Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Vegan Thanksgiving, Part IX: Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a Thanksgiving classic. I have two serious goals for my Thanksgiving dinner: 1. To show people that vegan food is not only good for you, but also delicious; and 2. To demonstrate that embracing a plant based diet does not mean giving up all the foods you love. Many of the menus I have seen for a vegan Thanksgiving throw the baby out with the bathwater. Having given up the turkey centerpiece, many vegans throw all tradition out the window, forgoing stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pie, opting instead for a Moroccan Thanksgiving, or a lasagna for Thanksgiving. So much of what we eat is easily adaptable to a vegan diet, so you are actually restricting yourself far less than people imagine.

Dessert is a huge part of wooing people to my lifestyle. Giving people something delicious, and not a little decadent, is a surefire way to make a plant based diet more appealing. So, for Thanksgiving, I am making three pies. One you’ve already seen, the chocolate pudding pie, because whether or not it’s traditional, people love chocolate pie.  Also, my aunt makes a to-die-for chocolate tart, so chocolate has come to be an essential part of the meal.  The second pie is an as yet undetermined fruit pie, probably some amalgamation of apples, cherries, and cranberries. And the third pie is pecan pie. You’re probably wondering why pumpkin pie isn’t on the menu. My thinking is that people will have had plenty of pumpkin pie on Thursday, and likely Friday, so by Saturday, they will be looking for some variety.

I ask you to come to this pie recipe with an open mind. It has some unorthodox ingredients, but the final product is just as buttery and full of creamy sweetness and crunchy pecans as the original.

3/4 cup firm silken tofu
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
1/4 cup non-dairy butter melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Heat oven to 350ยบ. Place pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until golden and toasted, about 5 to 10 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, combine the tofu, arrowroot, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Blend until very smooth.

Place half of the pecans in the bottom of the crust, in a single layer. Pour the filling over the pecans. Arrange the remaining half of the pecans on top of the filling (When I made it, the pecans stayed on the bottom, never floating to the top. I believe this should fix that). Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the filling looks like its starting to solidify. It should set completely as it cools. Serve after it has cooled completely.

Check back tomorrow for my pie crust recipe!

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