“I watched the sunrise today. Couldn’t sleep.”

Moon Pies Recipe

“How was it?”

“Average.”

I decided to turn a room into a camera obscura for this photo (no Photoshop!). A camera obscura is created by letting a small amount of light into a pitch dark vessel through a pinhole. Such vessels include a camera, cardboard box, or in this case, a room with the window completely covered, save for a small hole cut out. The light that enters through the pinhole will project an inverted image of whatever is on the other side of the window (like a house and a tree…not very interesting, but what I had to work with), much like the human eye interprets the world.

candied-starfruit

While the brain automatically flips the images the eye registers so we see the world right side up, a pinhole and a wall don’t have a brain, so we get an inverted image in a camera obscura. After your eyes adjust, the image on the wall will become quite clear, but a camera with a very long exposure will do an even better job of seeing it and will bring out color and detail. Yay, science!

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

So what does this have to do with Mad Men? In the season three episode, ‘Seven Twenty Three’ there is a total eclipse of the sun (you’re welcome!) and it seems to make the characters a little madder. Betty buys a fainting couch, Don drugs himself with secobarbital and alcohol, then gets beaten and robbed by the teenage hitchhikers he picked up, Peggy makes some questionable decisions, and Don is forced to sign a contract with Sterling Cooper. One of the more innocuous scenes is Sally’s third grade class turning cardboard boxes into camera obscurae in order to look at the eclipse.

vegan-moon-pies

With the Space Race underway and the solar eclipse in this episode, I decided to photograph a space-themed dessert in the camera obscura: Vegan Moon Pies and Candied Starfruit. Two graham crackers sandwiched between marshmallow fluff and dipped in chocolate, then garnished with candied starfruit. It’s barely a recipe, but it produces some seriously delicious results. I used peanut butter cookies instead of graham crackers because peanut butter cookies are better than graham crackers.

Get the recipe:

Vegan Moon Pies Recipe with Candied Starfruit
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Vegan Moon Pies with candied starfruit
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free
Ingredients
Moon Pies:
  • Graham crackers or cookies
  • Vegan marshmallows or marshmallow fluff
  • Chocolate
  • Vegetable shortening
Candied Starfruit:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 starfruit
Instructions
For the Moon Pies:
  1. If graham crackers are not circle-shaped, cut them into circles.
  2. Make a sandwich with two crackers and marshmallow fluff. Pop in the freezer for a half hour to make for easier dipping.
  3. Melt chocolate chips, adding 1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening per cup.
  4. Dip sandwiches in chocolate and let set on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
For the candied starfruit:
  1. Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil around 230°F.
  2. Cut starfruit into thin slices.
  3. Add to the saucepan and let boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit in the syrup for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the starfruit to a parchment-lined baking sheet using a slotted spoon. Let cool.
  5. At this point, you can either dehydrate the slices with a dehydrator, or an oven at its lowest temperature (crack the oven door open, even). Let dehydrate until chewy and free of moisture. Mine took a couple of hours in a 170°F oven with the door cracked open.
Photo credit: AMC
Photo credit: AMC

Don’t look at the eclipse, Betty. Your eyes will melt.

camera-obscura-photo

And a final image inside the camera obscura. While Photoshop probably would have been much easier, it would have been way less fun and magical.

P.S. Today the Vegan MoFo blog is giving away a copy of the yet-to-be-released Cheers to Vegan Sweets. Head on over there to enter!

Cheers to Vegan Sweets

Kelly Peloza is the blogger and photographer at Seitan Beats Your Meat, and the author of two vegan cookbooks: The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, and Cheers to Vegan Sweets.

She lives in Chicago and runs a photography business called Kelly Peloza Photo.

8 Comment

  1. This is wonderful. I can still remember how making a pinhole camera when I was in school was just so amazing – and I love that you use starfruit.

    1. Thank you! I’ve always wanted to do this. Luckily it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined.

  2. Oooh, this is so cool!! I want to try that with my room, now. 😀

    Also, with logic like this: “I used peanut butter cookies instead of graham crackers because peanut butter cookies are better than graham crackers.” who can argue? I know that I can’t!!

  3. Oh goodness. That last photo of the camera obscura is so beautiful.

  4. […] Entree: Sunflower Mac, Zig Zags are optional. Side: There’s a lot of beer in this movie, so take your pick: beer battered pickles,onion rings, or zucchini. Dessert: Why climb the Moon Tower (and possibly fall off, smacking your head on every beam) why you can just make and eat moon pies? […]

  5. Wait – that image is gorgeous, but how did you get the entire wall to have the picture on it? Where does the film come in? I think I’m being a bit slow and missing something…. *grin*

    1. No film! If you black out an entire window and make a small hole for light to enter, the image outside will be projected on whatever is parallel to the window. In this case, a wall. It’s magic science!

  6. […] Entree: Sunflower Mac, Zig Zags are optional. Side: There’s a lot of beer in this movie, so take your pick: beer battered pickles,onion rings, or zucchini. Dessert: Why climb the Moon Tower (and possibly fall off, smacking your head on every beam) why you can just make and eat moon pies? […]

Leave a Reply