In Pie We Crust: A Seasonal, Plant-Based Guide to Eating Through Autumn
The autumn leaves are falling down like pieces into place and we’re dreaming of cosy days indoors, plaid scarves and pumpkin pie – mainly thanks to seasonal vegan cooking queen Katie White. In this extract from her debut book The Seasonal Vegan, Katie takes us into the kitchen and through her garden to guide us on what’s in season now, before sharing a heavenly pumpkin and cream cheese pie recipe that has us drooling. Eating plant-based? Easy as pie!
left THE SEASONAL VEGAN, OUT NOW right KATIE WHITE, PHOTO BY KELLY HARWOOD
IN THE KITCHEN
Autumn is when I go through my hot chocolate phase. As the mornings get cooler and cooler, the first thing I do when I get up is make a rich, comforting cup of hot chocolate to start the day. Autumn cosiness doesn’t end there, either! I’ll make endless batches of hot cross buns to share with neighbours and friends.
Cooking in autumn is all about warming up and stocking up in preparation for winter. Luckily, the fruit and veg at this time of the year is in abundance: it’s typical for gardeners to end up with a pantry full of beautiful pumpkins to savour through the colder months to come. I like to use mine to make sweet pumpkin pies.
But, most importantly, autumn is when figs are in season. In my opinion, figs are the most beautiful fruit available to us. I harvest outrageous amounts and make endless batches of fig pasta. Sometimes I forgo cooking entirely and treat myself to high-quality vegan cheese on crackers with fresh figs. Of course, I still have too many left and need to find other ways to use them up. One of my favourite ways to do this is to make huge batches of fig and ginger jam; I always have enough to last the year plus extra to give away as gifts. If you find yourself fortunate enough to have more figs than you know what to do with, jam is definitely the way to go!
IN THE GARDEN
In the second half of autumn, it’s time to plant your winter crops, including brassicas, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, onions and greens such as lettuce. Plant brassicas in the beds with the best soil, as they are heavy feeders. Potatoes and onions are less fussy and will tolerate sandier soils.
WHAT’S IN SEASON NOW?
WANT MORE RECIPES FOR YOUR STASH? RIGHT THIS WAY!
above PUMPKIN AND CREAM CHEESE PIE, PHOTO BY KATIE WHITE
Pumpkin and cream cheese pie
This heavenly smooth and tasty pie is an absolute winner for lunch with a fresh salad. The tang of the cream cheese balances out the sweetness of the pumpkin, assisted by the savoury notes of rosemary in the pastry and spring onions in the filling.
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 tsp crushed or finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp cold water
2 cups boiled pumpkin
250g vegan cream cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely sliced spring onion
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
70g vegan cream cheese (or cashew cheese spread)
2 tbsp vegan feta
3 tbsp soy milk
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Start with the pastry: put the flours, butter, rosemary and salt into a food processor and pulse until a crumb-like consistency forms. Next, add the cold water and pulse again until the dough starts to come together. Tip it out onto your bench and knead it together with your hands, then roll the dough out into a round a little larger than your tart tin.
Grease the tart tin (unless it’s non-stick) and then carefully lay the pastry into it. Push the pastry up the sides and tightly into the corners of the tin, then use a butter knife to trim any excess around the rim. Line the pastry with baking paper, fill with baking beads (or uncooked rice or beans) and blind bake for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, place all filling ingredients in a blender and blitz until completely smooth.
When the pastry is baked, remove the baking beads and paper from the tart tin and pour the pumpkin filling in. It should come up to about 3 mm below the top of the pastry.
In a clean blender, pulse all the topping ingredients until smooth, then place blobs of the mix on top of the pumpkin mixture and use a teaspoon to lightly swirl it with the pumpkin filling.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until cracks form around the edge of the filling and it does not wobble in the middle when you jiggle it. Allow to cool a bit to set then serve with a fresh salad.
This is an edited extract from The Seasonal Vegan (Affirm Press) by Katie White out now.