I’m going to be honest, I’m a little nervous. After my two year hiatus, I’m having to refamiliarize myself with the WordPress program, my food photography skills are rusty, and just in general, I feel like a rookie… I wonder if this is how Guy Lafleur felt when he came out of retirement… But enough of my bellyaching, I want to show you my tart!
I’ve attempted tassies only once before. They were amongst the goodies I baked for the first Christmas we were vegan. Everything (I’m sure) made Santa smile, except those tassies, which turned out to be disappointing, bland lumps. In retrospect, I was still a new vegan and, although I’d been a competent pre-vegan baker, the no butter/no eggs thing was proving to the a bigger (baking) challenged than I had anticipated. Perhaps if I had tried an other recipe, something less egg dependent, things would have turned out differently. As it happened, my failure left me very soured towards tassies.
So what happened?… Laziness happened… I bought some raspberries, intending to make tarts… Ya, I know, tarts=good, tassies=bad. Don’t try to reason with an irrational woman :-)… Anyway, when the time came, I really wasn’t in the mood to roll and cut tart shells. Tassies seemed like the logical compromise.
Maybe it was using a fruit filling. Maybe it was having a little vegan baking experience under my belt. Whatever it was, these tassies turned out way better than that first batch. And although I was still a little underwhelmed by them, several of my tasters disagreed, commenting on how good they were. So I figured, why not share them… And now, what kind of tassies to make next?
1 cup Margarine
2/3 cup Plain Non-Dairy Cream Cheese (I used Earth Island/Follow Your Heart)
1 tbsp Sugar
2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Cold Water
3 tbsp Corn Starch
3/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Fresh Raspberries
1 tsp Lemon Juice
3 tbsp Plain Non-Dairy Cream Cheese (I used Earth Island/Follow Your Heart)
2 tbsp Shortening
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/8 tsp Lemon Extract
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
To make the pastry:
Beat the margarine, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes), then beat in the flour.
Refrigerate while making filling.
To make the filling:
Stir together the water and cornstarch, then combine with sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan.
Over medium-low heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add raspberries and cook until thickened (about 10 – 15 minutes), stirring frequently.
Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes
Assembling and baking:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Retrieve the pastry dough from the refrigerator. Scoop enough dough to form a ball about the size of a ping pong ball (your ball may need to be slightly larger, depending on the size of your muffin tin), press into a well of a mini muffin pan (do not grease pan), creating a small tart shell (I just used my fingers to do this). Repeat until all dough is used (or all muffin wells are filled).
Fill each shell 2/3 full, with raspberry filling.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the pastry is a golden brown.
Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before transferring to rack. Remove the tassies carefully, the pastry is delicate. Cool completely before adding topping.
Beat together the cream cheese, shortening, zest, and extract, for 2 minutes.
Add Icing sugar (sift it if lumpy), and beat for another 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Refrigerate the topping until tassies have completely cooled.
Fit a piping bag with the tip of your choice, and pipe a dollop of topping on each tassie.
Store in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.
Makes approximately 30 tassies.
Up until I was in my 20’s, my feelings towards pie could be best described as contempt… No frosting, no sprinkles, no colourful eye candy! And you call yourself a dessert! Ha!… I was a cake girl through and through… I don’t know what changed. Perhaps it’s a coming of age thing, or maybe I came to appreciate the skill after trying my own hand at it. Whatever it was, I finally made peace with pie.
These days, pie makes me nostalgic for simpler days, days beyond my memory. A time of country fairs, hay rides, and barn dances. A time before cable, and computers, and cell phones. A time when a family came together at mealtime. A time when we knew our neighbours, chatted over fences while hanging our laundry to dry, and welcomed new families with homemade pie… It’s strange to miss something you never knew, but these are the things I think about… reminisce about, as I roll my dough and flute my edges.
4 cups Fresh Strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 cups Fresh Raspberries
1 cup Sugar
3 tbsp Potato Starch
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp Salt
Pie Crust (enough for a double crust pie)
Toss the raspberries and quartered strawberries together. Add the sugar, starch, vanilla, and salt. Gently toss until mixed. Let sit for 30 – 60 minutes (stirring once or twice) to allow the juices to come out of the berries.
Drain the berry juice mixture into a pot, and heat to thicken (stirring frequently). You’re looking for a thick pudding texture. Pour mixture back into the berries and gently stir to coat.
