Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pumpkin Tarts

This is the last of my pumpkin recipes for this fall. It's too late for Canadian Thanksgiving, but these could be a hit at your very own American Thanksgiving. The filling has lots of pumpkin flavour but has a lighter texture than usual pumpkin pie filling. The filling does not have to be baked so these tarts come together relatively quickly. 

Makes 24 tarts
- 24 frozen tart shells, baked

- 1/3 cup unsalted chickpea aquafaba
- 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
- 3 tbsp sugar

- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup plain soy milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup cooked pumpkin (see note below*)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- large pinch allspice
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 1/4 tsp agar powder

- whipped topping

1. Bake the tart shells per the instructions on the package. Cool.
2. Soak cashews in boiled water for 15 mins. Drain.
3. While cashews are soaking, add aquafaba and xanthan gum to a mixer bowl. Fix the mixer with a balloon whisk and whisk on med-hi speed until foamy. Add sugar 1 tbsp at a time, and blend until soft peaks form.
4. Put the soaked cashews and the remaining ingredients (but not the aquafaba mixture) in a blender. Blend until very smooth.
5. Pour the blender contents into a saucepan and cook on the stove or medium heat, stirring constantly. When bubbling, cook for two minutes.
6. Let mixture cool for 2 mins, stirring regularly to prevent a scum from forming. Fold in the aquafaba mixture completely.
7. Spoon mixture into the cooled tart shells (save any leftovers in the fridge and call it pumpkin custard). When they reach room temperature, transfer to the fridge to fully cool. I think these taste best the next day.
8. When ready to serve, top with the whipped cream of your choice (I use the recipe from Homemade Vegan Pantry, but you could use a commercial topping as well).

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pumpkin Brioche Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe is a bit fussy but I thought I would post it anyway. The idea was to create a cheaper and easier brioche using margarine (instead of Earth Balance which I think has a weird taste, or homemade vegan butter). The problem is that margarine does not firm up in the fridge the way butter does, so the final dough is tricky to work with. Also, you need to keep the ingredients cold so the margarine does not melt. The xanthan gum gives the dough some structure, and flouring the dough before rolling helps as well. Don't worry if the rolls look a bit sloppy before they prove, as you can see from the pic it will all work out in the end. If this sounds like too much trouble, just use vegan butter and forget the xanthan gum. 

- 2.25 oz bread flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 4 oz lukewarm soy milk

- 8 oz very cold margarine
- 6 oz cooked pumpkin, cold (see note below*)
- 4 oz cold soy milk
- 16 oz bread flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (optional)

- 2 tbsp cooked pumpkin, cold
- 1 tbsp margarine
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp allspice

- 2 tbsp soy milk (more if needed)
- 1 1/2 c icing sugar

1. Mix together sponge ingredients until four is well hydrated. Cover and let sit for 45 mins.

1. Measure out the margarine and place it in the freezer. 
2. Add pumpkin, soy milk, flour, salt to the sponge and bring together into a dough with the paddle attachment. Let the dough sit for 5 mins. 
3. Using the paddle attachment on a mixer, add in 1/4 of the butter at a time, waiting until the previous amount has been fully incorporated before adding more. The final dough will be smooth, satiny, and very soft.
4. Switch to the dough hook and knead in the xanthan gum. The dough should gather in a ball around the hook.
5. Transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
6. On baking day: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll/pat the dough on a well-floured surface into a 18" x 14" rectangle. Flour the top of the dough if needed. 
7. Whisk pumpkin and margarine together. Mix in sugar and spice. Spread on to the dough, leaving a 1" space on the long side. 
8. Roll up along the ling edge, ending at the 1" space. Cut into 12 1.5" pieces, tuck the piece of dough with filling on it to the bottom and place on the baking sheet. 
9. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise a room temperature for about 2 hours, or until about doubled in size. 
10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 15-18 mins, until golden.
11. Make the icing. Mix together soy milk and icing sugar. It should be thick but able to be drizzled off the end of a spoon. Add more soy milk as needed. 
12. Let cool for 10 mins on the baking sheet, then drizzle the icing over the rolls. Let fully cool before eating. 

