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December 2001 Issue
A Vegetarian Christmas
by Victoria Smith
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Cocoa Substitute Mince Pie

  • 1/4 cup dry, unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins or currants
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: ground ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 prepared pastry crust
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1/4 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large saucepan with 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and stir until smoothly dissolved and combined. Add the currants, raisins, and apples and simmer over low heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs, nuts, vanilla, and spices. Pour in the mixture from the saucepan and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour into the pastry crust.

Melt the margarine in the same saucepan used previously. Remove from the heat and stir in the bread crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the pie. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

Let cool and serve just warm or at room temperature.

  • Yields: 1 9-inch pie, 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 1 hour, 30 minutes


Apple Mulling Spice Mix

  • 3 boxes (1 ounce each) cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole nutmegs (1 ounce)
  • 1/3 cup each chopped dried orange and lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup each whole allspice and whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped, crystallized ginger (1 ounce)
Cut doubled layers of cheesecloth into fourteen 5-inch squares. Have fourteen 10-inch-long pieces plain white string ready. Put cinnamon sticks and nutmegs in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or a small heavy skillet until broken in small pieces. Mix with remaining ingredients. Tie 3 generous tablespoonsful in each cheesecloth square. Makes 14 bags.

To mull wine, stir 1/2 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar in a 1-1/2 to 2-quart pan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add 3-1/4 cups wine and the spice bag. Reduce heat to low, cover and heat very gently until mixture is very hot but not boiling, about 20 minutes. Discard spice bag.

To mull cider, just add spice bag to 8 cups apple cider in a 2-1/2 to 3-quart pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 to 35 minutes. Discard spice bag.

(Each spice bag holds enough to mull a 750 ml bottle of red wine - about 3-1/4 cups - or a half gallon - 8 cups - apple cider.)

  • Yields: 8 cups
  • Preparation Time: half an hour


Christmas Tree Loaf

  • 6 oz self raising flour
  • 2 oz dairy free margarine
  • 1 oz sugar
  • 2.5 fluid oz soy milk
  • half apple, grated
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 oz mixed dried fruit (as used in fruit cakes)
  • 1 tablespoon dried mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For base, rub margarine into flour, add sugar and then mix in soy milk. Knead very lightly, divide mixture in two. Roll each half into a triangle approx 9" sides.Trim small amount of dough to form trunk of tree

For filling combine apple and water in a small saucepan. Cook until tender. Remove from heat, add fruit, spice and lemon juice. Allow to cool.

Place one triangle on a lightly oiled and floured baking tray, place filling on this triangle leaving (1/4") clear around all edges. Place trunk at base and moisten edges. Fit second triangle on top, sealing edges. Cut three slits (on an outward,downward angle) on the two sides. Turn the points up slightly to form christmas tree branches. Brush lightly all over with a little soy milk. Bake at 350-400F for 10-15 min until golden brown. When cool ice with 2 oz icing sugar and water (as snow). Decorate with glace cherries or colored candy balls,walnuts etc.

  • Yields: 1 loaf
  • Preparation Time: no more than 1 hour

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