Apple Pie

A word up front: this pie is VEGAN.

Ooh, big scary words. Them’s fightin’ words.

Let me assure you, however, that this is one of the most delicious pies I have ever consumed, ever. Period. Vegan or not, it was marvellous, delicious, outstanding. I ate it warm out of the oven, giggling away in delight. Om nom. Nom.

So, why vegan? Well, for one thing, the boyfriend is lactose intolerant. And for another, why the heck not? I’ve been trying to move myself in the vegan direction for quite a while now, with little success (Damn you cheese. Why do you have to be so irreplaceable?) but I’ve been perusing some fantastic websites lately, like Vegan Dad and Vegan Yum Yum that are giving me tons of delicious inspiration. I may be throwing some more awesome vegan recipes at you in the very near future, so if you’re a squeamish carnivore: watch out! Rawr.

But for now, please just make this wonderful pie.

I used two recipes in hybrid: Joy the Baker’s With Love, Apple Pie for the apple prep + Savvy Vegetarian’s Vegan Pie Crust

I rolled out my pie crust with a wine bottle, since my mother refused to buy me a rolling pin at the beginning of the year since, when she was in university, she rolled things out with a wine bottle. Granted, I think her wine bottle would have been a) empty and b) had the label removed. Since my wine bottle had neither, it is a miracle that this pie turned out at all. I was so afraid that at any second its cheap twist-on lid would somehow pop off and turn my pastry red..and winey..

Here we go!

First things first: obtain some apples. I know that so many apple pie recipes specify not to use McIntosh apples, but since they were accidentally all I bought, and since I was fighting a cold and just wanted some apple pie, damnit, I decided to risk potential mushiness and go ahead with my macs. Verdict: not mushy! Delish! I don’t know if that was just good luck on my part, but I loved the consistency of the pie using these babies.

Here I am! Looking my best, as usual..peeling some apples.

Ta-da! Yummo. Now slice those babies up into small, equal slices.

Like so. Now go ahead and toss them with 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 cup each of brown and white sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt.

‘OOH, HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH’

Pause here to eat several slices. Consider the possibility of giving up on the pie entirely and just eating these.

Fine. We will continue. Reluctantly.

Now here is where I differed from Joy the Baker’s recipe: she uses a cool technique of caramelizing the apple juices with butter, which I was too exhausted to attempt. Instead, I just mixed the apples with a couple tbsp of flour (I didn’t have cornstarch, my grocery store seems to be, for all intents and purposes, hiding it from me, along with cornmeal. Both are probably hiding together in the same aisle, giggling as I walk past for the fortieth time..) and let them hang out while I made the pie crust. Which was awesome. And easy.

Around this time, preheat the oven to 425 and put a cookie sheet inside! This is a special trick I just recently learned from Joy the Baker. I think it helps to cook the pie from the bottom as well as the top. Who knows. All I know is, it works.

For the pastry: I didn’t have Earth Balance, so I used Becel Vegan margarine. Same diff. I stuck 1 cup of it in the freezer for about 1/2 an hour, and chilled my 2 1/2 cups flour in the freezer as well. That’s what the recipe said to do!

Basically all you need to do for this recipe is mix the margarine with the flour until its crumbly, then add a few tbsp of cold water until it all sticks together and you can form a ball with your hands. Then plop it down onto the floured counter, whip out your wine bottle and go at it. Unfortunately, I did not take photos of me rolling out the pie crust with a wine bottle. I will leave that up to your imagination.

PRESTO!

Fill the pie shell with apples and any juices, roll out the top crust, put it on top, crimp the edges so they look pretty.

Then cut some vents in the top. I was feeling lovey dovey so I cut out hearts.

..It sort of ended up looking like a creepy mask. I was okay with that. Mainly, it was cute.

Guys, it was really cute! Okay??

I sprinkled some sugar on the top, but didn’t have a brush to brush it with egg wash or water. I was okay with that too.

