My people go vegan for Lent, so in honour of that, and so that I can actually eat one of the pies I've made this week, I present the Vegan Pear and "Cheese" Tart!
1-2 ripe pears
1/2 tub Tofutti (better than) cream cheese
8 oz. firm tofu
2 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tblsp apricot jam
1 tblsp brown sugar
1/2 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets
8 inch springform pan
Step 1: Pseudo-Cheese and Pear-Slicing
Preheat oven to 400o F.
Using a wisk or mixer, combine tofu and faux cream cheese. Once smooth(-ish), add sugar, lemon juice, salt, and a splash of water (no more than a tablespoon). Mix until consistent. Pour into a baking dish.
Bake at 400o F for 30-35 minutes, then remove from oven. Set aside.
While baking, halve, core, and slice the pears, making the pieces as thin as possible. You'll want to leave the skins on.
Step 2: Assembly
Grease you springform pan with your vegetable shortening.
Unfold one of the sheets of puff pastry and place into the pan. Fold the corners down to make even edges, then press the edges up against the sides of the pan to at least 1 inch in height.
Spread the half-baked tofu mixture over the puff pastry crust, no more than half of the height of the crust itself. Arrange the pear slices on top, in a circle, the pieces overlapping. I used about three layers of pear slices, and wouldn't recommend any less.
You're almost there...
Step 3: Baking and Cooling
Brush with a mixture of apricot jam and a splash of water. When that's done, drizzle with brown sugar.
Place in the oven, over a sheet of aluminum foil, and reduce heat to 375o F. Bake for about an hour to 1:15. The tart is done when the puff pastry turns golden brown.
Let cool for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4: The Final Product
Once cooled, release the springform pan and plate the tart. It's ready to serve.
Now, I'm only on a vegan diet for about a third of the year, but for those 100+ days (because it's not just Lent), I am all about making tofu taste like... Well, not tofu. When I tasted my piece, I kid you not, I swooned. It was fantastic. You can taste the tofu a bit, but it compliments the sweet pears and savoury crust very well, and there's no vile aftertaste, as you can get with a lot of tofu-based recipes.
Taste-tested by my most meat-loving, tofu-phobic friends, they didn't believe that it was vegan! Success!