Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yes! (Apple-Mango Pie)

Well, that apple-banana pie I made a while ago had too much banana flavour in it, so I came up with something better: apple mango!
It is pretty much the same recipe as that pie, except:
  • Use lime instead of lemon for greater synergy
  • Slice the apples instead of chop them because that's just a better idea anyways
  • replace the mushed up banana with a very ripe mango.

  • This worked out wonderfully! Instead of banana permeating every bite, the mango only shoes up from time to time, and it adds it's own texture with the chunks that are still left.
    I actually ended up discarding some of the mango, but only the parts near to the outside which didn't mush easily under the force of my hands.

    Also, I made the pie crust with the juice of a half dozen strawberries, which made a gleefully pink dough, which tragically did not carry through to the end result.

    Busy Night (Turnovers for Real)

    So, tonight I've made stock, soup, and turnovers, and it's been an ordeal. The soups staying warm on the stove right now, and the turnovers are in the oven, so I can finally sit down and type this stuff out.

    Strawberry-Banana Turnovers
    No longer the exclusive domain of wacky fruit blend punch juice drinks in brightly coloured cardboard boxes, now you too can have this delicious combination in convenient turnover form, made in your very own kitchen!
    You'll need:
  • ~3 cups of sliced strawberries (don't measure then slice, it'll be too few!)
  • ~2 bananas
  • sugar
  • pastry for a two-crust pie

  • So, I put the strawberries on the stove with just enough water to cover, and simmered till they turned into jammy-jelly. I let that cool a bit, made the dough (using all purpose flour to try and get a stretchy dough for easier handling), mushed two bananas into the strawberries, realized I didn't have any white sugar (strawberries get tart when you cook them), said screw it, I'm tired and it's late, then cut the dough into circles of maybe five inches, dolloped the stuff onto the middle, folded them (wetting the edges for better adhesion), then put them in the oven (400ºF). They've been in ten minutes, and I expect they'll be out in another ten.

    I know we're in the multimedia age and all, but no pictures this time. I don't actually own a digital camera, I just borrow from other people whom I give food too.

    I'm going to go collapse and try not to think about how messy this kitchen is. Will update when turnovers are consumed!

    First thoughts: Man, put down tinfoil when making turnovers. That's a mess I'd like to be able to forget about.

    Second thoughts: They look delicious, but the pastry is too thick, there's not enough filling, and all I can taste is banana. Next time I'll cook the strawberries less, and add less banana. And probably add some sugar.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008


    I'm making turnovers again, this time out of scraps from leftover pie dough. I need to take a step back from the thought that super-gentle is always the way to go. Definitely the nicest looking one right now is the one which I worked a little harder/longer(/faster/better), so it'll have some stretchy/chewiness from being worked, but that probably won't be a bad thing, as it's rising and forming a nice, curved, pocket shape.
    I think when I try making a batch of turnovers, I'll use all-purpose flour instead of pastry.

    Sunday, April 20, 2008

    Banana Corn Rye

    Alright, that's enough pie for now (that's a lie, I'm going to make more tomorrow), so here's some bread again. This is something I came up with not because I wanted vegans to have some tasty bread, but because I've spent enough time behind enemy lines that I know how to use their tricks to further my own dark ends.
    Never assume your foe has nothing to teach you, for then your arrogance will surely defeat you!

    Banana-corn-rye bread:

  • 1 1/2 cups rye flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons malt syrup
  • two bananas
  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. That's it. Do a little dance or something. Anything, really, just so I have more than one instruction in this paragraph. Oh! Mound and make a little well in the dry stuff.

    Mix the syrup with the warm water, and mix till well dissolved. Add the oil, then mash and add the bananas. Mix the works together, then pour into the dry bowl, and mix just until moistened.

    Bake in your magically pre-heated to 350ºF oven for about half an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    This resulted from re-working an already re-worked recipe for corn rye bread. I just swapped up an egg and a cup and a quarter of buttermilk for a cup of bananas and a half cup of water (standard vegan sub is a banana to two eggs). The water is warm only to make it easier to melt the malt.
    Regarding the malt, you can feel free to use molasses, honey, or just sugar if you feel like it. I'd go to about half the volume if I was using straight sugar, though.
    This is a pretty delicious breakfast bread which I've made a few times now.

    P.S. I think next time I'll take it down to just a banana and a half, for flavour reasons. I think the water level won't go up, though.
    Also, I'll use a finer corn meal to try and better get that taste out there.

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    Apple-Banana Pie

    I haven't really had anything I could call a 'failure' for a while, so tonight, I'm trying something silly that I don't think will work. Instead of making another apple-strawberry, I'm making apple-banana pie!
    Banana has a way of being a jerk at parties and monopolizing the conversation and talking about it's interests in a really loud voice while everyone else is just trying to chill. I've tried to get around this by skinning one banana alive, then mashing it to little bits. Also, by only using one banana.

  • four apples
  • three tablespoons brown sugar
  • one lemon, juice of
  • heavy dash of cinnamon
  • one ripe banana

  • Chop up the apple, toss it with the lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon, let macerate for a while (half hour-three hours). Cook it in a fry-pan over medium heat for maybe five to ten minutes; until they're getting cooked but well before they start to try and be apple sauce.
    Strain the apples, and return the juice to the pan, where you'll hit it with medium-low-medium heat, swirling to prevent burning, until it's boiled down to a syrup and smells a bit like caramel. Pour the syrup over the apples and toss them to coat evenly. Then, mash that banana to a pulp, and toss it in with the apples. Let this mixture sit while your housemate is using the oven to make an obscene amount of roasted veggies. Go read a book or update your website or something.
    Roll out a pie crust, put the stuff in, and bake until done. I'm guessing this'll be forty five minutes, I haven't actually cooked the thing yet.
    Here's what it looks like right now:

    Fairly delicious pie, a little heavy on the banana flavour, but that's what happens when you use banana. Either I didn't add as much cinnamon as I thought, or it got burnt away when I reduced the syrup, because that flavour was lost, when I was hoping it'd help moderate the banana potency.
    On the bright side, this did give the filling an excellent consistency and it didn't fall apart at all, making it ideal for on-the-go applications, such as my hopefully more rugged next incarnation of turnovers.

    Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    My Apple Pie

    I've just made yet another pie, this time apple. I think I've found the recipe that'll become my signature/standard apple pie, this one was pretty good. I wanted to do apple pie differently but without going way off and adding something that'd change it too much, so I added some honey as a sweetener, which worked out lovely.
    Also, I experimented with an almond pie crust, and almonds and honey work great together as well.

  • two and a quarter cups flour
  • half cup ground almonds
  • quarter teaspoon salt
  • quarter teaspoon baking soda
  • half cup shortening
  • seven to ten tablespoons water
  • one tablespoon cider vinegar

  • I'm planning on writing up an entry on just making pie crust, but until then, I'll do a quick one here. Mix all the dry stuff together in a bowl, then cut the shortening into cubes and cut it through the flour et al. until you've got a coarse mealy thing. Sprinkle the water on, tossing gently, until just moistened. Form it into a ball, then cover it and put it in the fridge for later.

  • five decent baking apples
  • juice of half a lemon
  • quarter cup brown sugar
  • quarter cup honey plus maybe an eight of a cup of honey
  • dash nutmeg
  • dash ginger

  • Peel and core the apples, then slice them to slightly thicker than a quarter inch and pi/2 long. Toss them in a bowl with everything except the last eight of a cup of honey, which will be added as an afterthought later. Let this sit for at least half an hour, covered.

  • the stuff from before

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF. Drain the fluid from the apples into a pot, and heat it over medium-high until it's reduced by half. Also, add some more honey to the pot because you're worried it won't be prominent enough. Swirl the pot, but do not stir as it reduces.
    Take this time to roll out half the dough, fit it to the pie tin, and roll out and cut a top crust. When the fluid's reduced, toss the apples in it, then put it in the pie, put the top cover on, cut steam vents, and put it in the oven for forty five minutes.

    So, this achieved my goals of being a delicious yet slightly different apple pie which I came up with myself, so I'm very pleased. The almond crust will definitely also be used again as well. All in all, a good pie, but don't try and cut slits of approximately constant radius like I did, as that makes it hard to serve the pieces without them falling apart in the middle.

    More Pie!

    It seems that recently, what I make more than anything else, is pie. Since Pi day, I just haven't been able to get enough of this beautiful substance.
    The other night, I whipped one together on a whim in the twenty five minutes after discovering my uncle hadn't prepared anything for desert at my grandparent's house and before his delicious roast and things came out of the oven, using odds and ends about the house. It was pretty tasty.

    Though I've made a good few recently, this entry will just be about 6.28.

    Strawberry-Apple-Lime pie:
    This pie came into being when I wanted to use the strawberries I'd bought a week prior. It involved a layer of softly cooked apples with lime juice and a layer of cooked-till-almost jelly strawberries. I remembered to take notes while making it, so I can actually give the real numbers I used and not approximates made after the fact! I didn't take times, though, so that's a bit iffy.

    Apple Stuffs
  • four medium apples, suitable for baking
  • juice of one moderately wimpy lemon
  • juice of one significantly juicy lime because the lemon was so lame
  • three tablespoons of sugar

  • Peel, core, and chop the apples to a size of about maybe the same as the biggest segment of my index finger, and toss in a bowl with the juices and sugar. Let sit, covered, for a little while (maybe fifteen minutes to half an hour? At least as long as it takes to get the strawberries on the stove).

    That's what apples look like when you put them in a bowl with some other things.

    Heat some vegetable oil or butter in a broad sauté pan/frying, and get it up to a medium-low heat, then add the apples. Cook, mixing from time to time (but not too much or they'll break up and turn to sauce!), until they're soft. I'd gander that it was maybe five or ten minutes, but I'm not really sure. Look at the picture later when they go into the pie tin.

    Strawberry Stuffs
  • 3 cups strawberries
  • a little bit of water
  • something else to make this list a little longer

  • Slice the strawberries to somewhere between a half and a third of the width of the thickest point of my thumb. Throw them in a pot (ideally wide enough so that they're no more than doubled up) with just a bit of water, and apply medium to medium-low heat until they're done. Let's just say done is somewhere past the point where there's a decent amount of syrupy goodness in the pot, and near-ish to the point where it's becoming jelly.

    Something like that.

    Tasty Crusts
  • flakey cream-cheese pie crust for two crust pie

  • Look, I don't feel like typing out that recipe right now, it's from a book, and I'm tired. Any two crust pie crust will do.
    Roll out half the crust when you've got the fruits started on the stove, to fit a pie tin/cake pan. Since using one due to necessity at Colin's place, I kind of like the thicker pie you get out of a cake pan. The first slice is even harder to remove, though, so be wary.
    Line the tin with the crust, then roll out and cut a top for the pie.
    This is probably a convenient time to pre-heat your oven to 350ºF.
    And don't forget to make sure your fruits aren't burning!

    The Assembling

    Do this:

    Then this:

    and spread it around even-like. Then:


    There was a complaint about pictures, so there we go.

    It took somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour to be done, I usually wait till the crust is looking nice if the fruit has already been cooked somewhat.

    So, the pie turned out well. It wasn't really supposed to be a lime flavoured pie, I just figured there wasn't enough lemon juice in the lemon, so I threw in the full lime's worth when I probably shouldn't have. On the bright side, though, it kind of simulated the rhubarb that I wanted but could not find, so it all worked out anyways.
    The one thing I learned, though, was to cut larger steam vents when dealing with goopy stuffing. The syrup just kind of gummed the works up and made the top rise too high, the started escaping from the corners. Not too bad though.

    Brownie Pie:
    This was another adventure in "what can we make at Colin's place with limited resources", and I think it might be better than the last time.
    We had on hand a tub of classy margarine that had partially melted in his car, a pack of brownie mix, an egg, flour, and an overpriced convenience store nearby from which we bought chocolate chips and pecans. Results were better than expected.

  • two cups pastry flour
  • one cup margarine
  • half cup finely chopped walnuts
  • sprinkling of water

  • Put the flour in the bowl, and then try to cut the margarine throughout, but realize it's not working like you hoped and is forming a dough instead of resembling coarse meal. Sprinkle some water on and feel less than optimistic about your future, then realize you forgot to add the walnuts, so mix those into the dough while doing your best not to ruin it all with too much kneading.
    Roll out half the dough and line a cake pan with it, then prepare the rest in lattice strips.

    Brownie Batter
  • brownie mix
  • one egg
  • cooking oil or margarine

  • Combine in bowl.


    Pour the batter into the pie crust, and remember that you wanted to mix pecans and chocolate chips in the batter. Sprinkle them on to instead, then put the lattice strips on top.
    Bake at 350ºF for forty minutes, then remove from the oven and drizzle (splatter) with sauce of chocolate chips melted with margarine.

    Ridiculously rich, the fudgy brownie texture contrasted wonderfully with the flaky crust, which didn't turn out nearly as poorly as I thought it would.
    Also, you can't eat anywhere near as much brownie as you could pie or cake, this was too much to eat.