Apple, Basil, Tofu Ricotta Pie in the Sky

by L Matthews on September 12, 2013

apple basil ricotta pies veganFor some reason, fall weather makes my mind turn to pie. Perhaps it’s the promise of a pastry pocket in which to snuggle down for winter. So, if you see me staring off into the sky, I’m probably thinking of pie.

Tiny little tomato tarts, chocolatey strawberry cheesecake pies, and, dare I say it, mincepies… but it’s not Christmas yet. Indeed, the sun’s still shining and lazy weekend sun-drenched brunches are still afoot on my balcony. Tired of tofu scramble and vegan benedicts, and, yeah, breakfast poutine, I decided to make a slightly odd late summer pie using apples, strawberries, basil and a whole heap of cashew tofu ricotta with a melt-in-your-mouth pastry. The result, friends, was absolutely delicious. So much so that these beauties were made twice in one week for three different rounds of people and everyone looked pretty damn happy to be putting these pies in their faceholes.

I think I could live on these.

Apple Basil Ricotta Pie


  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp (vegan) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp earth balance spread or other vegan hard margarine
  • 2 tbsp ice water


  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup nooch (nutritional yeast) (optional)

apple basil ricotta pies vegan unfilled


  • 3-4 apples, peeled, cored, diced small
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries, chopped fine in processor
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (or half a teaspoon of vanilla essence)
  • Handful of fresh basil, chiffonaded

How to Have a Piegasm

Yeah. That.

apple basil ricotta pies vegan half filledPreheat oven to 375F and lightly grease a muffin pan that will hold twelve mini pies.

  1. First make your filling so that it has a little chance to sit and stew while you make everything else. Throw everything other than the flour in a bowl and mix it up, then sprinkle the flour over the top and stir until nicely distributed. Cover and put in the fridge as a cold filling can help decrease pie bottom sogginess and help stop the ricotta slumping into your appley goodness.
  2. Then make your ricotta by adding the cashews, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil to the food processor and grinding it up to form a mushy paste.
  3. Add the tofu in crumbly bits to the cashew mix and keep blending. Scrape the sides to get it all nice and smooth.
  4. Mix in the nutritional yeast if you like a slightly cheesier taste and add the basil. Cover while you make your pastry.
  5. This is from the ‘Look ma! No hands!’ school of pastry-making. If you have great circulation and are hot of hands then pastry can tend to be a bit heavier… meaning that this is a great method for you! First, put a couple of tablespoons of water in a cup in the freezer, then mix your flour, sugar, and salt in a big bowl.
  6. Chop up your Earth Balance or other vegan margarine in a cup or on a plate and then throw it into the flour mix and chop it up with a knife. A threshing sideways motion works pretty well to get a breadcrumy texture. The mix will be soggier than normal shortcrust pastry. That’s cool. Don’t fiddle with it. Keep your mitts out of there.
  7. When your dough mix is looking a little more breadcrumby, with no huge bits of margarine left, add in the water you have been chilling in the freezer. Mix it in with your knife and watch with a happy face as the pastry comes together. You should be able to form a pretty decent dough without even getting your hands in the mix.
  8. Now for the hands. Flour a rolling pin and clean work surface, and your hands, and the rim of a cup/bowl with a diameter of about 3.5 inches.
  9. Turn out your pastry from the bowl and work it quickly into a ball then squish it lightly onto the floured surface and roll it out to about an eight of an inch thick. Cut out your pie circles using a knife around the edge of the cup or bowl you’ve selected. Make sure your first circle drops neatly into the muffin pan leaving you room for a little filling and ricotta topping. If it’s too shallow or too deep then you’re going to need to switch your template!
  10. Cut out the rest of your pie cases, trying to work the pastry as little as possible (i.e. minimise the re-rolls you need to do).
  11. apple basil ricotta pies vegan pre baking

  12. Now all your lovely little pie cases are waiting for you, take a couple of teaspoons of your chilled apple mix and fill the pie cases about two-thirds full.
  13. Top each pie with a tablespoon of the ricotta mix (you’ll have some left over for delicious sandwiches, or making vegan lasagne). It helps to squash our the ricotta between two spoons and just slide it onto the top of each pie, rather than having to tamp it down and risk mixing it with the apple.
  14. When you’re done filling your pies, place them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry feels firm at the edges and the ricotta has formed a slightly yellowy thin crust.
  15. Place the muffin pan on a cooling rack and leave the pies to cool for at least 15 mins. Then use a spoon to ease each pie out and place on the cooling rack for a further five or ten mins. The insides will be very hot for a while yet so don’t be tempted to gobble one up straight away, lest ye burn.
  16. This cooling off period gives you ample time to sautee some kale, mix some mimosas, and watch your guests salivate with pie lust.
  17. Green Web Hosting! This site hosted by DreamHost. Want carbon-neutral webhosting with great customer service? Try DreamHost and use code 'Vegans' for a third off!

Leave a Comment

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Previous post:

Next post: