Vegan Peach Galette – Plus Why I Put Bread in My Pie

Ready for the eating! The crust isn’t the expected golden brown, because there isn’t any butter in the dough, just shortening. Hence the vegan title!

I attended a potluck BBQ thrown by a friend recently, and as she is vegan, I wanted to bring something that she could eat. Also, I wanted to bake because I love baking. And sugar. And I had a bowlful of peaches in the house. And that’s how my peach pie was born!

Except that I made the rustic French version of a pie, a galette. It’s…wait for it…easy as pie (ba da dum!) except easier, because you don’t have to worry about shaping the pie all purdy like. You just roll out that dough, slap in some filling, pull up the edges, and shove the thing in the oven. How’s that for easy?

Let’s make some!

VEGAN PEACH GALETTE

  • 1 batch pie crust, but made with only vegetable shortening (I used my regular dough recipe, and whole wheat flour)
  • 5 peaches (free-stone, because it’s easier to slice for display)
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch each nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • ¼ c. bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. large sugar crystals

Make dough and chill in fridge for at least an hour.

Cut peaches into sixths, place in a bowl, and add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, corn starch, and brown sugar. Stir until combined.

Roll out dough on a silicone liner (or wherever and then transfer to a cookie tray) into a round shape. Place silicone liner on cookie tray. Spread bread crumbs in centre of dough, leaving 2 cm bare around the edge of the circle.

Place fruit wedges in a pretty design on top of the bread crumbs. Then gently pull up edges of dough and fold in on the filling. Sprinkle the sugar crystals on the edges of the dough, and a few in the centre.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the pie crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Crust with crumbs, ready and waiting for the peach filling!

BREAD CRUMBS? HUH?: The fruit in your galette will be nice and juicy, but too juicy will mean soggy crust and a galette that falls apart or worse, doesn’t bake properly. The corn starch will help thicken up the fruit juices, and make the galette less soggy. And the bread crumbs also absorb all those luscious fruit juices, preventing your galette from being a soggy mess! You won’t be able to see the bread crumbs in your galette once it’s baked, don’t worry. Bread crumbs in pie. Who’d a thunk it?

I’m happy to say that the galette was happily received! And happily eaten, with friends. The best way to eat a pie, yes?

Next Post: Erm, I dunno. Imma gonna think on that and get back to you, ‘kay ?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday!

When Leftovers Rebel: Sausage & Veggie Hand Pies, with a Whole Wheat Crust

Hand pies: delicious warm and equally delicious cold!

I’ve been trying to slowly health-ify my eating habits, and have switched to using whole wheat flour instead of white flour. I think each has a place in the baking panoply, but for now I’m trying to only use whole wheat flour. More fibre per bite, and with my IBS, that can only be A Good Thing. Every recipe I make, I’m now using whole wheat flour in, and seeing how it turns out. This week it was whole wheat pie crust. (Using whole wheat flour makes pie crust healthy, right? I’m going to say yes.)

I was looking in my fridge the other day, poking around and trying to decide what to make for lunches for the coming work week. I came across a container of herb-roasted vegetables that I had made the previous week. I had eaten most of them, but there was still a couple of cups left. I opened the cheese drawer (or whatever it’s called) and came across a package of vegetarian breakfast sausage patties. I had eaten half the package several months ago, and just never got around to eating the rest. I had tossed the original packaging and didn’t even know the expiry date. I looked at the veggies. I looked at the sausage. I looked at the multiple containers of whole wheat flour that I keep in my fridge (What? I ran out of space in my freezer! Why do I have flour in my freezer? To keep it fresh longer, since I buy bulk packages. Now let’s move on!). I also rifled around in my pantry cupboards and came across a package of brown gravy mix. BAM! Inspiration struck, and lunch was born!

I fried up the sausage into crumbles, mixed in the vegetables, added in the gravy, encased it all in delicious pastry, and voila! Lunches that are easy to eat on the go, for a snack, sitting on the sofa reading a book, and can be frozen and thawed with impunity.

And you know what? The hand pies turned out FABULOUSLY! So yummy! So flaky! So full of meaty goodness with veggies and gravy in every bite! Ah, I do love a good hand pie!

Let’s get to making some!

