Tag Archives: baking

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed creating food. Before I was old enough to be in the kitchen alone, I was outside letting my mud cookies “bake” on a wooden board out in the sun. When I realized that I could tie my passion for animals and baking together, my heart almost exploded.  I truly love it when someone is wowed by something i made, or surprised that vegan food “can actually be good”! (Geez, its mind-blowing and sad to me how disconnected some of us are from eating real homemade foods with no preservatives!) I love showing people that you don’t need to use dairy/eggs in baking. I love teaching others what I like to call “compassionate cooking”!

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Okay, I know… I really need better pictures of these – You’ll have to forgive me. I was in a rush – to eat them. I will take better pictures next time, which will be soon! Hey, I never claimed to be a photographer, I’m just your vegan neighbor who likes to make yummy food!

This recipe is more or less straight from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book “Vegan Brunch”, which may be my favorite of her’s.  I actually own all her books except the pie one, which will be on my Xmas wish list! Chef Isa might slap me if she knew I used lemon juice from a jar instead of fresh lemon juice, but sometimes when you get a craving, you Tim Gunn it… and by that, i mean, you “MAKE IT WORK”. So, Isa’s original recipe contains fresh lemon juice and also 2 Tbsp lemon zest. Next time I’ll make Isa proud, but this time, it was still good enough to where my daughter said “Can i have another cupcake?” when it was gone! Now that’s a good muffin!

I actually had the pleasure (or should I say honor) of meeting Isa Chandra Moskowitz today! She came and had a reading from her new book ‘Isa Does It’ at our local bookstore Avid Books in Athens GA. (BTW, the book is filled with really simple amazing recipes I cant wait to try! Very pantry-friendly recipes & full color pictures! I highly recommend you go buy it!) This past weekend was VegFest in Atlanta, which unfortunately I was unable to attend, though I was happy to be able to be a part of Isa’s visit to Athens. She was very down to earth – and totally funny! Ahhh… just another reason to love her!! I also got to meet & briefly chat with another one of my favorite bloggers, “Vegan Dad”, who was in town for VegFest and was there for Isa’s appearance as well! 🙂

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Me & Isa – Too bad the guy in line behind me was a terrible photographer! It’s a little fuzzy and the light is terrible, but I’m just glad I got a picture! I didn’t want to take up anymore of her time asking for a re-do!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 5 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a muffin tin or line with paper cups.

2) In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt.

3) Mix liquids in a small bowl separately. Make a well in the center and add the liquids. Mix gently until dry ingredients are moistened and no pockets of flour remain. It will look a little lumpy.

4) Fill muffin tins evenly and bake 23-27 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, move out of the tin onto a cooling rack. Devour!

*Please note: I am working on taking better pictures of my food. I think day light is key to a good picture with my particular camera & I made these at night and I just couldn’t get a good shot. I know how important the pictures are to all you “foodies” out there, so just bear with me! 🙂

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No-Rise Cinnamon Rolls

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There is not much like homemade cinnamon rolls. If you have the time, I strongly urge you to make the real deal yeast-risen kind… You can even prepare the dough at night and put it in the fridge to rise overnight, which bakes up beautiful & fresh in the morning… But… if you wake up on the weekend craving cinnamon rolls and you didn’t prepare the night before, well, dang. Sometimes you just have to figure something out!! Which is where these come in.

So, I was kinda wingin’ it with these and they turned out really good!  You can make them with any kind of milk… almond, soy or even coconut milk from a can… and  you can choose between soy margarine or coconut oil for your fat. I have done them both ways and I recommend using coconut milk (for moistness) and soy margarine (for the flakiest pull-apart sections)! The taste was good when using the coconut oil but it didn’t make the sections flaky like when I used the soy butter. The oil made them almost muffin-y, which isn’t the cinnamon roll I was looking for.

