It's the last part of our spring menu, and many people's favorite -- dessert! Your belly is full with that tasty artichoke, lemony asparagus, and bitter greens pesto noodles. But there's always room for pie, right?
The credit for this recipe goes entirely to my husband. A few weeks ago I had a hankering for a cheesecake or cream pie (in all likelihood after watching an episode of Golden Girls) and he set to making us one. As a vegan you often get to have fun playing around with traditional recipes to make them equally tasty (if not more so) without the milk, eggs, and butter. Our first run with this pie was good but not mind-boggling. After simplifying the ingredients, the second pie was perfect! There may have been a third and fourth pie since then as well... This recipe employs one of my husband's favorite ways to measure ingredients and ensure the dish tastes the same each time -- by weighing them. For those makers out there, this is one of those times when you get to use your mailing scale for fun!
This pie is perfect for spring -- light, mouth-watering, and a crowd-pleaser. You can even forgo the crust and use this filling to make little pudding cups! Make this pie a day ahead so it has time to set.
LEMON TOFU CREAM PIE WITH A GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
14 oz brick of firm tofu
60 grams organic dark brown sugar, or your preferred dry sweetener
70 grams lemon juice
5 grams vanilla extract
less than 1 gram sea salt
Pre-made organic graham cracker crust (or your favorite crust recipe, pre-baked)
Place the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and sea salt in a blender (a Vitamix makes this filling extra smooth). Blend until all the sugar and salt has dissolved in the lemon juice. Remove the tofu from the package and rinse under cool water. We want to remove the excess water within the tofu. You can do this by putting the tofu in a colander, covering it with a plate, and putting a weight on top (a can of beans or bag of sugar works well) and letting it sit for a while. Or put the tofu in the middle of a clean dishtowel, fold the ends together, and twist to wring out the excess water. Get as much water out as you can, otherwise the final mixture will be too soupy. There is no firming agent like agar or tapioca in this recipe. The firmness of the filling will come from the dissolved sugar and the chilly rest time in the fridge.
Add the squeezed tofu to the liquid mixture in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour the filling into your favorite pie crust. For this pie we kept the filling low compared to the crust. If you love a filling that's close to the top of the pie edge, feel free to double the recipe! Spread the filling smooth with a knife, or make a design using a fork, or use your fingers to give it a swirl. Have fun with it! Cover with tin foil or parchment paper and put in the fridge to rest for at least 12 hours. 24 hours is even better. Giving it at least 12 hours in the fridge will help the tofu settle and set while also giving the alcohol in the vanilla time to evaporate. Without the evaporation time, some of the bitter flavor of the vanilla extract may linger.
Garnish with seasonal berries and some mint or basil leaves. Cut a slice and enjoy!
The night is winding down, the spring air has cooled, and you're looking forward to a warm beverage to cap off the night. A hot mug of kukicha tea with freshly sliced ginger is just what you need! (If you can grow your own ginger, all the better!) Kukicha tea is made from the twigs of the tea bush and offers a very low caffeine content (90% less than a cup of coffee). The tannins in the tea balance both acids and alkalines in your food, and aids in the digestion of grains. If I could only drink one kind of tea for the rest of my life, it would be kukicha! It has a dark but smooth flavor that's warming and satisfying.
Fresh ginger is perfect to eat in the spring time. It aids in digestion, fights infection, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Have you ever noticed those headaches you might get after a new spring day in the sun and air that turned brisk and chilly once the sun went down? Ginger can help relieve that pain! Ginger adds a warm spiciness to this hot beverage. Drink this tea 20-30 minutes after your meal -- drinking liquids while eating can dilute your digestive juices. Feel free to chew on the ginger slices when you reach the bottom of the mug for an added bonus!
KUKICHA TEA WITH FRESH GINGER SLICES
1 bag of kukicha tea
1/2 inch of fresh organic ginger, sliced
Place the tea bag and sliced ginger in your favorite mug. Boil the water, and then let it sit a few minutes before pouring into your mug. If the water is boiling hot it will start to cook the ginger. Let the tea steep for five minutes and then drink when the temperature is just right. Take a moment to reflect on the delicious meal, the good people you shared it with, and the joys in your life.
It has been wonderful to put together these recipes that are near and dear to me for all of you. I can't wait to hear what your favorite dish was! See you back here at the summer solstice for a whole new menu of seasonal meals!