed!  »

The second episode of Top Chef: Just Desserts airs on Bravo tonight (10 Eastern/Pacific), which means that we’re ready to unveil our second guest chef (uh, the first guest chef was me even though I’m neither a guest or a chef! but check it out, I veganized a pretty rad dessert!) who will veganize the episode’s winning dessert! Have you been able to bear the suspense? We have, but just barely! 

This week’s guest chef is the MOST AMAZING Janet Hudson of Vegan Feast Catering in San Diego! Janet updates her Tumblr multiple times a day (like us! high five!) and has a huge following on Flickr, because she is not only an accomplished chef, but a talented food photographer. She’s also very generous; although she’s already published one cookbook (buy it!) and is in the process of publishing another, she regularly shares her recipes and techniques with her readers. We’ve featured her amazing food a few times, and once she created a recipe just for us! We are the luckiest! And also, the pushiest!

Janet has been vegan for over 15 years, and has obviously picked up the skillz to pay the billz during that time. Seriously, if you ever want to stare compulsively at a computer screen for hours on end, you’ll tape a picture of my adorable mug to it. Awww…. BUT REALLY FOLKS, you’ll check out her Flickr stream—it’s as prolific as it is delicious! We’re all winners!

We’re honored to have Janet veganize tonight’s dessert, whatever insane concoction it might be. Hopefully it won’t involve some horrible combination like lard and licorice. But if it did (and it might! Top Chef is so crafty!), Janet could do it, she is amazing! Next Monday, we’ll reveal her dessert and the recipe so you can all go forth and conquer TV food in your own home. Ow!

AND FINALLY, here is a video of one of the contestants flipping out about something ridiculous. KILL YOUR TELEVISION. I kid, watch the show and play along!

[can’t see the video? watch it at!]

*Just like last week, no one is paying us to watch or promote this show. If someone decides to give us money to do this, we’ll let you know!

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