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Award-Winning Vegan Recipes from the OC

Susan Asasto's blue-ribbon-winning Apple Pie with Crunchy Pecan Topping

Susan Asasto’s blue-ribbon-winning Apple Pie with Crunchy Pecan Topping

I’d like to nominate Susan Asato for Super Vegan status. This lady submitted several hand-cooked vegan creations to the Orange County County Fair and took home some distinctions:

  • Vegan Sun Dried Tomato Cornbread Muffins – 1st place Muffins, plus Division Winner for Quickbreads (muffins, scones, loaf pan breads, coffee cakes, etc.)
  • Vegan Chili with Beans – Honorable Mention, Chili Cookoff
  • Vegan Apple Pie with Crunchy Pecan Topping (recipe below!) – 1st place, Pie Contest
  • Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans (recipe below!) – 2nd place, Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nuts

Keep in mind, these competed against “regular” foodstuffs, not in some “special needs eaters” category, so kudos to you, Susan, for raising the esteem of vegan cuisine!

Here are two of her award winning recipes for you to bake for me (double up and follow a “one for you, one for me” policy of vegan baking):

Submitted by: Susan Asato

8 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Stick (4 oz. by weight)
3 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Shortening (1-1/2 oz. by weight)
1-2/3 cup Flour (8 oz. by weight)
1 tbsp Sugar (non-bone char processed)
1/4 tsp Salt
2 to 3 tbsp Ice water
1 tbsp Rice milk or soy milk

6 each Granny Smith apples, medium (about 2 to 2-1/2 lbs)
6 each Fuji apples, medium (about 2 to 2-1/2 lbs by weight)
1/3 cup Lime juice, freshly squeezed (about 3 limes)
1/3 cup Sugar (non-bone char processed)
2 tbsp Agave nectar
4 tbsp Tapioca flour
2 tbsp Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Salt

Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread or Sticks, softened
½ cup Pecans, chopped and toasted
2/3 cup Light brown sugar (non-bone char processed)
½ cup Flour (2-1/2 oz. by weight)
½ cup Multi-grain dry hot cereal mix (Country Choice brand)
¾ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Nutmeg

½ cup Powdered sugar, sifted (4 oz., non-bone char processed)
1 to 2 tbsp Lime juice, freshly squeezed (about 1 lime)
1/8 tsp Vanilla extract
pinch Salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the vegan buttery stick and shortening into small pieces. Pulse in food processor along with flour, sugar, and salt until ingredients are incorporated. Add 2 to 3 tbsp ice water (amount will vary depending on kitchen temperature and humidity) and pulse until mixture holds its shape when a small amount is squeezed in fist. Let dough rest in refrigerator for 1 hour. Roll out and press into a 9” diameter by 2” deep ceramic pie dish; crimp edges. Brush with rice milk or soy milk and dock bottom. Bake for 12 to14 minutes or until crust is very lightly browned, then allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
When crust has cooled, preheat oven to 375°F. Peel and thinly slice apples (about 1/8” thick) and place in a large bowl. Gradually add 1/3 cup of lime juice to moisten apples while prepping to prevent browning. Add the sugar, agave nectar, tapioca flour, flour, cinnamon and salt and gently mix together well.
In a separate bowl, mix together all crumb topping ingredients well using a fork.
Fill cooled pie crust with apple mixture using a slotted spoon and your hands. Spoon the crumb topping evenly over the apples.
Place pie on a sheet pan and bake at 375°F. After 25 to 30 minutes, or when the topping and crust edges are lightly browned, loosely cover the entire pie with aluminum foil, reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 2 hours.
For glaze, sift powdered sugar into bowl. Add 1 tbsp of the lime juice and whisk well. Gradually add additional lime juice, several drops at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add vanilla extract and salt. Pipe the glaze in a lattice pattern onto the cooled pie.

