Vegan Booze-Lover’s Rainbow Pride Pie

I’ve owed a friend a pie ever since she did me an enormous favor several months ago … and so I finally went and made her the pie that I wanted to make her for her coming-out party. There were several mis-made pies before this, but yesterday’s Vegan Booze-Lover’s Rainbow Pride Pie, I suspect, is exactly what I wanted it to be. Be prepared to produce a lot of dirty dishes and take an awful lot of time to produce this. My most recent run for this recipe took two hours of prep, plus about an hour and a half of baking and during-baking work, plus overnight refrigeration of crust ingredients.

Ingredients

Crust
cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup vegan shortening
 cup water (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons)
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
¼ cup vegan margarine, melted
about 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ginger, mace, and/or nutmeg
aerosol Canola (or other vegetable) oil, as needed

Strawberry filling
cups sliced strawberries
½ cup sugar
6 teaspoons cornstarch
splash vodka (don’t be cheap, use something good)

Pear filling
cups chopped pears (about 2 full pears)
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons lemon juice
splash Midori (it occurs to me in retrospect that apple pucker might work instead)
10 drops green food coloring

Pineapple filling
2 cups pineapple, chopped into cubes about ½ inch on each side
½ cup sugar
6 teaspoons tapioca
2 teaspoons lemon juice
splash rum (don’t be cheap, use something good)

Blackberry filling
2 cups fresh blackberries
 cup flour
¾ cup sugar
dash salt
splash whiskey (don’t be cheap, use something good)

You will also need plenty of aluminum foil. No, really: A lot.

Directions

Oven at 375℉.

Crust

All ingredients for crust — including dry ingredients — should be refrigerated overnight. (Yes, really, you should put that flour, sugar, baking powder, vinegar, etc. in the fridge. You want the ingredients to be as cold as possible when you’re working with them; this will help the crust to hold together and to be light and flaky.)

Mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Drop the shortening in, one tablespoon or so at a time, and use a fork to cut in each tablespoon’s worth thoroughly. Continue cutting the shortening into the flour mixture until the entire mixture is even, light, pebbly. Mix the water and the vinegar, adding the mixture into the dough in three or four separate batches, mixing each thoroughly with the fork before adding any more. Patience is key here — do it thoroughly and don’t hurry.

Take two pieces of aluminum foil and sprinkle a bit of flour on each, spreading it evenly to lightly cover the surface of the foil. Pull half of it out and knead it gently, just enough to form it into a ball. Deposit this ball on the floured tinfoil and wrap it. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Put both foil-wrapped dough balls into the refrigerator and allow them to sit for an hour or so. It will probably take you this long to prepare all four fillings, anyway.

Fillings

Prepare each filling in a separate mixing bowl. For each, slice or chop the fruit as indicated, and mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour alcohol into fruit and mix gently, then pour in dry ingredients. Mix gently to coat fruit with dry ingredients.

Back to the crust …

After an hour, remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator. Place two generous sheets of aluminum foil on the counter, slightly overlapping, and spray generously with aerosol Canola oil. (This is your work surface, so try to get the foil to stick in place on the counter. Wiping the counter with a slightly damp sponge before putting down the foil can work wonders.) Deposit the ball of dough in the middle of the pair of aluminum foil sheets, rub your rolling pin with flour, and gently tease the ball into a disc approximately twelve inches in diameter, flouring the rolling pin repeatedly.

Once you’ve got the dough rolled out, place the pie pan upside-down over the dough, then flip the entire assemblage over and gently and patiently pull the foil off of the crust, making sure not to rip the crust and allowing crust to fall into the pie pan.

Pull out a decently sized piece of foil, approximately a square as wide as it comes out, by default, from the foil dispenser. Fold it over multiple times until you have a strip about eight times the thickness of a single sheet of foil, then cut the foil with a pair of scissors so that it fits into the crust in a curve — the sides should be cut to be diagonal at approximately forty-five degrees. Push these gently into the crust at the bottom and sides. Repeat this with two more strips, which will need to be different lengths — measure them by lining them up in the shapes and positions where you want them to sit. The idea here is to embed the foil strips in the crust in such a way that they prevent juices from leaking between compartments in the first half of the baking, but not to push them entirely through the crust. You want to create four separate compartments for the first half of the baking, like so:

foil strips embedded in crust.

The foil should be pushed in enough to create separate compartments, but not so deeply as to cut the crust into multiple segments.

Next, spoon each fruit topping into a separate compartment:

Pie with fruit fillings

Fill each compartment with a separate filling, to slightly above the level of the crust.

