cranberry key lime pie

This is not a pumpkin pie. The end. Okay but also: I think it is perfect for Thanksgiving, requires only 10 minutes’ worth of baking to set the crust, and does not involve pastry.

cranberry key lime pie

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I highly recommend using Key limes if (1) you can find them, and (2) you have the patience to juice them; but honestly this tastes fantastic with regular lime juice, too.

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2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (16 5×2-inch sheets)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large pinch fine grain sea salt
8 tablespoons nondairy butter, melted

1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries (minus a handful of cranberries removed for garnish)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw pine nuts, or more cashews
1 7.4-ounce cans sweetened condensed coconut milk
2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice, or regular lime juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3-4 tablespoons cold water

Handful of fresh cranberries (removed from 12-ounce bag before making the filling)
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon lime zest

Heat oven to 350°F (176°C).

PRESOAKING THE NUTS: If you are not using a high speed blender, combine the cashews and pine nuts in a small bowl with boiling water, cover, and set aside while you prepare and bake the crust. Drain, and use in the filling as directed.

CRUST: Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt in a large bowl and stir until mixed. Add melted butter, stirring until the crumbs are saturated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. If crust slides down sides while baking, gently press back into place. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling.

FILLING: Bring 12 oz. cranberries (minus the handful reserved for the garnish), 1 cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring as needed to prevent sticking, until cranberries burst and most of the liquid evaporates, 12–15 minutes. The cranberries will have a thick, jammy consistency. Let cool while you zest and juice the limes.

Combine cranberries, zest, cashews, pine nuts, condensed milk, and lime juice in a blender and blend until completely smooth: about two minutes in a high speed blender, up to five minutes in a regular blender. While the blender is running, slowly pour in the dissolved cornstarch mixture. Transfer mixture to a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. As the filling heats up it will begin to thicken. Continue stirring for one more minute – it should have the consistency of pudding. Ladle into the graham crust, taking care not to overfill; smooth out the top. If there is extra filling, refrigerate for future snacking. Chill pie in the refrigerator until firm, about four hours.

GARNISH: Bring ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries and cook until barely starting to soften, no more than 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a parchment-lined plate. Chill until no longer sticky, 20–30 minutes.

Toss remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar and lime zest in a small bowl. Toss cranberries in lime sugar. Top pie with cranberries. Serve straight from the refrigerator.

double chocolate s’mores tart

It’s the most obvious thing in the world, but bears pointing out: use good quality chocolate. (Oh, and check labels. Unless it’s a vegan company, it’s on you to check the label.) You don’t have to break the bank, but make an effort to source good ingredients. At the time of posting this, Chocolove is my go-to chocolate; I’ve also had good results with Lindt.

double chocolate s’mores tart

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This will yield a lot of leftover marshmallow meringue. I like dolloping it onto chocolate cupcakes (room temperature or chilled, not straight from the oven) and flash-broiling them to make it nice and toasty.

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2 cups finely ground chocolate graham cracker crumbs (16 5×2-inch sheets)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large pinch fine grain sea salt
8-10 tablespoons vegan butter or coconut oil, melted

1 cup unsweetened oat milk
9 ounces good quality dark chocolate (65-70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt

⅓ to ½ cup aquafaba, strained (reserved from 1 can chickpeas)
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
2-3 teaspoons coconut oil
1 10-ounce bag vegan marshmallows
Vanilla extract in 1-teaspoon increments, to taste

Heat oven to 350°F (176°C).

CRUST: Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt in a large bowl and stir until mixed. Add 8 tablespoons melted butter, stirring until the crumbs are saturated and a crumbly dough forms. If the dough does not hold together when pressed between your fingers, add additional butter 1 tablespoon at a time. (Alternatively: in a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the graham crackers, sugar, and salt into a super fine meal. Drizzle in 8 tablespoons butter and pulse until a crumbly dough forms.) Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a removable bottom 9-inch tart pan. Prick bottom of crust 3-4 times with a fork. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. If crust slides down sides, gently press back up. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling.