No Rise Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour (basically any kind will do! I strongly suggest using at least half unbleached white flour so they aren’t too “healthy tasting” – C’mon, you’re making cinnamon rolls! Splurge! I used 3 cups unbleached flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp soy margarine
  • 1 cup almond OR soy milk OR unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (tip: Valencia’s are juicy!)
  • 2 tsp melted butter (for brushing on dough before sprinkling filling)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (for the filling)
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon (for the filling)
  • frosting ingredients (see below)

1) Mix dry ingredients and cut in the margarine with a fork or with your fingers until well broken up. Pea sized bits are good. Little bits & pieces make for a yummy flaky dough!

2) In a separate bowl, mix your milk of choice, vanilla & oj.

3) Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquids in.

4) Fold the dough gently with a rubber spatula until it is well combined. Try to mix as little as necessary to avoid having tough dough. The dough should be thick but soft. (If the dough seems a little too dry and isn’t coming together, add a teeny splash more of milk. If it’s too sticky, add a tiny sprinkle more of flour. Do this if only absolutely necessary.)

5) Gather the dough into a ball and roll it out into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface. It really helps to roll it out on some lightly floured parchment if you have any. That way when you are rolling it into a tube, it doesn’t get stuck on the counter as easily. Roll it out to between 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick.

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Roll out the dough into a thick large rectangle…

6) Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar. Leave the very edge uncovered, so when you roll it up and pinch it together, it sticks easier.

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Spread the sugar evenly!

7) Roll up carefully & pinch the seam together. Cut the tube into slices (A serrated knife or criss-crossing dental floss to cut the rounds is an easy technique!) Cut them into nice thick rounds… 1  1/2″ wide is good! Im gonna make it a point to shoot for 10 from now on.

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Roll it up!

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Slice it up into thick 1  1/2″ rounds! These rounds aren’t thick enough! Next time I’m making 10 instead of 12.

8) Space out evenly in a rectangular baking pan or squeeze them into a 9″ round dish. Bake at 450 for 12-14 min OR at 375 for 30 min. Always check them at minimum cooking time.

You want to give them a little room to spread out… but the secret to really awesome moist sticky cinnamon rolls is having them close enough to spread/bake squished together…

(Tip: On my first attempt, I gave them too much room. I only put 7 in the pan. I guess I was thinking that way they could get really big, which they did, but the sides were too tough/overcooked from being separated – what I learned is that when they spread together and cook while touching, it makes them way more moist & smushy! So go ahead – jam them all in one pan together!

9) Let them cool for several minutes before frosting them with icing of choice. I suggest Frosting #2.

FROSTING / ICING

Frosting #1 / Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar + 2 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp soymilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Frosting #2 / Icing

So, I was making the glaze, but then I paused because I remembered… When I was a kid, we used to get those Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls that you busted open the tube and they were ready to go with the icing on the side – that thick icing that you had to spread over the fresh-baked rolls with a knife… And I thought, this glaze isn’t going to recreate my memory of those cinnamon rolls. It was just too thin. So I added a few things until it thickened up and tasted just right… So I made the glaze above and added:

  • >1/3  tub of 8 oz container cream cheese (I like Tofutti)
  • a splash of fresh squeezed oj
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a little orange zest (optional)

Blend or whip thoroughly until creamy. Chill until ready to serve. You can thank me later 😉

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These tasted great but there needed to be more rolls in the pan to keep the sides from being over-cooked. Ooooh! They are soooo goood! I strongly recommend making 10 rolls and squishing them all up in there for No-Rise Perfection!

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Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

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Wow! These muffins are amazing! I love making muffins because they are a great breakfast, snack and healthy addition to my daughters sack lunches.  I made this recipe gluten-free* and soy-free. I really love using coconut oil instead of canola when I can. In my experience, it makes for a moister bread. Also, the benefits of coconut are awesome!  Next time I think Im going to try to make them into jumbo muffins 🙂

* Spelt flour is a good substitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt, as it is not 100% wheat-free. If necessary, you can replace the spelt flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing).