Put the pie into the (preheated) oven and allow it to bake for approximately 30-35 minutes. While it’s doing so, you’ll pull the other ball of dough out of the fridge, wipe down your counter with a slightly damp sponge, put down two slightly overlapping sheets of foil, spray them liberally with aerosol Canola oil, flour up your rolling pin, and push that dough into another twelve-inch circle. Then wait for the first part of the pie’s baking to be done. Once the pie has been in the oven for about 35 minutes, pull it out, and pull out the foil dividers. The individual fillings should be sufficiently cooked by this point that they will settle against each other without mixing much:

Filled, but without foil

Pull out the foil dividers and allow the fillings to settle on each other.

Slice the remaining crust into strips approximately ¾ of an inch wide, and gently tease them away from the foil with the aid of a butter knife. Lay them on top of the pie in a lattice form, then brush the upper crust with vegan margarine and sprinkle with cinnamon, mace, ginger, and/or nutmeg to taste. Put the pie back in the oven for another 35-40 minutes, then remove the pie and allow it to cool on a wire rack or stove burner.

The finished pie.

The finished pie.

You’ll have some fruit filling left over. Put it in a storage container of some kind, toss it in the fridge, and use it for waffles or some damn thing.

Serve with caramel-vanilla-pecan ice cream and strong black coffee.

Variations

Of course, other fruit fillings can be substituted for the ones indicated. I’d initially thought of making the green filling with kiwi, but kiwi is not easily available in my local grocery stores at this time of year.

If you’re not attached to rainbow-shaped filling stripes, then by all means, make them horizontal stripes instead. This makes life easier, actually.

Think about substituting a bit of the water in the crust with vanilla, clove, almond, cinnamon, or another tasty extract.

Non-vegan margarine and shortening can be used if you’re not cooking for a vegan. In fact, using non-vegan shortening makes the crust substantially easier to prepare.

If you’re not cooking for vegans, think about drizzling a generous amount of honey over all the fillings after pulling out the foil separators. Yum. If you are cooking for vegans, ask your vegan friends if you can use honey powder (if you can find honey powder — Trader Joe’s often carries it, if you live near a Trader Joe’s), which is harvested by humans instead of manufactured by bees.

Posted by Patrick Mooney on  21 November 2012.

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Orange-Stuffed Crock-Pot Bourbon-and-Ginger-Ale Cornish Game Hens

orange-stuffed Crock-Pot bourbon-and-ginger-ale Cornish game henI’m a big fan of the crockery cooker. I try to use it as often as possible. This Orange-Stuffed Crock-Pot Bourbon-and-Ginger-Ale Cornish Game Hen is one of the easier ways to prepare meat unattended. Use it in whatever recipes call for chicken meat.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Cornish game hen, with giblets removed, approx. 1.5 to 2 lbs
  • 2 large oranges
  • Salt, seasoned salt, pepper, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, etc. — to taste

Marinade

  • 1 cup really good bourbon
  • 1 cup really good ginger ale
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

Note: Proportions on the marinade may be varied to taste. (I like to go heavy on the bourbon, myself.) Total amount of each ingredient may need to be increased for those using large (more than 3-4 quart capacity) crockery cookers.

Instructions

Cook on high heat in order to be done in approx. 3½ hours, or low heat to be done in 8-9 hours. I prefer to let it simmer for the longer period when I manage to plan far enough in advance.

Defrost the Cornish game hen, if it isn’t already defrosted. Peel oranges. One orange should have its peel converted into squares or rectangles, ideally 1 inch or less on each side. Toss these pieces of orange peel into the warming crockery cooker. The pieces of peel from the other orange should be discarded. Separate the orange segments and shove as many as possible into the hen’s cavity — I usually get most of an orange up in there. Put the orange-stuffed hen into the cooker on top of the orange peels.

Cut butter into several — say, six or eight — pieces, using a fork. Drop these pieces near the chicken, then pour bourbon and ginger ale over the meat. Season to taste.

Let the hen cook, covered, for the time indicated above. If possible, turn the hen twice during cooking, at approximately ⅓ and ⅔ of the total cooking time. Each time you turn the hen, re-season the portion that is above the level of the marinade with your choice of herbs and spices.

When finished, pull hen from marinade and separate meat from the bones. Use in any recipe that calls for chicken meat. Excellent in burritos with rice, beans, cheese, and fresh tomatoes and avocados. Unsurpassed in chicken soups. Outstanding in chicken salad. Delicious on grilled cheese sandwiches, preferably with sourdough bread.

