Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blueberry Rhubarb Pie and Vegan Mashed Potatoes

My final two cooking projects for Thanksgiving were dessert and another side, both vegan!

I did an informal poll of my friends on Facebook to see what pie I should make for Thanksgiving.  My friend Matt suggested blueberry rhubarb, and I thought that sounded great.  I found this recipe to serve as my guide.

For the crust, I used the vegan Buttery Double Crust recipe from the November 2011 issue of Yoga Journal, which comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Pie in the Sky.  The recipe isn't currently online, but it calls for flour, salt, sugar, vegan margarine, vegan shortening and cider vinegar.  I used Earth Balance buttery sticks and vegetable shortening.  Both of them contain soy, but I'm hoping that the small amount of pie I'll have won't knock me over allergy wise.  I used my food processor to make the dough for the crust, rather than cutting in the "butter" and shortening by hand.  I did cut the "butter" & shortening into small cubes first, and then put those cubes in the freezer for a bit to firm them back up.

For the filling, I essentially followed the recipe above, except I used the converted amount of truvia, rather than sugar.  I used fresh blueberries, but rhubarb is completely out of season, so I used frozen rhubarb from Stahlbush Island Farms.  I've used their frozen rhubarb before and it turns out quite well.  I also omitted the butter dotting on the filling - I was planning to use Earth Balance, but I completely forgot to add it in before I put the crust on top.

As usual, I had issues getting the crust to roll out properly.  I used the pastry board my parents  got me, and put waxed paper over the dough, but it still took me two tries to get it not to stick.  I'm sure someone has a suggestion they would be happy to share with me (hint hint!).  And, as also usual, I had to piece together the bottom and top crusts after the dough broke.  Thus, I refer to this pie as "Franken-Pie," due to the repair job I did on the top.

I did manage to do cut outs on top of the crust.  I have some small leaf cookie cutters that work well for this purpose.  I then used a knife to score the dough pieces to make them more leaf like.  Finally, I brushed the pie with almond milk to help the pie brown.  I used  my pie shield for the first 35 minutes of baking, and then removed it for the final 15 minutes.

Fluffier than they look - they're crammed in this bowl!
For the vegan mashed potatoes, I took 3.7 pounds (yes, a weird number  - that just happens to be what they weighed out to) of red potatoes, quartered them, and boiled them in our giant seven quart pot for 25 minutes.  In the past, when I've made a huge amount of mashed potatoes, I had to use multiple pots, so it was nice to only have to do them in one.  Once the potatoes were done, I used my yoga cultivated upper body strength to drain the potatoes, and then I mashed them with soy-free Earth Balance, plain almond milk and generous shakes of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Mom tasted them and said the almond milk added a touch of sweetness that she liked, and that they weren't as heavy as mashed potatoes made with a ton of dairy products.  I think I may need to re-season them when I reheat them tomorrow, but I'll play it by ear.

So, that's all of my Thanksgiving cooking!  We'll see what the verdict is when our family gets to taste everything tomorrow.  Until then, have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!!!

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