Saturday, October 24, 2009
I had recently become curious about making Hand Pies...sweet or savory filling wrapped up in a nice crust and baked in the oven. However, my concerns about palm oil, and it's prevalence in Earth Balance and other vegan margarines, kept me from making them. And even though I use Earth Balance for cooking and spreading, I have been trying to cut back. If you don't know about the issues with palm oil,take a look at Mattie's posting about it on his fantastic site, VeganBaking.net...he shares his experiences as a vegan baker and includes lots of recipes and product reviews.
Back to the crust! I tried using refined coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature like the other fats, but it was kind of difficult to work with and very pricey. And then I remembered seeing recipes for making oil-based crusts, and after a few minutes of Googling "oil pie crust", I found this. Wow...so, not only did the oil crust work well, but it beat some of the other, more "traditional" ways of making it...like with butter, lard or shortening. Ok ! So I went to work and made a filling of peeled ( they werent organic )and chopped apples, maple chunks ( very solid chips of reduced maple syrup...too hard to use without melting them down ), cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, and lemon juice. I cooked the filling some, so that the apples would be cooked through in the little pies.
Here's the recipe I used to make the crusts...it needs another name, since "Vegetable Oil pie crust" does not really inspire. But in the meantime, here's the recipe, lifted from the Boston Globe. You will notice that 'milk' is listed in the ingredients...of course, us vegans would use a plant milk of our choice. Next week, I'll try using whole-wheat pastry flour and try some small additions of other flours as well. I divided the dough into 8 balls, each one weighing about 2oz. Each ball got rolled out 1/8" thick and shaped into a 5" circle ( more or less). Then I spooned a few tablespoons of filling onto one side, (leaving enough room for sealing the edges), wet that edge with some water, and then pulled the other side over the filling , bringing the two edges together, crimping and sealing them with a fork. I made some vent holes on the top of each one with the fork, brushed with some oil and sprinkled sugar on top. They baked in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Not only do they look pretty, but they taste really great, with lots of crisp edges and no soggy bottoms !