Cherry Pies Ought to Be You

Take aways: Frank Sinatra likes cherry pie, I need to plant a cherry tree, and it’s us vs. the birds?

Cherry Pies | memo2munch

Ok, so there’s this song that you might not know about but that you really need to know about. It’s a duet sung by Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney, and when I first heard it I just!!?!? Does it get any better than these two?!?

The duet is called “Cherry Pies Ought to be You,” and it basically consists of each trying to out-do the other with compliments. They get competitive. It’s grand.

Sinatra’s first go is the song’s title, “Cherry pies ought to be you,” and I just adore that. (I love Clooney’s response, too: “Autumn skies ought to be you.”) Although I guess the meaning could be kind of ambiguous. Like is he saying she’s sweet? Flaky? (I’ll stop.)

I’m choosing to see it this way: Sinatra must think cherry pies are outstanding, but not quite as outstanding as Rosemary Clooney.

Don’t we all.

Cherry Pies | memo2munch

Cherry pie holds a special place in my grandpa’s heart as well. He mentions it in a collection of food memories he wrote a few years back. (Sound familiar? He helped inspire memo2munch’s new format!)

“My mother was a wonderful baker,” he writes. “One of her specialties was cherry pie made from the tart cherries that grew on five cherry trees in our own back yard. When the cherries were ripe, my father picked loads of them which my mother made into pies, cherry slices, and also compotes.”

There’s a common theme among recipes that use tart cherries: “[They] required the use of much sugar, which when combined with the tartness of the cherries resulted in the most tantalizing pastries and compotes.” (common theme #2 —-> I want all of them in my belly.)

Cherry Pies | memo2munch

The cherry tree tradition was continued when my mom was growing up. She told me, “We also had a cherry tree in the corner of the backyard. Every spring, the cherry tree would fill with white blossoms, which turned into red sour cherries in the summer.”

However, my mom also remembers some unexpected cherry competition. “Every year, we would hope for lots of cherries so that my mom could make cherries preserves and a pie or two; and almost every year, the birds would get to the cherries before we did. Have you ever seen a pit attached to the stem, growing on a tree? We had a lot of those.”

Cherry Pies | memo2munch

On rare occasions, my mom said they would beat the birds to the spoils and were actually able to use some of their own cherries! “I remember my mom making cherry preserves. I would stand at the sink and pit the cherries using a paper clip. My fingers would turn red (my favorite color) from all the cherry juice.”

Ok, wait, pitting cherries with a paper clip? Yep, it’s a thing! Here’s a YouTube video to prove it.

I have to ruin the magic of these memories and tell you that I did not pit the cherries for today’s pies with a paperclip. I bought pre-pitted and frozen cherries and stood in the checkout line very pleased with the time and juice-stained fingers I would save. (I also bought the piecrust. Because honestly, I can’t pit cherries, make piecrust, and still pass survive biochem. These are my limitations. Just keeping it real.)

However, I then realized I had to halve all the cherries… So I got frozen fingers instead. It’s fine.

Cherry Pies | memo2munch

Pleasepleaseplease send me some of your food memories! Preferably fall-themed as we are officially in the season. You can submit them anonymously or not right here. 🙂

Mini Cherry Pies
(makes 6 mini pies or 1 standard double crust pie)

Ingredients

1 pint or 3-4 cups pitted and halved cherries (I used frozen)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (1 cup if using tart cherries)
Dash lemon juice
Piecrust (premade or homemade—enough for one double crust pie)
Milk and sugar for brushing and sprinkling pies before baking (optional, I used coconut milk)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C. Lightly grease 6 muffin tins.

2. Combine the cherries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
Roll out the pie dough and cut into six 5-inch circles and six 3-inch circles. (I placed bowls on the dough and cut around them.) Prepare the pies one at a time by first pressing one of the larger circles into the tin, leaving the edges hanging around the outside. Fill generously with cherry filling so that it extends a little higher than the top of the tin. Cover the filling with one of the smaller dough circles, and crimp the leftover edges of the first dough circle as desired. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

3. Use a fork to prick holes in the top of each pie. Brush each pie lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes for small pies, 40-50 minutes for a standard 9-inch pie. Let cool completely before cutting.

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

Do you have a food memory you would like to see appear on memo2munch? Fill out the form here or send me an email at memo2molly@gmail.com and tell me your story! You just might inspire next week’s recipe. 🙂
**Please note that memo2munch caters toward a vegetarian/vegan diet and while food memories of all kinds are welcomed, recipes shared on the site may be adjusted.**

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

I like to call the above photo, “The Evolution of Banana Bread.”

This is a natural progression, right? Once bananas get ripe enough they just morph into banana bread? And the chocolate chips just appear at some point, and we’re just like “Oh, youuuu,” all exasperated but really we don’t mind one bit.

Hey, stranger things have happened. (Like sweet potato cupcakes?!)

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Growing up, my momma would make banana bread for us fairly often. Whenever I saw a few forgotten bananas resting on the counter, speckled with brown, I would internally fist-pump because I knew banana bread was in my near future. (Still happens, honestly. Except now when I’m at school I have to make it.)

The days leading up to the “Momma Cake,” as we called it, bake day seemed to drag on. We like to let the bananas get reallllly ripe and black. That’s when they’re the sweetest and add the most flavor to baked goods. So every day after school I would peer over the counter and check on the ripeness of the bananas to see if they were ready yet, like a very small, very hungry serious scientist tracking the progress of an experiment.

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Then, when the bananas were FINALLY LIKE UGH COME ON ready, my mom would let my sister or me mash them with a fork while she measured out the other ingredients.

Ok quick note: banana mashing is so fun. Can I say cathartic? It’s cathartic. None of that blender or food processor stuff, plz. Use a fork.

There’s another “Evolution of Banana Bread” in this story, and that’s the shape the finished product would take. In my earliest memories of my mom’s banana bread, she always made it in a square pan. And I was the brat that would only eat middle pieces because children hate edges on anything??! Pizza crust—->no. Corner brownies—->not a chance. I would like to say, though, that I never took the edges off my Smucker’s Uncrustables. Never.

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Anyway, the original recipe my mom used called for the bread to be baked in a loaf pan. She switched to the square pan after having issues getting the bread to bake through. But then there was the problem of the sunken middle…

As in, the bread would be a baked all the way, but the middle would sink into a kind of banana bread dome once it cooled. But Mom persevered and found a solution! *clapclapclap*

Now she makes the recipe in a Bundt pan. The sunken middle issue is taken entirely out of the equation, and the cake cooks through fine because the batter is more spread out. Innovation!

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Banana bread will always make me think of “Momma Cake,” but for the recipe today I made a few tweaks. We’ve got cute banana muffins that are vegan and very forgiving. You can’t mess them up. They’re also sprinkled with coconut, which Momma never did because she hates coconut. But I like it, soooo.

The recipe is based on one my friend and I found the other day when it was raining and we wanted dessert and she happened to have three very ripe bananas so what choice did we have? She is also responsible for the coconut topping idea. Thank you, Esther <3

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

We made our version with a mix of chocolate and butterscotch chips, which was i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e. So if you aren’t vegan, I would highly suggest that.

Hope you enjoy the muffins! Don’t forget to tell me about your food memories!!! memo2molly@gmail.com

Vegan Banana Bread Muffins
(makes about 12 muffins)

Ingredients

3 very ripe, medium bananas
1/3 cup Earth Balance or any margarine, melted (can sub butter if not vegan)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ – 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Coconut flakes for sprinkling (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C and grease a muffin pan or line with muffin papers.

Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl with a fork until smooth and no lumps remain. Stir in the melted Earth Balance.

Add the sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and mix completely. Gently stir in the flour until no large lumps remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the lined muffin pan, filling each well ¾ full. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the muffins comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack briefly before enjoying. Muffins are great days after, especially heated for 12 seconds in the microwave.

