Nut-free Pecan Pie

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? For us it’s familiar from cinema but not in real life. But I find celebrations are always a great source of inspiration, and I felt that it would be a good way to grab some inspiration before we’re full steam ahead in the preparations for Christmas!

I was researching recipes to recreate for a friendly Thanksgiving and came across a pecan pie. Then a little light bulb went on, don’t pretzels looks a little like pecans? Well, maybe it just me that’s seen that connection! Perhaps, I could recreate all the yumminess of a pecan pie with no nuts? I really wasn’t sure it would work, but it seems people have made dairy and egg free pecan pies, so if I add that concept to my pretzel instead of pecan idea, then we might have a plan!

First I needed some sweet pastry, but I also wanted some added flavour (without added nuts), so I’ve included some blitzed up Biscoff biscuit crumbs to add a sweet spicy taste. It actually works wonderfully. Who’d have thought biscuit crumbs in a pastry dough would be a good idea.

The filling is loosely based upon the vegan pecan pie recipes I found during my research – combining silken tofu with soft brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon. Plus some added crushed pretzels for crunch.

The resulting pretzel ‘pecan’ pie has worked far better than I expected; the filling is sweet but spicy with a good texture and the topping of pretzels gives a salty crunch which contrasts brilliantly. I urge you to give this nut, egg and dairy free ‘pecan’ pie a go, hopefully you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as we were, even our American guest approved. 🙂 I might even be tempted to pretend we celebrate Thanksgiving just to bake another one this week!

Biscoff Sweet Pastry

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 Makes 1 tart case

 

150g plain flour

50g Biscoff biscuits (about 6) blitzed to a powder

40g icing sugar

Pinch of salt

45g vegetable fat

45g dairy-free margarine

4-6 tsp cold water

 

  1. Mix together the flour, salt, biscuit crumbs and icing sugar
  2. Rub in the fats until you have a texture that resembles fine breadcrumbs
  3. Add the cold water, 1 tsp at a time to form a dough, knead lightly until you have a smooth ball.
  4. Between 2 sheets of baking paper, roll out so it’s big enough to cover the tart tin. Place in the fridge and chill well (the colder the better)
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade
  6. Line the tart tin with the pastry, if it cracks (it’s delicate dough) just press some dough into any gaps. Fill with parchment and baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans, prick the base with a fork and bake for another 10 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to cool.

 

Nut-free Pean Pie

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegan and vegetarian)

 Fills one tart case

 

200g silken tofu

150g soft brown sugar

100ml maple syrup

2 tbsp flavourless oil

1 and ½ tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp cornflour

44g pretzels (this was 2 mini bags but around 40-50g is a good amount)

 

  1. Melt the sugar, syrup and oil together until the sugar crystals have dissolved. Cool.
  2. Blend together the tofu with all the ingredients except the pretzels, until you have a smooth mixture. Roughly crush have the pretzels and stir through
  3. Pour into the tart case and top with the remaining pretzels
  4. Bake at 170 degrees Centigrade for around 45 minutes Keep an eye on the pastry, if it starts getting too dark, loosely cover with foil
  5. Leave to cool. The texture firms up over time and I’d say next day is perfect.

Smoky Three Sisters Stew for Thanksgiving

Here’s my homage to Thanksgiving and my lovely US readers. As a Brit I don’t quite get the pumpkin pie concept, but this recipe sounded like my ‘cup of tea’. A rich, smoky stew filled with the ‘3 sisters’ of Native American planting: squash, beans and corn. I don’t claim this to be in any way authentic, this is my version of a US dish, but it makes a hearty, yummy wintery supper that would easily multiply to feeding a crowd.

I served mine with a vegan cornbread (recipe to follow) for an added American touch.

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Smoky Three Sisters Stew (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 4

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbsps sunflower oil
  • large handful fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 dried chipotle chilli
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 1 tin sweetcorn
  • 1 tin pinto beans
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tin water
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • fresh herbs to serve, preferably coriander

– Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 6

– Halve the butternut squash, sprinkle on the garlic, some fresh thyme, seasoning and oil.

– Roast for 30-40 minutes until soft and starting to turn golden.

– Meanwhile, in the remaining oil saute the onion, carrot and pepper until softened. Add the dried herbs, chilli and cumin and briefly cook out.

– Stir in the tomato puree and cook for a couple of minutes.

– Splash in the wine and completely reduce until left with a thick syrupy sauce.

– Once the squash is cooked, scoop out the flesh and roughly chop.

– Add all the other ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sauce is rich and thick. Add more water if it has reduced too much.

– Serve sprinkled with herbs.