Rich, meaty, gravy-filled goodness!

SAUSAGE & VEG HAND PIES

Makes 7 hand pies

  • 1/2 pkg. Yves veggie breakfast sausage (or 3/4 c. of sausage crumbles of your choice)
  • 1 package of brown gravy mix (or 1-1 1/2 c. gravy of your choice)
  • 3 cups of herb-roasted vegetables, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 batch of pie crust dough (I used my vodka pie crust recipe, made with only whole wheat flour)

Fry up sausage crumbles. Make up gravy mix. Mix sausage crumbles, gravy, and roasted vegetables together. Set aside.

Roll out pie dough. Using a drinking glass, cut out 7 circles. Take each circle, roll it out a little more, and fit into a muffin pan. Fill each of those with the meat-gravy-veg mixture, until just under the top of the dough. Take the remaining dough, divide into 7, and roll out into circles. Fit the circles on top of each pie, pinching the edges of the crust together. Cut an X in the top of each pie.

Bake in a 425 degree oven until golden and bubbly (the filling is pre-cooked, so you’re really just baking the dough). Let cool before removing from pan. Enjoy your hand pies!

By the way, if you end up with leftover filling, serve it hot over mashed potatoes for a comfort food meal! Mmm…with a nice green salad, that’s a nice way to use up leftovers that are made up of leftovers! (Down with food waste!)

These hand pies are so versatile. You can take almost any leftover vegetables, add in almost any type of leftover finely chopped meat (or veg ‘meat’), add gravy, pop it in pie crust, and who wouldn’t love it? Leftovers are the BEST!

If you make this dish, let me know what veggies and meat you put in the crust! Let’s inspire each other!

Next Post: Hmm. Good question. I’m thinking a vegan fresh fruit galette. Maybe plum or peach? Yes, that! And I’ll tell you how to use bread when making a pie. (Say what?! Oh, you read that right! And read the next post to find the answer!)

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Happiness is Homemade!

Diet Cheesecake: Low-Fat, Healthy, & No-Bake (The Dream is Real, Folks!)

Diet cheesecake, for realz!

Now that I’ve (hopefully) got your attention with my ‘Diet Cheesecake’ title, I’ll come clean: it’s actually mock cheesecake, as there’s no cream cheese in the cheesecake. Say, what?!?

I’ve blogged before about how I make my own yoghurt. It’s sooo delicious, and so easy that I urge you to make your own! I made a batch of yoghurt last week, and got to thinking about how my dad used to make yoghurt cheese (‘labneh’ in Arabic) when I was a child. I thought, you know what, I bet I could use that to make a no-bake cheesecake pie. Welp, I was right! It IS possible to make cheesecake without cream cheese!

I used 1% milk to make my yoghurt, which means the resultant yoghurt cheese was very low-fat. Admittedly, it’s not low-sugar because it uses condensed milk as a sweetener, but hey, one can’t have everything in life, right? I did use my gingersnap cookie recipe as the base for the cheesecake, which means the cheesecake is low-gluten as well.

And did I mention that it’s no bake? Assuming one has gingersnap cookies lying around, that is. If you don’t make your own, just buy some. Eh. Life is too short to make everything from scratch all the time.

So. Let’s get to the good stuff — where’s that recipe?

DIET STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 1/2 litres of Balkan-style yoghurt (or all the yoghurt that 3 l of milk will make)
  • 3/4 can of condensed milk
  • 4 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 medium-sized gingersnap cookies
  • 10 tbsp. strawberry jam (I used homemade pectin-free jam because I like the loose set)

Take a colander and line it with cheesecloth (or a very loose-weave cotton cloth); place that colander into a large bowl. Pour all your yoghurt into the lined colander, and place it in the fridge for 48 hours. This will drain the whey from the yoghurt. Twice a day, empty the bowl of the whey (drink it for extra protein, or use it in baking). After 48 hours, you will have a very thick, cream cheese-like yoghurt cheese.

Mix the yoghurt cheese with the condensed milk, lime juice, and vanilla extract.

Place the gingersnap cookies in glass custard cups. Spoon the cheesecake filling on top, and spoon some strawberry jam on top of that. Et voila, healthy diet cheesecake!

That creamy filling, tho!

