Happy weekend, guys! Hope you’ve had a good week and have some relaxing weekend plans. Myself and Duncan are celebrating our 9th anniversary this weekend, which is halfway between when we met at Halloween and our first date, almost a week later.
We met at my friend’s Halloween party. Duncan was dressed up as a zombie from Shaun of the Dead (a film I hate!!) and I wasn’t dressed up at all. My brother, whom I was planning to meet up with that evening, bailed out on me due to a tube strike (we used to live in London back then) and so that’s how I ended up attending the party in my neighborhood at the last minute (thanks, Bro!!). We talked to each other the entire night and went home with happy butterflies in our stomach.
And the rest is, as they say, history. 9 years, man!! It’s a long time!! We’ve been through a lot in the last few years, but we are still grateful to have each other in our corner and that counts for a lot. And we still make each other laugh and laugh at each other sometimes too, so there is a lot to celebrate. The mundanity of the day-to-day has not stamped it out of us yet 😉 .
On a less of a soppy note, I hope you are coping with the number of pumpkin recipes I am throwing at you these days (I’ve warned ya! 😛 ). Today on the menu, an American classic twisted and once removed… You know that strange qualifier describing a relative as ‘once removed’? It always makes me laugh, what a peculiar way to describe blood relations…
Well, my pies are distant cousins of the original thing. Firstly because they are miniatures and secondly because they are vegan. And not only that, the filling is mostly made up of good for you wholefoods, but it’s not like you would ever guess… My absolutely non-vegan neighbour was in raptures about them and I don’t think he still gets that they are vegan or what that actually means.
They came about by a complete fluke. I was planning to make something else (heroing pumpkin too) but my heart wasn’t quite in it and I felt like the recipe was possibly too complicated, so I abandoned it altogether. Then I went into a blind panic as I had nothing to share with you (and no strong prototype either) when I suddenly remembered about it being pumpkin pie season and these bad girls (girls can totally be bad too, trust me!) I made a while ago. As both desserts feature a custardy centre, I decided to apply the learnings from that recipe to this one and I nailed them! I was ecstatic! I hope you’ll love them as much as we did.
- 120 g / 1 cup all purpose flour OR GF all purpose flour mix (I used Dove’s Farm)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or icing sugar
- a pinch of fine sea salt
- ½ tsp xantham gum (for GF version only)
- 3 tbsp mild oil OR softened mild coconut oil
- 120 ml / ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp smooth almond butter
- 50 g / 1.75 oz firm silken tofu (I used Clearspring)
- 60 ml / ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- a good pinch of cloves
- a good pinch of fine sea salt
- thick dairy-free yoghurt or whipped coconut cream
- Place the flour, icing sugar, salt and xantham gum (if using a gluten-free flour mix that does not contain it already) in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Add the oil and incorporate it into the flour with a fork until all the flour is coated in oil and resembles little pebbles. If using maple syrup instead of sugar, mix it in with the oil and add them to the flour together.
- Slowly trickle in some cold water, start with 2 tbsp (or less if using maple syrup) and add more if needed, but proceed with caution, adding a tiny bit at a time.
- Bring all the dough together, but do not knead if you are working with gluten flour (overworking the dough will make the pastry tough). Form the dough into a ball and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll each part into a ball, flatten and roll it out flat between two sheets of baking paper to prevent sticking. When it comes to gluten-free dough, you may find it easier (I did) to simply mould it to the inside of the tart tins with your fingers.
- Line the tart tins with the dough and trim the excess pastry off with a knife. Pierce the dough-lined pastry cases with a fork and refrigerate them while the oven is heating up.
- Heat up the oven to 160° C / 320° F fan forced (180° C / 355° F no fan) and cut little squares of baking paper a touch bigger than your tart tins.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, place a square of baking paper inside each tin and fill with baking beads (or dry beans). Blind bake for 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the beads and the baking paper inserts and return the tins to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and set aside.
- Place all the filling ingredients in a food processor and blend until super smooth.
- Divide the filling between the pre-baked pastry cases.
- Bake at 160° C / 320° F fan forced (180° C / 355° F no fan) for about 18 minutes, until the edges look set but the centre can still be a little soft. Cool them completely before decorating.
- Once cool, dot with thick dairy-free yoghurt or whipped coconut cream and dust with cinnamon.
You can also make one large 26 cm / 10 cm diameter tart instead. To do that, double the amount of pastry and triple the amount of filling and remember to adjust the baking time too.