Friday, November 29, 2013

Cook: Qualifying Thanksgiving Pies

Happy post-Thanksgiving. Hope everyone is as stuffed and excited to be alive as I am. I seriously have never gone to bed full, slept seven strong hours and woke up still feeling heavy in the gut. The worst part is I don’t even think I ate that much. Something decided to overstay its welcome.

Anyway, enough about my stomach. I want to talk a bit about the life of a vegan cook. Well, more specifically, a vegan baker. The way I see it, the job of a vegan baker is similar to a magician. You want to entertain audiences with sleight of hand movements that leave them asking “Wow, how did they do that?” A memorable vegan baked good is one that fools the taster into thinking not that this is a wonderful vegan dessert, but that this is a wonderful dessert. Period. No elaboration necessary. When a person starts thinking along the lines of this is a good “vegan” dish then you know you’ve lost. Failed. They’ve added a qualifier to your baking and qualifiers are pretty shitty.

For our meal yesterday, I decided to make an apple pie based on this raw vegan crust that was posted earlier in the week on One Green Planet. The pie took a while to cook (and that’s without taking the completely raw approach) so by the time it was done, I was the only one left to try it. What I found was that the filling was spot on. But the crust, not so much. I loved that the crust had no earth balance or butter replacers, it was made just using ingredients that were naturally found in nature. But you could really tell that it wasn’t the same as other crusts on the market. It wasn’t because of the texture, which I found very similar to other non-vegan crusts, it was the taste. There was something slightly off about it. So while I may take the time to make another pie with this crust, it won’t be something I
share with others. It wasn’t magician worthy. It was the type of thing that would cause someone to say, “That was a decent pie, for a vegan.”

If you are ok with that sort of thing, a decent vegan pie, then do this: Line cling wrap into your pie trays. Push in the crust. Heat the crust at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 2.5 hours (I had enough for three mini pies). Remove the plastic wrap. Inside put three apples that have been peeled and sliced and mixed with a bit of cinnamon and lemon juice and a fourth of a cup of brown sugar. Cover the pies with more of the crust and bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until the crust is slightly browning. Remove it, eat it and sell it how you may.

What it sounds like