So I bet you’re thinking that you didn’t read that title correctly, am I right? Or else you’re thinking “but Amber, I thought this was a baking blog? What up with the dinner/ lunch item (or cold for breakfast. Mmmmmmm……) that is the Margherita pizza?” Well worry not fair reader. you are neither going crazy (at least where this post is concerned, I have no idea what you’re insanity level is on a day-to-day basis. “Dammit Jim! I’m a baker not a psychiatrist!” 😉 ), nor have I misinformed you on the contents of this blog. Today, I am in fact bringing you margherita pizza fudge. It’s weird, and I have no idea what made me think of doing this. I completely expected it to be a total and utter disaster which I wouldn’t even be cruel enough to feed to my compost, let alone other humans. I thought I’d be sharing an epic tale of the worst flavour combination ever (because I’m all honest with you guys like that) and you would all be reaming me out for ever thinking this was a good idea. “I mean, Amber, seriously???!! What did you think would happen? Tomato paste? Super salty “cheese”? Basil? No one is going to call that dessert. They’re going to straight up call that a shameful, shameful mistake. Now go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done!!”
To my extreme astonishment however, I quite liked how this turned out. I can’t really describe it. It’s weird, it’s true, but not in a bad way. I only subjected people who are very close to me to taste this, in case I had somehow, unbeknownst to me, burned off all of my taste buds and was living in some kind of bizzaro world where good was bad and bad was good. It could happen. Anywho, everyone who tried it seemed to feel the way that I did. Actually, that’s maybe not totally true. Kevin and my brother both tried it and appeared to have the same reaction that I did. Weird, but oddly good (particularly when you were expecting horribly unpleasant). I left a piece with my mom and she tried it while not in my presence. I told her she’d have to report back to me on what she thought once she ate it. She did not report back. When I saw her again a week later and asked for her thoughts, she was incredibly evasive and changed the subject (possibly using the word “interesting” to describe it. Or she might even have employed the overly positive “well it was certainly different!” 😉 ). So basically what I’m saying here is, I have no idea how you personally would react to these if you try/ make them.
Would I make it again though? Most definitely. Plus, this fudge can’t help but be a conversation starter, so possibly an interesting way to make friends if you take them to a party (either that or everyone will think you’re weird and crazy and you will instead make no friends…or only other really weird friends. But spin the wheel of fate my friends and take a chance, that’s what I say. Just don’t blame me if it doesn’t work out 😉 . That being said though, if you usually end up sitting in the corner at parties making no friends, and that’s what happens when you bring this fudge as well, stop hatin’ on the fudge, I’m thinking the common denominator in these situations is not the fudge. I can only do so much to help you. Perhaps instead you could venture out of your corner and shake what you’re momma gave you (assuming music is playing of course, because otherwise…well…”insane” will likely be a word that gets bandied about that evening – most notably aimed in your direction). Or, if you really want to seem popular, you could pay a bunch of people to pretend to be your friends and treat you like the coolest person in the world. If movies have taught me anything, it’s that this should totally work.
I’m just a fount of helpful party advice here people. Just think of this as your own personal party and food related advice column as well as vegan baking blog. ‘Cause now you’re getting two, two, two blogs in one! (this sentence made me then have to look up where that original “two, two, two in one” phraseology came from because I completely couldn’t remember. I felt better when I found out it originally comes from a series of certs ads in the 60’s. Falling even further down the internet search rabbit hole however made me also find this little Saturday Night Live gem with Gilda Radner, Dan Akroyd and Chevy Chase (feel free to skip to the 1:30 mark which is where the ad parody actually starts. Also interesting fun fact, if you actually watch to the end of the parody, Shimmer Floor Wax/ Dessert topping is labelled as “Shimmer Non-Dairy Floor Wax”. It was definitely ahead of it’s time in the vegan dessert topping department 😉 ).
Yield: 36 pieces
- 2/3 cashew butter (or make your own by processing in a food processor for about 15 minutes, scraping down sides occasionally)
- 2/3 cup coconut butter (or make your own by processing in a food processor for about 15 minutes, scraping down sides occasionally)
- 2/3 cup cacao butter (if you can’t find this, just use 1 cup each cashew butter and coconut butter instead. I got my cacao butter at the bulk store)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped basil
- 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (in liquid form. If firm, microwave to warm slightly)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Candied basil leaves (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon (or less) coconut oil
- 8-10 basil leaves
- Line an 8×8 glass dish with wax or parchment paper (or lightly grease it. The wax paper just makes it easier to take the fudge out afterwards, but it’s not necessary).
- Using a double boiler, allow the water in the bottom to get to simmering, then lower heat to medium-low (or if you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a small saucepan, just make sure to keep the heat on your stove really low and stir constantly). Add the cashew butter, coconut butter, cacao butter and maple syrup.
- Stir constantly until everything is smoothly melted together. Add in the tomato paste and stir until fully blended in. Remove from heat and stir in chopped basil.
- Pour into prepared dish and shake slightly to smooth out the top.
- To create candied basil, preheat oven to 200F. Rub leaves slightly with coconut oil, then dip in cane sugar. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet for 5-10 minutes (depending how crispy you want them. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn). Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Make your “soft mozzarella” by combining cream cheese, coconut oil and sea salt and stirring until fully mixed. The mixture will separate slightly, but that’s actually what you want here.
- Place blobs of “mozzarella” on top of your tomato fudge. Place candied basil leaves on top as well, pressing slightly if need be so it sticks to the top.
- Place in the refrigerator (or freezer) to allow to firm up for a few hours, or even up to overnight. This fudge is a bit softer than other similar ones I’ve made, so you’ll definitely want to store this in the refrigerator.