Thursday, October 2, 2008
VeganMoFo # 2: Peachy Custard Pie
I have a confession to make: sometimes I buy too much fruit. It is very true: it's so pretty and so delicious, and at certain times of the year the sheer abundance of whatever's in season can make me a little unhinged. Now that fall is here, it will mostly be pears and apples for awhile, but this past week I indulged in a last hurrah of white peaches (which are not only sweet, juicy and beautiful but big). We've been happily eating them for breakfast with soy yogurt and granola, or on their own as snacks, but I still had four huge ones in the fruit bowl begging to be used before it was too late. October means pie season, and (since I found out that Bird's custard powder is---yes!---vegan) every month means custard season, so I figured I'd combine these two universal truths in a peach and custard pie. The last time we had a custard pie I was too lazy to make a topping for it, and the result was a yummy dessert that looked sort of, well, ugly. So this one has a nifty walnut/oatmeal topping similar to an apple crisp; it's fast, easy, looks nice and tastes really good, so when people come home and go, "Wow, you baked a pie?!" you can simply respond with a serene, Earth Motherly smile that says, "No effort is too great for you, my precious darlings," and serve it up!
Peachy Custard Pie
~ 4 cups chopped, ripe peaches (I never peel fruit, and you don't have to, either)
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, cinnamon, nutmeg
~ 1 tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. See how easy this is?
~ 3 tbsp. Bird's custard powder
~ 2 cups vanilla soy milk
~ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
~ 1/2 tsp. each almond and orange extracts
Prepare according to package directions and allow to cool while you make...
~ 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
~ 1/4 cup rolled oats
~ 1/4 tsp. each: cinnamon, ginger, salt
~ 1 tbsp. maple syrup
Mix everything together in a separate bowl and set aside.
~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
~ Transfer the chopped peach mixture to a single pie crust of your choice. I used a frozen whole-wheat one from the market; it was fine, but home-made would obviously be better, especially if you're good at pie crust!
~ Pour the custard over the fruit and smooth it out a bit with a rubber spatula, to help it ooze down into the peachiness.
~ Distribute the topping evenly over the whole thing.
~ Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until the crust is browned and the custard is firming up; this may take a bit longer depending on your oven.
~ Allow to cool at least an hour before slicing; now do you see why they say, "easy as pie?"