Pumpkin Pie – and it’s vegan!

Vegan Pumpkin PieI am not a vegan, however, I have beloved family members who keep Kosher and one who is deathly allergic to eggs. As you can imagine, this can present quite a challenge when it comes to desserts – especially for the holidays. And I have an aversion to making something with substitutes that isn’t almost as wonderful as the real thing. It’s taken some searching and experimentation, but I think that my vegan pumpkin pie is as good as pumpkin pie with milk and eggs. It has the right taste and mouthfeel. So if I didn’t have to work within these restrictions would I still make the vegan version – probably not, but when I eat this do I feel as if I am “making do?” Definitely not. It’s one darn good pumpkin pie. And my niece, who has eaten both, swears she likes this version better!  cut pumpkin pie

Vegan Pumpkin Pie      


1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust (I use the Crisco recipe)

12 ounces silken tofu, blended until liquefied

1 recipe non-dairy condensed milk (see attached recipe)

15 ounce can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 rounded teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground clove

2 Tablespoons molasses or buckwheat honey

3-5 cracks of black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender until smooth and well-blended
  3. Pour into pie shell and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 10 minutes   Pumpkin Pie ready for oven
  4. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F. and continue baking for about 30 minutes more or until the center just jiggles a little. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and leave the pie in the oven for 10 more minutes. Don’t worry if it cracks a bit and poofs up. It will settle down as it cools. My baked filling is very dark because of the spices and molasses.
  5. Allow to cool thoroughly. This tastes best when made a day ahead.
  6. Because this is not a real custard, you don’t have to worry about refrigerating it.

I brought this to my niece’s house for Shabbat and it is the favorite dessert of my goddaughter/great niece.

Talia and pumpkin pie Talia digging in

Instant Dairy-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk Alternative

Author: Alisa Fleming

Serves: Makes approximately 14 ounces


  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons dairy-free, vanilla milk powder (I used Growing Naturals Organic Vanilla Rice Milk Drink but I’m not sure this is still available, so you might look for either a soy-based version if you have no issues with soy or Better Than Milk brand Rice Beverage Powder Mix – Vanilla. I have not yet tried either of these, so I am going off of reviews on the internet. )
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons canola, rice bran or grapeseed oil
  • Generous pinch salt


  1. Place the rice milk powder and sugar in your blender. Whiz the ingredients for about 30 seconds, or until powdered.
  2. Add the water, oil, and salt to your blender and blend for 2 minutes, or until thick and creamy.
  3. Use as a substitute for sweetened condensed milk in recipes.

Turkish Style Paella with Mussels

I love making a good paella in the large paella pan while watching it simmer for hours.


But sometimes I just don’t have that many hours, and I was looking for a new way to have dinner with mussels when I came across this recipe.


Not only was it extremely simple, but the mixture of sweetness from the dried cranberries with the mussels and the mint made for an eclectic and refreshing tasting dinner.


1 lb mussels
Grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
1 small white onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 red chili pepper
Good pinch of ground turmeric
1 cup dry white wine
4.5 cups seafoods, chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups long grain rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins if you can’t get cranberries)
Grated lemon zest and juice of lemon
1 small bunch of fresh mint, leaves roughly chopped


In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat enough oil to coat the bottom.  Add the onion and garlic and sweat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the chile and turmeric.  Reduce heat to low and let the ingredients cook together for about 20 minutes.

Pour in the wine to deglaze, making sure to loosen up any ingredients that stuck to the bottom.  Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer, cooking until the wine has been reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add your stock, return to a boil, and stir in your rice.  Turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer, cover the pot, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed almost all the liquid.

Next, add your mussels.  Cover the pot again and cook for another 7-10 minutes or until the mussels have fully opened.

Take the pot off the stove, stir in the currants and add salt or lemon zest if needed to taste.  Just before serving add the lemon juice and mint.

Adapted from Chris Taylor’s Twenty Dinners.

Apple Tarte Tatin

Another wonderful recipe from my new favorite cookbook, this was a perfect way to wind down my stock of apples.


When we went apple picking and *only* picked up two bushels of apples I was really worried it wouldn’t be enough (for a small village?)   Anyways, this was an easy and delightfully “Fall” way to spend more apples, and if not now, when?


For the Filling

  • 3 or 4 apples that will hold shape while cooking (I used Macintosh and I think Jonah Gold, but Cortland, Northern Spy, Winesap or Rome would work, as well)
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar, lightly packed

For the Pastry

  • 10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp sour cream
  • pinch of granulated sugar

Make the Filling

  1. Peel, halve and core the apples.  Melt the butter in an 8-in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and then add the brown sugar.  Arrange the apples cut side down in the pan, making sure they are squeezed tightly.
  2. Cook until the juices from the apples bubble, then turn down to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid.  Continue cooking until the apples are tender and most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from stove, flip the apples so they are cut side up and allow to cool completely.


  1. Rub the softened butter and flour between your thumb and index fingers.  After several minutes it will begin to incorporate into the flour.  Continue until the butter is in pea-size pieces.  Stir in the sour cream until completely incorporated.
  2. Turn out the dough and knead until smooth.  Form into a disk and cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out the dough on your floured work surface so it is big enough to cover the pan plus about 1 inch.  Transfer the dough to the top of the pan, molding the overhanging dough to the side of the pan.  Sprinkle with the granulated sugar and bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool until warm.

Place a large plate over the top of the pan and flip the whole thing upside down.  Dig in!

From Chris Taylor’s Twenty Dinners.

Let’s Talk Turkey


Believe it or not, we are only four weeks away from Thanksgiving – my absolute favorite holiday to cook and bake for. Every year I have to decide how much I will play with my menu from previous years. Everyone has their favorites. I’m also excited because Matthew and Frances are coming to join us along with the other family members. We will be four generations!

I admit that I go a little crazy for Thanksgiving. I have been collecting turkey decorations for years and they are everywhere from place cards to candle holders to straw and wooden turkeys. And a year ago, I treated myself to the wonderful Staub covered pumpkin soup bowls and soup tureen. I know, I know, but I simply couldn’t resist. And while my kitchen is small, I am blessed with a wonderful storage room.

I’ve been working on my menu, which has to factor in that some people keep Kosher and that my godson/great nephew is allergic to eggs. This is what I have come up with so far:

Roasted turkey

Thanksgiving 2015 Menu

Vegan Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted, fresh-killed turkey

Raw turnip, carrot, apple walnut salad


Sweet Potato OR Vegan Corn Muffins


Sally Lunn Bread (for breakfast the next day)

Carrot and Rutabaga Puree OR Sweet Potato Puree with Orange


Brussel Sprouts OR Green Beans OR Neither

Cranberry Chutney

Stuffing with chestnuts (out of the bird)


Truett-Hurst Zinfandel

Vegan Pumpkin Pie


Bourbon Pecan Pie   _MG_6190

Amish Apple Streusel Pie   _MG_6189

Dessert Wine


Some of these things may change, but you get the idea. I’ll provide recipes for some of these over the next 4 weeks, but I won’t always have photos until after the holiday. Because my fridge isn’t enormous, I always pray for REALLY cold weather so I can use my terrace as an additional fridge. I’m probably violating 2 or 3 condo rules, but thankfully no one can see…. And I’m very good about keeping all of the other rules.


Apple Crumble

apple crumbleI wanted a nice dessert to go along with my roast stuffed pork and and roasted pumpkin and delicata squash. Since I was going with the whole seasonal autumn thing, and I wanted something fairly quick and easy, I went with an apple crumble. There is always room for an apple, right?

Apple Crumble

Yield: 6 servings


4 large, flavorful baking apples (I used Golden Delicious and Pink Lady)

1/2 of a lemon

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup rolled oats (quick-cooking or regular)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 stick of softened butter

1/4 cup apple juice or cider

vanilla ice cream or heavy cream to serve


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lavishly butter an 8 inch square baking pan
  3. Peel and core the apples, rub them all over with the cut lemon and thinly slice
  4. Place the apples in the buttered dish. Mix all of the other ingredients except for the apple jiuce and ice cream together so that you have clumps of streusel.
  5. Distribute the streusel over the apples and then drizzle the juice over the top.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes or until the apples are tender to a knife and the topping is nicely browned. Serve warm with ice cream or heavy cream.

Roast Stuffed Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider Glaze

plated pork roastToday my thoughts turned to roasted meat, apples and squash – autumn seasonal foods. One of the cooking shows that I enjoy watching is Extra Virgin with Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos.  I like it not only because they make the kinds of food I like, but they live out one of my fantasies – having a farm and your family around you. Gabriele loves pork and he had a recipe for roast pork that sounded wonderful. However, as I have mentioned several times, I always like to add my own touches. For his delicious recipe you can read it here. I’m serving mine with the roasted potatoes from the pan and with acorn squash.    roast stuffed pork shoulder

Roast Stuffed Pork Shoulder with Apple Cider Glaze  

Yield: 6 servings


3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (butt) butterflied and with a nice layer of fat on top. You want a well-marbled piece of meat so it will stay moist during the long, slow cooking. And let’s face it, fat is flavor.

About 24 ounces of apple cider (I used Angry Orchard hard apple cider becasue I had it from another recipe, but plain cider is fine)

1.5 cups dried apple rings

1 Tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sage

1 Tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 Tablespoon minced garlic

1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian Paprika

6 small red baby bliss potatoes, halved

3 heads of garlic with the top quarter cut off

EVOO for drizzling

cooking twine


  1. In a glass bowl, cover the apple rings with about 12 ounces of cider. Let these soak covered for at least one hour, but they can soak as much as overnight.
  2. Butterfly the pork roast unless your butcher did it for you. It’s pretty easy as long as you have a sharp knife. Cut the roast vertically so that it opens like a book. Do not cut all the way through. You still want one piece.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the open roast. Then spread the garlic, rosemary and sage over the open roast. Lay the apple rings over everything covering what will become the inside of the roast.
  4. Carefully roll the roast up along the long side, with the fat on top. Using kitchen twine, tie the roast to hold it together. About 4 pieces of twine should do. The roast can be prepared up to a day ahead up to this point. If  you are not roasting it immediately, wrap it well in parchment and foil and place in a plastic bag in the fridge.
  5. When you are ready to roast the meat, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  6. Drizzle EVOO In your roasting pan. Place your potatoes and garlic in the pan, cut side down to form a platform for the roast. Drizzle with a bit of EVOO and sprinkle with some Kosher salt and pepper. Lay the roast on top of the potato/garlic bed. Sprinkle salt, pepper and sweet Hungarian paprika over the meat and drizzle with olive oil.   roast pork ready for the oven
  7. Roast for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pour the remaining apple cider over the meat and roast for 1.5 hours more. Let the meat rest for 20 minutes to absorb all of the juices.
  8. Place the meat on a cutting board, cut the twine and carefully remove it. The roll should hold together.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

oatmeal raisin cookiesToday our great nephew/godson is coming to visit with us while his sister goes to the ballet with her parents and my sister. No, it’s not a sexist thing. He just isn’t ready to sit still through the ballet yet. As I have mentioned before, this beloved child is deathly allergic to eggs AND his family keeps Kosher. This definitely presents dessert challenges, but I am determined that he never misses out on anything, so I have been working hard to find – and tweak – the best recipes for everything from an eggless challah to chocolate “cream” pie. A wonderful baking book to start with is The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book by Kelly Rudnicki. However, I’m always searching the web and experimenting because I will never make a poor substitute for the real thing. It’s a labor of love and one that I am happy to do. The oatmeal, raisin, chocolate chip cookies below are a delicious and chewy cookie that anyone would enjoy. I usually make them with dried cranberries and raisins, but I decided to use choclate chips and raisins today. When switching out ingredients always keep in mind the proportions if you want a good outcome. So if you like nuts in your oatmeal raisin cookies, then switch out half of the raisins. You get the idea.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies


1/2 cup dairy-free shortening (I like Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/3 cup molasses

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 cups quick-cooking or old fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup raisins

3/4 cup semi-sweet or 53% cacao chocolate chips (I would not recommend going any darker on the chocolate chips)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening, sugar, applesauce and molasses until smooth. I find that there always is a bit of separation still, but don’t worry, it all works out.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and mix well with a fork or wire whisk.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture and beat well to combine.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat (treat yourself – it  is so worth it!) Stir by hand the oats, raisins and chocolate chips into the cookie dough, using a spatula or wooden spoon. Using a cookie scoop (mine is 1.5 Tablespoons) or a rounded measuring Tablespoon, place dough on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned. (This part always depends on your oven, the size of your cookie and on personal preference, so just watch them.) Remove from the oven and wait 2 minutes before moving the cookies off of the pan and onto a cooling rack.