I have never been one for commercially baked cakes and cookies, always preferring the home-style apple crisps and other baking that my Grandma produced. Of course, now that I am a vegan, most of her repertory is out of the question. No more of my Grandma’s sugar cookie recipe that starts out with “break two eggs into a cup and fill with fresh top cream.” Yes, those cookies were to die for, but in these heart-health conscious days, we could consider them to die from.
I try not to use fats that are solid at room temperature, so olive oil and other cooking oils are my stock in trade. No eggs either, so I stick cookies together with corn starch or tapioca starch. Lest you think this makes life terribly boring, I assure you, there are plenty of scrumptious home-style desserts in the vegan corpus, thus producing the vegan corpulent. Oh well.
Rhubarb Crisp Pie
The end of summer is at hand, and we have lots of fresh fruits and berries, as well as rhubarb, which is technically a vegetable but we cook it for dessert or jam. My Grandma used to cook rhubarb down to a sauce that could be served on ice cream.
I like the homely apple crisp and its fruity cousins; they are my favourite desserts. Here I have made a rhubarb crisp but shaped it into a pie to be served in wedges with a congenial cup of coffee or tea. For an apple crisp pie, just peel and chop 4 to 6 large apples and substitute them for the rhubarb in the recipe. Absolutely civilized. If you look closely at the picture, you can see I have already cut into the rhubarb crisp. I was so eager to eat it that I completely forgot I was going to take a picture for you!
4 or so stalks of rhubarb, one-inch diced
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp. corn starch or tapioca starch
1 ½ cups flour
2 cups quick oats
1 cup brown or yellow sugar, loosely packed
¾ cup oil
Dash of salt
Place the rhubarb and ¾ cup sugar into a saucepan with a small bit of water, and cook until soft. Mix corn/tapioca starch in a bit of water, add to the rhubarb, and allow to thicken. Set aside.
Mix flour, oats and brown sugar into a bowl. Stir in oil and dash of salt. If mixture is dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture sticks together loosely.
Press one half of oatmeal mixture into a lightly oiled pie pan to form bottom pie crust. Pour rhubarb into the pie. Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal mixture over the top lightly. No need to tamp down, it will stick together as it cooks.
Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.
Tofu Chocolate Mousse or Pie
I got this recipe from my friend Pat. I don’t know where she obtained it.
2 cups hot water or coffee (I use coffee; decaf is fine)
1 lb. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted.
1 lb. medium tofu.
Put all three ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into parfait dishes or a pre-cooked pie shell. Refrigerate until firm.
If you find this recipe too easy, you can jazz it up by pouring it into a cooked pie shell for Chocolate Pie. I have shown it here prepared in the oil crust recipe I used for the Potato Pie, but I added some toasted walnut crumbs to the piecrust recipe for additional flavour.
By the way, don’t use the firm or extra firm tofu or your family will make very disparaging remarks about it. Also, this time my store did not have the chocolate chips that I normally use, so I tried it with the little round chocolate pieces that are used for fondue. I’ll never do that again. The pie took forever to set, and it was still quite soft. The dark semi-sweet chocolate chips are the best. The pie will set in a couple of hours and will be firm enough for the cut wedges to keep their shape nicely.
Here again is the Oil Pie Crust recipe. Beside Vegan reasons for using sunflower or other oil, I believe that it is healthier to use fats that are not solid at room temperature:
Oil Pie Crust
2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour or 2 to 2 1/4 cup unsifted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (chill in freezer beforehand)
1/2 cup milk or soy milk (or just use water if there’s no milk in the house)
1. Mix flour and salt together. Pour milk and oil into one measuring cup, do not stir, and add all at once to flour. Stir until mixed, and shape into 2 flat balls. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or more.
2. Roll out on lightly floured surface. Carefully transfer to an ungreased pie shell.
3. Trim crust to ½ inch or 1 inch outside. Tuck excess underneath and flute the edge, either by pinching the edge, or by pressing lightly with a fork.
4. Save any leftover pastry to make sweet or savoury turnovers for lunches.
5. Bake the pie shell at 350 for about 5 minutes to set it, if using a filling that requires baking. If using for Tofu Chocolate Pie or other pudding type fillings, bake the shell until golden brown before filling; cool, fill, and let set at room temperature.