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Vegan Planet: My Vegan Easter Pie Tradition

Friday, March 21, 2008


My Vegan Easter Pie Tradition

When I first went vegan, one of the first things I needed to veganize was a traditional family dish: the Italian specialty we call Easter Pie. Each year my mother would make this savory pie with hot Italian sausage and ricotta cheese — about as non-vegan as you can get. We never ate the pie hot or even warm — in fact, we usually enjoyed it cold for breakfast. Over the years, I’ve tinkered with her recipe and I must say that the recipe in Vegan Fire & Spice comes pretty close. The recipe is below and includes my latest “tweaks” (I’m always zeroing in on just the right balance of flavors so it tastes as close to my mom’s version as I can get it.) The photo shows the slice I had for lunch today with a side of red beets on a nest of beet greens. Mmm.
It seems as though everyone who makes (traditional) Easter Pie (called “pastiche” and “scachette” in different places) includes something different in their recipe — some people use rice, others use noodles, and some make it on the sweet side. If you have a family Easter Pie tradition (and a vegan version!) I’d love to hear about it.

Italian Easter Pie
Called by many names in different regions of Italy, my family just called it Easter Pie because my mother only made it at Easter time. This is an adaptation of the recipe in Vegan Fire & Spice — the original version makes enough filling for a larger pie, and I decided to make a smaller one this year. Note: to save time, you can use ready-made pie shells, if you like.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
8 ounces vegan sausage, crumbled (homemade or purchased)
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1/4 cup vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a food processor, combine the flour, margarine, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. With the machine running, add enough water until a dough ball forms. Separate the dough into two equal balls, and refrigerate until needed.
In a large bowl combine the vegan sausage, tofu, soy parmesan, parsley, remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, ground fennel seed, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and paprika. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Roll out the dough into 2 11-inch rounds. Place the bottom crust in a 10-inch pie plate, and spread the filling mixture over it. Cover with the top crust, pinching the edges, and prick with the tines of a fork. Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.
Serves 6

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clever! love your blog; recently bought the slow-cooker book and look forward to using it.
Thanks, Jean. BTW, if you ever have any questions about the slow-cooker recipes (or any others), you can write to me through my website: Hope you enjoy!
This sounds delicious. I love veganizing old family favorites--it's such a comfort.
I agree, Laura. It really is special to enjoy the flavors we grew up with and to be able to do it using plant-based ingredients.
Wow, that Easter pie looks sensational! A few months back on my podcast I challenged my listeners to veganize a Paula Deen monstrosity. Looks like you've worked a similar miracle with your mother's pie recipe.
All I can say is "YUM!" It doesn't get any better than a flaky pie crust encasing veggie sausage filling. I've gotta try this one!
Hey Erik, thanks for stopping by. You're right, veganizing this recipe is nothing short of a miracle!

"Yum" is right, Christine. If you like a hearty savory pie, this one's for you!
What kind of veggie sausage do you use ... the patties or links? And do you defrost them ... or use them frozen? Thanks!
Anonymous: either patties or links can work, but you need to thaw them first and chop them up or crumble them really well. (You can even mix the filling in a food processor, which can make it easier to mix thoroughly.)
Hippity hoppity- this looks great.Thanx for posting, Robin.
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