Single serving deep dish apple pie | for Thom, with love

Single serving deep dish apple pie | for Thom, with love

Introducing for Thom, with love – a new series documenting the small batch recipes I create for my favorite man, chock full of love. Over the course of the past half decade, I’ve witnessed Thom eat his fair share of baked goods – and in the process I discovered that sometimes all he needs is a single serving of chocolate chip cookies because the man has no self control when cookies are involved. And if you leave an entire batch at his disposal, he’ll eat them all and ask you to make more. Then he’ll eat those, too, and complain about his stomach aching and you’ll decide it’s time to start developing small batch recipes. So if your favorite person is like Thom, surely they’ll appreciate these recipes. And so will you because they can be thrown together without having to dirty heavy mixing machines or three baking sheets or every single measuring device you own.

The recipes, they’re good. Straight forward and equally as delicious as a full batch, but without all of the elbow grease required to scoop 36 cookies or roll out a 10″ pie crust. The selling point, for me, is that small batch recipes don’t produce any waste. Not that anything really goes to waste around here because I’m the lady who shows up at my neighbor’s door at 10 o’clock at night, begging her to take a container of brownies away because Bad things will happen if you don’t. The other selling point is the expression on Thom’s face when he realizes I’ve made something special just for him.

Friends, I’ve been saying it for years: the best way to a man’s heart is, without a doubt, through his stomach.


Pie crust ingredients
We be (pastry) cuttin'
Apple
Apple filling
Heart cutouts
Ready for the oven
Single serving deep dish apple pie | for Thom, with love
Single serving deep dish apple pie | for Thom, with love

Notes: If you prefer a sweeter pie crust, feel free to increase the sugar to one full teaspoon. But I promise you won’t require it if you fill the pie with the full 6 teaspoons (2 tablespoons) of sugar. This recipe requires the use of one deep dish 4″ tartlet pan (although I suppose a ramekin would work, as well). I got my tartlet pans in a set at Williams-Sonoma, but if you like getting ripped off, you can get them individually at Sur la Table (my least favorite kitchen store in the history of kitchen stores) (look at the price difference per tart pan – $5.66). Greedy asswads.
SINGLE SERVING DEEP DISH APPLE PIE

Crust
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp cane sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
3 tbsp vegan butter, cold
2-3 tbsp water, ice cold

Filling
4-6 tsp cane sugar
1 tsp potato starch
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
One medium apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp lemon juice, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil a 4″ deep dish tart pan; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter, using a pastry cutter or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger chunks. Add two tablespoons of the water and mix with fingers until a smooth dough forms. If the dough feels a little dry, add a bit more water. Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes then wrap with plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
To make the filling, stir together the sugar (I used 5 teaspoons), starch, and cinnamon. Add the apples and lemon juice; toss to coat and set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/4″ thick. Fit to prepared tart pan, making sure it’s pressed into the bottom into the scalloped edges. Roll a rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. Fill with apples. Roll the remaining dough scraps, cut with a mini heart shaped cookie cutter (dip in flour if sticking to dough), and arrange on top of pie. Brush with a bit of soy milk and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake at 350˚F for 35-40 minutes (if you notice the hearts starting to brown, put a piece of tin foil over top of them after about 25 minutes). Let cool for 10 minutes then serve. Can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to two days. 

If you’d prefer to assemble the pie and save it for later, remove the pie from the freezer when ready to bake and let it thaw for about 20 minutes. Follow baking instructions above. Unbaked pie will keep frozen for up to 6 weeks in an air tight, freezer proof container.

Yield: 1 4″ pie

Caramel apple crumb pie

Caramel apple crumb pie

It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and The National pandora station is playing much louder than it should at this hour. I’m hunched over the dining room table, crying because I can’t sleep again. Crying because I wish I had a better relationship with my mother. Crying because my hormones are so out of whack that I can’t do anything but cry. Hands in my hair, tears on the table; I wipe the snot from my nose with the sleeve of my robe, and make a mental note to throw it into the wash because it’s been used as a hankey far too many times this week.

Ha, I just said hankey. My Oma would be proud.

