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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Zucchini Banana Bread with Pumpkin Seeds

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Last summer I could not keep up with the zucchini that was coming out of my garden. I baked with it, cooked with it, ate it raw, and gave it away. This year for some reason I thought planting two zucchini plants would be a good idea despite the overload last year. We have actually had a strange growing season this summer due to the inconsistent weather and frequent colder temperatures so we actually got a smaller yield despite the extra plant. Regardless, looking for different ways to use the zucchini can be a challenge. Luckily, Isa over at theppk.com has a wonderful Zucchini Banana Bread recipe that I adapted the other night to suit my pantry. It came out so wonderfully moist and delicious! If you have the following ingredients at the moment, you should probably stop what you’re doing and bake away!

Notes:

  • We made two loaves, so halve the ingredients if you only want to make one. But you should probably make two.
  • We used coconut oil spray to grease the loaf pans and they popped right out! You could also line the pans with parchment paper to pull the loaves out easily if you prefer.

Ingredients

2 large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two 8×4 metal bread pans with coconut oil spray or a little earth balance.

2) In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork or potato masher. Add the apple sauce,  oil, sugar, and vanilla and use a strong fork to mix well. Mix in the grated zucchini.

3) Mix together the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt – in a measuring cup or medium sized bowl. Add two cups of the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix to combine.

4) Add the nuts and chocolate chips and the rest of the flour mixture, and mix just until no visible flour is left.

5) Divide the batter evenly in your two prepared pans – I just did this by eye. Sprinkle some more chocolate chips and nuts on top if you like as this will give your loaves a nice presentation.

6) Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick or knife. If it needs more time, turn heat down to 325 F and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

7) Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 loaves

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