Inspiration: Vegan baking classes at Le Pain Quotidien

Baffled by butter-free baking? Not sure what to do with that jar of coconut oil, how to bind a cake together without eggs, or exactly what ‘raw chocolate’ is anyway? The new vegan baking classes at Le Pain Quotidien will help point you in the right direction…

I went along to the first of what will hopefully be regular vegan baking classes at Le Pain Quotidien‘s Borough Market branch. The class was hosted by Sean O’Callaghan of the popular blog Fat Gay Vegan (LOVE the name), and run by chef Didier Tayoro, pastry manager at Le Pain Quotidien.

There were about 12 of us stationed around a large wooden table at the back of the restaurant. We kicked off with a glass of something alcoholic and shots of Le Pain’s luscious new vegan hot chocolate (try it – it’s so creamy). It was really interesting chatting to my fellow students as around half were vegan and half were lactose intolerant. Seeing a vegan symbol on a menu is always a reassuring sign for dairy-avoiders, and Le Pain is well-known for having lots of dairy-free and vegan options (including some of the best avocado toast in London). There’s clearly a demand from both groups for these types of classes as this one sold out in 24 hours.

We made some beautiful walnut bread, to a simple recipe which didn’t need any proving. It was delicious eaten warm with a slick of fig jam. But the star dish was the second one – a raw chocolate tart studded with raspberries…

le pain quotidien raw chocolate and raspberry tart

The tart base was made with melted dark chocolate, chopped pecans and dates, flattened together inside a cooking ring and left to chill and firm up. For the top we used cashew paste, banana and vegetable oil to create a thick mixture with cocoa powder, more dates and chopped walnuts. We embedded fresh raspberries in this thick chocolate layer so you could see them from the sides and on top. Hey presto! One easy and delicious chocolate tart to serve to friends of all dietary persuasions.

The classes are £27, which includes the food you bake and a drink, plus the recipes to take home. The next classes are on 7th and 21st January.

See www.lepainquotidien.co.uk/classes

**Jingle Bells! Le Pain Quotidien is also offering a three-course vegan Christmas dinner until 23rd December at some of its London locations.**

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