Mini S’mores Pie

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On this episode of Vegan Meringue Adventures: Mini S’mores Pies! After making Lemon Meringue Pie and Vegan Lucky Charms, S’mores Pie was next on my list. These mini pies have a soft graham cracker crust, a chocolate filling somewhere between pudding and ganache, and toasted marshmallow fluff.

The recipe is really a group effort and a combination of tried-and-true recipes. I used the Marshmallow Fluff from Seitan is My Motor and the graham cracker dough from my first book, The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. Using the graham cracker dough rather than crumbs makes this crust crisp and crunchy on the edges, and soft and chewy throughout.

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Mini S’mores Pies

Makes 12 mini pies, using a cupcake pan

Ingredients

Crust (adapted from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur):
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup margarine
3 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1 tablespoon reserved
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling (adapted from a King Arthur recipe):
2 tablespoons margarine
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk

Vegan Marshmallow Fluff from Seitan is My Motor*

*Note: I made half of the Marshmallow Fluff recipe and it was the perfect amount for these pies. You can make the full recipe, of course, and have leftovers!

Instructions

For the crust:
In a large food processor, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and salt. No need to sift. Pulse until combined. Add the margarine and continue pulsing the food processor until the mixture looks like small pebbles.
Add the agave or maple syrup, molasses, non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract. Process on medium until the mixture collects into a ball of dough. Add the remaining tablespoon of non-dairy milk, if necessary.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Take golf ball-sized pieces of dough and roll into 3 to 4-inch circles. Press into the cupcake liners, crimping the edges if desired. Repeat with all of the dough. Bake the crust 10-11 minutes. Let cool.

Use leftover dough to make graham crackers to garnish the pies, using a knife or cookie cutters. Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes until crisp.

For the filling:
Put the margarine, chocolate, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and mix thoroughly. Place over medium heat and whisk frequently until it thickens like pudding, 6-8 minutes. Pour this mixture over the margarine, chocolate, and vanilla and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour the filling in the pie crusts. Let cool.

Assembly:
Pipe marshmallow fluff atop each pie. Using a culinary torch or your oven’s broiler (for a few minutes, keeping an eye on the pies), toast the marshmallow topping. Or do what I did and risk burning your fingers by holding the pies over a flame on your stovetop. I haven’t used the broiler in this apartment yet and it looked kind of dusty. I didn’t want to start a fire, okay?

Garnish with chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs, or anything you’d like.

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P.S. This is what happens when you do a food shoot near a cat who is apparently very interested in pie. She hid behind curtains and furniture and jumped out to try and swipe a pie when I wasn’t looking. FYI, she didn’t eat the chocolate or anything else harmful.

Pi Day: Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie

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It’s Pi Day, and vegan meringue broke the internet. Therefore, I bring you pie and meringue.

I heard about the infamous chickpea-based meringue over the past few weeks on Facebook and blogs (like révolution végétale) and filed away the idea for future experiments. Pi Day seemed like the perfect time to try making vegan Lemon Meringue Pie.

Egg white based meringue wasn’t something I ate regularly before quitting animal products. Actually, I couldn’t even tell you if I ate meringue in my pre-vegan days. Therefore my experience with meringue: a) never happened, or b) was totally forgettable. But you know, I like trying out techniques that were deemed impossible just a few years ago. Using leftover chickpea juice is resourceful, and incredibly creative. And everyone is doing it!

The pie crust is adapted from Cheers to Vegan Sweets. I think pie crust can be a little bland, but the coconut oil in this recipe makes it flaky and adds a sweet flavor. I didn’t have vodka, so I replaced it with tequila. This pie is pretty non-traditional already, right? The lemon filling is adapted from a couple of recipes floating around the internet: Mister Nice Guy and Bite-Sized Thoughts. This pie had so many variables, so this is no time to mess around with recipe writing when these recipes are solid.

I doubled the meringue recipe because I wanted to try making meringue cookies as well, but that was absolutely not necessary. A tiny amount of liquid whips up into giant fluffy pillows. The recipe below makes half of what I made, and will still give you enough meringue for the pie and a tray or two of cookies.

vegan-lemon-meringue-pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes 1 pie

Ingredients

Crust:
2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons sugar
⅓ cup cold water plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vodka

Lemon Filling:
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon agar powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
1 cup water
3/4 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest (1-2 lemons)

Meringue:
1 15 ounce can chickpeas
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely ground sugar*
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
*Grind granulated sugar in a food processor so it’s somewhere between granulated and powdered sugar.

Instructions

For the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and cut in oil until dough resembles pebbles. Add water/vinegar and vodka and mix until completely incorporated. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and transfer to a greased pie tin. Crimp the edges (this is a good resource for pie crust). Poke holes in the bottom of the pan with a fork. Bake for 25 minutes or until just starting to turn golden. The pie will be baked again after the meringue step. Let cool.

For the lemon filling: Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk constantly for 5 minutes until the filling is the consistency of pudding. Pour into the baked pie crust.

For the meringue: Pour the liquid from the can of chickpeas into the bowl of a stand mixer (or use electric hand mixers…but you don’t want to do this by hand!). Add the cream of tartar. Whip the bean juice with the whisk attachment until it starts to thicken. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping. This process took me 7-8 minutes, but I’ve read that it can take up to 15 or 20 minutes.

You’ll want to keep it going on high speed until the mixture is the consistency of thick whipped cream. If it’s gloopy, your meringue will deflate. A spoonful of meringue at the proper consistency will not drip if you hold it upside down.