In case you’re wondering if it was delicious, let me just say that I made this recipe last night. The DH and I ate 4 servings last night, and this morning I woke up to find that he had taken it upon himself to save my waistline, and eaten the remaining two servings for breakfast. (What he doesn’t know about is that I saved some cheesecake filling and hid it. Ha, ha! That’ll teach him to eat my dessert! Marriage; for better or worse but not dessert.)

Of course, you can play around with this recipe. Buy a pre-made crust or make your own more traditional graham-crumb crust; top with canned cherries, macerated strawberries, or blueberry jam; add chocolate chips to the filling and caramel on top…the list is endless! If you make this, let me know in the comments which variation you make! I’m wondering now if I could make an Oreo version; what do you think, should I develop that recipe?

Next Post: Hmm. Maybe that Apple Cinnamon Pancake recipe, maybe my Sausage & Roast Veggies Mini Meat Pies (veg version, ‘natch)!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And Full Plate Thursday!

Gingersnap Cookies That Bite Back! (Vegan & Low-Gluten)

Gingersnaps with BITE! (The fact that they’re also healthy is incidental.)

The DH was away for the weekend, and to distract myself from missing him I went on a baking frenzy. One of the things I made was this delicious gingersnap cookie recipe! These cookies have real zested ginger in them, and taste dee-lish! They’re also vegan, low-gluten, and free of refined sugars and flours!

What makes these yummy cookies so healthy? Spelt flour! Spelt flour is naturally low in gluten, so if you have gluten issues, this recipe is one for you! Spelt flour isn’t totally gluten-free though, though unfortunately it’s not for those with Celiac disease. Gluten intolerance, though? Bring it on! To avoid refined sugars, I used maple syrup in this recipe, but you could also sub in honey or even regular molasses. Just use less, since honey is such a strong sweetener.

Enough with the recipe discussion, bring on the cookies, you say? I couldn’t agree more! Let’s!

GINGERSNAP COOKIES WITH BITE!

Makes 3 dozen cookies

  • 2 1/2 c. spelt flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp. blackstrap molasses (extra iron, yo’!)
  • 3 tbsp. ginger, zested

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add in wet ingredients and stir. Roll into small balls and place on a silicone baking sheet on a baking tray. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack, and let cool. Eat, and enjoy the gingery bite!

Time for tea!

Kitchen Hack: Peel your ginger root with a spoon (use the spoon as a knife — seriously, it works) then freeze it whole. When you need some fresh ginger, take your chunk of frozen ginger and rub it on a zester to get a very fine ginger zest! Great to use in stir-fries, as the ginger almost melts away! Also fabulous in that you never waste your ginger (ever find fresh ginger molding away in the fridge?) as you only grate the amount you need before returning the frozen ginger to the freezer.

These cookies freeze well, so you can make them in advance and just thaw them when you need them. I’ve packed away almost the entire batch into the freezer for future lunches (*cough*midnight snacks*cough*). I plan to enjoy them with a nice cup of tea! Oooh, or a nice cold glass of milk!

Next Post: Either the Apple Cinnamon Pancakes I keep promising, or…a cheesecake recipe that doesn’t use cream cheese! I still need to experiment a bit more with that recipe, so stay tuned!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Full Plate Thursday!

Piped Icing 101: Designer Cookies Using Edible Food Markers!

Edible art therapy for adults: pipe some icing on cookies, draw on icing, eat, and repeat!

I belong to some baking groups on facebook and every now and then I see bakers using food markers to draw on cakes and cookies. It looked like so much fun that I had to try it myself! It’s much easier than you think and just as therapeutic as adult colouring books in my opinion — plus, you can EAT your colouring! What’s not to love?

I’m going to take you through the steps of making, icing, and decorating cookies that are good enough to sell, great for gifts, and (obviously) delicious to eat!

Step 1: BAKE YOUR COOKIES

Make your cookie dough. I used this: Lilaloa’s Vanilla 2.0 recipe, as it’s a fail-proof recipe that I recommend to all my friends (and that includes you all)! Roll out the dough, and cut using your favourite cookie cutters. I used my “Fun Bites” cookie cutter. Easy to use, and it really does make for fun bites! Bake cookies until the bottoms are golden, and let cool.

