Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

A few months ago, I was looking at an old cookbook published by a church in Ontario, Canada, back in the early 1900’s. Like many books from the time, it came with a list of cooking times for assorted fruits and vegetables, including some advice that would be shocking for today’s palates (like cook spinach at a hard boil for 45 minutes).

One entry on the list struck me as particularly strange, though. It was for a food I had never heard of before: Pie plant. What an adorable name for a plant! Pie plant! Did it look like a pie? Did it grow pies? Do you make pies out of it? What kind of pies would you make from a pie plant? (Well, pie plant flavoured pies, of course).

Before having Internet, I probably would have filed the knowledge of “pie plant” somewhere in the back of my brain, and gone through life always wondering what it was, content in the knowledge that somewhere out there existed the perfect plant for making pies. But without the Internet, would I have ever found out what pie plant was? It’s hard to say, and I suspect the answer would have depended entirely on finding an elderly enough farmer at the farmer’s market…in Ontario…which is currently thousands of miles away from me.

Thank God for the Internet. Pie plant is rhubarb.

To be honest, I have never been a big rhubarb eater. I have had strawberry rhubarb pie maybe three times in my life. I think I ate raw rhubarb once years ago, and it would mostly likely have been with my friend Ashley who is a fiend for tart flavours (She would happily take that hard-boiled spinach and eat it with vinegar. I have seen her do this.) Given my sweet tooth and rhubarb’s propensity towards tartness, it’s no wonder I hadn’t become better acquainted with rhubarb. Until this weekend.

I had gone to the market in search of some green vegetables, but what caught my eye were these vibrant pink stalks of the biggest stalks of rhubarb I have ever seen. I ended up buying several which were as long as my arm.

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With these and a pint of strawberries in hand, it was time to make pie.

I should insert a quick safety note in here before I continue on to the recipe: The stalks of rhubarb are edible. The leaves are not. Don’t eat the leaves. They are so high in oxalic acid that you’d get kidney stones and be in so much pain that you’d end up cursing me for letting you know that pie plant existed in the first place. So don’t eat rhubarb leaves.

But anyways. On to the recipe.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit

Filling:

1 pint of strawberries, washed and chopped
3 stalks of rhubarb, washed and chopped (about 4 cups worth)
1 yellow apple, grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour

Mix the strawberries, rhubarb, apple, vanilla, and sugars in a bowl. Let this sit while you prepare the dough. The juices will start to come out of the strawberries. Before using the filling, stir in the half cup of flour.

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Dough:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup of hard vegan margarine, chilled
1/4 cup of shortening
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup ice water

In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Use a pastry blender or a fork to cut the margarine and shortening into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

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Add in the ice water and mix only until you have a smooth, pliable dough.

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Pie:

On a floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out until it is large enough to overlap your pie plate. Transfer the dough to the pie plate and use a sharp knife to trim away the overhang.

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Take the dough trimmings, knead them back into a single ball, and roll this into a rectangle slightly longer than the width of the pie plate. Using a ruler or the side of a cutting board as a guide, cut this dough into long narrow strips.

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Pour the filling onto the pie crust and use the back of your spoon to flatten and smooth out the filling as much as you can.

Now to make the lattice top:

Place strips of pastry on the pie in one direction, so that it looks like you have a striped crust.

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Now, fold back every other strip. Take another pastry strip and lay it across the pie, so that it is resting across the pastry strips that you haven’t folded back. Now unfold the folded pastry strips back across the pie. See how pretty and easy that is? Now keep doing this all across the pie. You have just made a beautiful lattice top.

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If you have any more dough scraps remaining, you can re-roll them and cut out decorative shapes to decorate the edges of the pie with. Use water or melted apricot jam to adhere the shapes to the pie.

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You can leave the pie unglazed or brush it with soymilk or melted apricot jam before baking. Mine is brushed with melted apricot jam.

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Place a foil-lined baking sheet in the lower rack of the oven to catch any drips, and place the pie in the middle of the oven to bake until done. Tent the pie with foil if it starts to brown on the top too much before it is cooked on the bottom. It should take 50 – 60 minutes to bake.

Allow to cool before slicing. I served mine with vanilla flavoured almond ice cream.

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Chocolate Pudding Pie

When I showed up to work the other day, my co worker whispered to me that we were having a surprise potluck the following day for our supervisor who has accepted a position at another location. She asked if I would sign the greeting card, and could I please bring something to the potluck?

Of course I could! With this recipe tucked up my sleeve I can always whip up a pie at a moment’s notice.