In typical hormonal lady fashion, I got up from the table and started frantically looking through the kitchen for something to consume. Chocolate? Too early for chocolate. Gin? It’s definitely too early for gin. Vanilla almond butter? There isn’t any. So after five minutes of going back and forth between the pantry and refrigerator, I came out with a bag of trail mix, a can of coconut milk, and my mind set on making caramel sauce. Which probably wasn’t the best idea because I stood over the pot of caramel feeling sorry for myself, picking salty raisins from the trail mix and cursing the person who decided to add milk chocolate morsels to a perfectly good bag of nuts and raisins. So to make up for not being able to eat the milk chocolate morsels, I licked the whisk each time I gave the caramel a good stir. I thought I deserved it. Maybe I did.

Making spelt dough
Caramel apples
Caramel apple crumb pie in the making

When the caramel finished cooking I transferred it to one of those pretty weck jars and let it cool on the counter while I continued picking through the trail mix. Every once in a while I’d scoop a fingerful into my mouth, but enough was enough so I topped it and put it in the fridge. Out of sight, out of mind – until I opened the refrigerator to retrieve my coffee creamer and noticed droplets of condensation forming along the bottom of the lid. And so I removed it; quickly and carefully to ensure none of the droplets contaminated my perfectly golden sauce. Except you and I both know a little bit of water isn’t going to do a bit of harm to a jar of caramel sauce. But try telling that to an overly emotional basket case at 6AM. Then again, don’t. She’ll probably bite your head off.

The caramel sat on the counter for a good 45 minutes while I went back and forth, trying to decide what I was going to do with it. And since eating it from the jar with my finger wasn’t an acceptable option, I dove head first into making apple pie. Without hesitation I started cutting butter into flour, apples into slices, and more butter into equal amounts of flour and brown sugar. I had everything jamming at once and, although I was completely out of my element, it kind of felt good to get everything a little bit messier than usual. That, and now my unkempt kitchen resembled the way I felt on the inside; we were one in the same, me and the little kitchen.

I continued laboring over the pie; channelling all of my sadness into the crust, frustration into the filling, and shame into the topping. And wouldn’t you know? One hour later my oven gave birth to the most beautiful apple pie I had ever seen in my almost 25 years on this planet. The kind of pie you want to put on display at a county fair. But also the kind of pie you want to take into the closet and stuff into your face.

Caramel apple crumb pie
Quickest caramel sauce

The pie never made it to the county fair. And thankfully, our closets are so full that even if I wanted to take it into one of them, I couldn’t have. I can’t decide if I should curse the full closets or be thankful for them. Probably the latter, as orderly closets may have resulted in some seriously terrible things. Like a stomach ache and not being able to go number two for a week. I mean, that’s never happened to me but I imagine if I ate an entire pie it probably would. I also imagine not being able to go number two for a week would be one of the most miserable weeks of my life.

Anyway. We swept the pie away to the mountains where it was served warm, after dinner, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. One scoop because someone got a pint of vanilla ice cream instead of a quart. For six people. Scratch that, five – I don’t eat their kind of ice cream. I also didn’t eat pie because I had two too many servings of lemon butter pasta for dinner, which inconveniently hung out in my belly for a good four hours before deciding to make room for pie. And so just before midnight, I found myself standing in the immaculate kitchen of the rental house, eating a piece of pie straight from the pan. Which, from that point forward, was referred to as the Best Apple Pie Ever. Ever. I mean it when I say this is the kind of pie you write home about; the kind of pie you’ll regret not having on your Thanksgiving dinner table. This is the kind of pie that gets devoured by six people in less than 18 hours because this pie is comprised of all things good in the world.

Caramel apple crumb pie

Notes: If you’re looking at this pie, thinking it seems rather pretentious with its spelt crust and caramel innards and crunchy crumb topping – I assure you, it’s not. In fact, I’d venture to say caramel is the best thing to happen to an apple pie. And crumb topping? Second best thing. The spelt flour was my effort to balance out the sugar content, but feel free to substitute unbleached flour or whole wheat flour. I know the long ingredient list and novel of instructions probably makes you think this recipe is a lot of work, but it’s not. And even if you feel like it is, the reward is more than worth it. This pie is out of this world good, and the only downside is that it’s best within two days. But aren’t most pies?
CARAMEL APPLE CRUMB PIE

Dough
1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
1 tbsp whole cane sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
10 tbsp vegan butter, cold
4-6 tbsp water, ice cold

