I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by work and internship-work and other stuff the last two weeks. that’s why I haven’t been blogging. I got a new responsibility at work: I’m now three days per week in charge of the fruits and veggies in the shop. I’m really happy about this, but it also meant more working hours in the last weeks. And since days at my internship are full of amazing work but also pretty long I did not have much energy left when I got home. So instead of sitting behind my computer I rather spent some down-time in the kitchen or rolled out my yoga mat or simply ploffed down on the couch when I got home (Dutch expression).
But I’ve also been picking apples…
In the community garden where I have a little veggie-garden patch there is also a little fruit tree orchard, dating from the time when the garden was a biodynamic farm. I just recently joined the orchard group (just in time for harvest *hehe*) and was able to help with picking some beautiful and tasty apples on a even more beautifully clear and sunny september weekend. On that day we picked “Glorie van Holland” an eating apple with a taste similar to Elstar but better and crunchier 😉 Seriously I’ve fallen head over heels in love with this apple! And luckily I got a full crate of it to take home with me *youpie*! Furthermore we picked some “Bramley’s” apples, which are perfect apples for apple sauce and …
So that is what I made yesterday after I got back home from a meditation workshop. Since baking and preparing food is kinda meditative for me I simply continued the practice yesterday afternoon. 🙂
I don’t have much experience with pies, since we bake more cakes than pies in Germany (or at least in my family). So especially making a crust is still something of an edeavour for me. Luckily “Vegan Pie in the Sky” has turned out to be a great help and a source of inspiration for all kinds of (harvest) pies.
After already having tried the Figgy Apple Hand Pies and the Voluptuous Pumpkin Pie, I opted for the Apple Cream Raisin Pie this time. I’m not that much into crumb toppings (streusel), because I usually find them too sweet, fatty and dry, but my partner really loves them, so I chose to give this pie a try. If I wouldn’t like it I could still be sure that someone would eat the whole thing up with pleasure 😉 But I have to admit, it turned out that I really like the crumb of this pie. It didn’t turn out dry and it didn’t have this floury-taste, because it has some walnuts in it *yay*. The filling turned out perfectly creamy, brimming with tart and fruity apples.
About the crust. I’ve been making crust both with margarine and coconut oil. The margarine crust turned out a bit softer (less crunchy) and had a nice buttery taste. It was also easier to prepare. If using coconut oil the crust will turn out much more crunchy and crumbly and it is more difficult to work with the dough (that’s why I just pressed it into the baking pan, instead of rolling it out). But coconut oil is probably a healthier option than margarine since it’s less refined and since when is a pie crust “too” crunchy?!
Anyway, here’s the recipe (from Vegan Pie In The Sky):
For the crust you’ll need:
1 1/2 cups all purpose-flour (I used 1 cup light spelt flour and 1/2 cup whole spelt flour)
2 tablespoons sugar (I used only 1 tablespoon sucanat instead)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I lowered this to 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 cup cold nonhydrogenated shortening (I use either margarine or coconut oil instead)
4 tablespoons or more ice water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
(1) stir together flour, sugar and salt. cut in the fat, using a fork (or a pastry cutter if you have one) to form a crumbly dough.
(2) stir together 4 tablespoons of the ice water and vinegar and drizzle a third of it over the four mix. gently mix to moisten and gently mix. then drizzle in another third of the liquid and mix again. repeat this process until the dough forms a soft ball when pressed together. wrap the dough in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for an hour.
(3) if using coconut oil, you’ll want to take your dough again out of the fridge quite some time before rolling out the dough since the dough will otherwise be pretty tough. Fit the pie into a 10-inch, deep-dish ceramic pie plate (in lack of a pie plate, especially a high one I used a regular 26cm sprinform pan).
For the pie you’ll need:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used light spelt flour)
1/3 cup brown sugar (I used 1/4 cup sucanat)
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold nonhydrogenated margarine
To prepare the crumb topping:
In a small bowl stir together the flour, sugar, walnuts, cinnamon and salt. cut 4 tablespoons of margarine (you’ll need the other 2 tablespoons of it later) into the mixture until it resembles crumbs. set the crumbs aside and prepare the filling next.
For the filling you’ll need:
1/2 cup unroasted cashews, soaked in water for 2 to 8 hours or until very soft
3 tablespoons lemon juice (I used only 2)
1/4 cup soy yoghurt; plain, lemon or vanilla flavor
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar (I used only 1/2 + 1 tablespoon sucanat)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla, no extract)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 1/2 pounds tart, firm apples, thinly sliced (I used Bramley’s, but Granny Smith or Goudrenet would be good, too)
2/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
To prepare the filling:
(1) drain and rinse the cashews and blend with lemon juice, soy yoghurt, flour, sugar and spices until smooth. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl, where you combine it with the apples.
(2) spread the filling evenly into the crust and firmly pack down the apples (this is a tall pie!) Sprinkle generously with the crumb topping and dot top with the reserved two tablespoons of margarine.
(3) Cover the pie tightly with foil and bake at 215°C (425°F) for 20 minutes. Then turn down the heat to 175°C (350°F) and continue baking for 45 to 55 minutes, until the filling is bubbling on the edges of the pie. Then remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes to let the crumb topping turn golden brown.
Let the pie cool for 25 minutes before slicing it with a thin sharp knife. Enjoy! 😉
P.S. the best thing about baking pie and blogging about it, is that you can enjoy a slice of it with your coffee while doing so 😉