So I was asked by a new client to cater their Kosher Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. As you may expect, being a Paddy, I’m probably not the first choice in caterer when hosting a Kosher dinner so surprised is one word I’d use when I was asked. But I am kind of familiar with the basics of Kosher cooking having worked in catering for a bunch of years; not mixing dairy and meat in the same kitchen, having two totally separate kitchen utensils for each preparation, the food preparation usually done in the presence of a Rabbi and so forth. Hence why my party was ‘kinda’ Kosher. Maybe I can put that on my biz card! Gavan Murphy…the kinda Kosher Katerer (very Kardashian of me!).
As per any traditional Thanksgiving dinner I cooked all the usual fare, dairy free of course, which all turned out swimmingly well. As you guys know I don’t generally use butter anyway in my food so this wasn’t exactly a major stretch for me. One question my client had was how was I going to make the dairy free pastry for my apple pie? (which by the way is my absolute favorite dessert and may even make it to my last meal). Good question! How was I going to do that?
There are lots of fake ‘butters’ out there so I chose to use Earth Balance to substitute the real deal and I’ll admit I was a tad skeptical it wasn’t going to make my pastry flaky enough. I made a short crust pastry and I have to tell you it was dynamite. Not only was the pastry great but I also used Earth Balance when sauteing the apples, which were killer making this a gorgeous healthier pie!
SWEET SHORT CRUST PASTRY RECIPE:
Makes one delicious pie
3 1/2 cups organic white flour
1 cup organic raw cane sugar
2 organic eggs – beaten
splash soy milk (or regular milk if you’re not Kosher)
1 cup (16 tbsp) Earth Balance butter – cold & cubed
extra flour for dusting
9″ foil pie shell
organic egg wash (one egg, beaten)
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar. Mix. Using clean hands work the butter cubes into the flour by rubbing your fingers and thumbs together to create a crumbly breadcrumb texture. Once your here add in egg/milk mixture and pull the dough together until you have a ball. Flour your work surface and spill the dough mixture onto it along with any leftover crumbly bits from the bowl. Flour your hands. Work the dough just enough to combine everything and make a dough ball. Cut the dough in half. Flour both balls a little and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let rest.
TIP: The idea of resting the dough is to make sure the butter in it is cold when you roll it out which makes the pastry light and crumbly when cooked.
APPLE FILLING RECIPE:
8 apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith &/or Fuji apples) halved, cored, thinly sliced* and split into two batches
2 knobs Earth Balance ‘butter’ – one knob per batch
2 tsp ground cinnamon – per batch
2 tsp ground ginger – per batch
1 cup organic brown sugar – 1/2 cup per batch
*NOTE: I used all three types of apples and it was spectacular, though you can use any firm crisp apple
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Saute the apples in 2 batches with the ‘butter’, sugar and spices on medium high heat for 10 – 12 minutes or until soft but still holding their shape. If you want more flavor sprinkle more sugar or spices as you like. Drain in a colander over a bowl.* Repeat with second batch. Once all the apples are cooked, let cool completely.**
*NOTE: Make sure you keep the drained off liquid!
**TIP: Cooling the apples are important because if you put warm apples into the crust they’ll make the pastry soggy.
While the apples are cooking, flour your work surface then roll out 1 piece of pastry to about a 1/2″ thickness with a floured rolling pin. Flouring helps keep the dough from sticking. Coat a shallow 9″ pie shell with oil spray. Lay the pastry in the shell trimming off excess round the edges using a sharp knife.
Lay a sheet of waxed paper in the shell and fill with dried beans or something similar.* Pop in the oven and par bake for 10 minutes so the pastry holds it’s shape.
TIP: Using dried beans keeps the pastry weighted down so it doesn’t rise up while par baking.
As base is baking roll out the second piece of pastry as before for the pie top.
When the pastry is done par baking, remove from oven and remove beans. Fill the base with the cooled apples so that they come up over the top of the pie shell and then over the top of the apples spoon the saved excess juices from when you sauteed them. Brush the edges with egg wash and lay the other pastry on the top of the pie. Trim the edges then crimp them together with a fork to seal the whole pie. Brush the entire top with egg wash then pierce a hole in the center of the pie top with a knife to let the steam escape.
TIP: If you have any left over pastry or apples freeze them or use the left over apples in a crumble.
Pop the pie in the oven in the middle shelf for 45 minutes or until the top is nice & golden brown.
All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers’ market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients as much as possible.