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Sweet Jeebus Vegan Apple Pie

I’m not a vegan myself, but a number of my friends are, and I’ve found that vegan baking can be a delicious exercise even for those of use who are omnivores. The title for this recipe was suggested by my friend Alison, who wrote in an e-mail after tasting it, SWEET JEEBUS, this vegan pie is […] AMAZING! I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite vegan pie you’ve ever made, or that anybody has ever made, EVER (redundancy intended)… between the sticky sweet crust and grainy sugar topping, I was melting. Thanks again! (And she’s had a fair number of my vegan pies.) Inadvertently or not, she’s christened it Sweet Jeebus Vegan Apple Pie. (To be honest, Alison is not the originator of the phrase “sweet Jeebus” in my experience — she’s just the first to apply it to this recipe. But that’s an achievement in itself.)

Sweet Jeebus Vegan Apple Pie

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 ¼ cup finely ground graham crackers (about 6 crackers)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons melted vegan margarine
  • cup (2 tablespoons) coffee (brewed, liquid coffee — not coffee grounds)

Filling

  • 6 cups thinly sliced apples of a particularly delicious variety (I suggest Pacific Rose or Pink Lady). (That’s about 4 large apples, or about two pounds.) (Don’t bother to peel them.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 shot good whiskey

Crumb topping

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup vegan margarine (allow to sit out while engaging in other preparations so that it’s sufficiently soft)

Instructions

Oven at 375°.

Grind graham crackers into a fine powder. For extra deliciousness, use your coffee grinder: dump out any grounds that come out with no effort, but leave some in to be mixed in with the crust. Mix in ¼ cup sugar, and pour in melted margarine and coffee. Mix thoroughly, then turn mixture into 9-inch pie pan. Press evenly around edges of pie pan, and bake in oven ten minutes, or until edges are brown. Allow crust to cool on wire rack as you prepare filling.

Slice apples: cut them in half, core the halves, and slice each half into slices about ⅛ inch wide, then cut the slices in half horizontally. If apples are insufficiently tart, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 tablespoon nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon ginger. (Flour can be omitted for a very juicy pie.) Toss sugar mixture to coat fruit, then pour in whiskey and mix well. Allow to sit in bowl while you prepare topping.

Combine dry ingredients listed for topping. Slice off ¼-inch slivers of margarine with a sturdy fork and drop into flour mixture, then use fork to cut margarine into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Pour filling into crust, then sprinkle crumb topping over filling. Do not pat crumbs down.

Bake in oven, over cookie sheet, for 65-70 minutes or until filling has thickened (you can tell from watching how quickly the mixture is bubbling). Allow to cool on wire rack. Serve with strong coffee on the side.

Non-vegan substitutions: Butter for the vegan margarine is an improvement to this already-delicious pie, in my humble opinion. I also recommend drizzling honey over the apple filling before sprinkling crumbs over it.

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Blueberry snickerdoodle scones

This is a conjectural recipe, by which I mean that I’ve made a version of these blueberry snickerdoodle scones, but this particular version includes untested changes since last I’ve tried it. I’d love your feedback.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ¾ c. flour.
  • ½ tsp. baking soda.
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar.
  • dash salt.
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted.
  • 2 c. sugar.
  • 2 eggs.
  • ¼ c. milk.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla.
  • 3 tbsp. sugar.
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon.
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger.
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg.
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries.
  • 1 tbsp. flour.
  • dash finely shredded lemon peel.
  • dash salt.
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice.
  • ¼ c. sugar.
  • ½ shot good whiskey.

INSTRUCTIONS

Oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 tbsp. flour, ¼ c. sugar, lemon peel, and dash salt. Drizzle blueberries with lemon juice and whiskey; add sugar/flower mixture and toss to coat the berries. Put in airtight container and allow to sit in refrigerator for at least two hours, and preferably overnight.

Grease a cookie sheet, or spray with your choice of cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine 3 ¾ c. flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a dash of salt. Mix thoroughly. Combine 2 cups sugar with melted butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla; combine butter mixture with dry mixture and mix thoroughly.

Drop dough by ⅓ cup measures onto cookie sheet, sprinkle with additional cinnamon to taste, and bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool and serve with strong black coffee.

This recipe written by Patrick Mooney.

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This blog is now (mostly) defunct.

(Most) content has been moved to my Tumblr blog. I’ll be using my blog space here to post thoughts on photography. See The Cheap Digicam Blog in a day or two for initial thoughts.

“Good Society”

This post moved here on 29 August 2011 as part of my conceptual reorganization of my web presence.

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

This post moved here on 29 August 2011 as part of my conceptual reorganization of my web presence.