FILLING: Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the milk begins to simmer, remove from heat. Immediately add the chocolate, vanilla, and salt to the pan. Whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and looks smooth and shiny, 1-2 minutes. Gently pour into the cooled crust and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least one hour.

TOPPING: Place aquafaba in the bowl of a stand mixer; add cream of tartar and swirl until dissolved. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium-to-high speed until stiff peaks form. This can take anywhere from two to ten minutes. Once the aquafaba peaks are satisfactory, turn the mixer off while you melt the marshmallows.

Coat the bottom of a large microwave-safe bowl with coconut oil. Add the marshmallows and microwave on high in 30 second intervals. Stir after each interval, continuing to microwave and stir until marshmallows are completely melted.

Add the melted marshmallows to the whipped aquafaba, and whisk on medium until stiff and glossy. Spoon desired amount of meringue over chocolate filling; swirl decoratively with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Return to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours. Leftover meringue will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Using a kitchen torch (or, with a close eye, the oven broiler), toast meringue until golden brown in spots. If you use the broiler and the chocolate filling softens from the heat, chill the tart for a few minutes and it will firm back up.

pumpkin chocolate chunk multigrain muffins

These muffins are from my all-time favorite vegan cookbook, Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites. As with most beloved and oft-made recipes, this one has undergone several modifications. So many, in fact, that I can no longer read the overlapping lines of text that fill the page and crowd the margins. Subbing steel cut oats for the wheat germ, and omitting chopped pecans are the only changes that never vary. Here is the version I make most often.

pumpkin chocolate chunk multigrain muffins

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I highly recommend frosting these with a thin layer of chocolate, such as Kamran Siddiqui’s easy cocoa frosting (from his book Hand Made Baking).

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1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup neutral oil (sunflower, grapeseed, peanut)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup golden brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup pumpkin puree (if homemade, be sure to drain)
2 cups spelt flour (white, whole, or a combination)
1/3 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup chopped chocolate

Position rack in center of oven. Preheat to 375. Prepare muffin tins with coconut oil: 16 standard-sized tins, or 12 standard and 2 jumbo-sized tins. I like to pop them in the fridge while I mix up the batter, so the oil does not melt and pool in the bottom of the muffin cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, sugar, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Add the cornmeal and steel cut oats, and set aside for a few minutes so that the grains can hydrate.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Add the chocolate chunks and stir again. Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full.

Bake on center rack of oven at 375 degrees for 25-28 minutes, until tops are golden.

Cool completely before frosting.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 25 minutes

nutmeg medjool date scones

These scones have medjool dates and fresh nutmeg, but the recipe can be easily adapted – it’s the template for any scone I make, my go-to dump and stir scone recipe. Just swap out the nutmeg for 1/4 teaspoon of another spice (or omit it completely), and replace the dates with 1/2 cup of any combination of fruit, nuts, or chocolate. To make these savory, omit the sugar.

nutmeg medjool date scones

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To make them a bit sweeter: replace half of the milk used for brushing the tops with maple syrup. To make them a bit headier: use muscovado sugar in the dough, or add a tablespoon of dark rum. To give them a bit of crunch: after brushing with milk, sprinkle with turbinado sugar (slightly pressing into the dough if it rolls off) just before baking.

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2 cups spelt flour – white, whole, or a combination
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons golden or dark brown sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 tablespoons cold vegan butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 medjool dates, pitted and chopped (this should be just over 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup rich, heavy nondairy milk (soy, coconut, or almond work best)
Additional milk for brushing the scones

Position rack in center of oven. Preheat to 400. Line baking sheet with parchment.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Cut/rub in the butter until the pieces are pea-sized. Mix the dates in with your hands, so that the pieces are separated and lightly coated with flour. Stir in the milk. The batter will be stiff and dry; finish mixing with your hands, kneading gently until a craggy (but not sticky!) dough forms. Turn out onto parchment, shape into a 1-inch thick disc, and cut into 8 wedges. Space the wedges a couple of inches apart. Brush top of scones with milk.