I have a bit of an addiction of downloading free cookbooks onto my kindle… And it doesn’t have to be a vegan cookbook either – veganizing recipes is fun and usually pretty easy! Yes, you could say I’m  bit of a sucker for a bargain – a trait I definitely acquired from my Dad! It’s a blessing and a curse… I truly love scouring through thrift stores to seek out unique treasures to bring home! (My home is filled with such things!) And yet I am simultaneously trying to declutter! It doesn’t help matters much that I’m also a major recycler… I try to recycle everything. Like sometimes instead of throwing something out, I will try to repurpose it… this may explain the boxes and piles I have stashed away that I often pretend are invisible! Overall, I see my recycling efforts as positive. A lot of good things have come from my repurposing! 🙂

The base of this recipe came from one of the free kindle books I got called ‘Smart School Time Recipes’. The original recipe was from ‘Andrea at Bakerymanis.wordpress’, to give credit where it is due, though I did end up altering it quite a bit.

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I found these adorable Snoopy cupcake liners at Michaels Craft Store!

Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1  tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes (I used shredded coconut and browned it in a skillet – watch carefully, it browns quickly!)
  • 1 cup mashed banana (this was about 1  1/2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk +  1 tsp cider vinegar (I used almond milk)
  • Topping: 1/3 coconut flakes + 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar (I subbed brown sugar  because I just happened to be out of turbinado! It turned out awesome!)

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with baking cups.

2) Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & toasted coconut) and set aside.

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Toasting the coconut is easy!

3) Peel the bananas and mash gently into measuring cup to make 1 cup. Blend in a food processor along with the oil, sugar, non-dairy milk + vinegar. Blend until smooth.

4) Add wet to dry and mix. (The great thing about baking with spelt is you don’t have to worry about over-mixing as you do with gluten-filled flours!) Fill muffin tins equally with batter and distribute topping evenly among the 12 muffins.

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Before baking…

5) Bake 23-25 minutes until they start to turn golden brown on top. Let cool for several minutes… then DEVOUR!!!

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Yum! Yum!

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I love me some muffins!

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Christmas Gingerbread Cookies… & Chewbacca too.

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So this is Christmas… and what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun…

I really can’t believe another year has come and gone.  Every year, each of us have personal resolutions, goals to achieve, things we want to cross off our to-do lists or our bucket lists… but what have we really achieved as a whole? Are we kinder people? Are we living the lives we were meant to?  Are we believing in and helping each other? These are among the questions I am personally asking myself on the eve of a new year. I don’t mean to give myself a hard time, but I can’t help but feel there is always more that can be done.  There is always more a heart can grow (remember that the Grinch’s heart grew 2 sizes just in one day alone!), more a soul can aspire to, and there is always more help that can be given!

I hope to do more volunteering and things to benefit others this year. I really respect my mom for doing Habitat for Humanity every Saturday. I can tell how very fulfilling it is to her. She just returned from a trip to Haiti where she helped build several houses. (I’m so proud of you, mama!)

One of my goals this year will be to blog more often, since I believe that eating vegan & sharing these recipes is definitely as step towards living a kinder life in general. I also want to play more music (namely the ukulele, guitar and the piano) and letting my emotions out through art.  I used to achieve those two goals rather easily before I had children, but now, my kids take up a lot of my free time. (Even though “more sleep” should be on my list for the upcoming year, I may end achieving more of my resolutions by going to bed later & getting up earlier! I have been meaning to see more sunrises…) What are some of your dreams for the next year?

Anyway, enough jibber jabber. I think I know what you are really here for… (oh- one more thing- sorry about the annoying blue-highlighted drop down ads. They are NOT there by my choice!)

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No kid can turn down a Wookie-cookie!!  Just try!!

“Traditional” Gingerbread Cookies

These “traditional” gingerbread cookies are easy and yummy. And since they contain molasses, they are high in iron – which makes them the perfect cookie for little vegans! I put “traditional” in quotations because I’m not sure how “traditional” Chewbacca gingerbread cookies are! This is our first time making them, but they will surely be a X-mas tradition in our house from now on! (We got Star Wars cookie cutters & pancake molds from Williams-Sonoma as an early Christmas gift.) This dough cuts best when cold, so roll it out in sections and keep the rest refrigerated until your ready to use it!

