Friday, November 27, 2009

Pie Post_ Pumpkin and Walnut Raisin Pies

Just wanted to post a Thanksgiving update, starting with desserts. I brought the pie to our celebration: vegan pumpkin pie, and vegan apple walnut pie. I decided to do 4-inch tarts rather full size pies, because small desserts are just cuter than big ones.

I made simple short crust pastry: 1:1 flour to shortening with a pinch of salt. I used 1.5 cups flour to 3/4 cup Earth Balance, with ~ .5 teaspoon salt...(I'm not sure exactly how much, as I just eye-balled it.) I think the key to good pastry is ensuring that the fat is very cold and remains so throughout the mixing process.

I found recipes online for vegan pumpkin pie with tofu, but that didn't appeal to me, so here's what I used instead:

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Filling
2 cups organic pumpkin puree
1 cup rice milk
1/3 cup turbinado sugar (this is nice, because it retains some of the molasses flavor)
1/4 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each: nutmeg, allspice, and ginger

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl until well incorporated and smooth. Fill the pastry with the filling and bake in a 425 degree (F) oven for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 and continue baking until the filling is set, approximately 30-40 minutes.

The filling came out smooth, pumpkiny, and nicely husband liked it and he usually doesn't eat anything with cinnamon in the flavors were subtle, but well balanced.

As good as the pumpkin pie was, I have to say, that the walnut raisin was my favorite. For this one, I used Bryanna Clark-Grogan's New and Improved Reliabe Vegan Pecan Pie recipe, but used walnuts and raisins instead of pecans. In the recipe, she gives a couple variations for the sweetener; I went with maple syrup option and it came out lovely and mapley. If anyone makes this pie, I definitely recommend going with the maple syrup option.

And one last note that I have to preface with saying: my mom was a stay-at-home mom, excellent cook, and everything we grew up eating was made from a spray can of whipping cream would have never come within miles of our house....

But all that aside, my mom (whose not vegan, but was totally cool about eating a 100% vegan Thanksgiving dinner) found a can of vegan rice whip at WholeFoods and bought it to go with the vegan pie. I normally wouldn't buy anything like this, nor would she, but given the circumstances, I had to commend her efforts.

We used this stuff on the pie, and it really wasn't bad, but I was a little scared to read the ingredient list. It's basically rice milk and rice syrup packed in nitrous oxide. It's made in Germany.


  1. Rose,

    Your pies look wonderful! I really like the cute little leaf you put on the pumpkin pies.

    The walnut raisin pie sounds amazing. What a great combination!

    Do you remember where you picked up the 4 inch pie tins? Do they have removable bottoms?

    BTW, I totally agree that little desserts are somehow more appealing than one big one. I think it is a girl thing since my hubby didn't get the concept.

    Thanks for the review of the rice whip. I will have to check it out the next time I get to Whole Foods. You may have given me another combination to try in my ISI cannister. I am still determined to figure out how make homemade vegan whipped cream that doesn't taste like soy.

    talk to you soon,

  2. Thanks Alicia,

    I bought the little tart pans at a local grocery called Greenwood Market. They have removable bottoms, which is why I bought them; they make life so much easier.

    I was kind of pissed off though; they were made in China (of course, isn't everything these days?) but the glue they used for the label wouldn't come off the bottom part; I tried everything, but it still left a sticky residue.

    So, I used the bottoms reversed, which didn't make any difference really. I just hate sticky labels on cookware or fruit/'s one of my pet peeves.

    The rice whip is not a product I thought would interest you, but I think if you got the method right, making it with wholesome ingredients would be a winner.

  3. Rose,

    Did you try alcohol on the sticky labels? That seems to work for me sometimes.

    If the rice whip is just rice milk and rice syrup it doesn't sound bad. Unless the sugar on the nutrition label is too high. I expected there would be some sort of stabilizer (like a gum or a starch) in it.

    I have been working on the vegan whipped cream for so long without success. If you have any ideas on the whipped cream I would love to hear them.


  4. The alcohol is a good idea; I tried boiling water as well as nail polish remover.

    The whip does have tartaric acid, carageenan, and gum arabic as well, which I guess are stabalizers or something.

  5. Rose,

    If the alcohol doesn't work, try dish liquid mixed with baking soda. That seems to work on a lot of things.

    I am not positive but I think tartaric acid is a preservative. Carageenan comes for seaweed, I believe, so I should be able to substitute agar. Gum arabic I am not familar with so I have a little research to do. I will let you know what I come up with.

    thanks for the suggestions,

  6. I am going to dream about those walnut raisin tarts every day--perhaps even every hour--from now until I make them. I'm Canadian, and one of the things I miss most is butter tarts, which these are very similar to, except that they contain a few nutrients in the form of nuts. Beautiful pictures, and the large tarts are so attractive!

  7. Thanks Zoa,

    The walnut raisin tarts were my favorite. I'd love to find out more out the butter tarts...they sound scrummy!

  8. Thanks SV,

    I definitely recommend Bryanna's recipe; it was a dream, and I'm not even a "sweets" person.

  9. I know what you mean about the soy whip but I get it exclusively for ice cream sundaes. I ignore the ingredients and pile it up with a ton of toppings and pretend I'm a real life dairy eater!

  10. Naomi Rose,

    It would be delicious on ice cream sundaes...

  11. Thanks Tami,

    I absolutely recommend the walnut raisin pie...Bryanna's recipe for vegan pecan pie, but with raisins and walnuts instead...I"m making that one for Christmas too.


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