Vegan MoFo Day 1: Applesauce

Today’s Secret Ingredient: Applesauce

Applesauce has a variety of uses in vegan cooking and baking.  It can be used to replace eggs in cookies and muffins (use 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg), it can thicken and moisten dry cake recipes, or it can star as an ingredient.  Here, applesauce helps the apple slices retain moisture and flavor during baking.  It also thickens the maple sauce.

Apple Maple Hazelnut Tart

Apple Maple Hazelnut Tart

I could not decide which ingredient is the star in this successful kitchen experiment:  the tart apples, the crunchy hazelnuts, or the indulgent maple caramel spooned Jackson Pollock-style over the whole dessert.  Apples and hazelnuts are not often seen together, but the result is a surprising burst of bold flavor.  These little tarts can be whipped up rather quickly and the recipe lends itself well to adaptation (I know, because I didn’t even measure the ingredients the first time).  Served with a hot cup of coffee, they are the perfect creation for a chilly autumn day.  I only have four mini tart pans, so that’s how many I planned for in the recipe.  If you have more tart pans, or yours are bigger or deeper than mine, you’ll need to adjust.

Apple Hazelnut Tartlets with Maple Caramel Drizzle

1 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (plain are also acceptable)

1/2 cup hazelnut meal (I made my own by chopping a small handful of nuts, then pulsing them in a processor)

Hazelnut Meal (pre food-processor)

Hazelnut Meal (pre food-processor)

3 Tb canola oil

1 Tb soy milk or other non-dairy milk

3 Tb brown rice syrup, divided (see directions)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp maple flavoring, divided (see directions)

2 tsp maple syrup

1 small tart, crisp apple, such as SweeTango or Granny Smith, cored and thinly sliced

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tb Earth Balance

pinch each nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup applesauce + 2 Tb (for caramel)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly spray four mini tart pans with vegetable oil.  In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and hazelnuts.  Add oil, soy milk, and 1 Tb brown rice syrup, stirring thoroughly.  Add more oil or soy milk if needed–the mixture should not be too wet, but should stick together when pressed.  Stir in vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp maple flavoring.  Divide into fourths and press into tart pans.  Spread applesauce over the crusts (leaving an edge).  Set aside.

Place apples in a bowl and add granulated sugar, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cinnamon and ginger.  Drizzle a tiny bit of maple syrup or canola oil and toss.  Cover each tartlet with apples.

Microwave Earth Balance until melted.  Add remaining brown rice syrup, maple syrup, brown sugar, applesauce, and maple flavoring.  Stir until well combined.  If runny, add more applesauce and/or sugar.  The sauce should taste strongly of maple, but not too overwhelming.  Pour half the sauce over the tartlets and reserve the rest.

Place the tartlet pans on a baking sheet (some liquid will leak out of them).  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until apples are soft, the crust is crunchy and the applesauce has firmed a bit.  Allow to cool 15 minutes, then drizzle the remaining sauce on top of the tartlets (if saving for a later time, you may also reserve the sauce to drizzle just before serving).

Fresh From the Oven!

Fresh From the Oven!

Reason for Being Vegan #31: You’ll undoubtedly learn to cook.  Eventually.

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One Response to “Vegan MoFo Day 1: Applesauce”

  1. trina Says:

    I like it!

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