Bake on center rack of oven at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes, until tops of scones are golden.

Taste best eaten same day, preferably warm.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes

peanut butter cake

I’ve veganized a lot of Molly Yeh’s cakes over the years, and this is hands down my favorite. It’s the peanut butter cake from her cookbook Molly on the Range, and if you like peanut butter you need to make this as soon as possible.

Molly Yeh’s peanut butter cake

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This cake is best made with smooth, creamy peanut butter – the kind that never needs stirring. Not the kind that comes out of a machine while you hold your repurposed glass jar underneath to catch it, not the kind you make in your high-powered blender or food processor, and definitely not the kind that calls itself smooth-no-stir peanut butter but inevitably ends up with a layer of oil floating on top. No, no, no. You will only end up with a sad cake and what a waste that would be!

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1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup creamy, unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter
2/3 cup golden brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/3 cups white spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment, and lightly oil the sides.

In a large bowl, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

In the large bowl, add to the almond milk mixture the peanut butter, sugars, oil, vanilla, and salt. Whisk gently (so as not to splash!) until emulsified. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared pan.

Begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Or, if you aren’t into toothpick testing: until the edges are just starting to pull away from the pan and the center of the cake is not jiggly.) Cool completely before serving. Tastes fantastic out of the fridge.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes

This morning, a breakfast cake

blueberriescousinsan every day cake

Everyone needs a go-to cake. This is mine.

Blueberry lemon cake

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Pretty much any berry can be subbed in for the blueberries. When I have a lot (8-10 oz) of berries on the ripe side, I cook them down into a skillet jam and then fold them in at the end, after combining the liquid and dry ingredients. Even better, though, is replacing the berries with 2/3 cup mini bittersweet chocolate chips, and replacing the lemon juice and zest with that of a blood orange. A tart pan is essential in my house (it fits best under our cake dome), but an 8 x 8 square pan will also do.

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2 cups white spelt flour
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch fine grain salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C. Line the bottom of a 10-inch round tart pan with parchment, and lightly oil the sides.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest together. Add the berries and toss gently to coat. In a small bowl, whisk the liquid ingredients together. Add liquid ingredients to dry, and fold gently to combine. The batter will be thick, like biscuit dough. If it seems to dry, add a splash of almond milk.

Once the cake is in the oven, lower the heat to 350. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes


prickly pear cactussour fig and creeping jenny

Summer school is happening. Three credit hours’ worth of material in six weeks means I studied for nearly seven hours last night to prepare for this morning’s class. This is my new normal. I think it’s safe to say that June will be the month of five minute meals.

Also: Hello, summer! Anything below 85 degrees does not count in my book, so thank you for finally climbing into the 90s. I am happy. My gardens are happy. Please stick around.

prickly pear in bloombeans and greens

Quick pan-fried cannelloni beans with coriander and thyme

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This recipe makes one generous serving, but doubles (and triples) easily. The beans taste great on their own, but I like to heap them onto toast atop a bit of cashew cheese, or over a bed of greens. Salt plays a starring role in this dish, adding both flavor and texture. You’ll want to use a coarse salt, fleur de sel if you have it. Maldon or another kosher salt will also do.

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1 cup cooked cannelloni or other white beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme

In a small bowl, mix together the nutritional yeast, salt, coriander, and pepper. Set aside.

Warm up the oil in a skillet, add the beans, and toss to coat. Arrange the beans into an even layer, and coat cover with the seasoning mixture. Turn up the heat – the goal is to quickly brown the beans on one side. After a couple of minutes, toss everything together in the pan, so the beans are evenly coated with the seasoning. Continue stirring over high heat until just starting to brown all over. Remove from heat, add the thyme leaves, and season to taste. Serve immediately.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes