I have a thanksgiving-style potluck tomorrow at work, and I always get a bit worked up about what to bring. I usually stick with desserts, except for that one year I made stuffed mushrooms with tofu cream cheese and spinach. It was the first time that I had EVER made them, and I forgot two very important things A)how much mushrooms shrink and how downright dinky and minimal they looked, and B) oohhhhh the excess water that comes out of them and stays in the pan. I didn't look at them before I gave them to the woman in charge of the shindig, and only realized in the line of 90 other people, that my mushrooms were swimming in their own juice. Oh the horror. So yes, I stick with desserts. Easy and usually a hit. Last year I made pumpkin-chocolate chip cupcakes and maple-pecan cupcakes, which were gobbled up without the knowledge of their veganness. Mwuahaha. Anyways, this year I decided to make something with apples in them (because as I have mentioned a bajillion times before, I have a bajillion of them that I need to do something with). My mom had sent me this groovy recipe cut out of the newspaper, for an apple-pear tart made in little phyllo dough cups and I thought that might be good for a potluck. I set the recipe aside this morning, but somehow completely lost it. It just vanished! So I improvised. I've always liked cranberry paired with apples, (and bonus for ultimate thanksgiving-ness of the foods) and I've worked with phyllo dough enough times to feel okay preparing it for other people.
Cran-Apple-Pecan Phyllo Cup
Preheat oven to 400 F
Makes 24 little cuties, using two mini-muffin pans
8 Sheets of Phyllo Dough
About 1 cup of Earth Balance, melted (this is approx., I have one of those huuuuge tubs of the stuff and I just cut some out)
3 apples, coarsely chopped
a little water
a quarter of a 12oz bag of cranberries
a little water
1/2 cup-ish of sugar
1) Using a pastry brush, brush EB onto one half of phyllo dough. Fold unbrushed side onto brushed side and brush some more. Do this one more time, so that you have 4 layers of phyllo dough, all brushed with EB inbetween layers. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 6 equal squares. Fit each square into your mini-muffin pan. I squished down the sides to make a more stable crust (I have to bring these with me onto the subway tomorrow morning!!), but they look pretty cool all wild-like sticking out. Brush with more EB, if the top is looking a little dry. Here's where I ran into a little freakout moment: I put them in the oven, and when I checked them five minutes later, they were all puffed up!! I quick took a small spoon and kinda pushed them back down carefully, and that seemed to do the trick. So yes, watch them carefully!! Bake until lightly browned, about 10ish minutes.
2)Make some applesauce!! I just throw the apples, a few splashes of water, a few shakes of cinnamon, and a handful of sugar in a pot and boil/stir. When the apples are tender, I use a potato masher and mash away at them.
3) Make some cranberries!! I always scoff at the back of cranberry packages, when it calls for 1 cup of sugar. It always seems like waaaay too much sugar for how many cranberries there are, but then I tastetest and remember how SUPER-TART those little buggers are. So yeah, in goes more sugar. I just add until my lips don't purse anymore at the taste of them. Boil until water is evaporated/absorbed, and pop those cranberries with a fork or something.
4) I let everything cool for a bit before I assembled. I was scared of what color it might be if I combined the applesauce and cranberries, so I played it safe by just layering (totally prettier) them and topping with pecans.
FYI, I totally doubled the amount of applesauce and cranberries I used and just combined them in a dish for dinner tomorrow!! (also, the color was actually not pukey-pink looking and kinda pretty)
After all that, I made some Quesadillas. I used FYH Cheddar, Kale, leftover sweet potatoes, a clove of garlic, and a some random shakes of spices (pepper, thyme, paprika) in a whole wheat tortilla. I was super-patient about cooking it at low heat in a covered pan, so that the FYH cheese would have a chance to get all melty, and it was well worth it!