A few years ago, I was reading a food magazine, in which there was a tribute to apple pies. What I liked in that, was the fact that there were many different apple-pie recipes from different countries and they all looked really yummy. Since I am almost addicted to apples and apple pies, from this article I drew some ideas to create my own vegan versions of each recipe, since the recipes that were given there were not vegan. Although I veganized all the apple pies I read in the article, the one that we distinguished and we like to make again and again was called “German apple pie”.
And maybe I cannot tell you for sure if this is an actual German apple pie, even though we keep calling it like that in our house but I can reassure you that this is one of the best apple pies I’ve ever eaten. It consists of a crispy, aromatic base with cinnamon speculoos cookies, a sweet, slightly creamy and aromatic stuffing and the wonderful cashew sour cream topping which gives a special character to our favorite fall dessert.
For the base
- 200 g vegan cinnamon cookies (such as speculoos)
- 80 g vegan margarine melted
For the apple stuffing
- 1,5 kg of sweet apples peeled and cut into slices of half a centimeter or thinner
- 85 g brown sugar (about 5 ½ tbsp)
- 70 g flour (1/2 cup approx.)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
Vegan sour cream topping
- ½ cup cashews soaked for 4-6 hours
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
For this recipe we need a baking pan with a removable bottom approximately 22 cm in diameter or a round baking tin.
1. Crush the cookies in the food processor and mix them with the melted margarine. Transfer the mixture into the springform pan and use the bottom of a glass or your fingers to press it evenly into the bottom.
2. In a large bowl, mix well the apples together with the spices, flour and sugar with and lay them over the biscuit base.
3. Drain the cashews and blend them with the water, lemon juice and sugar, at medium speed for 2-3 minutes to form a cream. With a spoon spread the cream evenly over the apples.
4. Bake at 180 oC for 45-55 minutes or until the surface gets a nice golden colour.
Serve warm or cold.
Note: Use gluten-free cinnamon cookies or other gluten-free cookies to make a gluten-free version of this delicious apple pie!
Books may be excellent partners while traveling, actually or mentally. There are books able to entertain us – and we don’t need to feel any guilt about it, to help us knowing better some aspects of our inner selves, to teach us, or get us out of dead ends and there books that may seem extremely boring or splendid from our perspective.
Now you may wonder what’s all this about? Well, one of the books I read the past few weeks was the famous Tom Robbins “Tibetan peach pie” and although it has definitely nothing to do with vegan recipes – not even peach pies, it obviously made me want to make a peach pie -a “tibetan” style peach pie full of love and compassion but also full of taste.
In the beginning of each chapter, at least in the Greek edition, there was a tiny drawing of a piece of peach pie and while I was looking at it, I was trying to imagine how should be the peach-pie of my dreams, my own “tibetan” peach pie. The book is quite big so I had the chance to think a lot about it! First of all, I wanted a crispy and fragrant pie crust, not a ready-to-use store-bought but an easy homemade, healthy and delicious recipe. So I used extra virgin olive oil, all-purpose flour and a homemade natural vanilla extract to add flavor. For the filling, I just let nature do the miracle. I chose mature, fragrant peaches from the market and I mixed them with some starch which absorbs the tasty juices from the peaches while baking, making the filling creamy, melting in the mouth. For extra sweetness I added a small amount of muscovado sugar in both the crust and the filling.
For the dough
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup vegan milk or water
- 1 tbsp natural vanilla extract (if not available add the same amount of orange juice)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup muscovado sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour + a little extra
For the filling
- 1200 g ripe peaches
- 6 tablespoons (65 g) muscovado sugar
- 5 tbsp (50 grams) cornstarch or rice flour
1. Prepare the dough: In a bowl mix all the ingredients. If the dough is too soft, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of flour. Do not over-knead so as to get a nice crispy texture after baking. Form a ball with the dough, wrap it with a plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour.
2. Meanwhile prepare the filling: Wash the peaches, peel them and remove the seeds. Cut into pieces 1 centimeter thick and put them into a wide bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and cornflour and stir with a wooden spoon to evenly spread them.
3. Take the dough out of the fridge divide it in two pieces – the one should be bigger, about the 2/3 of the dough and the second the 1/3. Using a rolling pin, roll out the bigger piece on a lightly floured greaseproof paper to a thickness of ½ – 1 cm. Use the sheet to turn the dough over into the tart pan. Press with your fingers to cover the sides of the tart pan and trim excess pastry from the top edge. Spread the filling evenly over the dough.
4. Roll out the smaller piece of dough to the same thickness and cover the tart. Trim excess pastry and with wet fingers gently press the edges to seal. With a fork make several holes in the surface of the tart or cut with a knife to 5-6 points. Bake at 175 ° C for 45-50 minutes or until the surface get a nice golden colour. Let cool.
Some people are really obsessed with citrus fruits and citrus-flavored desserts and this is not surprising! Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines and lemons have distinct aromas and qualities, compelling sweet and sour tastes and freshness. Well, I am not exactly “obsessed” with citrus fruits but I like them a lot not only in their fresh, unprocessed form but also as a tasty addition to recipes.
One of our favorite dessert recipes is this simple but decadent orange tart. What I like in it, is the combination of the crispy, buttery crust with the sweet and sour, light and delicate orange cream.
For the crust
- 125 gr cold vegan butter
- 3 tbsp cold almond milk or water
- 3 tbsp raw cane sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- zest of 1 orange
For the orange cream
- 4 cups squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup raw cane sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- Make the crust: In a bowl mix all the ingredients. If the dough is too soft, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of flour. Do not over-knead so as to get a nice crispy texture after baking. Form a ball with the dough, wrap it with a plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for half an hour.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and using a rolling pin, roll it out on a lightly floured greaseproof paper to a thickness of ½ – 1 cm. Use the sheet to turn the dough over into the tart pan. I used a tart pan of about 22 cm diameter. Fit the dough against the bottom and sides and trim excess pastry from top edge of pan. Prick it all over with a fork and chill in refrigerator for up to 30 minutes. Lay a greaseproof paper on the crust and pour over two or three handfuls of dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven at 175 oC. Remove the beans and the paper and bake for 20 more minutes or until golden. Let cool completely.
- Make the orange cream: Pour in a saucepan 2 cups of the orange juice with the sugar and the orange zest and bring to boil. In the remaining juice dissolve the flour, stirring well to dissolve clumps. Pour the flour mixture in the saucepan, reduce heat and stir for about 5 minutes or until a thick cream has been formed. Remove from heat and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Let cool completely (3-4 hours).
- Assembly: Stir the cream with a whisk or a wooden spoon for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Spread the cream onto the tart and flatten its surface. Put in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours before serving.