Now take the baking sheet out of the preheated oven, put the pie on top of it, put it back in. For 45-55 min. Warning: your entire house will start to smell absolutely divine. Resist the urge to yank the pie out of the oven and eat it as is, immediately. I promise, it’s worth the wait.

Ooh la la.

My apartment seriously smelled like apples and cinnamon for like 3 days.

So delicious.

The pastry is delicious and flaky, the apple juices were bubbling, and the apples actually held their form, despite being McIntoshes.

YUMMO.

Okay, I’m off to have my eighth slice.

I would also like to say: I just forgot how to spell eighth. Thank goodness for spell check. I don’t know how the cavemen did it.

xoxo,

 

 

Retail Therapy

If you have time to kill this weekend, as I do not, here are my recommendations for you. I love giving advice, as preachy as possible (!) but it is only because what I love, I love a LOT and feel the need to seriously share it with others. So listen, because all of these things will rock your socks off.

The Recipe: Bonnie Stern’s Recipe for Caramelized Onion And Gorgonzola Pizza which is probably the most seriously comforting comfort food in existance. The first time that I ate it, a cold rainy Friday night (which is the best time for comfort food anyways so maybe the context made it taste so miraculous) I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Not joking. It’s simple and relatively quick, however seeing as how it’s shaping up to be a pretty warm evening, you might want to save it for a rainy day. Either way, it’s definitely worth a try. Here’s the recipe:

Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Pizza
(Makes 6 to 8 servings)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
8 oz. frozen puffed pastry
4 oz. Brie, rind removed, diced*
4 oz. milk Gorgonzola or Cambozola, rind removed, diced*
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon, or 1/4 tsp. dried

1. Heat oil in a large deep skillet on medium high heat. Add onions and cook for about 10 minutes or until wilted and starting to brown. Add sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Reduce heat and cook gently, uncovered, for 15 to 25 minutes, or until richly caramelized. Cool. You should have about 3/4 cup.
3. Roll pastry into a 10-in. square. Place pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick with a fork in about 12 places.
4. Spread onions over pastry. Dot with cheese. Sprinkle with tarragon. Refrigerate if not baking immediately.
5. Bake in preheated oven 18 to 20 minutes or until cheese has melted and pastry is crisp. Cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares.
6. Serve pizza in wedges with a salad for a first course or cut into small squares for an appetizer.

*You can use those cheeses, but from personal experience, all soft cheeses work nicely. We typically use Boursin, which is basically garlic cream cheese, and also some goat cheese. Either way, delicious. 

The Music: 

For People Feeling Romantic: ‘Come On Get Higher’ – Matt Nathanson (cliché, but catchy)

For People Who Want To Feel Loved: ‘So Far Around the Bend’ – The National

For People Feeling Sad Over Love: ‘Train Song’ – Feist and Benjamin Gibbard

For People Who Want To Party: ‘Boom Boom Pow’ – The Black Eyed Peas

The Book:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith was my most recent read, and my verdict: HILARIOUS. At first, I thought it was sort of a joke, but as I read on I realized it isn’t scary, it isn’t overly funny, it isn’t overly anything. It really is just the original story, original writing, original lines and genius, teamed up with a theme that somehow just works in the time period, works well with the characters and even in some instances (sorry Jane!) makes the plot better. It begins to make more sense of some of the already present themes and just does an amazing job of working the zombies right into the story. I’d never been able to get into the original classic (despite having seen the movie 50+ times) yet I read this like it was candy. Definitely check it out. Also worth a read:

‘Direct Red’ – Gabriel Weston

‘The Tipping Point’ – Malcolm Gladwell

The Activity:

Get outside for Pete’s sake! I’m not even going to recommend a movie, since you should be outside sitting in the sun, listening to guitar or walking your dog or having a barbeque and ESPECIALLY not sitting here reading this or missing the weather. Get out!

Love, 

s.