Chocolate pie

Chocolate Pudding Pie

From VegWeb.com, where it is known as Silken Chocolate Tofu Pie. But I like this name better. I toasted a handful of sliced almonds to use as the topping.

1 (12 ounce) bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 (12 ounce) block silken firm tofu
1/4 cup strongly brewed black coffee
1-2 tablespoons vanilla flavoring
1 graham cracker pie crust
fresh raspberries, to garnish, optional

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or on stovetop. Blend together tofu, chocolate chips, coffee, and vanilla.

2. Pour into graham cracker crust and chill 1-2 hours in the freezer, or 4 or more hours in the refrigerator.

3. Garnish with fresh raspberries when serving.

Serves: 8, Preparation time: 15 minutes plus 2 hours chilling

Custard Powder Snack Cake

Custard powder snack cake

By now you may have figured out that I have quite a sweet tooth. I also have a huge can of Bird’s Custard Powder in my pantry, and when I spotted the recipe for Eggless Custard Powder Snack Cake over at Easy Cooking: Divya’s Cookbook Blog, I knew I had found the perfect thing to do with it. Divya, by the way, found the recipe at Aparna’s Blog, My Diverse Kitchen. This cake is making the rounds.

Custard powder snack cake

Now, I tend to think that custard powder is a very under-utilised ingredient in North American baking. And perhaps it is with good reason; all it is is a mixture of cornstarch, salt, food colouring, and perhaps some artificial flavouring. It might not sound very exciting and perhaps you could just add those ingredients separately to your baked goods, but I find the flavour to be unique and I am in love with the colour-change magic that happens when you use custard powder; you take the white powder, stir in some liquid, and boom! Sunny bright yellow happiness.

In fact, I wish I had better lighting and a better camera, or at least some better photoshop skills, so that I could share with you just how vibrant this cake really is.

Custard powder snack cake

Imagine this is bright yellow. And in focus.

Anyhow, if the thought of using custard powder squicks you out (or if you simply can’t find it, wherever you are), simply replace it with cornstarch and add a dash more vanilla. You’ll have a white cake, but I suppose you could dump in some food colouring if you really wanted to.

I cut the recipe in half to make a petit little 6-inch round by 2 inch high cake, which is the perfect size for two or three people who just want a snack. I also tweaked it a little bit for my vegan sweet tooth tastes. Check out the full size recipe at the other blogs if you’d rather feed more people and/or have leftovers.

Custard Powder Snack Cake

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp of custard powder (vanilla or “original” flavour)
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
75 grams of Earth Balance or another hard vegan margarine (or I guess butter, if you swing that way), melted
1 cup of soymilk, with 1/2 tsp vinegar mixed in to thicken it
1/2 cup of sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 6 inch wide cake pan.
Mix all of the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the wet igredients in another. Combine the two and stir until just mixed, then pour into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick or skewer poked into the cake comes out clean. This took 30 minutes for me, but may take longer if you use the full-size recipe.

Cool on a rack. Serve. Be happy.

Custard powder snack cake

Doughnuts and tiny bundt cakes

Howdy! I’m Kayleen, and this is my brand spankin’ new food blog. I’m awkward at introductions, so I’m just gonna go ahead and put this out there:
get it in me

Oh yes.

So, last year, I found this handy dandy doughnut pan  at a thrift store, and immediately put it to use trying out all sorts of recipes for vegan doughnuts. The ones pictured above are ones I packaged up to sell at a bake sale.

Despite the doughnuts being deliciously awesome, my poor little doughnut pan stayed untouched in my cupboard until the other day, when a doughnut craving hit me so badly I knew I just HAD to dust off my pan and get baking.

That’s where this blog comes in. It’s the very thing I was reading that touched off this doughnut craving.

Now, the blog author does mention that her doughnuts turn out pretty much like cake, but I think I’m okay with that. Sometimes a little cake doughnut is all a girl needs.

Actually, sometimes three large cake doughnuts is all a girl needs.

I made her recipe almost as directed (well I HAD to add a splash of vanilla), and had just enough batter for 6 doughnuts. Oh, and these:

 Adorable

Two teeny, tiny bundt cakes.

I bought these tiny bundt cake pans recently and have been dying to try them out. Look at how small they are next to my regular bundt cake pans:

(yes, I'm aware I have an unhealthy obsession with bundt cake.)

Anyhoo, the doughnuts (and miniature bundt cakes) were delicious. My girlfriend gave one to her classmate and she said it was the best doughnut she ever ate. I love omnivore praise….

And doughnuts.