Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vegan Mini Roasted Apple & Pear Pies

I haven't taken a math class since my senior year of high school; beyond reason, I was able to count Astronomy 111 as a math in college. However, I've been an avid fan of Pi Day for as long as long as I can remember. Never having been mathematical groupie, my love of Pi Day has been called into question, Maury-style, more than a few times. Maybe I'm a fan of puns (I also celebrate May the 4th), pie or have an appreciation of people who actually do and enjoy math. While it's probably all of the above, I think my love of food trumps my aversion to math. Give me a set of analogies or tedious word problems, but I'd rather walk around a Möbius strip for all eternity than figure out the tip on a bill.

Yet wouldn't you know, I think yesterday was the first time I actually made a pie on Pi Day. Sure, I've made a pie somewhere within the confines of March and called it good, but I've never baked and subsequently eaten one on 3.14. Good thing yesterday was a day of firsts and I finally made some cute little mini pies. A day of firsts you ask? Why yes, it was. I cooked fish, in fact a filet of salmon, for the first time in my entire life, started editing photos for my first ever professional(ish) photography assignment and went for a long walk in the rain… on purpose.

At the end of the day, I felt pretty proud of myself. I was noshing on a delicious salmon dinner with 'A' and eagerly awaiting my first homemade Pi Day pie. As most readers know, I'm allergic to cows milk but am deathly afraid of Crisco and as such, am usually at a perilous crossroad when it comes to making pastries. While I guess Earth Balance 'butter' is sort of like Crisco, its yellowy, stick-like, buttery appearance convinces me otherwise. So after some successful Googling, I found a vegan pie crust that was in compliance with my standards and seemed as though it would be flaky enough.

While the dough was a little wet, the crust baked up wonderfully crispy. If you aren't vegan or don't feel like using this pie crust recipe, I found that halving a recipe for a double crust resulted in enough dough for two mini pies and a little bit to spare.

Vegan Pie Crust
Adapted from Someday Spoon

  • 1 stick of vegan butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/8 cup pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup water, chilled
  • 1/2 tbsp. white sugar
  • Flour for the rolling surface

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease two 4 in. ceramic ramekins.
  2. Pulse the flour and salt in a food processor.
  3. Add the vegan butter and pulse the mixture together into beads of dry clumps. If you do not have a food processor, alternatively you can use a large fork to mix the ingredients together.
  4. Pour the pre-chilled water into the food processor a little at a time while pulsing the mixture.
  5. When about half the water has been transferred, also add a pinch of white sugar.
  6. Transfer the dough onto a well-floured cutting surface. Roll into a ball.
  7. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and freeze for at least an hour. Dough can be frozen for up to 12 hours before continuing making the pie.
  8. Remove the dough from the freezer and roll out with a rolling pin on a floured surface to 1/4″ thick.
  9. Cut dough into 4 circles; two larger ones for the bottom and two smaller ones for the top. Freeze until ready to fill pies.

Roasted Apple & Pear Pie Filling 

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 pear, peeled and diced
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

  1. Spread apples onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar and spices.  
  2. Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes.   
  3. Remove the apples from the oven. Carefully place the pie crusts in the bottom of the ramekins.  Fill generously with the apple/pear pie mixture.  
  4. Top with smaller circles of dough and cut slits for venting. Place ramekin on a clean cookie sheet, return to oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until the pie crusts are golden brown.  Allow to cool before serving.


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