11 July 2010

Winner Innards (But I vote no on phyllo)

From July 2010

Over the July 4th weekend, I tried a recipe in a new book by Neal Barnard, called The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook. The recipe I tried was "Baked Apples in Phyllo Dough."

Since I'm out in Utah at the moment, I had a tough time with the phyllo (Utah's a desert, so it was rough going trying to keep it pliable). But I'm game, so I tried the recipe. Just so you know, I didn't quite follow the directions concerning the innards, but I did follow the folding instructions (which I'd recommend not following given the outcome of the extra-thick, many-layered, dry bottom). First, I cut up two apples (the recommended ones were Jonathan or Rome, but I used Granny Smith because they're such tasty apples when baked), then I mixed in 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons of raisins, and about 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (because the spices used were all in my pumpkin pie spice).

Then I drizzled 2 tablespoons of agave nectar over the mixture and mixed it until well incorporated. Next came the folding, which I won't repeat here. What I will do is suggest that you leave out the phyllo and just cook the stuff in a small, covered casserole dish in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or cook it on top of the stove until the apples are just soft. Then, spoon the tasty filling over your favorite vegan frozen dessert (I like Vanilla Rice Dream for this).

Other options: substitute fruit-sweetened cranberries and toasted almonds instead of the raisins and walnuts; add a little vanilla or orange juice for flavor; make a vegan pie shell, then triple this recipe and use it as a pie filling.

As you can see from the photo, there's quite a surplus of phyllo dough under the fruit packet. But the innards were lovely. I recommend using as little of the agave nectar as possible, since my testers and I thought the end result was a bit sweet.

Overall, there are some pretty interesting recipes and great menu ideas toward the back of the book. There are some ideas I disagree with in the front of the book, but Dr. Barnard's heart's in the right place when he tries to convince folks that vegan choices are great for losing weight and adding more vitamins and nutrients to their diets.