Thanksgiving is right around the corner. At my house this means baking, lots of baking. I have to make the family’s favorite pies like sweet potato, pecan, and of course pumpkin. But in a family that has a child who’s allergic to eggs, nuts, and dairy none of these pies will do. So for my grandson Jett we make a special Vegan Pumpkin Pie. He loves it!
This Vegan Pumpkin Pie is super easy to make, it contains no dairy or eggs. We have been making it for Jett every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s something he totally looks forward too. By the way it’s tasty enough to serve to the whole family so if you don’t want to make 2 types of Pumpkin Pie go ahead and just make this Vegan Pumpkin Pie. If you don’t tell anyone it’s vegan they might not even notice. Yes it’s that good!
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Vegan Pumpkin Pie
1 15 or 16 oz. can or box Organic pumpkin pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup Organic Coconut Milk – don’t shake the can before opening, scoop up and use the fat creamy white portion on the top
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup Organic Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar (you can use cane sugar if you can’t find coconut sugar)
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1 Unbaked Pie Shell – homemade or frozen (be sure it’s allergen free)
Mix Dry Ingredients except corn starch together and set aside
Mix Pumpkin Puree, coconut milk, and maple syrup together until well blended
Add mixed dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix very well
Sprinkle cornstarch in 2-3 increments over the pumpkin mixture making sure to stir cornstarch into the mixture very well – you don’t want lumps
Pour pumpkin mixture into unbaked pie shell
Bake in a pre-heated 350° oven for about 1 hour or until tester comes out clean
Do not over bake, once tester comes out clean remove from oven and set on the counter, center may still be soft and wobbly when shake, it will set firm as it cools.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. I serve it with spray canned coconut whipped cream I buy at Safeway next to the Rediwhip.
Contrary to it’s name French Toast did not originate in France. In fact it originated long before France was even a country.
French Toast is basically made with stale bread dipped in an egg and milk mixture then fried up for a tasty meal. Being that bread, eggs, and milk have been staples since they started to prepare bread in some form it makes sense that it’s been around for centuries. And of course back in the day people weren’t wasteful so turning stale bread into a meal using basic ingredients that were readily available makes sense too.
The first mention of a similar dish dates back to a cookbook attributed to Apicius back in 4th. Century Rome. It was then called Pan Dulcis, or sweet bread, and made pretty much how we make it today. The dish spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, specially the practice of using stale bread. In France it was known then as it is now as Pain Perdu which literally means Lost Bread. It is known by this name in Belgium, New Orleans, and other places where the French had some sort of presence. We call it French Toast for the similar reason we call fried strips of potatoes French Fries; simply because it was popularized in America by French immigrants.
French Toast has become a staple on diner and coffee shop menus. In fact it is one of my favorite breakfast foods mainly because not only is it easy to make and very tasty, I almost always have all the ingredients in my kitchen!
Now there are many fancy variations of this humble dish like the Crème Brûlée French Toast I make on Christmas mornings. Now that requires a bit more fussing. But the basic French Toast recipe is so easy that you can make it even on weekday mornings, or at the very least on weekends.
This year Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday so I know cooking breakfast is pretty much not on the top of your priority list. But wouldn’t it be super sweet to wake up just 15 minutes earlier this Valentine’s Day and surprise your sweetheart with a stack of French Toast?
Garnished with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, or whipped cream can dress up this humble dish and make it look like you’ve been up for hours preparing it! So go ahead, wake up your Valentine with the cinnamony aroma of fresh made French Toast! The kids’ will love them too! Here’s my recipe!
3 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Vanilla
6-8 Pieces Bread – any type will do, you can use day old or fresh, whatever you have on hand.
Garnishes like fresh fruit, powdered sugar, whipped cream, etc.
Beat eggs in a shallow bowl.
Add milk and sugar and stir well.
Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.
Melt butter in a frying pan.
Dip both sides of each piece of bread in egg mixture.
Place bread in frying pan and cook until both sides turn golden brown.
Place French Toast on serving dish and garnish any way you want.
You can place butter, syrup, and garnishes on the table so everyone can serve themselves.
Whole Foods sells an awesome Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce. It’s one of the items in their hot bar. It sells for around $7 or $8 a pound, and this stuff is pretty heavy. My family loves this pudding and we usually take home a few pounds when ever we shop there.
Bread pudding is pretty basic, it’s just bread, milk, eggs, and sugar. I decided I’d try my hand at making a bread pudding similar to Whole Food’s. I’d also serve it with caramel sauce just like they do. Luckily I hit it on the first try! My family loves it, they say it’s even better than Whole Foods’.
You can serve bread pudding warm or cold; with or without the caramel sauce; and of course with a scoop of ice cream. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods!
Here’s my recipe for bread pudding and caramel sauce. It gives 12 generous servings.
12 cups baguette cubes – I use day old baguettes that come on sale at the end of the day
7 cups whole milk
1 tbls. vanilla
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Place cubes in buttered 9″ x 13″ baking pan
- Beat eggs, mix in milk and brown sugar
- Stir in vanilla and cinnamon
- Pour milk mixture over cubes
- Bake in 350 degree oven 1 1/2 hours or until tester comes out clean and pudding is set
You can serve warm or cold, with or without caramel sauce.
Makes 4 cups
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Melt butter in sauce pan. Add sugar and cream. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens. Do no bring to a boil. Stir to keep sides sugar from forming crystals on the side of the pan.
This Caramel Sauce can be used to top bread pudding, ice cream, brownies, etc. I usually make a batch and just store in my refrigerator. It keeps for about a month, just stir if the butter separates.
It gets a grainy texture if stored longer.
Mango season in Hawaii is from May to July. When we’re lucky we get a bumper crop of mangoes. During the summers when mangoes are abundant we eat mangoes every which way we can think of, those we can’t eat fresh we freeze and turn into different mango desserts, our favorite is mango bread.
Here is my favorite recipe for mango bread. I’ve been baking them for over 20 years! Bake some for the family and bake extra for friends. They make great gifts!
You can make this bread ahead of time and freeze. Wrap each loaf in foil and place in freezer safe ziplock bags. They will keep in the freezer for 6 months. Just remove from freezer and thaw out before serving.
By the way “Ono” means tastes good in Hawaii!
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup oil
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups diced ripe mango
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Sift dry ingredients together, making sure baking soda is distributed evenly, no clumping.
Add remaining ingredients, stir well. Batter will be thick.
Lightly oil 5 – 2 ½ “ x 5” loaf pans OR 2 large ones.
Pour batter into pans til 2/3 full.
Bake for 55-65 mins or until tester comes out clean.
To freeze wrap each loaf in foil, then place in freezer zip lock bags.
I don’t recommend doubling the recipe, the batter gets too difficult to mix. When I’ve doubled the recipe somehow the the baking soda doesn’t get distributed well and some parts of the loaves will be bitter.