25 September 2009

Making Over Martha Month: Veganized Raspberry Tart (nee Linzertorte)

From September 2009 photos

This Linzertorte, inspired by Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook (p. 171), is probably the most time-consuming recipe I've ever made. It also is one of my proudest achievements as far as veganizing challenges go. Why? Well, translating 3/4 of a cup of butter (read: 1.5 sticks) and 1 cup of granulated sugar into appropriate amounts of olive oil (yep, it's olive oil alright) and agave nectar that would mesh with a nut-based crust was almost as rough as my shortbread Everest. Oh, and did I mention an egg? Yes, I had to work out the egg issue too. What I do for my vegan friends.

From September 2009 photos

This cutaway shows just how jammy (or rather, no sugar added spread-y) this luscious linzertorte is. Boy, this is rich stuff. Between the toasted hazelnuts and almonds in the crust, and the thick layer of jam between, a small portion is all you'll need for a great agave-sweetened, vegan fancy dessert. It's really quite the show-stopper for a gathering.

From September 2009 photos

When I served it to my pal Teresa, she almost didn't believe that it was vegan. That says a lot. She's a big fan of butter, so she would know.

OK. I know. You've waited long enough. Here's the recipe as I made it -- a very far cry from Martha's, which is fitting since it's the last of the month. Hope you've enjoyed my Making Over Martha Month. By the way, for you linguists, I know I'm completely misusing nee in the title, but it's the closest I could come to saying that the thing is so completely changed that its previous incarnation was a linzertorte.

Caveat: This takes FOREVER to make due to all the chilling involved. Believe me, you can do it. Just plan to make it on a day when you have lots of small, short-term tasks to accomplish. Like cleaning. Or laundry. Or repotting plants.

Sorry, one last thing -- Martha's original says it's best eaten the day it's baked. Mine improves over time, although eating it the first day is certainly a good thing.

Veganized Raspberry Tart (inspired by the Linzertorte in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook; p. 171; 2005.


1/2 cup toasted and rubbed clean of skin hazelnuts
1 cup blanched almond flour (it's OK if you don't have this, just run a cup of blanched almonds through your coffee grinder or food processor until they are powdery)
1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Pensey's Baking Spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil (use your best light oil)
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon flax meal

Nearly 2 10-oz jars of no-sugar-added raspberry spread (I used the 365 brand from Whole Foods, and it was lovely.)

2 tablespoons no-sugar-added apricot spread
1 teaspoon filtered water


1. In a food processor, blend together the hazelnuts, almond flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, Baking Spice, and salt.
2. In a mixer, beat together the olive oil, agave nectar, and flax meal.
3. Add the dry to the wet ingredients above and mix until well incorporated. Expect that it will be wet. Split the dough in two uneven halves (one should be slightly larger than the other -- that will be the bottom crust). Wrap each individually and refrigerate the crust dough for 1 hour.
4. Using the slightly larger half, press the dough into the bottom and sides of a tart pan with a removable bottom. If you don't have one, you could definitely use a springform pan (in fact, next time I make this, that's what I'll use), but only go 3/4 of an inch up the sides with your dough. Cover with plastic and freeze for 2 hours.
5. Meanwhile, between two sheets of parchment paper (and with a LOT of flour on both sides of the dough), roll out the other half of the dough until it is about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Wrap this up in plastic and freeze it for 2 hours.
6. Spread the raspberry spread onto the bottom crust, re-wrap and freeze it again while you work on your top crust cut-outs. (This can take from 30 to 45 minutes, depending upon how well you do keeping your crust from sticking. As it warms, it gets very sticky. And, like any good crust, you don't want to handle it much at all.)
7. Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut out enough pieces of the rolled out crust to cover the top of your tart while leaving air holes (they also provide nice contrast against your crust).
8. Take the bottom of the tart out of the freezer and top the tart with your lovely little cut-outs. Wrap the whole thing up and freeze it until you complete the glaze step.
9. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
10. Whisk the apricot spread with the water until well combined. Then, take your tart from the freezer.
11. Using a pastry brush, quickly spread the glaze on the top of the tart, place the whole thing on top of a rimmed baking sheet topped with parchment paper, and place it in the center of your hot oven.
12. Bake the tart for 30 minutes, then check to see how quickly the edges are browning. Cover any parts that are browning too quickly with foil, then bake it for another 15 minutes or until completely golden brown and bubbling.
13. Let it cool completely before removing the sides of the pan to show off your amazing veganized raspberry tart!

Take some photos and show me how yours turns out!

24 September 2009

Quick Update

No, my friends, I have not fallen off the edge of the earth. I've been a bit over-scheduled between school and associated activities and the Jewish New Year. Regardless, I did make my final MOMM dish, a veganized Linzertorte which came out so much better than I had imagined. I promise to post photos and the recipe very soon because my Linzertorte is a grand departure from Martha Stewart's original and will bring very happy faces to my vegan friends and their tasters everywhere. So, until then, may the new year bring you much "naches". A sweet one to you!

17 September 2009

Making Over Martha Month: Turning Galette into Pie, Altered Plates Style

From September 2009 photos

Oh Martha, you are wonderful, but your Pate Brisee does not hold a candle to Elise's All-Butter Crust as I make it with agave nectar and whole wheat pastry flour. On the other hand, your fillings are killer (at least with the alterations I've listed below).

The original recipe was for Martha Stewart's Apricot-Blackberry Galette, Baking Handbook (2005), pg. 266. but I reworked it with the double-crust (my version) and significantly tarted it up with fresh raspberries. I also changed up the rest of the ingredients a bit, so I've included the recipe as I made it below.

The raspberries make the filling very tart, but it calms down after the first day. I highly recommend enjoying the pie with some delightful vanilla frozen dessert. Also, if you are vegan and wish to make this veganly, you could use a combination of oils, including almond oil, measuring 3/4 cup total, and omit the egg wash on thee crust. Instead, you could brush the top with a jam wash (a few tablespoons of apricot jam and an equal amount of water, whisked together). It will have a nice, glossy finish. Oh, and the crust will give the whole pie the best that almonds can give. I can't think of a better way to eat apricots and raspberries.

Killer Apricot-Raspberry Pie


1 awesome almond-y double-crust recipe
15 fresh apricots, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 fresh apples, peeled and cut into similarly sized pieces
2 cups fresh raspberries
4 tablespoons arrowroot
1/4 cup agave nectar
pinch of salt


1. Press 1/2 the crust recipe into your best pie dish, wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge. Roll out the rest of the crust, wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge.
2. Mix together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure that the arrowroot is completely dissolved.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
4. Pour the fruit mixture into your chilled crust in the pie dish. Wrap back in plastic and chill in the fridge.
5. Take the rolled-out crust out of the fridge and use some fun cookie cutters to cut out enough pieces to cover the top. Take the filled pie dish back out of the fridge and place your top pieces on top of the fruit until you have a decorative top crust. Remember to leave air/juice holes. This is very important.
6. Bake your pie for 20 minutes, then tent with foil to prevent the top and edges from browning too quickly. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the juice is bubbling and the top has become evenly light brown.
7. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

09 September 2009

Making Over Martha Month: Banana Walnut Cookies

From September 2009 photos

Last month, my friend Tanya (the lovely hand model and professional massage therapist above) came to visit and we baked all day long, using up all the black bananas in my freezer. We made banana bread, banana muffins, and these amazing banana-walnut cookies that were originally Martha Stewart's Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies from her Sept. 2006 issue of Living.

I'm sorry to say to my vegan friends that I did not veganize this recipe, but you can easily do it with margarine or oil (but cut the amount by 1/3, if you use oil). And, the egg is easily disposed of with either 1/2 teaspoon baking powder or the flaxmeal trick.

My substitutions were:

1. Agave nectar (amber variety) for the granulated and brown sugars. This gave it a very molasses-y flavor.
2. Whole wheat pastry flour for the whole wheat flour. It lightened up the cookies tremendously.
3. Dried dark sweet cherries for the chocolate chunks, softened first in hot water and drained.
4. The addition of two tablespoons of coconut flour to compensate for the moisture in the agave nectar.

The results of our hard work were wonderful. They were definitely my favorite out of all the banana recipes we made that day. They weren't too sweet or dry at all. In fact, these cookies come out rather cakey in texture and very banana-y in flavor. None of the flavors overpowered the others. And, soaking the dried cherries first is key. Tanya captured that best when she said, "The cherries aren't overly chewey. I'm not trying to chew them down."

What you really can't tell from the photo is that these cookies have oats in them. I love the richness of the walnuts against the oats and the banana in these cookies. I also think that you could definitely use carob or chocolate and they would be winners.

Since I've linked to the original recipe, I'll just include the two exact measurements that are missing:

1. 3/4 cup agave nectar
2. 2 tablespoons sifted coconut flour

I'll have to make them again soon because I'm starting to collect bananas in my freezer again! Any other banana recipe suggestions?

01 September 2009

Making Over Martha Month Begins!

From September 2009 photos

And, what a beginning it is! To kick off Making Over Martha Month here on Altered Plates, I've veganized and spiced up Martha's Oatmeal-Raisin Bars. The original version was printed on page 103 of Everyday Food, Issue 53, June 2008. I made a boatload of changes to this recipe, i.e., it's a actually a new recipe at this point. Some of the highlights include agave nectar (of course!) for granulated sugar, olive oil for butter, whole wheat pastry flour for AP flour, Pensey's Baking Spice for half the amount of cinnamon, and the wonderful addition of walnuts. How she could have made oatmeal raisin cookies without walnuts is beyond me... but I've corrected that here.

The thing about Baking Spice is that it imbues everything with a wonderful anise, cinnamon, and cardamom mix of flavors. And, in this case, it works marvelously with the Fiore di Sicilia, which is itself a magical ingredient. If I ever decide to make a fruitcake, I would definitely use Baking Spice and Fiore di Sicilia in it.

From September 2009 photos

This rather in-your-face close-up of a bar slice shows the texture of this fragrant treat. Mine was a tiny bit dry because I did not let it cool completely in the pan. (That's a lesson for you -- leave it alone!) My pal Teresa suggested that it would make an excellent crumble over ice cream. We each had a bar with some vegan coconut milk ice cream on top. It was a highly satisfying dessert.

Here's the recipe as I made it:

Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Bars
Yield: 16 bars


1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon Fiore di Sicilia (if you don't have it, just use vanilla)
1 teaspoon Pensey's Baking Spice (if you don't have it, make a mixture of cinnamon, mace, anise, and cardamom -- 1/4 teaspoon each)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Beat the oil with the agave nectar and Fiore di Sicilia until very well blended.
2. Whisk together the dry ingredients except for the raisins and walnuts, until very well combined. Add in the raisins and walnuts and mix with a big spoon until well combined.
3. Give the wet ingredients one more beating, then add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened.
4. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F, and line an 8 in. square baking dish with two lengths (horizontal and vertical) of parchment paper.
5. Spread the batter into the dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a bamboo tester comes out with a few moist crumbs.
6. Let cool completely in the dish, on top of a wire rack, then slice into bars.
7. These will keep in an airtight container for about 5 days, but they certainly won't last that long. They smell and taste terrific!

Overall, this was probably the most fun I've had veganizing a recipe of Martha's. I didn't veganize the other Making Over Martha Month Recipes for September, but if you take the plunge to veganize them, please let me know how it goes. Thanks! Hope you enjoy this recipe.