Vegan Pie in the Sky

75 Out-of-This-World Recipes for Pies, Tarts, Cobblers, and More


By Isa Chandra Moskowitz

By Terry Hope Romero

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Holidays? Check. Birthdays? Check. Tuesdays? Check! Our research says life is 100% better any day pie is involved. There’s nothing like a rich, gooey slice of apple pie straight from the oven, baked in a perfectly flaky crust and topped with cinnamon-sugar. And now it can be yours, along with dozens more mouthwatering varieties, vegan at last and better than ever.
Vegan Pie in the Sky is the latest force in Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s baking revolution. You’ll find delicious and adorable pies, tarts, cobblers, cheesecakes and more—all made without dairy, eggs, or animal products. From fruity to chocolaty, nutty to creamy, Vegan Pie in the Sky has the classic flavors you crave. And the recipes are as easy as, well, you know. Serve up some:
  • Maple-Kissed Blueberry Pie
  • She’s My Cherry Pie
  • Chocolate–Peanut Butter Tartlets  
  • Salted Pecan Caramel Pie
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake
Learn how to rock (and roll) the perfect pastry crust, whether butter, graham cracker, chocolate cookie, or gluten-free almond. Luscious toppings transform your pie into a showstopper. And you’ll even find handheld treats, to make getting your recommended daily allowance of pie more convenient! With gorgeous color photos and Isa and Terry’s irreverent commentary throughout, Vegan Pie in the Sky is the modern baker’s bible for pie that’s out of this world.


"[The] ultimate cookie manual."
"Winning … decadent recipes … show that you can be vegan and still indulge in delicious treats."
—Publishers Weekly
"Moskowitz and Romero are icons in the vegan world … All your favorite cookies are here, alongside many that are about to become your favorites."
—Bar Harbor Times
"An outstanding, surprisingly simple cookbook."
—Midwest Book Review
"Will satisfy almost everyone's sweet tooth and visions of sugarplums."
—Auburn Citizen
"[Moskowitz and Romero] produce insanely fetching cupcakes with mousse fillings, butter cream frostings, chocolate ganache icings and sprinkles galore."
New York Times
"Packed with 75 dairy-free recipes and lush photos aimed at making vegans and omnivores drool."
Washington Post
"Written chattily and supportively for even the most oven-phobic ... reading this is like having a couple of fun, socially conscious post-punk pals over for a slumber party ... Each page of this cookbook contains an irresistible delight."
"The very same urban chefs who had you inhaling vegan butter-cream frosting during your free time have crafted the next revolution in neo-vegan cuisine."
Philadelphia City Paper
"Exuberant and unapologetic… recipes don't skimp on fat or flavor, and the eclectic collection of dishes is a testament to the authors' sincere love of cooking and culinary exploration."
"The Betty Crocker's Cookbook of the vegan world."

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Appetite for Reduction
Vegan Brunch
Vegan with a Vengeance
Viva Vegan!

In memory of
who celebrated life, love, and pie

THERE ARE FEW MOMENTS in life that can't be improved with a slice of pie. Cakes and cookies and even cupcakes are iconic in their own right, but pie says "sit down, feel right at home, you're with friends now." Not just layers of pastry and filling, pie is comforting and approachable, yet entirely enticing. Can you picture Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks waxing over a piece of angel food cake? No way. His black coffee must come saddled with a slice of honest cherry pie.
Pie is the perfect fusion of art, craft, and kitchen, unlike anything else you can bake in your oven today. Or right now. That's correct; we feel that anyone should be able to bake a pie whenever the situation calls for it, no matter what their level of experience. Requiring little in the way of equipment, but a worthwhile investment of time, pies can easily become a way of life.
The kind of person that just makes pie, simply because that's what they do, is a station apart from the hurried, stressed-out masses reaching for instant sugar rushes and quick fixes. Learn how to make a pie and really take your time to enjoy doing it; it's as calming as a yoga class or a day at the beach.
Pie, in particular the crust, has gotten an undeserved reputation for being difficult to make or for the realm of expert bakers only. But like anything really worth having in life—the girl or boy of your dreams, a master's degree, playing in a band with your best friends—a modicum of commitment, dedication, and willingness to get stuff under your fingernails pays off big.
Paging though the book, it's apparent that our definition of "pie" is a generously proportioned net, scooping up unlikely items such as cheesecakes, cobblers, and even a pandowdy or a buckle. That's where the "vegan" in "pie in the sky" steps in. Compassionate desserts free of animal products are our trade, and we thought it only fair to include anything that goes beyond the definition of "cupcake" or "cookie" and typically requires baking in a pan of sorts. And because you, dear vegan baker, need cheesecakes, cream pies, dreamy whipped topping, and chocolate ganache-slicked tarts like the rest of the dessert-craving world.
Like a good sense of humor or a little black dress, pie making will never be passé. Isn't it time for a slice of pie right now?
With love,
Terry and Isa