*NOTE: Microwaving is the way to go here. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a plate and microwave until flesh if soft and coming away from the skin. Allow to cool in the fridge before using, and keep the leftovers in a sealed container for other recipes. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

The sudden proliferation of pie pumpkins in the grocery store has let to some experimentation in the kitchen. Accuse me of jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon if you must, but these cookies are irresistible with their perfect blend of chewy and crispy. 

Makes at least 24 cookies
- 75g minute oats
- 150g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted margarine/butter)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 125g margarine or vegan butter
- 105g packed brown sugar
- 90g white sugar
- 3 tbsp cooked pumpkin (see note below)*
- 2 tbsp unsalted chickpea aquafaba
- 1 tsp vanilla extract- 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Cream together margarine/butter with sugars in a separate medium bowl with an electric hand mixer. Add pumpkin and blend well. Add aquafaba and blend well, then blend in the vanilla. 
3. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in raisins
.4. Drop rounded tablespoons of batter on to the prepared baking sheets. This is a very wet dough, so a cookie scoop is the way to go. I use the 3/4 oz scoop. 
5. Bake in batches until golden, about 16-18 minutes. NOTE: baking time will be less on a dark baking sheet.
6. Let cool on the pan for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack until cool.

*NOTE: Microwaving is the way to go here. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a plate and microwave until flesh if soft and coming away from the skin. Allow to cool before using, and keep the leftovers in a sealed container for other recipes. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Smoked Tofu

Smoked tofu is not hard to make but it takes some planning and time to make it right. This recipe is perfect for sandwiches, pizza, or anytime you need salty and smoky flavour.

- double recipe of brine
- Two 1 lb blocks of firm/extra from tofu
- 4 cups smoking chips
- water
- aluminum foil

1. Cut each block of tofu into four equal pieces. Submerge in the brine for two days, refrigerated. (I put everything in an old juice pitcher)
2. On cooking day, soak the smoking chips in water for 30 mins. Drain and put into a large foil package with many holes poked in the top. I make a large rectangle that fits the length of the burner, more or less.
3. Remove the grill from one half of the BBQ and begin heating one element/burner on high. After a few minutes, place the foil package on the coals or drip shield (depending on your BBQ). Once it begins smoking, reduce heat to med-lo. I use foil to cover up the holes in the lid that most BBQs have to attach a rotisserie, in order to keep more smoke in.
4. Place the tofu on the upper rack of the opposite side of the BBQ, as far away from the heat source as possible. Close the lid and smoke for 1.5 hours, or until the smoke stops. The temperature should be around 200 F for the entire time. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pizza Dough

Every Saturday we have pizza and watch a movie. Needless to say, I have made a lot of pizza dough in my day. For years I have made fairly wet doughs (Neapolitan, focaccia, New York, etc.) which produce thin and crispy crusts with some chewiness when baked on a hot stone. More recently the kids have been asking for a thicker crust and I was happy to oblige. I wasn't happy with recipes I found since they tended towards the dense and stodgy, so I made my own recipe. This crust is thicker (and can handle a truck load of toppings) but is still crispy and chewy. The cold ferment imparts great flavour which is the most important thing of all.

Makes six 10" crusts
- 6.5 oz semolina flour
- 14 oz bread flour
- 13 oz all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 4 oz oil
- 13 fl oz cold water
- 6 fl oz cold soy milk

1. Add all ingredients to a mixer bowl and bring together into a rough dough with a dough hook. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead with the dough hook for 5-7 minutes, or until dough is smooth and slightly tacky (but not sticky). Add more flour or water as needed.
2. Turn dough out onto an oiled baking sheet. Divided into six equal pieces and shape into balls.
3. Mist with oil, cover well with plastic wrap, and place sheet in the fridge over night.
4. On baking day, take the dough out of the fridge at least two hours before you want to start baking. Reshape the balls and leave to rise in a warm place, covered. The dough is ready to shape when it is warm and has risen.
5. Preheat your baking stone in a 450 degree oven.
6. Lightly spray six separate pieces of baking parchment with oil (you can reuse these from week to week). With your fingertips, spread the dough into a 10" circle, creating a ridge on the outside if you want. Let the dough rise, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.
7. Top with whatever suits you, and bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted (about 8-10 minutes), removing the parchment once the crust swells and begins to firm up.