Spoon the berry filling into a dough lined pan, and cover with a second rolled out dough round. Fold and crimp edges of dough to seal, and cut slits into top for steam to escape… Instead of cutting slits, I cut heart shaped holes using a small cookie cutter.
Place in a preheated 350°F oven, and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until filling is bubbly.
Let pie cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving (to allow the filling to set).
Dave loves pie… Or more accurately, Dave loves apple pie… Most people are just happy to get a piece of homemade pie, but he’s a strict apple man. It’s been a challenge introducing him to new pie flavours.
He doesn’t want to think about other fruits or berries in his pie, and is almost appalled at the idea of cream fillings. In the past, even apple blends have been viewed as some form of flavour corruption… And so we take baby steps… After winning him over with an apple-raisin blend, I decided to step it up with strawberries.
I love the mix! Lots of strawberry flavour with chunky texture from the apples. The only thing that could have improved it would have been a big scoop of ice cream.
Oh, and what did my apple man think? Must have been pretty good, because he ate nearly the whole pie himself!
Maybe now he’s ready for me to get a little crazy and make it with peaches :-)
4 cups Ambrosia Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 cups Strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Cornstarch
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp Salt
Pie Crust (enough for a double crust pie)
Toss the apple and strawberry slices together. Add the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Toss until well mixed. Let sit for 30 – 60 minutes (stirring occationally) to allow the juices to come out of the fruit.
Drain the fruit juice mixture into a pot, and heat to thicken (stirring frequently). You’re looking for a thick pudding texture. Pour mixture back into the fruit and stir to coat.
Spoon the fruit filling into a dough lined pan, and cover with a second dough round. Fold and crimp edges of dough to seal, and cut slits into top for steam to escape.
Place in a preheated 350°F oven, and bake for 60 -70 minutes, until apples are tender and filling is bubbly.
Let pie cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes before serving.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for…. pie?…. Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right… But it is, when the pie is made of ice cream! (Seriously, I may have to rename this blog “The Misfit Ice Cream Maker” :-)) What we have here is a banana ice cream pie, with a peanut butter cookie crust, topped with chocolate-peanut butter ganache.
Surprisingly, perhaps, the inspiration for this little dish wasn’t from ice cream, but from a botched batch of cookies. I didn’t have the heart to throw them out, but I sure wasn’t feeding them to anyone either. For this reason, I trust you’ll forgive me for not sharing that recipe. Luckily, the crust can be made with any (baked) peanut butter cookie you desire, so use your favorite.
The ice cream turned out softer than the other’s I’ve made, but that worked out well, because this meant that the pie could be sliced straight from the freezer and popped right into you mouth. No plates or utensils required… I’m not saying this happened, or anything…
So, kids, remember: when life hands you crappy cookies, make a pie crust :-)
Banana Ice Cream Pie, with Peanut Butter Cookie Crust
For the Banana Ice Cream:
3/4 cup Pureed Banana
3/4 cup Coconut Milk, well shaken (full fat)
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
For the Crust:
1 cup Peanut Butter Cookie Crumbs
2 tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
For the Ganache:
3 tbsp Coconut Milk
1 tbsp Peanut Butter (I used natural)
1 ounce (30 grams) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
In a food processor or blender, puree bananas. Add coconut milk and agave nectar. Process until thoroughly combined and smooth. Pour mixture into a shallow container with lid and place in freezer. After about 1 1/2 hours, stir mixture and return to the freezer until fully frozen (this could take 5 – 8 hours, I left it overnight).
After ice cream has frozen, stir the cookie crumbs and oil together until combined. Press firmly into an 8 inch pie plate. Place in freezer and chill for about 10 minutes (this could also be done a head, covered tightly and frozen until ready to use).
When crust is chilling, remove ice cream from freezer. Spoon into food processor or blender and process until smooth and looks like soft serve. Pour into chilled pie crust and smooth surface. Return to freezer.
To make the ganache, bring milk to a simmer, in a small pot. Stir in peanut butter. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted and thoroughly combined. Allow to cool then pipe onto pie. Return pie to freezer until ganache has firmed (5 – 10 minutes).
Cover pie tightly and return to freezer until fully frozen (2 – 4 hours).