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 2  1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • for icing: 1 cup powdered sugar + 2 tsp soy milk

1) In a large bowl, stir together the oil, sugars, molasses and soy milk.

2) Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and mix until well combined.

3) Collect the dough into a ball, or 2-3 flattened discs, and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

4) Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out the dough. Make it thin for crispy cookies or make it thicker for chewier softer cookies.

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Here are our Chewbacca cookies, before baking.

5) Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 9 minutes (for soft and chewy) to 12 minutes (for thin & crispy).  Transfer to wire rack and cool. Ice the cookies when cooled.

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To make icing: mix the powdered sugar and soy milk in a plastic baggie by massaging it around until it is thick like toothpaste consistency. Then cut off a tiny tip of one of the corners and ice those cookies! Then sit them aside until they the icing hardens.

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There is (what I’m sure is) another great gingerbread cookie recipe here. Also, these sugar cookies are easy and great for any occasion. We will be making them in a day or two. I am also hoping to get around to making some of these cookie jars & these coffee fudge brownie jars as gifts! Mmmmm!!

With all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and things to do, it’s easy to forget that Christmas is the season of giving… so be sure to spread love, kindness, & peace on earth everywhere you go. Make it your mission to remind others who may have forgotten… It IS a wonderful life!!

Vegan Brownies

I lucked out and got this vegan baking book for free on my kindle recently! This recipe is from the book ‘Vegan Baking Classics’ by Kelly Rudnicki. The book describes these brownies as “a nice balance of fudgy and cakey” that “tastes like rich chocolate”. I think that description was right on the money. This is the first recipe I made out of this book and we all agreed… these brownies were good! 🙂

I can’t help it… I am and have always been a major sweet lover. My kids apparently inherited this trait. Hopefully, they will inherit more of my good traits than my bad ones! Being a parent, its easy to worry too much- you worry about your kids growing up right, if they will make friends easily, you worry about them getting enough exercise, you worry about if they will be kind to others and grow up to become good law-abiding citizens (just to name a few things). I guess that is one reason why I always find myself trying to find ways to make things a little “healthier” (such as using applesauce in place of oil, forgoing shortening or butter when a healthier alternative can be used)…  However, you mustn’t forget that some treats are simply meant to be eaten sparingly and when the occasion arises, one should perhaps just  “let it be”, and celebrate being alive by indulging in something that is… indulgent!

Chocolate Chip Brownies

  • 1/2 cup dairy free shortening (I use Spectrum vegetable shortening)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup silken xtra-firm tofu (I use Mori Nu, which is often found on the store shelves with Asian foods, not in the refrigerated section)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy free mini chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar for dusting

In a mixer bowl with a fitted paddle attachment, beat the shortening, sugar, tofu and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt with a whisk. Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Don’t worry – If your mix is very thick, you are doing it right! (You can also stir in some chopped walnuts here if you want!)

Preheat oven to 350 and spread the batter in a sprayed 8×8″ square baking dish. (Like I said, it will be very thick, so you literally have to spread it out as evenly as possible.) Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick/knife comes out of the center clean. Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar. Cut into 9 squares and serve!

Enjoy me with a nice glass of cold soy milk!!

This is my first time making brownies using silken tofu… but it won’t be the last!  I love trying new sweets. In fact, it is hard to keep myself from baking only sweets sometimes! I have always eaten pretty healthy, especially since I went vegetarian (and even more so after becoming vegan… and even more since becoming a mom!). Being a mom has also made me try new things more often since kids can be pretty picky! (Thanks kiddos!)

** THE QUICK FIX **  If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to make homemade brownies (though I find in my experience it is best MAKE time for homemade goodies),  Cherrybrook Kitchen has a great selection of mixes for brownies, cakes and more! Most of their mixes are gluten-free & vegan… and did I mention delicious? Duncan Hines’ California Walnut Brownie mix is also vegan.