Crumb topping
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
1/4 cup whole cane sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
6 tbsp vegan butter
1/2 cup rolled oats

Filling
6-8 medium apples, a variety is best
Juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup caramel sauce

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Place bowl in the freezer and chill for 15 minutes. Do not skip this step. Once the flour mixture is chilled, use a pastry cutter, or two knives, to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stick the bowl in the freezer for another 15 minutes to get the ingredients nice and cold. Once chilled, add water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix the dough using your fingertips. Your goal is a dough that’s firm but slightly sticky – and adding too much water will result in a tough dough (I added 4 tablespoons). Knead the dough for a minute then pat it into a disc, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to two days.
While the dough is resting, prepare the crumb topping. Whisk together the flour, sugars, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in the oats then cover mixture with a damp cloth (or paper towel) and set aside.

Once the dough has rested for an hour, line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough out into a large circle, about 1/4″ thick and fit it into a floured 8-10″ pie pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
While the crust is chilling, prepare the filling. Peel the apples and cut them into 1/2″ thick slices, then into chunks. Drizzle with lemon juice; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, tapioca starch (use an extra tablespoon if your apples are super juicy), and cinnamon. Add apples and toss to combine. Pour the caramel over the apples then mix to evenly coat; set aside. Remove the crust from the fridge and sprinkle the bottom with about one tablespoon of flour (to ensure it doesn’t absorb too much of the liquid from the filling). Fill with caramel apples (there are a lot, but they settle during baking) then spread the crumb topping evenly over in two layers; press the first layer firmly to pack, then sprinkle the remaining crumbs. Trim the edges and decorate crust with finish of your choice. Bake at 375˚F for 15 minutes, then remove pie from the oven and carefully cover the crust with foil. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the crumb topping is golden brown. If you’re not anywhere near the 20 minute mark and the crumb topping starts to brown too much, simply place a piece of foil on top of it; do not seal it, just sit it on top. Transfer pie to a wire rack and allow it to cool for at least 6 hours. Refrigerate in a not-so-air-tight container for up to two days. Crumb topping may soften, but will return to its previously crunchy state after a few minutes under the broiler (make sure you cover the crust with foil).

Yield: 12 slices

Mini pumpkin pies with spelt crust + whipped cream

Mini pumpkin pies

In a few days, Thom and I will be hosting our First Annual Orphan Thanksgiving Extravaganza. Which is basically a fancy way of saying we’re having all of our friends over, who don’t have families in the area, to eat, drink, and give thanks to those people who decided to celebrate their first harvest, so many years ago. We have no big plans, but I suspect we’ll be watching too much football (I loathe football), drinking too much beer (bluh, give me sauvignon blanc – better yet, a gin rickey), and eating too much pumpkin pie (heavy on the whipped cream, please).
At the end of the day, we’ll all crowd around the table and disregard the fact that some of us are meat eaters and some of us shudder at the very thought of eating animal flesh. That some of us are crazy ass liberals, who think that women should be able to make decisions for themselves, and some of us are more conservative with our beliefs (that might be a lie, I think we’re all left-leaning hippies). We’ll ignore the fact that some of us only like whipped cream from that plastic container and some of us think you’re downright crazy if you eat anything other than whipped cream of the fresh variety. But, some of us are just happy there’s whipped cream to go with our pie. All beliefs and opinions aside, we’ll unite to give thanks for the warm food on our plates, the kind folks with whom we’re sharing it (even if they do only eat whipped cream from plastic containers), and this humble world in which we live. Happy Thanksgiving (in three days), American friends. But let’s remember to give thanks every day, k?

Spelt pie dough
Pumpkin filling and spelt dough
Mini pumpkin pies
Mini pumpkin pies and coconut whipped cream
Mini pumpkin pies

I spent all Saturday afternoon (seriously, ALL afternoon) working on this recipe. The first couple of rounds I was adamant about using tofu to give the pies that perfect pumpkin pie texture, and it just wasn’t cutting it. So I decided out with the tofu and in with the full-fat coconut milk. Tapioca starch helped to thicken it, and a tiny bit of xanthan gum aided in stabilizing it. These little pies are oh so perfect, and I really could not be more excited to share this recipe with you.
Notes: This pie dough is tougher than your typical pie dough – if you want it to be super smooth, replace the flour with unbleached flour. If you don’t have coconut milk, replace it with soy cream (almond milk may work, too). And FYI, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground ginger + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg + 1/8 tsp ground cloves = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t have xanthan gum, just omit it – I added it because, when mixed with starch, it mimics eggs and creates a really awesome texture. Speaking of starch, you could also use potato starch in place of the tapioca. I like arrowroot powder, too.

