Vegan Food Nerd


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Dutch Apple Pie

20141026_141021I’m not sure how I’ve never been apple picking before this year (at least not that I can recall) but it’s definitely a fun activity! We went to Carluke Orchards and got a mixture of Northern Spy, Empire, Mutsu and Golden Delicious apples.

We used the Spy and Mutsu apples to make some rustic apple pies, based on a recipe I found over on the Minimalist Baker’s website. Both of these apple varieties make a great pie as they hold their form and don’t cook down as much as a lot of other apple varieties. They also have the perfect tartness.

Original recipe here:
http://minimalistbaker.com/deep-dish-apple-crumble-pie/

We didn’t really change much, and we’ve now made four pies over the last few weeks. It’s a great recipe that is a huge crowd pleaser and will make your guest’s think you have incredibly impressive baking skills!

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Notes:

  • We’ve tried the crust with a mixture of Earth Balance butter and Earth Balance shortening, as well as with just the shortening. Both produce a nice crust, but I thought the shortening alone produced the flakier crust.
  • We also tried the crust with half all purpose and half whole wheat pastry flour, as well as just all purpose. Both were great!
  • Halve the ingredients below if you only need to make one pie, but you may as well make 2 pies while you’ve got all the tools out and freeze it or bring to a gathering.
  • There’s no need to pre-bake the crust for this recipe.
  • The Earth Balance butter and shortening sticks are easiest to use as each packaged piece is marked in tbsp measurements. (1 box has 32 tbsp, 1 individual package from the box is 8 tbsp)
  • Serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream or some dairy free ice cream.

Ingredients (for 2 pies)

Pie Crust (yields 2 10″ crusts)

2 heaping cups unbleached all purpose flour (or 1 cup unbleached all purpose, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold Earth Balance butter (or sub EB shortening)
6 tbsp cold Earth Balance shortening
6-12 tbsp ice cold water

Pie Filling

14-16 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (Northern Spy and Mutsu work nicely)
1 1/2 cups sugar (brown or granulated)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flour
lemon juice and lemon zest

Crumble Topping

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almond flour
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
8 tbsp cold Earth Balance butter

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1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. To make the crust: Add flour, salt, butter and shortening to a food processor and pulse a few times until combined. You should have pea sized crumbs at this point. Add 6 tbsp of the ice cold water and pulse a few more times. At this point you may need to add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until you have a nice dough that scrapes away from the bowl. 9 tbsp of water total seemed to work best for us.

3. Remove dough from the food processor bowl onto a well floured surface. Divide dough into two equal pieces and mold together with hands. Form each half into a 1 inch thick disc and then roll out into an even circle, adding more flour if it gets sticky. Roll onto a floured rolling pin to gently roll into your pie dish or cast iron skillet. Gently form your pie dough to your skillet or pie pan, trim if necessary, and crimp the edges if you desire although leaving it rustic works nicely here. Repeat with your second pie dough. Refrigerate while you prep the apple filling.

4. Apple filling. You can work with half the apple filling mixture at a time if you don’t have a large enough bowl. Mix together 7-8 of the apples, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tbsp of flour for each pie. Add some lemon zest for a nice bright flavour for your filling. It’s actually best to toss everything together as you’re cutting the apples to prevent browning. You can coat the apple slices in lemon juice as well while you continue slicing!

5. Fill your pie dough with the apples. It should be nice and full.

6. Pie Topping: Add the crumble topping ingredients together, minus the butter, and mix together. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork. I actually used my hands as it worked better. Just work somewhat quickly to keep the butter from getting too warm. Divide over your pies, spreading evenly to coat, and push down slightly to pack the topping.

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7. Bake pies for 40-50 minutes, or until nicely browned and the apples are cooked but still have a bit of bite to them. At 40 minutes, top the pies with foil to prevent from getting too browned if the apples are not cooked through. Pop back in the oven until the apples are cooked.

8. Let rest before slicing. Serve warm!

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Harvest vegetable stew

20141016_173321I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting very frequently this month. Life has been busy! We’re still cooking lots but I haven’t been taking the time to write down recipes and take pictures. However, this is the perfect season for a nice hearty stew so I wanted to put something together that is easy, yummy and filling that tastes like autumn in a bowl!

We have been getting bounty bags from the Mustard Seed Co-op that include a variety of local fruits and veggies and we had quite a bit left to use up after Thanksgiving, so I came up with this dish. I also used some leftover seitan roast we had made for Thanksgiving, and it went really well here. You can use your favourite veggie sausage chopped up instead, or make your own, or just leave it out! I apologize for not posting this last week when I made it in case you had some leftovers too.

Notes:

  • The tomato paste and balsamic vinegar in this dish really add to the flavour of the stew and will help round out the flavours. The added acidity they add is something I wouldn’t skip!
  • I used a mixture of mushroom and vegetable broths, but would recommend any stronger flavoured broths for this.
  • I wanted to add some chopped fresh pumpkin as well, but forgot that it was sitting on the counter!
  • My stew thickened up really nicely just by adding the lentils into the pot and letting them simmer in the pot for another 5 minutes or so. If you don’t find your stew is thick enough add a little cornstarch dissolved in water.

Ingredients

1 large leek (or 2 medium) cut into strips or small pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger root, minced
1 small acorn squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3-5 small potatoes, cubed
1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
2 celery stalks, 1/4″ pieces
2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs (sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried savory
1 tbsp tomato paste
6 cups veg broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
1 cup leftover seitan, cubed (optional)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1) Saute leeks in 1 tbsp of olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir and saute another minute, until fragrant.

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2) Add veggies (squash, sweet potato, potato, parsnip, carrot, celery) and saute 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

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3) Add veggie broth, herbs, smoked paprika, coriander, savory and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmerand cook uncovered about 15 minutes, or until veggies are fork tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. If veggies are not tender after 15 minutes, cover and allow to simmer another 5-10 minutes.

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4) Once veggies are tender, add lentils, seitan, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

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5) Heat through, simmering, about 5 minutes more. The addition of the lentils should thicken your stew up nicely. Check for salt and seasonings.

6) Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving to allow flavours to meld together. Serve with crusty bread!

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