The Oscars are tomorrow everyone! I can’t help but be excited. I know it’s frivolous but I am such a sucker for the red carpet arrivals, and I love films so much, so I really do enjoy seeing the worthy ones recognized and rewarded. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to manage to post all my Oscar Noms recipes before the event takes place tomorrow, but at least I did manage to finish this latest one, in honor of Hidden Figures. This film about the incredibly brilliant African-American women who did all the math and computations that launched John Glenn into space, despite the racist and sexist attitudes of the still-segregated NASA facilities at the time.
“Hidden figures” made me think of hidden figs which led me to this pecan pie with surprise figs inside. I also enjoyed thinking about how the leading ladies of Hidden Figures – Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe – just might enjoy eating a slice of this Southern-inspired pie with me while we chat about smashing the patriarchy and other stuff. And I would tell Janelle about the time I saw her perform at MSG with Prince, and then I would tell Octavia about that time I made a Chocolate Pudding Pie inspired by the pie her character made in the (also Oscar-nominated) film The Help. And we would all laugh and laugh…
But back to the pie. Having been raised in a Southern family, pecan pie is in my blood. I’ve always found it to be cloyingly sweet though, an issue that I think a lot of people have with traditional pecan pies, which are usually a sticky mixture of sugar and corn syrup. I am totally converted to the addition of figs in this recipe. My parents’ house in Georgia has fig trees, and we love collecting the figs and making fig preserves. I love figs. My parents also sent me a huge bag of local pecans that I used to make this pie. The figs though, add a natural sweetness and fruit flavor that works so well with the pecans. The filling really tastes like if a pecan pie and a fig newton had a baby. Although the recipe still includes sugar and definitely is sweet, it is less sweet and more fruit-forward than other versions. The addition of silken tofu simply helps the pie to set, much like eggs would, but the taste is completely undetectable for any tofu-phobes out there.
Enjoy the Oscars tomorrow, if you are watching! Or, just enjoy some pie! Either way is great! 🙂
Vegan Fig – Pecan Pie
1 cup stemmed, chopped figs
2 tablespoons rum or bourbon (rum-flavoring also works)
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup vegan butter, like Earth Balance
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup extra-firm silken tofu
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups pecan halves, toasted, plus approximately 30 extra halves to decorate top of pie
your favorite pie crust, homemade or store-bought
Vegan whipped cream, to serve, like So Delicious CocoWhip
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine chopped figs, rum or bourbon, and water in a small pan. Stir over low heat about five minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
Combine vegan butter, brown sugar, and brown rice syrup in medium pan. Stir over low heat until butter is completely melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in orange zest, vanilla, and salt.
In a food processor, blend silken tofu and cornstarch together until smooth. Stir into butter-sugar mixture and combine. Fold in 2 cups of pecan halves.
Pour filling into prepared pie crust. Arrange remaining pecan halves over top of pie. Bake 40 – 50 minutes, until pie is set. Let cool completely and refrigerate several hours or overnight to ensure that the pie sets completely. Serve cold or at room temperature with a dollop of vegan whipped cream.