Tag Archives: pie

simple pleasures

27 Dec

Things that make me happy:

The Pear Cinnamon Cider from Trader Joe’s is off-the-hook amazing. I’m afraid it will disappear right after the holidays, as many of the goodies they have this time of year do, so I’ve stockpiled several containers of it. SO FREAKING GOOD.

What makes it better? Drinking it with a nice lil’ Blueberry Gas Station Pie. Nom.

Blueberry Gas Station Pie

1/2 recipe Basic Pie Crust
1/4 cup organic granulated sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tbsp. water
1 teas. vanilla

Prepare pie crust per directions and let chill in fridge for at least 45 minutes before using.

To prepare the blueberry filling, in a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Mix until combined and no clumps exist in the cornstarch. Add the blueberries and water and cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until mixture becomes bubbly and berries begin to release their juices, about 10 minutes. Once bubbling, add the vanilla and lower heat to medium-low and continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken and can coat the back of a spoon well. Transfer blueberry mixture to a separate bowl and let cool, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350. Remove crust from fridge and divide into 6 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a round disc, approximately 5-6 inches in diameter. Evenly divide the filling between the dough discs, scooping it onto one side of the dough. Fold dough over and pinch to seal (you may need to moisten the edges of the dough slightly to ensure a good seal). Using the tip of a knife, make a small air vent on the top of each pie. Carefully transfer the pies to a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake pies for 18-23 minutes, or until they look lightly golden and slightly browned on the edges. Remove from oven and let cool before brushing on a light glaze, made from a mixture of powdered sugar and a splash of your milk of choice, combined to your desired thickness.

Makes: 6 pies

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it’s the great pumpkin… harry potter!

26 Oct

I have discovered a new-to-me baking blog, and I’m having a bit of a love affair with it. Joy the Baker is charming and funny, very creative and dabbles in vegan baking from time to time.

As a whole, I rarely use other people’s recipes for baking, but while cruising on her site last weekend, I decided to make her vegan pumpkin bread. And can you believe, I didn’t put walnuts in! Me, avoiding quick bread debris! It wasn’t for lack of trying, alas I was out of walnuts. Plus, I decided to make muffins and add a streusel topping with pumpkin seeds, which trumps walnuts any day. The only other modifications I made was lowering the sugar a bit (to 2 cups sweetener, total) and lowered the oil to 2/3 cup, substituting hemp milk for the other 1/3. The muffins I normally make are lower fat and sugar than these, and they tend to taste like it, too. 😉 Not that it’s a bad thing, I love my muffins, but these were decadent, borderline-cupcake muffins and quite lovely in their own right.

Josie acted as my muffin packaging supervisor. Jumbo muffins, FTW!

This time of year, my love of pumpkin runs wild. I want to bake everything with it, just seeing its brilliant orange color when I open the can (yes, I’m too lazy to make my own pumpkin puree) makes me giddy. With all of my pumpkin baking lately, I had a lone bit sitting in the fridge, waiting to be used… but in what?

I hadn’t planned to make Pumpkin Pasties as part of my Harry Potter food adventure, as it’s already been done, but alas, I read The Sorcerer’s Stone on Sunday and was inspired by Harry’s first trip to Hogwarts.

In addition, I received a frog chocolate mold for Christmas last year, so last night I hopped aboard the Hogwarts Express and got to it!

But wait, what’s a pasty? While not entirely uncommon in the States, this treat is definitely not a household name. Before wardrobe malfunctions, microwaves and Jim Gaffigan, there were pasties, the British/UK ancestor to the Hot Pocket. I say that in jest, of course, because pasties are delicious and Hot Pockets are not only not vegan, but can also cause some unpleasant side effects. Pasties can be sweet or savory and are basically handheld meals or dessert, encased in a flaky pastry crust. They are usually a half circle, but I made mine smaller and circular because I thought it would look cute. For Jim’s sake, I added a bit of glaze, as well.

*Note the chocolate frog in the background! Filled with peanut butter, of course!