Submitted by Susan Asato
Yield: 4 dozen

2 cups All purpose flour (10 oz. by weight)
1 cup Multigrain hot cereal mix (rolled whole grain rye, barley, oats, and wheat; use Country Choice, 3-1/2 oz. by weight)
¾ tsp Baking soda
½ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Salt
12 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, cut into small pieces (1-1/2 sticks or 6 oz. by weight)
½ cup Tahini sesame seed paste (4-1/2 oz. by weight)
¾ cup Sugar, non bone-char processed
¼ cup Light brown sugar, non bone-char processed
½ cup Maple syrup (5-3/4 oz. by weight)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Vanilla extract
½ tsp Almond extract
1 10 oz. bag Semisweet chocolate chips (use Sunspire Tropical Source brand)
1 3 oz. bar Sunspire Tropical Source Raspberry Dark Chocolate bar
1-1/2 cups Pecans, chopped and toasted (6 oz. by weight)
1 tsp Raw sugar or turbinado sugar

1. Whisk together the flour, multigrain hot cereal mix, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. Beat the vegan butter and tahini in a stand mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the sugar and brown sugar, and beat about 2 more minutes.
4. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and almond extract, and beat for another 1 minute.
5. Stir in the flour mixture by hand just until incorporated. Do over mix. Chop the raspberry dark chocolate bar into ¼” to ½” pieces, and gently fold into the batter along with the chocolate chips and pecans. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.
6. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Portion out rounded tablespoons of dough, roll into balls, and place on lightly greased baking sheets about 1-1/2” apart. Press down to flatten slightly. Sprinkle each cookie with a tiny pinch of raw sugar or turbinado sugar.
7. Bake at 350 °F for about 11-13 minutes, or until lightly browned.
8. Allow to cool for three minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    That Apple Pie, assuming 6 servings (which is standard) and not taking into account the fat in pecans, has, from the Earth Balance alone, around 48 grams of fat per serving.

    To put that in perspective: it’s half the stodgy conservation Feds recommend of total fat per day (on average).

    It’s double the upper limit recommended by Esselstyn, McDougall, Ornish, etc., to prevent heart disease.

    IMHO, hardly “super.”

    FYI, Mark

  2. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    Yay, Mark will leave more delicious pie for the rest of us!

    (Also, six servings is standard for a pie? I think I’m used to getting a lot more slices out of one than that.)

  3. Comment by


    on #

    I was in error.. that 48 grams of fat is about 2/3 of the daily recommended fat by the Feds (60 grams).

    And even if you assume 12 servings, that’s over 24 grams of fat (not counting fat in other ingredients) per serving , which is the total recommended by the guys who’ve reversed heart disease, and near 1/2 the daily total recommended by the Feds.

  4. Comment by


    on #

    Oops.. 38 grams of fat per serving (6 servings) and 12 grams of saturated fat (16 grame per day recommended).


  5. Comment by


    on #

    I don’t think apple pie is something to be eaten every day. I think it’s more along the lines of a special occasion holiday sort of treat, so I think it’s fine. It’s apple pie for Pete’s sake! It’s not supposed to be a nutritional masterpiece!

  6. Comment by


    on #

    MMMmmmm, fat.
    Mark, you have dessert OCD.

  7. Comment by


    on #

    Hooray for Susan! I’m so impressed that all of those goods had ‘Vegan’ in the title and still took the the prizes from the omnivores. At look on the bright side, Mark, even if pie kills humans, at least it didn’t kill any animals!

  8. Comment by


    on #

    hahaha, something’s gonna getcha in the end…might as well be pie!

  9. Comment by


    on #

    @Mark This isn’t an every day meal. It’s okay to indulge every once in a while. Live a little buddy!

  10. Comment by


    on #

    I think Susan is an amazing baker with vision and style! And I really do think that her recipes are “super” considering they are authentically vegan and can rival non-vegan competitors and even surpass them in taste.

    BYW, Mark, you sound a bit grumpy. Maybe you need to indulge in a little pie….

  11. Comment by

    Christine #2

    on #

    Awwwwwesome!!! Go Susan!

  12. Comment by


    on #

    Thumbs up for Susan!! it looks yummy how much more it I taste it.Keep posting for more of your baked products..