YOU ARE PROBABLY already familiar with apple, peaches, or pecans, but perhaps you could use a little guidance when it comes to the mysteries of agar powder, tapioca, or turbinado sugar. Vegan pie baking diverges only slightly from regular pie baking, but take the time to skim through this chapter before shopping for ingredients to make sure your pantry is prepared for a frenzy of vegan pie.


COCONUT MILK: Canned coconut milk will open a whole new world of rich, creamy, decadent, dairy-free desserts. Stick to full-fat coconut milk, not lite, for the recipes in this book. It's a small price to pay for vegan desserts that truly taste like a little slice of heaven.
CASHEWS: The nutty basis of so many creamy desserts in this book, cashews transform into creamy magic with an overnight soak in water and a fast puree in a blender. Alas, just as love shouldn't be complicated, neither should cashews, but somehow they both manage to be!
Here is the thing: You don't want roasted or salted cashews here. Roasted cashews have an assertive toasty taste that you don't want to overpower the other ingredients. And, unfortunately the term "raw" can be confusing. Some grocery stores mark their cashews as "raw" but they actually just mean "unroasted." And then there are "high raw" cashews that cost $17 a pound. Yikes! So if you see reasonably priced cashews marked "raw," grab'em. But you can also use cashews simply marked "cashews." As long as the only ingredient is cashews and the package doesn't say "roasted" or "salted" or have any other adjective in front of it, you should be kosher. (Although it doesn't have to say "kosher" either.)
If you imagine yourself baking up scores of creamy pies and cheesecakes, run out right now and buy a great big bag of cashews. We promise you'll make good use of them in this book, even if it's just for making RAD WHIP (page 199) to smother fruit pies with.
½ cup whole raw cashews = 3.5 ounces
1 cup whole raw cashews = 7 ounces
SOY MILK, ALMOND MILK, AND OTHER NONDAIRY MILK FRIENDS: Almond, soy, hemp, oat, rice: It's all good when it comes to baking pies. Unlike most baking, with a few exceptions, the recipes in this book need only fairly small quantities of the stuff, so use what you like. We've gone ahead and made some suggestions in recipes, but ultimately follow your nondairy heart. Same goes for sweetened versus unsweetened milk as well.
TOFU: It wouldn't be a vegan cookbook without a little tofu talk, but breathe easy knowing that the only kind you need to know is silken tofu, the smooth and delicate tofu that makes luscious vegan cheesecakes, creams, and mousses a reality. If possible, look for fresh, water-packed tofu in the refrigerated section of your grocery, but if that's not possible, shelf-stable boxed Mori-Nu silken tofu is great, too.


ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR: All-purpose unbleached is just what the pie doctors ordered, but health nuts can substitute up to half the amount of flour in a recipe with white whole wheat flour with similar results. While we like whole wheat pastry flour for tender muffins and cookies, rolled pie dough needs the additional gluten that all-purpose flour provides. We use a few different flours in the book for fun, but APF is really all you need.
WE GET ASKED this all the time, and maybe you're wondering, too: How do you decide which thickener to use? The answer really depends on your personal preference. Tapioca gives pie fillings a nice thick gooeyness. But it can sometimes be too gooey and too thick, so we will often temper it with other starches. All-purpose flour is also an old-school way to thicken fruit pies; it lends a creamy texture to apple pie filling we adore. Overall, cornstarch does a great job and is always consistent, so we gravitate toward that one the most.
CORNSTARCH: Good-old cornstarch is a cheap and reliable thickener of puddings, creams, and a cornucopia of other pie fillings. Always have a big box of cornstarch on hand whenever baking anything! We use exclusively organic to avoid that pesky GMO corn. Obviously, it's a bit more pricey and hard to find, so why not order a bunch of it online? has good deals all the time.
TAPIOCA: Tapioca flour or tapioca powder (same thing) is an old-fashioned pie-filling thickener, but there's no need to bother with tapioca pearls when tapioca flour is so readily available these days. Tapioca is sometimes used interchangeably with cornstarch in recipes, but we feel it does have a different kind of cooked texture (thicker, gooier), so proceed with caution. When we use it we reserve it for the occasional berry pie, but try both and see which you like best for thickening fruit pies.
ARROWROOT: This is a starch that comes from the root of an herb. We don't specifically call for arrowroot in our recipes, but if you are in love with this thickener, you can use it in place of cornstarch.
AGAR POWDER (AKA AGAR-AGAR): Vegan gelatin! Because seaweed is better than
AGAR POWDER, also called agar-agar (like Duran Duran, it's one of those things that demands two names), is derived from a seaweed and is an absolutely essential ingredient for sophisticated vegan desserts. When boiled and melted into a liquid it has a powerful jelling ability, not unlike gelatin. But wait, it doesn't stop there! Agar powder not only is a substitute for gelatin, but also provides the same setting qualities that eggs and some dairy products do in traditional cooked custards and puddings, the basis for many creamy pie fillings.
If you've ever prepared a box of gelatin in your pre-vegan life, you can totally handle using powdered agar! Don't panic.
RULE ZERO ABOUT AGAR POWDER: WORK HOT AND WORK FAST! Agar will continue to amaze you in that unlike stupid gelatin, agar will set as it cools no matter what the outside temperature is. It can even set at room temperature! That's right; if you cooked a batch of vanilla custard with agar powder, get a call from your best friend gushing about her new food processor, talk with her for three hours and forget your custard on the stove, don't fear. Agar did all the work while you gabbed, and it will be as firm and bouncy as if you did remember to put it in the fridge. That's the good news. The bad news is that means you must, absolutely must, work quickly when cooking with agar. Immediately after boiling, blend (if the recipe calls for it) and pour agar into a crust right away while it's still hot! Agar-agar waits for no man.
NOT THE SAME: AGAR POWDER VERSUS AGAR FLAKES If only our mothers had told us to stay away from flakes. Agar flakes, that is. They technically may be the same as agar powder, but the powder cooks up smooth, melts fast, and is vastly consistent compared to its flaky cousin. As of this writing, unfortunately flakes are usually the only agar product most natural food stores carry and that sucks. Visit your local Asian grocery and seek out unsweetened packets of agar powder (make sure it's just agar without sugar or anything else added); the Thai brand Telephone is a favorite of ours and usually found for pennies. Buy plenty of it; when stored in a dry, cool place agar lasts nearly forever.
Agar is powerful stuff and a little bit goes a long way. In general, for creamy pie fillings that need just a little extra help holding together, we like to use a ratio of 1 teaspoon of powder (remember, never flakes!) to 2½ cups of filling.
cow skin (yuck). This book uses exclusively the powdered kind, and because everyone asks, no, you cannot grind agar flakes into a powder. We use it to set creamy desserts and toppings. Check out "All About Agar" for more info on this magical substance.