1/2 recipe pie crust
3 tbsp. dark sugar
1/2 teas. cornstarch
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/4 teas. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 recipe pie crust

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the spices and mix then add the pumpkin and combine until well incorporated. Roll out the pie crust and cut into 12 rounds, using a biscuit cutter or the mouth of a drinking glass. Scoop the pumpkin filling into the center of 6 of the rounds (I used a cookie scoop and it worked perfectly). Then top with the top crust and seal edges, using water if needed. Cut a tiny hole to vent and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until edges are golden.

Let pasties cool and eat plain or if you or a loved one has a glaze addiction, whip up a little with some maple extract, if you have it, and top each pasty.

cheeze pah

17 Sep

*side note: I’ve been selected again to participate in Foodie Fights! The ingredients are excellent, so be sure to check back on Monday to see what I’ve made and to vote!

When you make a cheesecake in a pie tin you cannot call it a cheesecake. It must be called a cheesepie. I’m not making up the rules here, people, I’m just saying what I learned on the almighty interwebs.

I wasn’t that excited to name a recipe in my cookbook a cheesepie. It’s just doesn’t sound that appetizing, to me, at least. But alas, I didn’t want to incite the wrath of the foodie cyber gods. Whatever you call it, this is some good cheese%#*$.

The directions for this pie (as well as a couple of others in my book) call for a water bath. A water bath is when you have your baking receptical (pie tin, springform, etc) in a larger pan with sides, filled half way with warm water. If you’ve ever had a cheesecake that was harder around the exterior and cracked in the middle, well, this remedies that. The water helps the pie cook more evenly, keeps it softer around the edges and keeps the middle from cracking.

For anyone who hasn’t done a water bath in the past this can sound foreign and off-putting. It’s SO easy and SO worth it. Take a look at this crazy gadgetry:

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See, it’s not scary at all. It can be a pain to get into the oven, depending on how tall the sides of your pan are, but otherwise it’s a cinch. A word of advice, however- if you’re using a springform pan, wrap the bottom and sides with a couple of pieces of tin foil. This keeps any water leaking disasters from happening to your goods.

Here is the recipe for this beauty. It’s not really hard, but it does have a handful of steps that require wait time between each step. And it has a long cool time. I would suggest making this pie the day before you need it so it has time to set up and you don’t feel rushed.

Strawberry Lemonade Cheesepie (from 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes)

Prep time before baking: 45 minutes
Skill level: 4 whisks

½ Basic Pie Crust recipe (recipe can be found here)
1- 8 oz. container vegan cream cheese
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. yogurt (equivalent to 1- 6 oz. container)
1 aseptic container firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
1 cup sugar
1 teas. vanilla
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 teas. lemon zest (*note, if you like a very strong lemony flavor, double the amount of juice and zest)

Strawberry Topping:
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/4 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, chopped
¼ cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out pie crust and fit to a 9 inch pie dish. Trim edges and crimp. Use pie weights or dried beans on top of parchment to weigh down the crust and bake crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Combine cream cheese, yogurt, tofu and sugar in a food processor or blender until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Add vanilla, lemon juice and zest until incorporated. Pour mixture into pie crust.

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Place pie dish in a larger cookie sheet with high sides. Add enough warm water to the cookie come up to the middle of the outside of the pie dish. This is called a water bath and will keep your pie from cracking, as well as keep it creamy without it getting a skin. If water evaporates while baking, add more water as needed, but only hot water so you do not shock your bake ware and risk it cracking.

Bake pie for 1 hour. Center may not look completely set, but will firm up while cooling. Remove from oven and remove from water bath to cool on cooling rack.

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While pie is baking, prepare strawberry topping. In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add strawberries and water and mix to combine. Over medium-high heat bring to a boil, continuously stirring. Once it reaches boiling, lower to medium. Cook until strawberries get soft and mixture thickens, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Let topping cool completely, occasionally stirring to keep a skin from forming.