Cookie blanks, all ready for some icing!

Step 2: MAKE YOUR ICING

While the cookies are cooling, make your icing. Royal icing is the white sauce of the cookie world — versatile and the most important basic recipe to master. I used this recipe. The recipe will give you a stiff icing, and more than you need. That’s ok! You can store the rest in the fridge, in a plastic container, covered with a layer of plastic wrap under the lid.

Flooded cookies, some with outlines, some without.

Step 3: ICING THE COOKIES

Spreadable Icing vs. Piping Icing

So, you start with the stiff icing. This is spreadable consistency. Take a 1/2 c. of the icing, and mix in a teaspoon of water. Now, you’ve got icing that can be piped, but won’t run off the sides of the cookies. (Professional cookiers talk about 6-second icing, 12-second icing, etc., referring to how long it takes for the icing to spread out. It can take a lot of work to get to that level of expertise, and unless you’re making a living from selling cookies, it’s not worth all the practice it takes to get to that level. What I will show you, is good enough to get compliments and oohs and ahhhs from your friends and family — and which home cook doesn’t love that?)

Take your pipeable icing, and place it in a Ziploc bag, in a corner. Twist the top until you’ve essentially made yourself a cheapie piping bag. Cut the tiniest bit off the bottom tip of the bag. Now you can ice an outline! I outlined the squares on my cookies.

Fill-In Icing

Now that you’ve got your icing outlines piping, take another 1/2 cup of your spreadable icing, and add in 2 teaspoons of water. This will make for a looser icing than your piping icing. Place in another Ziploc baggie/icing bag, cut the tip off the bag, and squeeze some icing in the centre of the outlines. You will see this icing spread out in a few seconds. Resist the urge to fill in the outline with lots of icing (or else you’ll get icing running over the sides of the outline) and don’t try to spread out the icing (it will spread out by itself in a few seconds).

The DH walked into the kitchen and said: “That’s not how you use a dehydrator!” Little does he know!

Step 4: DRY YOUR ICING

At this point, you need to let your iced cookies dry before you can draw on them. Professional cookiers use dehydrators to get the icing on the cookies to be glossy. It’s a small difference, but a) makes your cookies look that much more polished and b) you get to draw on them faster! (A huge plus for someone like me who hates boring stuff like watching cookies dry, but loves the fun stuff like drawing on them.)

Put your cookies on dehydrator trays in your dehydrator. The catch is, it has to be a top-down or back-front dehydrator. In other words, the fan has to be on the top, blowing wind down onto the icing on the tops of the cookies, or in the back blowing to the front of the cookies. If you have a dehydrator that blows from the bottom up, you’re going to dry out your cookies instead of making the icing shiny. But….there’s a hack for that!

Kitchen Hack: Don’t have one of the more expensive dehydrators that blow back to front (like the Excalibur models) or top down? No worries, I have the Margaret-tested solution for you! Hack your bottom-up dehydrator! Put your cookies on your dehydrator trays. Place those trays on the counter. Place an empty tray on top of your cookie-filled tray. Then turn the base of your dehydrator upside down and place on top of the empty tray. Yes, it’s a tad wobbly, and you’ll have to keep an eye on it, but it dries those cookies to a glossy finish in under an hour!!!

Let’s make some art: scrabble tiles and smiley faces!

Step 4: GO CRAZY WITH THE FOOD MARKERS!

Once your cookies are dry (you can test this by pressing down with your finger gently on the icing — but be sure to do this on a test cookie), you can draw on them! To be honest, I got tired of piping outlines and filling them in, so I just piping some fill-in icing in blobs in the centre of my cookies and let them spread out into circles. Once dried they were the perfect smiley face template!

I drew on my white circle cookies with a yellow food marker and let that dry for a minute. Then I drew the faces on top!

Emoticon cookies — the perfect way to eat your feelings!

What sort of cookies will you create? Let me know in the comments! I think these cookies would be great to play around with. You could write love messages to the spouse, have the kids draw edible art to give as gifts to the grands, or just have some edible art therapy for yourself!

Food + art…a tasty combo!

Next Post: Hmm. Probably the Apple Cinnamon Pancakes I keep talking about!

Linking Up at Happiness is Homemade! And Full Plate Thursday!