MINI PUMPKIN PIES WITH SPELT CRUST

Crust
2 cups spelt flour
1 tbsp cane sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
6 tbsp vegan butter, cold
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening, cold
6-8 tbsp filtered water, ice cold

Filling
1 cup pumpkin puree
6 tbsp sucanat
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp fine sea salt

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, or two knives, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix with your fingers until a dough starts to form. It’s not going to be a perfectly smooth dough, FYI. So don’t spaz out over its unsightly cracks. Divide the dough in half, pat into discs, then wrap with plastic; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Allow the dough to reach room temperature before using.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the pumpkin, sucanat, and coconut milk; whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a light boil then remove from heat and sift in the tapioca starch, xanthan gum, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt; whisk vigirously for 20-30 seconds. Set the mixture aside to cool. This can also be made ahead and refrigerated, in an air tight container, for up to three days.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil one 12 cup non-stick muffin pan and one 6 cup non-stick muffin pan; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with spelt flour. Roll out one of the discs of dough until it is about 1/8″ thick and use a 3″ round, fluted cookie cutter to cut the dough. Transfer the dough pieces to the muffin wells, and shape them to fit. Repeat process with the second disc of dough.
Bake the mini pie shells at 350˚F for 4 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Remove from oven and spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin pie filing into each of the shells. Bake at 350˚F for 10 minutes. Allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate in an air tight container for up to three days. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Yield: 18 mini pies

WHIPPED CREAM

1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 tbsp powdered sugar (or more, if desired)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Remove the coconut milk from the refrigerator and scoop out the thick, white layer of fat on top. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the coconut water, then store the remainder for later use (in smoothies), if desired. Using a handheld electric mixer, cream the coconut milk fat, 1 tablespoon of coconut water, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed for 1-2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Use immideately.

Yield: about 1 cup

Raw caramel apple pie

Raw caramel apple pie
Raw caramel apple pie

I used to be a self proclaimed lover of all seasons, but over the years, my indecisive mind finally settled and I chose fall. Although the crunchy leaves and crisp, foggy mornings had a lot to do with my decision, I’d be lying if I said I don’t look most forward to introducing heavy knit socks, infinity scarves, and oversized dresses (read: maternity dresses) (no, I’m not pregnant) back into my wardrobe.

Thom, however, likes to remind me how much the combination of those things makes me look like a pauper from the 16th century plague epidemic – which I used to think was a downright awful thing to say about the lady who supplies you with superfluous amounts of baked goods, then I looked at myself in the mirror yesterday and totally saw it. But damnit, I’m embracing it. Fat days don’t exist when you wear dresses that are strikingly similar to a potato sack, and you don’t ever have to worry about unbuttoning your pants at the dinner table (What, you don’t do that?) – a huge plus for someone who doesn’t know how to say no to food on a plate.

Caramel apple fillingCaramel apple hand pies

Speaking of fall, have you guys seen the fall issue of Chickpea Magazine? If not, you can view it right here. And if you like those adorable, little hand pies pictured above (they’re caramel apple, too) (!!!!!), flip to page 26 to find the recipe. Meanwhile, I don’t like to make demands like this, but you should really make the raw caramel apple pie. It’s incredibly tasty. ‘Nuff said. 
RAW CARAMEL APPLE PIE

16-18 medjool dates, pitted and divided
1 1/2 cups walnuts
3 medium apples, different varieties
1 cup filtered water, plus more for soaking
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Line the bottom of a round 8″ tart pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the walnuts into a fine meal. Add 8-10 dates and process for 20-30 seconds, just until the dates are blended and combined. Press the dough into the prepared pan, then cover with plastic and freeze until ready to use.
Add the remaining 8 dates to a small bowl and cover with water; soak for 10-15 minutes. While the dates are soaking, prepare the apples by peeling and coring them. Cut into 1/4″ thick slices then chop into small chunks. Transfer to a small bowl and cover with a damp towel (and lemon juice, if you’re worried about them browning). When the dates have finished soaking, discard the water. Add the dates, water, cinnamon and salt to a high speed blender and blend until smooth; about 15-20 seconds. Pour over apples and toss until the chunks are evenly coated.
Remove the pie crust from the freezer and pile with apple filling. Freeze for at least 45 minutes before serving. Pie will keep in an air tight container for up to 6 weeks, but I doubt it will last that long.