Easy No-Bake Vegan Fruit Tarts

This summer I’ve been living at home with my parents. They both work during the day, so I have a lot of alone time to think (or sleep), cook (or eat), work on my summer class (or be on the internet), and other productive things of the sort.

(Lol.)

No-Bake Vegan Fruit Tarts | memo2munch

But seriously, I’ve been doing a little thinking. During one such adventure, I realized that it’s been about two years since I’ve been home for this long!

I know spending less time at home is a symptom of getting older, but it’s still a bit strange. By now my room feels like my room again. I’ve even christened a Chair of Doom where I pile all the clothes that “I’ll fold and put away later.” Not that that’s a habit…

Yup, I’m settled in.

No-Bake Vegan Fruit Tarts | memo2munch

Anyway, being home has got me all nostalgic. Sometimes I’ll talk with my parents about super random memories I have from when I was little. For someone with a terrible memory I have kind of a lot of them!

Such as the superman pajamas I had with a detachable velcro cape. #neverforget

No-Bake Vegan Fruit Tarts | memo2munch

Many memories are connected to food, of course. Like when I would go grocery shopping with my mom, and she would let me get a donut out of the case in the bakery section to eat while we shopped. (Evidently being in a store full of food without eating any of it was too much for little Molly to handle.)

I’d hold on to the—now empty—plastic bag that had temporarily contained a donut until it was time to pay, and we’d tell the cashier, “Well, there used to be a donut in here.”

Good times.

No-Bake Vegan Fruit Tarts | memo2munch

I bring this up because from the same bakery section of that grocery store we used to get these fantastic fruit tarts. They were fairly small but always decorated beautifully, colorfully dotted with berries and slices of kiwi and mandarin orange. I was just talking with my mom about them. She remembers how sometimes the woman who made the tarts would spread a layer of chocolate between the shortbread crust and the creamy filling so the crust wouldn’t get soggy. Genius.

No-Bake Vegan Fruit Tarts | memo2munch

Today’s tarts are a little ode to those tarts of days past. They’re revamped to include exciting things I’ve been wanting to experiment with, like TWO INGREDIENT date crusts (no added sugar!) and vegan pastry cream. But I think it’s fun to take foods deeply rooted in our memories and emotions and tweak them to match your life today. They still keep their meaning, but you also get to exercise your imagination!

No-Bake Vegan Fruit Tarts | memo2munch

What memories do you have connected to food? Have you tried to recreate anything you’ve eaten in the past? I’m contemplating doing a series of recipes for foods that have strong memories. Like you guys could tell me a food memory you have, and then I’d share it on my blog along with a recipe for the food… I don’t know, thoughts are flying around.

OK LET’S EAT TARTS.

No-Bake Vegan Fruit Tarts
(makes approx. 3 five-inch tarts)

Ingredients

Crust:
1.5 c. pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
1.5 c. mix of pecans and almonds, or just one type

Cream Filling:
¼ cup all-purpose flour*
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
¼ c. sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Topping:
Assorted fruit of your choice!

Method

1. Make the crust: In the body of a food processor, pulse the dates and nuts together until a large ball forms and the nuts are broken up into bits. Some small pieces of nut are normal. If you want a finer texture, process a bit more. Line your tart pans with wax paper and press the date crust into the pans. (Wetting your fingers slightly with water will help the dough not stick to you.) Refrigerate.

2. Make the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and ¼ cup of the milk until no clumps of flour remain. Place flour mixture, the remaining milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk continuously until mixture becomes thick, 5-10 minutes. Whisk in the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla extract and cook for 1 more minute, still stirring.

Remove from heat and transfer cream to a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Place cream in the refrigerator to cool for at least 1 hour.

3. Assembly: Once your cream filling has cooled, take the crusts and filling out of the fridge. Distribute the pastry cream evenly between the tarts. Top with desired fruit and keep the tarts in the fridge until ready to serve.

