Vegan Raisin Pie

This year for Pi Day, I wanted to share my recipe for raisin pie on my facebook page – only to realize I have never posted it online before!

Wait, what?!

This is my favourite pie! Twelve years of recipes and ideas and random thoughts…

How on earth did I not post this? Ya, I have no idea.

As a backup, I shared my tutorial for making pastry on my facebook page instead, and decided that this was a blessing. While raisin pie has been my favourite for a very long time, I have had to change things a little since going vegan last October. The result was an even better filling, way more flavour, and this version would be the recipe worthy of a share.

So I guess that all worked out!

A thought, before you read the recipe. I use coconut sugar, but you can use white sugar if that is what you have on hand. The reason I like the coconut sugar is because I feel like it adds a richness to the filling, it’s not a vegan thing. It’s also good to point out that my husband is the furthest thing from a vegan you can be, but he loves this pie as well. It really is just a great dessert!

Vegan Raisin Pie

  • 1 double crust pastry dough, uncooked.
  • 3 cups sultana raisins
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or white sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter spread
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a medium sized sauce pan, place the raisins and the water. Bring the water to a low boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 7 minutes. Watch the pan, and remove the raisins from the heat when the water is almost all absorbed (with a little bit of water left on the bottom still).

While the raisins are rehydrating on the stove top, add the sugar, milk, butter, flour, cinnamon and vanilla to a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk together. The butter will make the mixture look chunky, but this will come together once it’s heated.

When the raisins are finished and with the pot removed from the heat, pour in your wet ingredients. Stir together, and place back onto the heat. Stirring the whole time, bring the mixture to a simmer. It will thicken slightly – don’t worry about thickening it the whole way, that will happen while the pie is cooking. Remove from heat.

Roll out the bottom crust of your pie and fit it into a 9″ round pie plate. Add your hot filling, and brush the edges of the crust with almond milk or soy milk. Roll out your top crust and cut a lot of vent holes into the top (see photo) and then lay the crust over your pie.

If you aren’t sure how to roll your pastry out, or transfer it to the pie plate – see my blog here.

Instead of an egg wash, I find that soy milk works perfectly to give a nice brown, slightly chewy crust. Of course if you aren’t a vegan, you can just ignore that whole part.

Bake at 375F for about 45 minutes, turning the pie plate half way through. When your crust is golden and the filling is bubbling slightly through the slits, you are done!

Let me know how you enjoy this one, and if you agree that the vegan version is the best ever.

Socca (Chickpea Skillet Bread)

I have spent my whole life as lover of freshly baked bread. My mother made it almost daily, and when she had the windows open and the scent of fresh bread hit the air, you could come down our street and see most of the neighbourhood kids walking around with thick slices covered in homemade strawberry jam.

As a bread baker myself, I often view fresh bread as the perfect component to the quintessential comfort meal. Biscuits can be a quick back up plan, but I’ve never considered a skillet bread to be a reliable substitute until I discovered socca.

I use chickpea flour for making eggless breakfast frittata’s, but I was curious to see what else I could use it for when I came across this glorious french food. A popular food truck offering, this skillet bread is common in Nice, France but I had never heard of it here in Ontario, Canada. It’s also just naturally gluten free, dairy free, vegan, low carb and absolute perfection.

So far I’ve made my version a few times, and have eaten the cut wedges straight out of the pan with whatever leftovers were in the fridge. They are best fresh out of the even, but they also toast up really well in the toaster.

One blogger I read actually suggested using socca as a base for low carb pizza. Um… yes. That is totally what I’m going to do the next time I make pizza!

To make socca, you really only need a few ingredients, a little bit of patience, and a cast iron frying pan. The cast iron is essential for getting the crisp exterior and creamy interior. If you try making this without a cast iron pan and it doesn’t quite work for you… don’t look at me, because I told you so.

The only thing I’m unsure of, and maybe you can help me out here… is how to pronounce it. I’ve looked online and I was presented with TWO different pronunciations, both from reliable sources.

Is it S’aw’ka?

Or is it S’ew’ka?

If you figure that out. Let me know.

Socca (Chickpea Skillet Bread)

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (some oil set aside for oiling the pan).
  • Seasonings (optional): 1/2 tsp. each smoked paprika, basil, onion powder, garlic powder.

In a small bowl, whisk your chickpea flour, water, oil, salt and the optional seasonings together. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Chickpea flour is slower to rehydrate so this step is important.

In the meantime, place your un-oiled cast iron pan in the oven preheat it to 450 F.

When the socca batter has rested for the 30 minutes, carefully remove the hot cast iron from the oven and turn your broiler on. Make sure you have a rack positioned just below the broiler.

Oil the pan; I use a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil for this, but you can use more olive oil if that is your preference.

Pour the socca batter into the very hot skillet, you’ll notice that it begins to sizzle on the edges almost immediately. Scatter some herbs over the top if you wish, and throw the pan back into the oven, under the broiler. Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Let it rest in the pan on the stove top for another minute or two, then cut into wedges and serve. Enjoy!

Love Stencil

I’m a huge fan of large, custom shaped cookies, but I don’t need more cookie cutters to fill my kitchen baskets and flood my cupboard drawers. No thank you.

Instead, I make my shapes on the computer and print out my stencils. Using a sharp knife I cut out the cookies, but for the finer details I actually use a specific cookie/cake decorating blade. You can buy them in the cake decorating department of Michaels, and they look like a craft knife. If you don’t have one, no problem! I’m sure a little paring knife would work just as well.

For these particular cookies, I don’t think you need to worry about finer details anyway!

I love these chocolate sugar cookies, posted on Genius Kitchen. The dark cookie really makes the details and decorating stand out, and I’ve never had these cookies spread on me and lose their shape. Not to mention they are absolutely delicious! Who doesn’t love a chocolate cookie?!

As promised on my facebook page, here is the stencil. You don’t need to resize this, unless you want to. It’s set to print on standard computer paper, so just click and print. I like to cut out the letter and then lay them on my cookie dough and cut around them. The paper sticks really well to the dough, so you don’t have to hold it down or worry about curling. You can focus on your careful cutting and when you’re ready to do another, just peel it up and lay it down again. Easy.

I like to chill these for 10 minutes before baking, to keep my edges crisp. They look beautiful and taste great, even without icing, so if decorating isn’t your thing you will still love (haha ‘love’, I see what I did there) these!

Quick decorating options would be to just drizzle icing in a diagonal pattern, or pour a glaze over them and sprinkle with well, sprinkles. No matter how you dress these guys up, whoever you make them for will feel really special.

Blueberry Cinnamon Scones

2019 has been busy so far!

So far this month, I’ve learned to make cultured, aged vegan cheese and yogurt from almond milk. I’ve learned how to make my own soy milk at home, and use the left over pulp to make amazing pattys that taste like the ocean. I’ve also been redecorating my dining room/sitting room area! This has involved stripping the finish off of my table and redoing it in a lighter tone, sewing new cushions, buying new drapes and decluttering some of the space. All of these projects have been shared on my facebook page, but at the end of the day it’s all just other peoples recipes and ideas, and I didn’t really feel the need to write it out on here.

In addition to my creative projects, I’ve been busy with work. Like, work-work, the kind I get paid to do. Thankfully, I work from my macbook so my life is mobile and I can do quite a bit from home.

Being busy means I have to think ahead when it comes to food. Being on a vegan diet, AND avoiding processed food means I don’t have a lot of ‘quick’ options on a busy day. This recipe takes about 10 minutes to put together, and gives me 8 good sized servings, so I’m set for tea breaks or light lunches for the next few days.

It also works well with this new egg-replacement trick I learned, which is an added bonus. You know when you blacken the bottom of a pot, and so you sprinkle some baking soda and vinegar into it and watch it foam up? Same deal guys. You do that in a muffin/cake/scone type recipe and that foamy action provides lots of fluffy air pockets in your baking. Plus, you don’t taste the vinegar. Isn’t that cool?

The trick is making sure you keep the liquid portion separate until the very end, then get it into the oven right away. Easy peasy.

The recipe I worked up for myself uses creamy cultured coconut – but that is because I wanted the healthy fat, and the tang from the culturing. If you can’t find what is essentially ‘coconut based yogurt’ at your health food store, then use whatever thick dairy free (or go dairy if you aren’t a vegan!) yogurt you can find.

The other must-do’s in this recipe, are mixing your vinegar and almond milk and setting it aside to sour before you do anything. and then preheating your oven and get a pan ready, because you’ll work quickly at the end.

I drizzled mine with a vanilla glaze. You could go without, but then we wouldn’t be friends.

Blueberry Cinnamon Scones

Dairy free, egg free, vegan

  • 2 cups of white flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cultured coconut (yogurt), vanilla flavoured
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tblsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 or 1 cup wild frozen blueberries

Preheat your oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, or grease a round shallow cake pan, larger than 8″.

In a small bowl, mix the almond milk with the vinegar. Set it aside and let it sour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Blend on low speed for a few seconds to mix the ingredients. Add the cultured coconut and blend again, until it is crumbly.

Add the soured milk mixture, and blend again for about 10 seconds. Don’t over mix, but make sure the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Using a spatula, fold in the frozen blueberries. They may bleed a little here, but they will still look great!

Pour the entire dough mixture onto your prepared pan, and roughly pat into a 7″ round disc. You can use any size pan you want, the disc will hold its shape.

Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. You can remove it from the oven when a knife inserted comes out clean. It can have blueberry on it, but no sticky dough. Take the disc out of the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes. Reduce your oven temp to 350F.

Once slightly cooled, cut the disc into 8 wedges. Set the wedges onto a baking sheet liked with parchment and cook them at the reduced temperature for another 5-7 minutes. If you like your scones very moist, you can avoid the second bake but I prefer them to have dry edges.

Let your scones cool completely, then mix 1/2 cup icing sugar with 2 tablesoons of water and a touch of vanilla. Drizzle the glaze overtop to provide a touch of sweetness, and enjoy with some tea, a good book and a quiet house.

Chickpea Scramble

A born and raised foodie, an extreme cheese snob and homogenized milk drinker, I would never have guessed I could find satisfaction in this new lifestyle but I really have. 

I may not have chosen to be a vegan, but I would definitely choose it now. 

Setting my love of vegan food aside, I’ve also been enjoying my increased energy, faster hair growth, clear skin and the loss of 17lbs. True, I’ve always been on the slender side, but returning to the weight of my early 20’s has been pretty awesome. 

So, while I’m not really a breakfast eater, once in a while I really want something more than a smoothie on the go. I’ve always been like that, and my usual go-to has always been toast or a bagel.

Vegans (and vegetarians) always need to be mindful of protein though, so I can’t waste a meal with just bread. That’s when I discovered this amazing thing in the vegan world called “Chickpea Scramble”. 

Is it like eggs? No. Will it fill the egg void? Definitely. Do you have to like chickpeas? Probably. Some recipes mask that earthy flavour (like these brownies) but this one is pretty obviously a chickpea. 

If chickpeas activate your gag reflex like they do for my husband, move along. This one is maybe not for you.

There are many recipes for this scramble online and for a while I was favouring the ones that used flour instead of whole chickpea. I still prefer the flour for making a chickpea omelet, but I’m pretty set now on only ever using whole chickpeas for my scramble. They just have that texture and chew that I want in my breakfast, and once you add all the fixings, it’s pretty awesome. 

Give it a try! This recipe is loosely adapted from Catching Seeds, so you can try hers or you can try my take on it below:

Chickpea Scramble
Serves 2 – Protein 14.3g, Cal 233, Carbs 35.1g, Fat 4.6g

  • 1 cup canned Chickpeas, rinsed very well
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Broth or this Vegan “Chicken” Broth
  • 3 whole Mushrooms ( I use cremini), sliced
  • 1 small Tomato, cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped scallions or chives
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • Black Pepper to tast
  • Kala Namak (Black Salt) or regular Salt to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon coconut oil or olive oil

Warm up a small frying pan and add your oil, followed by the sliced mushrooms. Sauté on medium heat for a few minutes until they are soft and slightly golden.

Rinse the chickpeas in a colander very well, removing all of the canned liquid.  Pour the chickpeas into a bowl and with a masher (or a fork), cream them down until you have the desired texture. I prefer 2/3 mashed to 1/3 whole.

Add your broth to the frying pan at this point, along with your chickpea mixture, nutritional yeast, scallions, salt and pepper. Simmer on low until the liquid is absorbed, stirring or flipping occasionally. 

Side Note: I use the McCormack All-Vegetable Chicken and Beef broths for almost everything, because I love the added flavour. They don’t make your food taste like meat, but they definitely add a depth of flavour that is nice. I bought these after I read that some vegan restaurants use these bouillon cubes for their gravies and sauces. 

The Kala Namack Salt is a black Himalayan sea salt that is actually used in natural medicine to aid digestion – plus it has a perfect, “eggy” flavour that does not overpower in any way.  I like this one because it comes in rock form, and is in a nice salt grinder. 

As the liquid absorbs, your chickpeas will soften. If you would like them even softer, you can add more broth and let them go a little longer. About a minute before you are done, add your tomatoes and let them heat through and soften slightly. 

I eat mine with some hot sauce and a side of artisanal toast ❤ 

Canine Christmas Cookies

I have been trying to figure this whole thing out for a very long time. 

What I wanted was an easy to make/bake cookie for my dogs, something quick, healthy and pretty, without relying on sugar. I used to work for a canine bakery and even they had to rely on sugar, but I knew if I thought about it hard enough, I could figure out a way to get exactly what I wanted.

The first part was simple; 3 wholesome ingredients mixed into the perfect roll out cookie dough. Baked at 350F for 12 minutes and voila – a beautiful healthy cookie for my doggies. 

It was the icing I struggled with. The glaze. I just wanted to really make them look festive, but I couldn’t handle the idea of putting sugar on top of these healthy cookies. 

I had a lot of failed attempts with greek yogurt. I refused to add sugar, and my experiments with rice flour and tapioca were a bust. While scraping the latest failure down into the garburator, I wished that it could be as simple as boiled down sugar, which would get hard upon cooling. But of course, I was against the sugar, so then I wished I had a natural sweetener that would just do the same thing as sugar, and wouldn’t that make life so much easier…

So ya. Pretty much the moment a lightbulb went off in my head. Right there. 

After a quick search online, I found a few vet articles that stated pure maple syrup in small doses, was good for dogs. In fact, it provides them with necessary manganese and zinc, which support a healthy immune system! 

I also know that maple syrup can be simmered to the temperature of 110C, and that when it cools it becomes semi-hard. Otherwise, perfect for dog cookies. I basted the cookies with the hot syrup (just a little) and it spread over the surface perfectly. More than enough time for me to add a few sprinkles to make them festive, but they probably didn’t need it – the shine was perfect. 

So perfect in fact, that when my husband came home he asked if he could have a cookie. I was soooo tempted to just let him, but I’m to nice. 

If you make these cookies for your fur-babies, I’d love to see a photo! Use the hashtag #creativelybee when you post, or tag me directly. Have fun!


Canine Christmas Cookies
makes approximately 12 palm sized cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (no xylitol)
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • Rice flour for dusting

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.

To make the cookies, combine the pumpkin, peanut butter and oats into a medium sized mixing bowl and blend on medium speed for about a minute until well combined. 

With your hands, press the dough into a ball shape and turn out onto a board dusted with rice flour. You can use wheat flour if it’s all you have, but rice is better. You can also just roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment and skip the flour all together.

Roll the cookie dough to 1/4″ thick, and cut out your shapes. Lay the cookies on two cookie sheets lined with parchment.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. It’s better for the cookies to be dry and crisp so let them brown a little. Let them cool on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes while you make the glaze.

For the glaze, pour the pure maple syrup into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Insert a candy thermometer and let it simmer until it reaches 110-115C. Remove from heat and let it cool for a minute.

Baste the cookies with the glaze, or drizzle it over top. Add some sprinkles at this point, they will stick to the cookie. 

Let them cool completely before giving them to your dogs. 

Tip: Please make sure you double check all of your ingredients. They should be pure and without preservatives. Make sure that all of the ingredients you use in these cookies are safe for your dogs and never take just my word for it. 

Cookie House Template

Every year, I have the grandest plans, and the best intentions. I make 3lbs of gingerbread, measure out a few dozen tiny pieces, and set about making the most amazing masterpiece you’ve ever seen.

You don’t remember? That’s because that part never happens. I either forget about it in the freezer, it collapses, a crucial piece breaks in half, or I realize I measured something wrong (last years obstacle).

Sometimes, simple is better.

I’ve made a few versions of these instead, and I have to admit that I have way more fun with this kind of Cookie House! I’ve also begun using sugar cookie dough, since you can flavour it (chocolate roof anyone?), and pre-colour the dough to make the overall presentation better.

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In this particular cookie house, I used chocolate sugar cookie dough for the roof, and coloured the vanilla sugar cookie dough using copper food colour paste.

If you have an expanse of wall or roof, and you don’t want to load it down with lots of heavy royal icing, you can make a glaze with some watered down royal icing. I use a pastry brush to ‘paint’ it, and according to my 14 year old and her best friend, that is the perfect amount of icing on the cookie.

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There will be another tutorial posted shortly, for baking and assembling a cookie house, but here is a template you can download and use for free. All I ask is that if you make one and post it on social media, please use the hashtag #creativelybee so I can see it :D.

A few tips:

  • Use a double batch of cookie dough, to achieve the standard size.
  • Print the attached PDF at 50% or 25% for a smaller, cuter house!
  • Make sure you cut out your doors and windows BEFORE baking. I’m just saying… I forgot about that once.

Here’s your Cookie House template!

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