Yield: 8 large (or 16 small) servings

Cherry crumb pie

Cherry crumb pie

Cherries have managed to slip past me, unscathed, for the past couple of months. I consciously avoided them in hopes that they’d go away by the time I came around. But alas, they got me. I was shopping for a bag of carrots, and they got me. I couldn’t avoid their perfectly red hue, or the fact that they were on sale for $3/pound. So I bought six pounds, without any idea as to what I was going to do with them. Correction: I bought four pounds, without any idea as to what I was going to do with them. The other two pounds were purchased for the sole purpose of stuffing into my face.
I woke up early Sunday morning and decided to pit the cherries, despite the fact that their fate was still undecided. As I bloodied my fingers with their juice, I thought of all the cherry-filled possibilities; muffins and crumbles and tartlets and pie. I narrowed it down to a crumble or a pie, but my mind was being particularly indecisive that morning. Back and for it went, weighing the options; the positives and negatives. And when I couldn’t take it anymore, I settled on both. Because that seemed like the right thing to do. A cherry pie with crumb topping? Definitely the right thing to do.

Cherry crumb pie

I make no apologies for this pie. It’s chock full of sugar, and that’s fine by me. The pie crust is thick – just the way I like it – and the cherries are sweet and juicy and perfectly accompanied by a crunchy, vanilla bean topping. Chances are, if you make it, this pie will be a pain in your ass. You’re going to get frustrated with it. But trust me, it’s worth the headache; it’s worth the the crumble topping on the floor that clings to the bottom of your bare feet, the cherry juice stains all over your favorite tank top, the seemingly endless pile of dishes in your sink. And just when you think you can’t take it anymore, the timer will sound, you’ll remove the pie from the oven, and.. just like that, you’ll marvel over it’s beauty and breathe a sigh of relief. You’ll probably want to stick a fork straight into the pie to have a little taste, but you shouldn’t do that. I heard it’ll burn your mouth.

CHERRY CRUMB PIE

2 cups unbleached flour
1 tbsp cane sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquid
4-6 tbsp filtered water, ice cold
5 cups halved cherries
1 tbsp pure almond extract
1/2 cup cane sugar
4 tbsp tapioca starch
Crumb topping
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
6 tbsp coconut oil, liquid
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp vanilla sugar

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Drizzle in the coconut oil and mix with a fork to combine. Add 4 tablespoons of the water and mix with your fingers until a dough starts to form (if needed, add an additional tablespoon or 2, to get the proper consistency). It’s not going to be a perfectly smooth dough, FYI. So don’t spaz out over it’s unsightly crinkles. Pat the dough into a disk then wrap with plastic; refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the other parts of the pie. Add the cherry halves to a large bowl and toss with almond extract. In a small bowl, whisk together the cane sugar and tapioca starch, then toss with cherries; set aside. Prepare the crumble topping by whisking together the flour, almond meal, sucanat and salt. Using a fork, stir in the coconut oil. Add the rolled oats and toss to combine; set aside.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Sprinkle an 8-10″ pie pan with flour; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a large circle, 1/4-1/3″ thick. Fit the dough into the prepared pie pan, trim the edges, then finish with the detail of your choice. Fill with cherries then spread the crumb topping evenly over the cherries; press firmly to pack. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Bake at 375˚F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover the edges of the pie crust with foil. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving. Store in a not-so-air-tight container for up to three days.

Yield: 8 pieces

Raw apple cream pie

Raw apple cream pie

If I had to pick one flavor of pie to eat for the rest of my life, it’d be apple. Kind of boring, I know – but the combination of flaky crust, juicy apples and freshly ground cinnamon makes me salivate just thinking about it. I am literally drooling all over my keyboard right now. Ok, I’m not literally doing anything over my keyboard right now, except for typing – but you get the idea. Apple pie is good. Damn good.