*If you’re gluten-free, 2 tbsp. corn starch should work fine instead.

EASY 5 Ingredient Fresh Strawberry Pie

I had the best intentions for last week. I really did.

I was going to do a super awesome, all-inclusive post for a 100% vegan Fourth of July cookout. Wouldn’t that have been cool?! I had a plan for a main, a side, I even had your dessert all settled. Plus some chocolate covered fruit kebabs for snacks because duh.

EASY 5 Ingredient Fresh Strawberry Pie | memo2munch

Turns out I was a little overambitious, though. And I also didn’t start planning early enough. Bad combo. You see, once I was finished making everything for the post (in one day–>poor planning) my good photo light was going, and fast.

EASY 5 Ingredient Fresh Strawberry Pie | memo2munch

They turned out horribly. The pictures, I mean. The food was pretty dang good. And I managed to use the grill unsupervised! Those pictures though…

*sigh* At least we had one success that day, right?

EASY 5 Ingredient Fresh Strawberry Pie | memo2munch

In theory, I could have retaken the pictures the next day, but a common occurrence when you leave things until the last minute is that you leave very little room for error. So it ended up that I didn’t have time to redo the shoot. Will I ever learn?

EASY 5 Ingredient Fresh Strawberry Pie | memo2munch

Well, I am happy to inform you that this week I opted for an easy, quick, forgiving, and photogenic recipe that’s perfect for a blogger who has a habit of leaving things until the last minute. Yay!!!

I think you’ll really like it, too. It’s the perfect, refreshing dessert for the height of summer. You probably already have all the ingredients at home, so what are you waiting for??

Unless you also like to wait to do things until the last second… 😉

EASY 5 Ingredient Fresh Strawberry Pie | memo2munch

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Ingredients
10 full rectangular sheets of graham crackers (1 sheet=what you use to make a s’more)
6 tbsp. butter or Earth Balance, melted
1/4 c. brown sugar
5 c. (about 2 lbs) strawberries, some left whole and some halved
2 tbsp. strawberry jam
Whipped coconut cream for serving, optional

Method
1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C. Break graham crackers into the body of a food processor and pulse until only fine crumbs remain. (You can also do this by hand by placing the crackers in a tightly sealed plastic bag and hitting them with a rolling pin) Add the melted butter and brown sugar and pulse until combined. Press firmly and evenly into a pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then let cool completely on a wire rack.

2. Make the filling: ***The filling can get a bit runny. If you want to make this dessert in advance, I suggest keeping the filling out of the crust until 1 hour before you want to serve it.*** Heat the jam just until it is stirable. Mix together with the strawberries. Scoop filling into cooled crust and refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice and serve as is or with whipped cream, if desired.

Crostata alla Marmellata (Italian Jam-Filled Tart)

Italian Crostata alla Marmellata | memo2munch

Well, friends, my current situation is: STATESIDE & MISSING THE FOOD.

My semester in Bologna has come to a close, and I’m back home for the summer. It was an incredible, exciting, and challenging 5 months, and I learned so much. But however my experience has “changed” me, after one week at home I’ve managed to slip back into old habits… Like staying up way too late reading or scrolling through the internet, or wearing my pajamas until 1pm.

But I’ve also gotten back to baking! So we’ve got a weeeee bit of productivity going on.

One of my favorite sweets I had in Italy was crostata, a jam-filled pastry with a crust somewhere between that of a pie and shortbread. It’s delicious and simple and goes great with espresso. 😉

Italian Crostata alla Marmellata | memo2munch

Most of the time I opted for a crostata filled with apricot jam—one of the most common fillings. But in Bologna you can also find them filled with something called mostarda bolognese. Don’t worry, it’s not mustard! It’s a type of preserves typical of Bologna, made from a combination of plums, apples, pears, and orange. (Sometimes a few drops of mustard oil will be added as well, but the finished product tastes nothing like the yellow stuff.)

I was hooked as soon as I tried it. Sweet, slightly tangy from the plums, with notes of zesty orange. Long story short, I had to take a jar of the stuff back home with me.

