Whenever I think about summer, I get this wonderful vision of leisurely lazy days filled with swimming and fizzy fruity drinks and friends and relaxation.
And then summer gets here. And I remember that while there may be a few of the above mentioned wonderful things, there is also a ton of running around and busyness and stress. And perhaps the stressful busy things wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so danged hot, but that tends to make it that much more exasperating.
One of the most exciting and scary and stress-inducing items on my To-Do list this summer is a wedding I’m catering for a friend. While I’m no stranger to catering or wedding cake making, this wedding is much different than anything I’ve done before. Different in the most wonderful way, of course. The bride and groom have requested a doughnut cake. Yes, a DOUGHNUT CAKE! A three-tier doughnut cake! Isn’t that just the neatest thing you’ve ever heard of? I know if I were a guest at a wedding with doughnuts, I would leave a happy woman. To go along with the unique cake and round out the spread, we’ve decided to do some little cheesecake pots and a few pies. Another interesting and challenging piece of this task is that the couple are vegan. So I get to flex some vegan baking muscles which are, admittedly, quite weak.
I’ve spent the last few days experimenting and tweaking and re-tweaking to make sure the desserts came out tasting as though they weren’t vegan at all. And for the most part, I think I’ve fared quite well if I do say so myself. The doughnuts, which I promise to post about sooner than later, were perfectly moist and dense inside with a sugary glaze that cracks ever so slightly when you bite into them. I, of course, couldn’t resist a colourful sprinkle topping and was thrilled when the couple said they wanted to have sprinkles for the big day. After all, what’s a doughnut without sprinkles? It’s nothing. That’s what.
The cheesecake pots were another home run. Super lemony, light and creamy with a gingersnap crust and topped with a deep dreamy purple layer of blueberry compote. I have to say, my eyes have been opened to the wonders of vegan baking. In most cases, it’s no harder than non-vegan baking and really forces you to read labels and ingredients and be a little more conscious. Which is something we could all benefit from every so often.
Lastly, and also the reason I’m here right this second, is the pie. Ohhh, the pie. It was a first of many things yesterday, including my first vegan pie and my first vegan crumble. And they just happened to be smashed together into a crumble pie. Which, as you can imagine, is 100% as delicious as it sounds. The crust needs a little work and the filling was a little tart, but overall, it was a great learning experience. I’m going to share the pie recipe today with all of the little things I learned along the way.
Vegan Raspberry Apricot Crumble Pie
Some of the photos won’t exactly look like the below recipes since there have been tweaks. Don’t get too worried if your pie doesn’t look exactly like mine.
1 1/4 cups pastry flour
1/2 cup frozen Earth Balance vegetable shortening
3 – 3 1/2 tbsp ice water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp raw cane-sugar, optional
Whisk flour, salt and sugar.
Using a food processor or a pastry cutter, add the shortening until pea-sized chunks remain. It will be a coarse looking crumb mixture.
Add ice water, beginning with only 3 Tablespoons, mixing enough only to form a ball.
Pour dough onto a floured surface and pat into a ball. It should be soft and smooth and maybe a bit sticky at this point. Pat the ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Freeze for at least a half hour and up to overnight. Remove from freezer when ready to use and let thaw slightly until you’re able to roll out.
1 1/2lbs fresh apricots (about 5-6)
1/2 pint raspberries
1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 Earth Balance buttery sticks, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 400 and put rack in lower third of oven.
Combine everything but the butter cubes in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the butter to the bowl and rub into the dry mixture until you have a crumbly mixture.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to fit a 9” pie pan.
Spoon filling into the pie crust and crumble the topping over.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue cooking for 50-60 minutes until filling is cooked and crust is golden. If the topping is browning too quickly, feel free to cover the pie with foil.