Pie!

December has definitely arrived with the declaration of several inches of snow in our area this past weekend. I was pretty excited on Saturday while if was snowing because I always like the first real snow. That being said, it won’t take me long to get over it! I think I’m in for a long Winter. Do you look forward to the first time it snows? Or maybe you live in an area where you don’t even get any snow. I think that Christmas would be a little strange without snow but otherwise I wouldn’t mind it.

On Saturday night I went on a trolley ride that was supposed to be a holiday lights tour. While it was fun (they served wine and champagne 😉 ), I was surprised that the majority of people didn’t have any Holiday lights up around their houses. I know that it’s a lot of work for the short period of time that they’re up (unless you ‘forget’ to take them down..), but was still surprised. It was nice because it was still snowing but there were some hills on the route covered in snow that I wasn’t sure the trolley would make up! They had to back up a couple of times when the tires started spinning. At least we didn’t have to get out and push…

Enough about my weekend though. No one guessed what the fruit that I used in the pie recipe is, so I will just tell you! Persimmon. I had heard of Persimmons before this year but hadn’t actually tried them until recently. There are usually two varieties available in stores, the Hachiya and Fuyu. I bought both and used a combination in this recipe. I think that main difference is that the Hachiya is more ‘astringent’ when it isn’t ripe and leaves this really strange, chalky coating on your tongue. Because of this, try to buy the Hachiya when it’s soft to the touch. I preferred the Fuyu for taste because I’m impatient and didn’t want to worry about it ripening.

 The following pie comes together quickly in a blender or food processor. The crust is equally easy to make and compliments the filling well, but if you really want to make it simple, a graham cracker crust would work fine too.  However, check the nutrition labels if you do! A lot of graham cracker crusts still have trans fat in them so you definitely want to avoid that because it is the worst type of fat for you to consume (it actually raises your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels).

Persimmon Coconut Pie

Filling:

  • 1 ½ cups of chopped persimmon + 1 whole Persimmon
  • 6 ounces of firm Silken Tofu (about ½ of a box of Mori-Nu)
  • 1 tbsp. of Brown Rice Syrup
  • 1/8 cup Sucanat or Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp. of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Dried Dates
  • 2 tsp. of Coconut Spread or Oil
  •  ¾ cup Non-Dairy Milk
  • 2 tsp. of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. of Ground Ginger
  • ½ tsp. of Ground Cardamom
  • 1 ½ tsp. of Orange Zest
  •  ¼ cup of Shredded Coconut
  • 1 tsp. of Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. of Salt

Crust:

  • 10 Dried Dates
  •  ¼ cup of Pecan Halves
  •  ½ cup of Old Fashioned Oats
  •  ¼ cup of Shredded Coconut
  •  ¼ tsp. of Ground Cardamom
  •  ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of Salt
  • 2 tsp. Coconut Spread or Oil
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract

– Preheat oven to 350 F.

– In a blender or food processor combine the ingredients for the crust.

– Spray a pie dish with cooking spray. Put the crust mixture in the pie dish and use a small rolling-pin or spatula to press the crust along the bottom and up the sides (it should not go all the way to the top).

– Slice the whole persimmon into thin rounds and line the pie crust with about half of them. Reserve the other half.

– Process all filling ingredients in the blender.

– Pour the filling into the pie dish (it will completely cover the pie crust). Top with remaining Persimmon slices.

– Bake for one hour and then cool completely before serving.

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Seitan Roulade with a Cranberry Persimmon Glaze

For those of you who have never had Seitan before, this may seem like a very strange idea for a Holiday dinner. If you have an intolerance to gluten, stay away from this dish as seitan is made from Vital Wheat Gluten, which is the protein derived from wheat. If you don’t have an intolerance, try this out! Although it can be finicky to roll out, seitan is made easily from a combination of ingredients that you can customize to your taste. It is also an excellent source of protein and can stand in as the main entrée at any meal.

I thought about turning this into a ‘turducken’ with tofu, tempeh and seitan but ended up with the following recipe instead.  Originally I thought that I was really clever in coming up with the idea to do so but I googled it and there are a couple of vegan versions out there. Who knows, maybe I’ll do that another day and give you a recipe! 😉

The glaze recipe that follows could really be used on a variety of food such as Tempeh or Tofu or maybe brushed onto vegetables as well.

I tried to make it look pretty but I don't think that it was possible. It tastes good though!

Seitan Roulade with Cranberry Persimmon Glaze
Adapted from here, here and here.

Cranberry Persimmon Glaze:

  • 1/8 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup raw cranberries
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup persimmon pulp
  • 1/4 cup agave/other liquid sweetener
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

– Preheat oven to 400°F.

– In a baking dish, combine onions through ginger and roast until the cranberries begin to pop open and the juices thicken (about 30 minutes).

Before Blending

– Remove from oven and stir in persimmon pulp and liquid sweetener. Add soy sauce, to taste. Using an immersion blender, blend well. Set aside (Note: some of the tanginess from the balsamic vinegar subsides as it sits).

After Blending

Seitan:

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon poultry spice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Stuffing of choice (for instance, the quinoa mushroom stuffing from yesterday’s post!).
  • Additional 1/2 cup vegetable broth

– Reduce/Preheat oven to 350°F.

– Reserving the 1/2 cup vegetable broth, mix wet and dry ingredients separately, and then add the wet to the dry. You may not use all of the liquid so add it slowly until the seitan is holds together.

– Stretch the seitan into a rectangular shape (or as close to a rectangle as possible!) and spread a layer of the glaze onto it, leaving space near the edges. Then, add the stuffing of your choice and fold the seitan until you can seal the edges.

– Place the seitan into a baking dish (I used a cast-iron skillet) seam-side down. Pour the 1/2 cup reserved vegetable broth over it and baste with the glaze. Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes, turning over halfway through. Continue basting throughout the cooking time so that the seitan doesn’t dry out (about every 10 minutes or so).

– Remove the seitan, baste again with glaze and serve.

Don’t get trampled at the grocery store if you run out to get last-minute ingredients (because I know you want to make this)!