Is it YumUniverse’s birthday again yet? I know, I know, it was only a month ago, but I still want to share some of the amazing Recipe Contest entries with you like this super creative vegan mini apple pies recipe submitted by Stefanie Ramsden Dougherty. Hopefully, it’s someone’s birthday this week and a nice family member or pal will make this one for you. It is delicious and adorable!
Stefanie says, “nothing says ‘party’ quite like bite-sized finger food, and no celebration is complete without sweets. This is a vegan variation on a traditional favorite, apple pie a la mode. I suspect this could also be done raw (if one had an awesome dehydrator and a mini-muffin pan small enough to fit inside). I made the crusts a day in advance and pulled the rest together on serving day.”
Ingredients for the crusts:
1 c. raw pecans, soaked for at least 4 hours, rinsed and drained
14 medjool dates, pitted, soaked and drained
1 T. coconut oil, warm enough to be a liquid, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. maple syrup
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. all spice
1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 c. rolled oats (be sure to buy GF if you have a sensitivity)
1 T. golden flax seeds, ground
3 T. water
Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with coconut oil. Set the oven to 350. Blend your oats in the food processor to produce a rough flour, then transfer to a small bowl. Grind your flax seeds into a meal (I use a Magic Bullet blender with the flat blade for this) and combine with the water; let stand until we’re ready for it. Blend your soaked dates in the food processor to yield about a cup of date paste, then transfer to a large bowl. Separate out a 1/4 cup of the date paste to use later for the apples. Pulse your soaked pecans in the food processor (no need to clean in between). Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract to the remaining 3/4 c. of date paste and mix well. Add the oat flour, almond meal, pecans, flax mixture, cinnamon and all spice and mix well again.
Spoon out the crust dough evenly into the muffin pan. Just leave the dough in dollops for now. Put a little coconut oil in a small bowl and dip the back of a measuring spoon in the oil. Use the back of the spoon to press the dough into each muffin cup, making a small well in the middle.
A little twist of the wrist as you pull it away from the dough will help it not to stick. Re-dip the spoon in the oil after making each well. You can use your finger to smooth out the edges of each crust, or leave it rough and rustic-looking.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool before releasing from the pan. Use a small spoon to help release the crusts when cool.
Ingredients for the cream:
1 c. raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1 c. young thai coconut meat
4 T. raw honey
2 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c + 1 T. water
Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until creamy. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your pies.
Ingredients for the apple filling:
1 and a half apples, chopped to a small dice, yielding about 2 cups
2 1/4 t. fresh lemon juice
2 T. date paste (left over from the crust recipe)
1 T. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 t. coconut oil
Chop your apples and toss them with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to keep them from browning prematurely. In a small bowl, combine the date paste, maple syrup, vanilla, 1/4 t. lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Warm the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then add the apples and the date paste mixture, stirring until the apples soften and reduce slightly.
For the apple letters:
This is optional of course, but I sliced two apples in cross-sections, then used small cookie cutters to cut out the letters. The procedure for softening the apples with the sweet mixture is the same as above, but rather than stirring, simply heat and flip like pancakes so you don’t break them.
You can fill each crust with the apple mixture and vanilla cream according to your taste. As you can see in the photos, regardless of what apple-to-cream ratio you prefer, you can make them presentable. Either fill with apples first and top with a dollop of cream, or fill with cream and top with a small scoop of apples. This more sophisticated presentation might work well for a dinner party. If you’re serving a big gang of friends, the letters might be more fun and festive. In the “birthday cake” photo, I’ve filled the crusts with the apple mixture first, then topped them with the cream, and finally placed one letter on each pie.
Hope you enjoy them!
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