This is a dessert cookbook after all, and sweeteners you must use. In the sea of sweeteners on store shelves these days we still rely on just a handful for consistent and dependable pie baking.
PLAIN OLD SUGAR: Cheap, easy to use, neutral in flavor and very reliable in results, it's still hard to beat sugar when making desserts. Vegan police: Because some cane sugars are filtered through animal bones, and you can't really know the refining process, you can always use beet sugar instead, or you can use evaporated cane juice or Florida Crystals. Whole Foods has a brand that they mark "Vegan Sugar," which is fine for most things, but we prefer the white stuff for caramel.
TURBINADO SUGAR: That big crystal '90s natural darling of coffee shops is fantastic for sprinkling on top of cobblers or top crusts for an extra sweet sparkle and crunch. We still prefer to use sugar for sweetening the inside of pies, so while not a necessity, it's worth picking up a small bag of turbinado just for sprinkling.
MAPLE SYRUP: Sometimes only maple-y goodness will do! In its pure form, it tends to be expensive, so we pair it with only a few pies, like MAPLE-KISSED BLUEBERRY PIE (page 57), MAPLE PECAN PIE (page 157), and the best pumpkin pie you've ever had (page 155).


Pie crusts need fat the way a fish needs a bicycle. Wait—we mean, the way a fish needs water. Fat provides the flavor, tender crumb, and delightful flake you came here for, so don't be shy when working fat into that pie dough.
SHORTENING & MARGARINE: The quintessentially American pie crust ingredient. By now most any natural foods store is home to nonhydrogenated, high-quality margarine. As of this writing, vegan Earth Balance is the best-tasting nonhydrogenated margarine available; look for it in stick form for super-convenient crust making.
OILS: Canola and even extra-virgin olive oil are both great alternatives to solid fats and are easy pantry-ready items. Go to the Pie Crust section (page 36) for recipes featuring these fats.
UNREFINED COCONUT OIL: We use coconut oil in many of our pies because it's solid at room temperature and great for giving mousses and cheesecakes stability while adding excellent creamy texture.


FROZEN FRUIT: Since it can't always be summer, frozen fruit is the next best thing. Use only fruit that has been frozen loose and packed in bags. Definitely avoid frozen fruit that's processed with sugar or syrup and packed into unseemly blocks. For best results, avoid frozen fruit that is too old or has accumulated a lot of ice; it will ooze out too much water when thawed and baked. For pitch-perfect pies using frozen fruit, make sure to read our treatise "Two Frozen Berries Enter, One Cooked Berry Leaves: Tips for Using Frozen Fruit"on page 12.
WE UNDERSTAND THE SIREN SONG of frozen premade pie crusts: no rolling pin, no flour all over the kitchen (and the cat), no need to pinch dough edges into little shapes. If the ingredients are vegan and you need a pumpkin pie or crumb-topped fruit pie right now, it's hard to beat the convenience of a frozen crust. And, just in case you need it, we give you permission to use them!
You can also MacGyver a top crust with a frozen crust; this works best for chunky double-crust fruit pies like apple or peach (or purposely ragged-looking PANDOWDY, page 82). It's easy! Without removing the pan, flip the crust onto a sheet of waxed paper. Let thaw until the crust is soft and pliable, then lift up the pan to remove the crust; the crust may sink a little bit but don't worry about it, just gently press together any cracks.
To complete the pie, slide the crust on top of a filled bottom crust. Moisten your fingers and press out any cracks, slice a few vent holes on top, brush with soy milk, and sprinkle with sugar. This top crust may not win any beauty contest but sometimes you just gotta have pie and have it now, so bake immediately!
IT'S THE MIDDLE OF JANUARY and you need homemade blueberry pie. Now. Well lucky you, today's frozen fruit is a world away from the syrupy, sloppy frozen fruit of the past. Many supermarkets and most natural food stores can supply anyone with top quality frozen berries–blueberries, blackberries, cherries, mixed berries–that will whisk your winter pies into mid-July. However there are a few tips to keep in mind for optimal baking results.
These tips mostly concern frozen berries, due to to the fact they're basically little sacks of ice and will break down during baking considerably more than fresh berries (hence the title). Sliced frozen peaches are less fussy; see tips for handling frozen peaches on page 66 for BASIL PEACH PIE.
Use only loosely packed, unsweetened frozen berries sold in plastic bags. Never use berries frozen solid in sugar syrup.
Keep berries frozen until ready to use. When ready to bake, quickly combine berries with other filling ingredients, top as directed in the recipe, and bake immediately in a preheated oven.
Use a little more powdered thickener in the filling. Add an additional ¼ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon of cornstarch or tapioca flour per cup of frozen fruit. The more starch you add, the thicker the filling will be.
Bake as directed for fruit pies, at 425°F for 20 minutes first, then reducing heat to 350°F, but you'll likely need to bake an additional 10–15 minutes. If your results are still a little too watery, consider turning down the heat to 400°F for the first part and bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F.
Hold onto your martinis; vodka isn't just for drinking anymore. The latest trend in pie crust (did you know there were crust trends?) is substituting chilled vodka for some of the ice water in crusts, resulting in even more flakiness. The science behind it claims that unlike water, the alcohol prevents the formation of gluten—the protein found in wheat flour. The end result is a lighter, flakier texture. While we prefer to keep our pie crusts straight and narrow, you may try your hand at using vodka for your own boozy crust adventures and see which is best for you.
We recommend using an inexpensive vodka (you won't taste it in the baked dough, so save the good stuff for after hours) as a variation on the BUTTERY DOUBLE CRUST (page 37) or the SINGLE (AND LOVING IT!) PASTRY CRUST (page 42) (see recipes for detailed instructions). The resulting dough may be somewhat stickier, so be sure to give the dough an extra long chill in the refrigerator and try rolling it between sheets of plastic; a huge ziptop freezer bag is sturdier than plastic wrap and will prevent the need to work additional flour into the dough (which will develop the gluten even more and waste a perfectly good martini).
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR : Our favorite, oldfashioned way to keep crusts from developing a bad attitude, too much gluten and getting tough.
PURE VANILLA EXTRACT: Get a huge bottle that will last you a lifetime. Or at least a few months. Always use the real stuff, fancy glass bottle not mandatory but it is usually a sign of quality.
LEMONS: We prefer fresh lemon juice, right from the lemon. If you absolutely can't get any, then bottled pure lemon juice (not from concentrate) will work in recipes where lemon is not the main ingredient. So for the LITTLE LEMON MOUSSE PIES (page 103), go fresh, but a few tablespoons of bottled in a strawberry pie never hurt anyone.


Vegan whipped toppings have come a long way from pureed tofu (thankfully!) If you are not inclined to make your own, there are a few that we can recommend out in the market today.
SOYATOO SOY WHIP (BOXED): A soy-based whipping cream that fluffs up nicely and tastes smooth and creamy. The same brand offers a spray can whipped topping, but we recommend the box for the most consistent and stable results. Found in the dairy section of your local Whole Foods.
MIMICCREME HEALTHY TOP: An almond-and cashew-based cream that has a rich, luscious flavor and texture. This one is shelf stable and usually found in the baking aisle, but it's worth buying online if you can't find it, since you won't have to pay an exorbitant rate for an ice pack (


On Sale
Oct 25, 2011
Page Count
240 pages

Isa Chandra Moskowitz

About the Author

Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the bestselling author of the hit books Isa Does It, Veganomicon, Vegan With a Vengeance, and many other titles. In 2014, she opened her first restaurant, Modern Love, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Terry Hope Romero is the author of several bestselling and award-winning cookbooks. In 2011, she was named Favorite Cookbook Author by VegNews. She lives, cooks, and eats in Queens, NYC.

Learn more about this author

Terry Hope Romero

About the Author

Terry Hope Romero is the author of several bestselling and award-winning cookbooks. Named Favorite Cookbook Author by VegNews, Terry lives, cooks, and eats in Queens, NYC.

Learn more about this author