Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Pies and Tarts with Heart!
But a handful are still around, and since we've known one another for about six years now, I feel like those old-timers are true blog family. I've even met a few of them at Vida Vegan Con. One of those bloggers, who I had the great pleasure of meeting at the first con in Portland, is Dynise Balcavage. I've known her through a couple of love interests, a couple of blog incarnations, and now three cookbooks! I have her first two books, and both are treasured stables on my cookbook shelf.
Now her latest book, Pies and Tarts with Heart, has just hit stands, and I do believe it's her best work yet! The gorgeous, full-color, glossy book is loaded with recipes for fruit pies, chocolate pies, raw pies, fancy tarts, and — my personal fave — savory pies!
I tried a couple recipes from the book. And I'll tell ya — it was tough narrowing down which recipes to make. I went with the Sweet Potato Pie for last weekend's kitschy Southern "church" potluck.
Lemme tell ya about it: Dynise is from Philly, but this girl can make a sweet tater pie now. Most of my friends at the party were already vegan or vegetarian, but I promise if you took this pie to a real church potluck and fed to a group of actual Southern church ladies, they would have no idea this pie was a) vegan and b) created by a Yankee. The creamy sweet potato filling just melted in your mouth, and the flaky, buttery pie crust was perfection. Crust has never been my strong point, but this may be my new go-to recipe.
Of course, I also had to try something from the savory chapter! That was the toughest selection. Everything just looked so amazing —tofu quiche, booze-infused mushroom polenta pie, seitan pot pie, hash brown-crusted breakfast pie!
But in the end, I settled for, perhaps, the simplest recipe in the book — Sun-Dried Tomato Tahini Tart.
This is a combination I'd never dream up on my own, but it's simply dreamy y'all. Puff pastry is topped with tahini, sun-dried tomatoes, and crushed pistachios. That's it! The pastry bakes up and gets all poofy in the oven. The tahini has that rich saltiness, and the tomato is chewy and umami. I had this as a side dish with a giant dinner salad topped with Italian tofu and Goddess dressing. Magic!
If you're looking for a great pie book, Pies and Tarts with Heart is it! There's a whole chapter on different versions of crust — pastry, cookie, nutty, grain-based, mashed potato, and hash brown. And the rest of the book is filled with ways to fill those crusts — gingered pear, pumpkin, banana cream, frozen chocolate mudslide, butterscotch pudding, lemon fluff, vegan cheeseburger, and caramelized onions.