Stay tuned… I’m starting to think about what muffins, cookies and breads will make it into my Christmas goody bags this year! Any suggestions are welcome!

Practically Perfect (in every way) Pumpkin Muffins

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… you all know the song… Well, these muffins definitely just topped my list of a few of my favorite things! They are so tender and moist and… well, perfect… they are “practically perfect in every way”, just like Mary Poppins. (Hey, Julie Andrews – WHY  do these muffins keep reminding me of you?! Well, I’m can’t answer that! But I will name these muffins in your honor!)

You know, I really love how soft and delicate things baked with spelt flour turn out!  My sister & my niece were coming over to visit so it was the perfect reason for baking something… And since my sister steers clear of gluten (with the exception of spelt, which has a very low gluten content) it was the perfect reason to experiment! 🙂

*Please Note: I tagged this recipe as gluten-free, though spelt does contain a small amount of gluten. If you are 100% gluten intolerant, I would replace the spelt flour with a 100% gluten-free baking mix.

I had an idea these muffins would be pretty phenomenal since I got a few ideas from vegan baking goddess Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Post Punk Kitchen website (www.theppk.com)…  I really liked her idea of using of coconut milk in her pumpkin bread for a nice moist bread so I decided to use that instead of soymilk. I also used spelt flour and added a little coconut in and on top of my muffins as well.  My conclusion can be stated in 3 letters… OMG!

Practically Perfect (in every way) Pumpkin Muffins

dry ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup sugar (I prefer fine raw sugar, not white)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • extra coconut for sprinkling over the top

wet ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk – (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1  1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1) Mix dry ingredients well in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well!

before baking

just out of the oven

cooling off

Distribute evenly between 12 greased muffin tins** and sprinkle coconut over the tops. Bake at 400 F for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. The coconut on top should be done browning nicely at that same time 🙂 Cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan and then carefully remove the muffins.

** FYI: filling a muffin/cupcake tin over 2/3 full will cause your “muffin top” to spread and flatten out. These muffins are very delicate and you should know that the tops are prone to wanting to lift off if they aren’t cooled enough before removing from the pan or if the tops are too heavy… You can make the muffins a tad bit smaller (13 or 14) to help keep this from happening if you wish.

Variations (If you dare mess with perfection): You can substitute almond or soy milk for the coconut milk if desired.  I think that lite coconut milk would also work just fine if you wanted a lower fat muffin.  Sometimes I replace half the oil with applesauce when baking, though I have never tried that with this recipe. The coconut can be omitted all together as well if you aren’t into coconut. You may also use regular unbleached flour if you prefer over spelt.

I would imagine that you could easily substitute pureed sweet potato for the pumpkin in this recipe… maybe you could even pop a vegan marshmallow down there in the middle! Mmmm! Sweet Potato Casserole Muffins! Sounds good to me! 🙂

Flaky Vegan Pie Crust… and Easy Apple Crostata

I genuinely LOVE this pie crust recipe. The original version is found in ‘The Joy of Vegan Baking’ , though due to my cabinets needing to be replenished, I  had to make a few small adjustments… much to my delight, the dough still came out wonderfully! If you are in a fix and feel like you don’t have time to make an entire pie, check out my recipe for a simple yet impressive apple crostata! There are so many things to be done with a good crust around the holidays, I would recommend having some dough in the freezer (or refrigerator) for when the baking mood strikes!

FLAKY VEGAN PIE CRUST

This makes enough for two 9″  pie crusts or one covered pie crust (a pie with a top & bottom crust). This dough freezes well or can be refrigerated until ready to be used.

TIP: I always put ALL of my ingredients into the freezer for about 30 minutes before making the dough. The easiest way to do this is to measure your dry ingredients in a bowl, put it in freezer. Cut up your shortening and butter into 1/2″ chunks and put in freezer in a small bowl. You want the fat to stay as cold as possible for the flakiest crust!

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup soy margarine
  • 1/3 cup ice water (plus a splash more if necessary)

(In the original recipe I mentioned above, the entire amount of flour used is unbleached all-purpose flour and the shortening to margarine ratio is 50:50. Feel free to use either version!)