It went straight into a crostata, of course.

Italian Crostata alla Marmellata | memo2munch

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anywhere online that sells the stuff, and the recipes I’m finding are all in Italian and seem like a big
pain to make (multiple days involved). An apricot crostata would be just as tasty, though! But if you’re itching for some mostarda, I can post a recipe.

Where I got the recipe for the crust is a separate but interesting story. In one of my classes we talked about an Italian man named Pellegrino Artusi, who pretty much was a food blogger back before computers even existed.

He wasn’t a chef, but he loved food. (Same) In the late 1800s he made it his mission to compile recipes from home-cooks across Italy and document the country’s authentic and diverse cuisine in a book, which in English is called, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Italian Crostata alla Marmellata | memo2munch

He travelled up and down the length of the country, watching home cooks work and learning the recipes directly from them. Once he had gained a following, he received letters constantly—–people writing with questions about ingredient amounts, others offering suggestions for tweaks or additional recipes, some just letting him know how much they enjoyed the book. And he wrote back to every one of them.
The book was first officially published in 1891, but Artusi kept revising it and adding recipes up until his death in 1911. The version I have has 790 recipes!!!

It’s been translated into several languages—including English—–and I would highly suggest picking up a copy. (It’s a lot easier to find than mostarda bolognese. Here is a link.)

I’m hoping to make a lot more of the recipes in Artusi’s book, and I’ll be sure to share them on memo2munch. In the meantime, enjoy a lil crostata.

Italian Crostata alla Marmellata | memo2munch

Crostata alla Marmellata (Italian Jam-Filled Tart)

Ingredients

200g Jam of your choice or mostarda Bolognese, room temperature
250g all-purpose flour
110g white sugar
Zest of one lemon or small orange
125g butter, cold and cubed
2 eggs, beaten (save some to use as egg wash)

Method

1. If you are not making the filling from scratch, begin on the crust. Toss together the dry ingredients, then mix in the zest. With a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers, incorporate the butter until the mixture looks like wet sand. Work quickly to avoid warming the butter too much. Add only enough egg so that the mixture comes together into a roll-able dough, reserving the rest for later. Shape into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. Grease an 11 or 9 inch tart pan and set aside.

3. Take the dough from the fridge and divide it in half. Roll out one dough half between two sheets of wax paper until the circle is 1 inch larger than your pan. Peel off the top layer of wax paper and flip the dough over into the pan, then peel off the second sheet. Flatten dough into pan and shape a nice edge with your fingers. Gently spread the jam evenly over the crust. If your jam is not spreading easily, mix it with a bit of warm water.

4. Roll out the remaining dough to the same size, and cut equally into 1 inch wide strips. Lay the strips across the crostata first vertically and then at a horizontal angle to create a diamond lattice shape. Brush with remaining egg, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned.

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

I have a confession to make.

Coffee has been a recently acquired taste for me.

I know, as a college student it is shameful, isn’t it? Think of all the 8AM’s I could have been more awake for! And all the late nights studying! Think of all the trips to hipster coffee shops where I could have blended in!

~cue flashback~

Hipster barista: Can I help you?
Molly: Hi, yes, is there coffee in a macchiato?
Hipster barista: …Yes.
Molly: Ok, I’ll have a 12 ounce cider, please. To go. (BUSTED)

~end flashback~

Ooh, it hurts like a profile picture from 2008, doesn’t it? I know. BUT the good news is the wrongs have been righted, and I’m now very capable of appreciating the taste of coffee and not just the smell.

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

I finally learned to enjoy coffee when I had espresso in Italy, and if that bouche-y statement doesn’t help me fit in at hipster coffee shops then I don’t know what will. I never had much interest in learning to like coffee because I didn’t want to become one of those people who has to have their coffee before you can talk to them in the morning. Dependency on anything to that degree fah-reaks me out. But the little espresso cups were so cute I had to order one, and one thing led to another, and…

Now I like coffee! Huzzah! I shoulda seen it coming when I started liking really bitter chocolate. Surely that was step one.