I took a start-to-finish video of the meringue-making process: it goes from liquid to foam to clouds!

To assemble: Preheat oven to 200°F. Pipe dollops of meringue on top of the pie. Bake for 2 1/2-3 hours or until the meringue is toasted. The baking time will depend on the amount of meringue on your pie, and how it’s piped on. Thick layers will take longer to bake. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, letting the meringue set.

To make meringue cookies out of leftover meringue, dollop meringue onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 200°F for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and let dry with the oven door cracked for a couple of hours.

I have a few more experiments up my sleeve, and I can’t wait to see what others come up with.

Happy Pi Day!

Salted Key Lime Pie

vegan-key-lime-pie

Today is National Pie Day (not to be confused with Pi Day). I don’t need an excuse to eat pie, so it seemed like a great day to celebrate. This recipe is adapted from the Agua de Jamaica Key Lime Pie recipe in Cheers to Vegan Sweets. The addition of coconut cream adds a subtle creamy flavor to the tangy key lime base, and the sea salt makes it taste like a slice of margarita. The recipe makes a mini pie, so double the ingredients for a standard-sized pie.

Salted Key Lime Pie

Makes 1 6-inch pie

Ingredients

For the crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the filling:
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup lime juice (about 10 key limes)
1/2 tablespoon lime zest
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
1 tablespoon coconut cream (or more cream cheese)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Whipped cream, coarse salt, and lime slices for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly. If the crumbs are dry or won’t hold together when pressed, add a splash of milk to the bowl.
Grease a 6-inch pie or tart pan with margarine or cooking spray, then press the graham cracker mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until firm. Set aside to cool.

Combine all filling ingredients except the cream cheese and coconut cream in a medium saucepan and whisk to dissolve cornstarch. Turn the heat up to medium and stir frequently until very thick, 8 to 9 minutes.
Turn off heat, then stir in the cream cheese and coconut cream until smooth.
Let sit for a minute, then pour into prepared graham cracker crust. Cool completely on cooling rack, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator until firm.

Garnish the pie with lime slices and whipped cream, and sprinkle with coarse salt.

salted-key-lime-pie

“Sally, go watch TV.”

*Warning: season three spoilers!

vegan-peach-pie

When I was watching Mad Men for the first time. The second time around, I was supposed to pay attention to food, design, and table setting for this project, but alas, I got sucked in and forgot for the greater portion of six seasons. However, there are some scenes that I didn’t need to actively remember because they made quite an impression.

mad-men-peach-pie

One of those scenes is in season three episode four, ‘The Arrangements.’ After Grandpa Gene’s death, the adults are sitting at the dining table, a world away from Sally. When she witnesses a moment of levity, she bursts forth with emotion, exclaiming no one cares that Gene is gone forever, and gets brushed off by Betty. (“Sally, go watch TV.”) Betty snacks on the bruised peaches while the TV pacifies Sally in her ballet outfit. Besides the beautiful and emotive imagery, this scene speaks volumes. While defeated Sally lies on the floor, the adults make no attempt to show her that her claims are wrong, and continue with their sordid, repressed lives.

For me, it evokes Gregory Crewdson*, creator of lush imagery dealing with suburban psychological unrest. His images are not specific to any time period, but there are certainly visual crossovers with Mad Men.

*Sidenote: I attended an artist talk of his where he referred to Mad Men as “the greatest work of sustained art in the past ten years.” See, full circle logic!
mad-men-the-arrangements

Photo credit: AMC

Prior to his passing, Sally became close to Grandpa Gene. He was letting Sally drive his car down the street when he says he’ll buy her peaches that afternoon. Bobby complains that he’s allergic to peaches, but Gene tells him to shut it because his sister wants them. It’s at the A&P buying the peaches where he collapses.

sally-draper-driving

Photo credit: AMC

With this series of events in mind, I decided to make peach pie à la mode as a gesture toward Sally, even though she would be much older now, and also she’s not a real person. Betty probably would probably take it away from her anyway.

peach-pie-vegan

Sweet vanilla bean ice cream and warm peaches offer a short, transient window of time to enjoy the dessert. I styled the photos after the image of the dining room and Sally in her ballet outfit, using dark, moody lighting and sheer fabrics.

mad-men-pie-recipe

Peach Pie

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Crust:

3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup margarine
1/4 cup cold vodka or ice water
3 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

8 peaches (5 cups sliced)
Pinch of lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  1. Make the crust. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl
  2. Cut in shortening and margarine and mix in with your hands until the dough looks like sand.
  3. Add vodka and ice water and mix until a dough forms, adding more water if necessary.
  4. Separate the dough into two portions, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for an hour.
  5. Remove the peach skins by blanching the peaches. Boil a large pot of water, and prepare an ice bath.
  6. Score a small X in the top of each peach. Place all the peaches in the boiling water for 45 seconds, then immediately transfer them to the ice bath. The skins will slip right off.
  7. Slice the peaches and set aside. Wait to make the filling because it will get too liquidy if it sits for too long.
  8. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out one of the chilled doughs and place in a greased pie plate. Poke with a fork so steam can escape. Pre-bake the crust for 8 minutes. Let cool.
  9. Make the filling. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, sugars, spices, cornstarch, and salt to the peaches and mix until completely combined. Pour into pie crust. Dot with butter.
  10. Make a lattice crust with the other portion of dough. There are people with beautiful kitchens on YouTube who can teach you how to make a lattice crust.
  11. Place completed pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Reduce the heat to 375°F and finish baking for 30 minutes.
  13. Let cool, then cut and serve.

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