Since real apple pies don’t exactly make my guts feel the greatest, I decided to make a raw version to satisfy my craving. I couldn’t decide between a traditional apple pie, or a creamy version, so I went for the latter. Because cashew cream makes everything taste better. So much better.

Raw apple cream pie

If you’d prefer this to be more like a traditional apple pie, omit the cashew cream and make date caramel instead of date syrup. You can do this by reducing the water in my date syrup recipe to 1/4 cup. At this point, you should all be well aware of my dislike for sweeteners in raw desserts. So – as always – if you’d prefer something sweeter, replace the nut milk in the cashew cream with a raw liquid sweetener of your choice.

RAW APPLE CREAM PIE (GF)

1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup raw nut milk
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
3-4 medjool dates
1-2 apples, peeled
3-4 tbsp date syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Place the cashews in a small bowl; cover with water and let soak for 6-8 hours, or overnight. After they’ve soaked, drain the water and add the cashews to the container of a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the nut milk and lemon juice, and blend until smooth; about 30-45 seconds. Transfer the cashew cream to a small, air tight container and store in the refrigerator.
Lightly grease two 4″ tartlet pans with coconut oil; set aside. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds and walnuts into a fine meal. Add the dates and blend for 30-45 seconds; if you want a crumble like crust, add 3 dates; for a dough like crust, add 4 (my dates were slightly larger than circus peanuts). Divide the dough between the prepared tartlet pans and press into the edges. Wrap pans with plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
Just before you’re set to remove the ingredients from the fridge, prepare the apple filling. Chop the apple(s) however you’d like. Toss them in a small bowl with the date syrup and cinnamon. To assemble the pies, spread half of the cashew cream onto each pie crust. Divide the apple topping between each pan, then serve. Pies can be kept frozen, in a freezer safe container, for up to 6 months. Before eating, remove from freezer and let thaw for 20-25 minutes.
Yield: 2 4″ pies

Blackberry pie

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Thom had a birthday. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted and he said blackberry pie. So I made him a blackberry pie. Thom also got a new jacket. But only because I’m sick of seeing him dressed like he just walked out of a J. Crew catalogue, with a bulky, North Face jacket on top. So now he’s going to look like he just walked out of  J. Crew catalogue, with a J. Crew jacket on top. See what I did there? He’s essentially a real life J. Crew model, now. And to make up for the fact that I got him a jacket for his birthday (lamest gift ever), I also got him one of those fancy eReaders and a Beer of the Month Club subscription. I think he had a nice birthday.
Blackberry pie

Thom inhaled two pieces of his birthday pie in less than ten minutes. An indication that this pie is really, really Good. With a capital G. The only tricky thing about making this particular pie is that the blackberries must be dry. Repeat: THE BLACKBERRIES MUST BE DRY. If you toss them with the starch mixture and they’re wet, the starch will form clumps and it will not be pretty. Your pie will probably be ruined and you’ll sit on your kitchen counter and cry your eyes out because you wasted $10 worth of blackberries. And then you’ll have to change out of your pajamas, into normal clothes, to walk back to the grocery, in the freezing cold, to get more blackberries. The blackberry walk of shame is not enjoyable, friends.

BLACKBERRY PIE

2 c. unbleached flour
1/2  c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cane sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 c. vegan butter, cold
1/2 c. shortening, cold
6-8 tbsp filtered water, ice cold
1/2 c. cane sugar
5-6 tbsp tapioca starch
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
5 c. fresh blackberries
1 tbsp vanilla sugar

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter and shortening, using a pastry cutter or two knives, until the mixture resembles a fine meal with a few larger clumps. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue cutting the dough. Once 6 tablespoons have been added, begin kneading the dough with your fingers. Once the dough is firm and smooth, divide it in half; set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, starch and vanilla bean. Add the blackberries and toss until they’re evenly coated; set aside.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Lightly grease an 8-9″ pie pan; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. Roll out the first piece of dough into a 12-13″ circle – fit dough into the prepared pie pan. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, 20-30 times, then fill with blackberry mixture. Roll out the other half of the dough into a 10″ circle and cut it into eight, long segments, each 1″ wide. Place the lattice top. Trim edges then press with a fork. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Bake at 375˚F for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350˚F, cover the edges with foil and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. Let cool then refrigerate in an air tight container for up to three days.
Yield: 8 servings