“Productive” will not be the word of the day on this lovely first Monday in December, my friends. No. I am laid low by my first winter illness in almost two years; I have been so obnoxiously healthy in the face of everyone else’s flus and colds and pukes for so long, I was beginning to believe I was invincible (ah, hubris–that, not a virus, is surely the cause of my suffering now).
It’s likely just a cold or minor flu, but according to WebMD, my symptoms (headache, sore throat, fatigue) might also indicate rectal cancer or Multiple Sclerosis, to name just a couple of the more exciting possibilities. The internet really is a gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it?
You know what else is a gift that keeps on giving? Pie.
A couple of weeks ago, I hosted the Second Annual Muthaflippin’ Vegan Pie-Luck. It was a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, I failed to get a photo of the savoury pies, which comprised the first course. I plain forgot because I was so excited about the delicious morsels I was shoveling into my face. But, I can tell you that the savoury pie offerings included:
- A super garlicky polenta pie with green beans and cherry tomatoes
- Pie-carumba! A burrito turned pie with an amazing cashew sour cream topping
- Festive chickpea walnut pie with cranberry sauce (I made this, and it was scrumptious. It’s going to be the thing I bring to every winter potluck for the foreseeable future.)
- Broccoli quiche with an ingenious tempeh crust
- Five-mushroom handpies with the best pastry I’ve ever had in my life
- Two kinds of classic “meat” and veggie potpies, with a tie for the best pastry I’ve ever had in my life
My gawd, they were all so good. And they were followed by an intensely delicious selection of sweet pies:
- Key lime pie
- Coconut lemon pie with this super awesome crust, and mixed berry coulis on top
- Chocolate avocado mousse pie
- Butternut brandy pie with almond oat crust + celestial cream on top (I made this! The pie filling recipe is below!)
- A pie that tasted like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange–remember those? The joy of our childhood holidays??
- ‘Smores pie!
- Actually, there were a number of chocolate pies. I didn’t try them all, I have to confess. I lurrve chocolate, but pie isn’t my favourite vehicle for it. Mea culpa.
I might be forgetting some; the day passed in a haze of bloated belly happiness. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything make people so happy as a pie party does. There were calls to make this a semiannual event, just so there could be an insane festival of fruit pies in the spring…and you know, there is a certain beautiful logic to this suggestion, so it might just happen.
But here’s the dessert pie recipe I promised you:
Butternut Brandy Pie, from Laura Matthias’s ExtraVeganZa, p. 175
- 5 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1/2 tbsp grated fresh gingerroot
- 3/4 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp each of powdered cloves and nutmeg
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp brandy
- 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
Set oven to 350F.
Peel squash, remove seeds and chop into small pieces. Steam or boil until soft. Drain any liquid from the squash and place it into a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend until a smooth consistency is achieved.
Pour the mixture into a prepared, unbaked pie crust and give the plate a little shake to distribute the filling. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pie 180 degrees and bake another 15-20 minutes. The sides of the crust should brown lightly. Remove from oven and let cool, then place in the fridge to set for several hours.
(Note: I think I boiled the squash longer than was necessary–I think until it’s pierceable with a fork will do, and will ensure the whole thing is a little firmer than mine ended up being. But if you overcook the squash a little, don’t worry–the flavour will still blow your mind.)
So, there you have it. More evidence that I am a genius–or at least, that I really like to eat and I am easily able to convince people to bring food to my house for me to eat.