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Now that you know entirely too much about my coffee history, I’m gonna give you a recipe for rum-soaked pumpkin bread WITH COFFEE SWIRLS STRAIGHT OUTTA YOUR DREEEAMS.

It’s all worth it now, right?!

Rum-soaked pumpkin bread I have had—-shout out to Bluboy—-and it is gooooood. Turns out, when you swirl espresso and brown sugar into rum-soaked pumpkin bread it. is. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.

This bread would make a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert spread. And then for breakfast the next morning. (If there’s any left, that is.) Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl
(Adapted from Pastry Affair)

Pumpkin Bread
3/4 c. (185 grams) pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 c. (100 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. (67 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger*
1/4 tsp. ground allspice*
1/2 tsp. salt

Espresso Swirl**
1/4 c. (55 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 – 1 tbsp. espresso powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Rum Simple Syrup
1/4 c. (60 mL) water
1/4 c. (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 tbsp. rum

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside
2. Make the pumpkin cake: beat together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until completely combined. Gently stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
3. Make the espresso swirl: whisk together the brown sugar, espresso powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. In the loaf pan, spoon half of the pumpkin batter evenly in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle generously with espresso filling. You might not need all of it. Top with remaining pumpkin batter and smooth with a spatula.
5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While the bread is baking, make the rum simple syrup.
6. Make the simple syrup: Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rum.
7. When the cake comes out of the oven, brush generously with the rum simple syrup. The syrup will trickle down the sides of the bread and along the bottom on its own to coat the loaf on all sides. Once bread is completely cooled, remove from pan and serve in slices.

*Can be replaced with 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
**Save any extra! It makes a great topping for oatmeal

Mini Blueberry Cornmeal Pies (Vegan) & Making Pie Crust EASY!

OK SO I COULDN’T WAIT.

I couldn’t wait 4 hours for a slice of pie like I was supposed to, cuz of the whole *letting the filling set* and all that.

But that’s just what happens when you take the pies out of the oven at like 8 PM and they’re so mini and corny and blue that there’s no way you’re waiting till midnight for a bite. I mean, I waited like an hour so that should count for something. Long story short, my filling ran allll over the place. The plate, the table, my face. But it sure does thicken up nice if you give it a chance. (No regrets)

Vegan Blueberry Cornmeal Pie | memo2munch

Vegan Blueberry Cornmeal Pie | memo2munch

Vegan Blueberry Cornmeal Pie | memo2munch

Vegan Blueberry Cornmeal Pie | memo2munch

I know a lot of people worry about making pie crust from scratch, but I learned a new technique that makes it SUPER EASY.

Use a food processor.

So easy. And you get flaky results EVERY TIME, no matter what fat you use.

A chef named J. Kenji López-Alt created this method, and you can read all about his food-sciencey reasons why it works here if you feel so inclined. Then if you’re like me, you’ll swoon & decide this is the man you are going to marry. (But don’t actually do that very last part k thanks)

Also, it turns out bae has a cookbook coming out on September 21st! It’s called, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. How serendipitous. Not that this was news to me, or anything. We are engaged after all.

As a final ode to summer, I used one of her greatest berry triumphs for these pies, along with a sprinkle of cornmeal in the crust ’cause why not? That texture. Give ’em a try 🙂

