One of the things I love most about food is that it has the ability to transport us back to a particular time in our lives. These memories could have taken place ten or fifteen years ago, but one bite into a meal, and you feel that rush of emotion and it’s almost like it was yesterday.
For me, this apple cinnamon dish is one of those meals. All throughout high school, my mom would often take a little extra time on the weekends to make a breakfast for our family that was more involved than opening a box of cereal. Sometimes it was scones, other times it was eggs and soy bacon, but more often than not, it was this slightly sweet, cinnamon, custard-like dish with pieces of baked apples throughout.
When I first started cooking for myself in the latter half of college, this was one of the first recipes I asked my mom to send me. At the time, I remember feeling so “adult” picking up the ingredients, buying a glass casserole dish at Target, and cooking my roommates something other than instant oatmeal. Tofu is definitely mainstream now, but I can remember friends being hesitant to try it back then. That’s part of the magic of tofu though – it takes on whatever flavors you pair it with, and silken tofu, in particular, has a really nice, smooth texture. I think this dish, along with my mom’s tofu lasagna, convinced a lot of my friends to get over their tofu phobias.
Somewhere between moving all over the country, I lost the recipe and then randomly found it tucked into a dusty cookbook this past weekend. It’s much more simple than I remember, but I suppose that if instant oatmeal and spaghetti are as complicated as it gets in college, anything that requires turning on your oven and baking would seem that way. I made a few modifications to the original ingredients, trading regular sugar for homemade date paste (there’s a simple tutorial on Choosing Raw), gluten-free flour instead of regular white flour, coconut oil in place of canola, and a combination of ground flax and hemp seeds instead of wheat germ.
My version is more in line with my current style of eating, but it still retains the same flavors and familiar custard-like texture of my mom’s recipe. It’s warm and comforting, and perfect for those crisp mornings that are becoming more and more frequent as we transition into fall.
I bet a pumpkin version of this would be awesome too, but I’m holding off on that obsession just a little bit longer before I open those floodgates…
- 1 Block Silken Tofu with Water (do NOT drain)
- ⅔ C. Date Paste (or other sweetener)
- ½ C. Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (or Wheat Flour)
- 2 Tbs. Melted Coconut Oil, plus additional for greasing the pan
- 1½ Tsp. Baking Powder
- 2 C. Chopped Apple (you can peel the apple if you like)
- ¼ C. Ground Flaxseeds (or Wheat Germ)
- ¼ C. Hemp Seeds (or use additional Ground Flaxseeds or Wheat Germ)
- Cinnamon for Sprinkling
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Lightly grease a 10 inch pie pan or casserole dish and set aside.
- In a blender, add the tofu with water, date paste, flour, melted coconut oil, and baking powder and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the tofu mixture to a large bowl and stir in the chopped apple, ground flaxseeds, and hemp seeds.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and generously sprinkle the top with cinnamon.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top has browned and it feels mostly firm to the touch.
- Allow to cool and set for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
This recipe has been submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays.