Jason and the Veganauts

and the Quest for the Vegan Golden Fleece

VVP: Pumpkin Ginger Pastry with Beet Surprise

vvp-beetWelcome Virtual Vegan Potluck 4.0 guests!

Wipe off your feet (please), throw your coats on the couch, and come warm up by the fire. Can you believe it is time for the Virtual Vegan Potluck 4.0 already? Me either. However, it must be time because here I am uploading pictures of a delicious dessert and wiping sugary pastry flakes out of my beard while simultaneously trying to summon the courage to share a dish I’d rather horde for myself.

In the previous three VVPs I shared recipes for Guac, Black Bean Salsa, and Breakfast for Dinner Burritos. With two appetizers and a main course in the books, Shannon and I decided to try our hand with a recipe here in the dessert section. In addition to showing off Shannon’s amazing culinary innovation I am looking forward to showing off how many times I spell dessert correctly.

This event has an added twist that I’m sure you’ve heard of by now: BEETS! It isn’t mandatory that our dishes contain beets but if we want to compete in the little side competition we must. This presented a special problem for me. On the one hand, I love a good competition. If there is a way to be involved in a game I want to play. On the other hand, beets are from Hell and unleashing their vile nature creates an edible abomination. Do you see the conundrum I faced?  To beet or not to beet… this was the question.

In the end, I let my inner Olympian win and went with a dish that included beets. Shannon tolerates beets in smoothies but otherwise shares my feelings about the root of evil. We had a lot of discussions about different ways to cook, serve, and eat beets but they always ended in tearful, consoling embraces. Eventually I came up with an idea that really seems to work. We can have our pastry and eat it too.

pastry1We present to you, dear potluck guests, Pumpkin Ginger Pastry with Beet Surprise! It is a fusion of good and evil that results in a flaky pastry worth the risk of beets. This easy recipe will make you seem like a kitchen magician who can march to the beet of your own drum. You can beet a path to your… wait… don’t leave yet, you haven’t even tried the pastry yet… I promise I’ll stop the nauseating beet puns. Just come back and have a seat. I’ll tell you about this dessert while I prepare your plate. What? OK, fine. Your “To Go Box.”

You will need 2-3 of the freshest whole beets you can find, a box of frozen fillo dough (be sure it is egg free), a 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree, 8 ounces of silken tofu, Earth Balance fake butter, fresh ginger root, brown sugar, and pumpkin spice. Some of the ingredients we used are canned or processed but you are more than welcome to substitute them with the natural, unprocessed versions. The fillo can be made by hand, the pumpkin can be freshly pureed, and the tofu can be humanely butchered right before preparation. However, you must not used canned or even wilted beets. They must be fresh.


In a blender or food processor you will mix the filling. Dump in the can of pumpkin, the half box of tofu, 1/2 tablespoon of pumpkin spice, and one tablespoon of freshly grated ginger root.


You will also be adding a 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the mixture. Shannon pro tip: blend brown sugar into a powdered brown sugar and save a few tablespoons to sprinkle on top later on in the preparation process.


Once you’ve blended all of the ingredients together scrape the paste into a bowl and spend a few minutes making jokes about what the pile in the bowl resembles.


Next you’ll take the fillo dough and use your favorite fold to create the pastry. Shannon is seen here executing the Fritelli fold, pioneered by the great pastry chef Bertini Fritelli. This may seem a little advanced but I’d hate for you to be discouraged. You can always use a more basic fold. This delicious dessert doesn’t require heroics to be successful.


Once you’ve decided on your pastry fold of choice and placed the squishy blobs on a cookie sheet, brush on a layer of melted Earth Balance butter substitute and then sprinkle powdered brown sugar on top. Finally shave a little ginger and shake a little bit of salt on top of them and shove it in the oven. The oven temperature should be set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the amount of filling and they type of pastry fold you select the time will vary. I suggest cooking for 20 minutes and then checking them. If they seem undercooked, pop them in for another 5 minutes.

Now we have reached the point when the beets play their part. Be sure the beets are washed and thoroughly dried. Inspect them for damage and trim away any sections that are less than perfect. Next you will perform a complex maneuver and an ancient incantation using the beets. The maneuver and incantation will take all of the good energy and benefits of the beet and transfer them into the Pumpkin Ginger Pastry without ruining the dessert with the horrible beet taste. This is such a complicated  process that I doubt I could describe it with mere words. Instead, I’ve created this very short tutorial video demonstrating the process. Please take 10 seconds and watch:

You may want to practice that a few times before trying it over your freshly baked pastries. You will find it gets easier with practice.  Now you can have the deliciousness of a fall flavored pastry infused with the goodness of beets but without any of the dirt tasting side effects.

Below you will find the buttons to take you forwards or backwards in the giant Virtual Vegan Potluck chain. There is even a button that will take you all the way to the jumping off point for the whole party. Just click one of the images below and continue your exploration of this gastronomical Choose-Your-Own-Adventure.

Thanks for visiting!




PS- My apologies to the beet lovers. I am so, so, sorry you like beets.

PSS- In case you aren’t familiar with my snarky sarcasm, I’m totally not serious about competing in the beet category. My hat is off to all the culinary magicians who can make beets delicious and all of the amazing VVP 4.0 participants. I eat beets. Sometimes.

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26 thoughts on “VVP: Pumpkin Ginger Pastry with Beet Surprise

  1. hahaha, root of evil… so funny! but not true.

  2. Haha, I guess you weren’t one of the potluck organizers involved in choosing the featured ingredient of this potluck?! Or it sounds like you would have vetoed beets for sure!

    Anyway, it seems like you were perfectly successful in not “ruining the dessert with the horrible beet taste” in spite of your competitive drive to enter into the beet competition without even liking them! So consider me impressed. (I also share an ambivalence of beets, though mine must not be as strong as yours, because I’ve actually cooked with them voluntarily TWICE before!)

    • Cooked with beets twice AND lived to tell the tale!?! I am impressed ; ) I jokingly give beets a hard time but I know they are good. I will acquire a taste for them eventually but it is going to be a very slow process. This year will be waving beets near my food- next year I will start to touch my food with beets before I eat it. It seems kind of fast to me but I’m willing to make the plunge. Happy VVP!!

      • Haha, with your willingness to add beets into your diet that quickly, you could practically be a role model for kids who are picky eaters! At least you still have faith you will acquire a taste for them eventually. I wonder if there is a gene for liking/hating beets like there is for cilantro…

  3. This sounds like a perfect bit of winter comfort food, and I’d want to make it just so that I can do the special bit at the end. Love the video.

  4. Pingback: Raw Pumpkin-Chai Tarts | Delicious Knowledge

  5. You set to words my feelings exactly about beets! I’m okay with them as a juice – along a whole lotta apple juice. I think you rose to the beet challenge quite handily, however.

    • Excellent VVP Ann! You really organized a heck of a shin-dig. I love how they live on beyond the event like interactive cookbooks. I can’t wait to see volume 5 turns out next May! You ROCK~

  6. Haha I’m another beet juicer but other than that I find them weird. In a dessert though surrounded by all those other delicious ingredients like pumpkin spice and ginger i reckon it would be quite enjoyable :) great job!

  7. I love how many people were able to use beets in dessert! This sounds delicious!

  8. Ha ha, that’s exactly why I didn’t use beets in my recipe, they’re an abomination to the root world! I think covering them up with sugar and butter is the only way to do it, nicely done :)

  9. I am not surprised ;) Wow even the beet haters pulled out a recipe that they themselves would like. After maneuvering my way through this entire vvp smorgasbord I am so ready for dessert like this.

  10. It took years for me to like beets – but now I love them! This looks really good!

  11. This is a fantastic recipe, oh my goodness, love it! Happy VVP!

  12. Oh, this was priceless!!! I laughed so hard. After slogging through so many beet recipes that sound questionable (taste-wise) and like way too much work, your solution was apropro! Don’t get me wrong, unlike you, I actually love beets. However, I am lazy and also happen to like the color of my fingers and clothing the way God and the manufacturers designed them! Thanks for the laugh.

  13. I’m sure one day you’ll find an amazing dish which will turn you into a raving beetroot lover! Did you find the dessert palatable even with the beetroot? I must say it sounds delicious to me!

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