MAKING THE DOUGH (use chilled ingredients)

1) Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the food processor. Blend about 10 seconds to mix well.

2) Scatter the pre-cut shortening/butter over the dry ingredients and PULSE in little bursts until the fat is broken up into the size of gravel or peas.

3) With the machine turned off, slowly drizzle the ice water over the top. Now pulse  several times until no dry patches remain and it begins to clump. Squeeze a bit of dough in your fingers – if it sticks together, it is ready to be gathered up by hand… If not, add a touch more water and pulse again. Do NOT allow the ball to roll into a single mass (such as you would with bread or pizza dough). For a good flaky crust, you want it to hold together but you want it to look chunky, discolored/patchy and rough. You should be able to see little bits of butter or shortening here and there.

4) Divide the dough in half, pressing each into a flat round disc and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes (or up to several days) before rolling. The dough can also be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 6 months. (Thaw completely before rolling.)

Here is a shot of one of my dough discs (The recipe shown HERE will be posted later this week!)

ROLLING THE DOUGH

First lightly sprinkle your working surface with flour.  Personally, I like to roll my dough out right on top of the saran wrap it was wrapped in and use a lightly floured rolling-pin.  That way it won’t stick, it spins easily and it can be flipped right onto my baking sheet or into my pie plate when I am ready!

When rolling out dough, the trick isn’t to “roll”, but to “press” the dough outward from the middle. I roll my dough out from the center, turning the dough as I go so I am rolling outward from different directions. If you get a split in your dough, it may just be too dry… just gently “glue” it back together with a dab of cold water. Roll it out, big and nice – I’d shoot for 2-3″ wider than your pie plate. Most pies are 9″ so I’d say shoot for a circle close to 12″ across.

Rolled out & ready to flip into a pie plate… or turned into a delicious crostata!

TIP: To relax the dough and avoid shrinkage, chill the crust in your pie tin for 30 minutes before filling and baking. If you are making a crostata, just transfer your dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and go for it!… Making a crostata is an easy way to look like you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day… when in fact… you haven’t!

MAKING AN APPLE CROSTATA

This recipe is great for when you don’t have time to make a pie! I would imagine that you can really use any fruit for this simple dessert… I have used apples and peaches (both were a hit), though I would guess raspberries or blueberries would also work.   It appears that a lot of work went into it when you can literally throw it together and get it in the oven in about 15 minutes, start to finish – that is, if you already have pie dough ready!  Serves 4 (though it can be cut to serve 6). Eat it for breakfast… or dessert!

You will need:

  • one pie crust (for one 9″ crust) rolled out into a 10-12″ circle
  • 2 fresh apples (or 2 peaches, if you prefer… I only used one apple in these pictures, but I would recommend two)
  • splash of lemon juice (if using apples)- optional
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp  sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy margarine
  • 1 Tbsp sugar for sprinkling over the top
  • soy milk for the “egg wash”

1) Simply cut the apples into thin slices. Put in a bowl and drizzle a tiny bit of lemon juice over them and toss to keep from browning. I’m not really sure how necessary the lemon juice is, since it’s all getting baked in brown cinnamon anyway! But, do as you wish!

2) Roll out your pie dough and flip it onto a parchment covered baking sheet.

3) Dump apples into center of pie dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg over them. Dot all over with butter.

Roll out dough, pile on the fruit… believe it or not, this is only ONE apple!

Almost ready to bake!

4) Fold up edges gently and carefully around the center, pinching closed slightly if & where necessary. Brush the dough with soy milk and thoroughly sprinkle the remaining 1 Tbsp of sugar over the top.

Bake at 425 F for 16-20 minutes or until golden! Let cool 5 minutes before sliding it right off the parchment onto a serving dish. Serve to the “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” of those awaiting!

An impressive yet simple dessert!

Cut into 4 or 6 slices! Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired! Eat for breakfast or dessert!

(I would like to note that I have made this crostata using spelt flour as well and though it was more delicate, it turned out delicious!)