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Spread cooled strawberry topping on to cooled cheesepie. Let set in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. Store leftover pie covered, in fridge.

Yields: 12 slices

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dear pie, you’re the best. love, kris

4 May

I always thought I was a pie-hater.

Seriously.

Despite my raging sweet tooth, I would have rather gone dessertless than have eaten pie. On the chance that I did have to eat, so as not to offend, I would eat the filling and maybe the top crust, if there was one. I just couldn’t get into it.

And then I needed to start working on pie recipes for the cookbook, as not everyone is a pie hater. So I perfected my crust, getting it buttery and flakey. Then I started concocting flavor combinations, ranging from the familiar CranApple to the more exotic Pear and Chocolate Cream Galette to the just plain fun Gas Station Pies. The next thing I knew I was dreaming pie, envisioning pie, craving pie. Whodathunkit?

Back up to my childhood and my aunt, baking rhubarb pie. Perhaps there was some kind of fruit in there, too, I don’t remember, but I remember running from that pie like the plague. Rhubarb is something everyone in my family baked with, it is a hearty crop that many of my family members grew. It is very bitter and tart raw, and it’s very stringy like celery. Actually, rhubarb is a vegetable. Maybe that’s why I was scared of it.

Fast forward to this weekend at the farmer’s market where I bought some brilliantly colored stalks of rhubarb, flying home to excitedly make a strawberry rhubarb pie, my first one ever. What happened to me, you ask? I think I finally had some sense knocked into me.

I kid you not, this was the best pie that I have ever tasted. Jim and I ate through 3/4 of the pie in less than 18 hours! When you factor in that 8 of those were spent sleeping, there was a lot of pie consumption this weekend. The tartness of the rhubarb, now soft and the edge of the flavor mellowed, and the sweetness of the strawberries melded together in something altogether magical, filling a deliciously flaky crust. I can’t even express how in love I am with this pie! If it hadn’t tasted so good, I would have been depressed to eat the last piece after dinner this evening.

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Bottom crust, filled with crimson goodness.

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Top crust on and crimped, with a sad-looking strawberry shaped vent, ready to hit the oven!

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Beautifully browned… then it had to sit and cool completely. No one wants a runny pie!

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Oh yeah, baby…

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That’s what I’m talking about…

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 50 for baking and additional cool time

Best Basic Pie Crust (from 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes):
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 teas. salt
1 cup margarine, cold, cut into chunks
1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water

In a large food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to blend. Add the margarine and pulse mixture until it becomes a course meal. Slowly add in water, 2 tbsp at a time, until a dough comes together. Divide dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. Dough can be frozen up to 1 month. Alternatively, combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, blend in margarine until mixture becomes a a course meal. Add water 2 tbsp at a time and rapidly mix together until a dough comes together. Yields: 2 crusts for 1 pie or 2 bottom crusts

Pie filling:
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. corn starch
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1/2 teas. vanilla extract
1 lb. rhubarb, washed and cut into 1/2- 3/4 inch chunks
1 lb. strawberries, washed and cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and vanilla bean scrapings. If using extract, reserve. Mix well until there are no clumps. Add rhubarb and strawberries and mix to coat. Let fruit mixture macerate for 10-15 minutes. If using extract, add at this time.

While fruit is macerating, roll out crusts to fit a 9 inch pie tin. Fit in bottom crust and pour in fruit filling, scraping any residual sugar mixture into the crust. Cut out an air vent in the top crust, or make a few small slits and then cover filled crust with top crust. Pinch edges together and cut off any remaining crust. Brush top crust with a little water and sprinkle on a little sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes with a pie shield or some tin foil overing the edges of the crust. Remove pie shield and bake for an additional 18-22 minutes. The filling should be bubbling if you can see it and the crust should be golden. You may need to place a cookie sheet or some tin foil below the tin to catch potential drips. Remove pie from oven and let cool completely before serving, at least 4 hours. If you cut it at this time, it may still be a little juicy, but with a couple of additional hours the filling will be completely set.

vegan bake sale- pdx peeps represent!

23 Apr

Hey there!

The great folks over at Compassion for Animals have come up with a brilliant idea: a worldwide vegan bake sale! The week of June 20-28, there will be vegan bake sales happening all over the world- how cool is that?

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I am going to host one in Portland, but I need your help! PDX peeps, where do you want your bake sale? My first instinct is Laurelhurst, but I also want it to be visible, what are your thoughts? Who wants to bring goodies? I’m thinking Saturday the 20th… Let’s chat!

I just might some of these bad boys…

Gas Station Pie

Gas Station Pie

Gas Station Pie- flaky, buttery, handheld pies, filled with yummy fruit fillings and a light glaze on top. Hostess can bite it- these puppies rawk my socks.

why doesn’t healthy taste quite as good sweet and carby?

5 Mar

Mmmm… breakfast. Have I mentioned how much I love breakfast yet? 😉

Thanks to the waffle cart in North Portland, Flavour Spot, I fell in love with maple butter and veggie sausage waffle sandwiches a few years ago. But I’m too lazy to make waffles, so we sling pancakes on the griddle and call it good.

Behold the pancake sammich:

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The basic pancake recipe from VWAV with a healthy smear of maple butter and some Yves sausages stuffed in the middle. The back pancake is topped with more of the Mangolicious fruit from Trader Joe’s (I love this stuff!), as I don’t like maple syrup on my pancakes. Nomnomnom…

Last Sunday was the last hurrah for ridiculously good Carby Carbersons, as we are full on our lowish carb (meaning only whole grains and small amounts of fruit) diet now. I made a huge batch of food for lunches for the week Sunday night:

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Millet sauteed with some mixed veggie bruschetta from Trader Joe’s, sauteed zucchini and snow peas and some Morningstar chik’n strips. Man, those things are SO fake, but SO delicious. Last week I made some quinoa and didn’t rise it well enough and couldn’t bring myself to make quinoa again, so millet it was! This is only the second time I’ve made millet and I opted to use our rice cooker. It turned out great. P.S. don’t tell people at your work that you are eating millet unless you want to endure lots of jokes involving bird seed.

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A post-workout meal. Lettuce unwraps with more Morningstar strips (what can I say, they were on sale), drizzled with fig vinegar with sauteed zucchini and some sliced beets. Light but satisfying with a giant glass of water after having Jillian Michaels beat us to a pulp.

The Saturday before the workout started we went to birthday party for a friend of mine and I made two pies. One was the Peanut Butter Silk Pie (see the recipes section on this site) and the other a new adaptation of that same recipe: Grasshopper Cream. It turned out wonderfully, creamy with a perfect balance of chocolate and peppermint. If you like chocolate and peppermint, you will love this pie, I promise.

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1 chocolate cookie pie crust (most prepared ones are vegan)

1 cup chocolate chips
1 & 1/2 boxes extra firm silken tofu (one aseptic, vacuum-sealed box)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup vegan milk
1/2 teas. peppermint extract + 1 teeny splash
green food coloring (optional)

Over a double boiler melt chocolate until smooth and creamy, whisking until smooth. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of chocolate into the bottom of the pie crust and let set in fridge until chocolate has hardened. Let rest of chocolate mixture cool to room temperature.

In a food processor combine all other ingredients, starting with the tofu, except for the additional splash of peppermint and the food coloring. Blend for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour out about 1/4 cup of the mixture into a bowl. Add cooled, melted chocolate to the mixture and blend again until well mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. This would be the time to taste test to see if you want it more pepperminty.

Add the additional splash of peppermint to the reserved 1/4 cup of filling along with the green food coloring if using. Remove pie crust from fridge and pour chocolate filling mixture into the crust. Spoon the reserved green filling on top, pouring it as stripes, and draw a knife though the stripes to make pretty, swirling patterns.

Set in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Pie will have a thick and creamy, pudding-like filling but should hold up well and make stable pieces.

P.S. No one will ever know it’s tofu, I promise. 🙂