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Vegan pies are pies that are made from ingredients that are not derived from animals. Pies are typically constructed of a crust that is filled with sweet or savory ingredients, and vegan pies follow the same principle. Their crusts are typically made either from some type of starch or ground nuts that have been moistened and stabilized by a non-animal fat. Their fillings, on the other hand, can vary considerably in composition and ingredients. Sweet pies typically have fillings made of nuts, fruits, or some type of pudding or custard. The fillings of savory vegan pies will typically be seasoned vegetables or imitation meats, perhaps topped off with some type of vegan gravy.
The composition of a vegan pie crust may not vary significantly from the crust on many standard pies. While historically lard has been known to be an effective binding agent for producing flaky pie crusts, in some cultures vegetable shortening is more commonly used. If the vegan baker is making a cracker crumb or nut crust pie, for which standard recipes often recommend butter, he may instead use coconut oil or vegan margarine as a substitute. Vegan versions of some traditional British savory pies, such as cottage or shepherds pie, would use nondairy substitutes for the butter, cream, or milk typically used in a mashed potato top crust.
Fillings for savory vegan pies typically include well-cooked vegetables, often prepared in a vegetarian broth with a variety of seasonings. Other savory pies may include imitation meat or fish that may be prepared from a variety of ingredients, including soy protein, nuts, or grains. A savory pie is typically served as a main course.
Sweet pies likewise can be made with numerous filling ingredients. Fruit cooked in a sweetener or juice is common in vegan pies, as are so-called cream fillings made from pureed ingredients or blended with soft tofu. Coconut milk is another common ingredient in sweet vegan pies as a dairy substitute and a flavoring agent in its own right.
The sweeteners used in vegan pies will vary according to the preferences of both cooks and eaters. Some vegans refuse to eat honey, though some vegans do consume it. Certain vegans are also particular about the type of sugar they use, as animal bones are used in the refining process of some sugars. Those vegans with very high standards will typically opt to use unrefined sugars or sugars that have been refined without the use of bones.
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