Blueberry Cornmeal Pie
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For the crust
  1. 1/2 c. cornmeal
  2. 2 c. all-purpose flour
  3. 2 tbsp. sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp. salt
  5. 10 tbsp. vegan butter or shortening (can use regular butter if desired), cut into small pats
  6. 3-4 tbsp. ice water
For the filling
  1. 2 pints blueberries (about 4 cups), fresh or frozen
  2. 1/2 c. sugar
  3. 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  4. 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  5. vegan buttermilk, for brushing (optional, can be made mixing 1/4 c. vegan milk and 1 tsp. lemon juice)
Instructions
  1. Make the crust: In the body of a food processor, or in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, 1.5 cups of the flour, all of the sugar, and the salt and pulse/whisk briefly to incorporate. Scatter the butter pats evenly over the surface and pulse/cut until no dry flour remains and dough just begins to collect in clumps, about 25 pulses. Use a rubber spatula to spread the dough evenly around the bowl of the food processor. Sprinkle with remaining flour and pulse until dough is just barely broken up, about 5 short pulses. Transfer dough to a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp. of the water and fold and press the dough using the spatula until the dough comes together to form a ball. Add another tablespoon of water if necessary. The dough won't be crumbly, like normal pie dough. Don't worry!! Divide ball in half. Form each half into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling and baking.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/ 190 degrees C. Let the dough stand at room temperature for ten minutes before rolling it out to 1/4 inch thickness. Transfer the dough from one of the balls to your pie pan of choice and trim edges.* The other ball will be used for the top.
  4. Make the filling: In a bowl, stir the blueberries with the sugar, flour and lemon juice, lightly mashing a few berries; scrape into the prepared pie crust. Brush the overhanging pastry with water and carefully set the top crust over the berry filling. Press the edges of the dough together and crimp decoratively. Cut 4-5 slits in the top crust. Brush with buttermilk if desired.
  5. Bake until crust is dry and lightly browned all over and fruit is bubbling. This will vary depending on the size of your pie pan. My 5 inch pans took about 40 minutes, a regular pie will likely take at least 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool for at least 4 hours before serving so the filling can thicken up.
Notes
  1. *Leftover dough can be rolled out, brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, cut into squares, and baked in an oven until crispy to make pie crust chips. Don't waste that dough!!
Adapted from Serious Eats
Adapted from Serious Eats
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

GF & Vegan Apple Crumble (with No Refined Sugars!)

Ah, November rolls around again, and the countdown to one of my favorite holidays ever begins…

THANKSGIVING!

Okay but think about it. Are you really surprised? A holiday all about food and gratitude. About gratifood. My dreamz!

GF & Vegan Apple Crumble | memo2munch

Can we make gratifood a thing? Let’s make that a thing. “Live with gratifood.” Memo2munch’s new slogan!

Wow, I am so happy right now.

BUT I need to back up. We have important things to talk about, like apple crumbles, and Halloween, and how the food industry sneaks sugar into EVERYTHING. Literally everything. Like beef jerky and sour cream and onion Pringles. I know. But we’ll get to that.

GF & Vegan Apple Crumble | memo2munch

My apartment mates and I had our friends over on Halloween, and we went alllll out in terms of decorations. We had Halloween streamers and napkins and a tablecloth and orange and black burlap and LIGHTS. Oh, the lights. What’s cuter than jack-o-lantern lights? (Thanks, Momma!)

GF & Vegan Apple Crumble | memo2munch

Then of course we had lots of food, including cupcakes with Halloween liners. Turns out my sweet potato cupcakes work just as well if you sub pumpkin puree. Handy tip!

Guess who I was for Halloween! I’ll just pretend I don’t know that the picture is right below this and call you a GENIUS! <3 Julia Child <3

GF & Vegan Apple Crumble | memo2munch

Bloomington has all of these lovely vintage stores, so the costume was super easy to throw together. I got all my stuff from A.Z. Vintage, so if you’re in Bloomington GO THERE. You’ll find tons of cute things, and you can take a shopping break to pet the adorable store kitty, Biscuit. She’s a sweetie.

Speaking of sweeties, can we discuss sugar forever a sec? In one of my classes this semester, our professor challenged us to go to a grocery store and find as many names for sugar as we could on the food labels. It was horrifying. (#sugarmadness)

GF & Vegan Apple Crumble | memo2munch

Together we were able to come up with 65 different ways that sugar can be found on the ingredients list. SIXTY FIVE. And they’re tricky names so that we won’t know there’s sugar in there.

For example:

-Barley malt
-Corn maltodextrin
-Corn syrup solids (ooooh, appetizing)
-Invert syrup (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN)
-And my personal favorite: evaporated cane juice.

Do you know what you get if you take cane juice and get rid of the liquid? Granulated sugar. Identical to the kind you can get in the baking aisle.

That’s like calling stealing “borrowing without asking.” Or “letting someone go” instead of firing them. Do we need euphemisms for sugar now?!

GF & Vegan Apple Crumble | memo2munch

Hey, I’m all for a little sweetness. But I at least want to know when I’m eating it. Especially the equivalent of the processed white stuff or high fructose corn syrup.

Next time you’re at the store, take a look at some of the labels. I found some new Goldfish flavor with nine different types of sugar on the ingredients list!

Luckily, we can know exactly how much sugar is in something when we make it ourselves using whole ingredients. Yay!

GF & Vegan Apple Crumble | memo2munch

Today’s GF apple crumble is so simple, it’s a nice break from the crazy, processed nightmare I sifted through last weekend. And it’s sweetened with just maple syrup!

Wholesome, natural, pure, comforting, and delicious. Now that’s more like it.

Question: What were you for Halloween??

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GF & Vegan Apple Crumble
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Apple Filling
  1. About 4 medium apples
  2. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  3. 2 tsp lemon juice
  4. 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey*
  5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Crumble Topping
  1. 2 1/2 c. (240g) rolled oats (make sure to get certified gluten free if you are allergic)
  2. 5 tbsp. almond flour/meal
  3. A pinch sea salt
  4. 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 5 tbsp. maple syrup or honey*
  6. 5 tbsp. coconut oil, room temperature
Instructions
  1. Make the filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Wash the apples and cut them into thin slices, leaving the skin on (FIBER!). Place in a large bowl and toss with vanilla, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Transfer to a 10" cast-iron skillet or other baking dish.
  2. Make the topping: Mix the oats, almond flour, and sea salt together in a separate bowl. Then add vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Use your hands to mix until well combined. Distribute the topping evenly over the apples.
  3. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until the crumble is firm and lightly browned. Serve as is or with some yummy vegan ice cream.
Notes
  1. *If you use honey the crumble will no longer be vegan.
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Mini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free!)

Talk about an alliteration in cookie form. Whewwww-ie!

Mini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF!) from memo2munch

Soo, it used to be that when people would ask me what the one thing they should bring to college was, I would struggle with an answer.

“Uhh… I don’t know. A backpack? Clothes? Wait, that’s plural. Well, you’re going to need more than one thing, anyway.”

BUT NOW I have a definitive answer.

A pair of rain boots.

Mini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF!) from memo2munch

Yes, rain boots are a must. Take it from someone who went through most of last year without them.

I always thought that as soon as I got rain boots it probably wouldn’t rain anymore so, really, what was the point? However, while I was trying to play reverse psychology with Mother Nature, there was no shortage of water in Bloomington.

Mini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF!) from memo2munch

And ya can’t just skip class because your feet get soaked. So I caved and bought the boots, and I ended up using them. A lot. Moral of the story: don’t follow my examples. Except when it comes to recipes. Cuz you’re gonna want to make these cookies, I promise!

Mini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF!) from memo2munch

I’m bringing the whole rain boots ordeal up because the past couple of days the sky has been spoutin’ water, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying splashing through puddles in my rain boots, having myself a little Gene Kelly moment. If anything, get the rain boots for that!

Then you can have some mini alliteration cookies, and your day will be PERFECTION.

Mini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF!) from memo2munch

 

GF Mini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 20
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cups almond meal
  2. 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life dairy-free chips)
  3. 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  4. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  7. 1 egg
  8. 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  9. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond meal, dark chocolate chips, coconut, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat egg until uniform in color and doubled in volume.
  3. Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet with 1-1/2 inch space in between each. Press down slightly to flatten a bit.
  7. Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen via Minimalist Baker
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/