Once a year, I lower my nutritional 'bridge' and bake a traditional pumpkin pie - yes it has gluten, diary and sugar because sometimes, even I can agree that only the original will do. However, I have given gluten & dairy-free alternatives for those of you who prefer it this way.
It takes love and just a little patience to make this (5 sections) Thanksgiving treat but it truly is worth it. It happens to be my son's most requested dish (outside of Thanksgiving) and that's highly relevant since he's my most picky eater!
When you look at pumpkins, you already know from their vibrant color that they are full of beta carotene (aka vitamin A), helping to improve our eyesight and fight off free-radical damage.
Cooked pumpkin also contains a hefty amount of fiber to keep our waistlines trim, a great source of potassium for a happy heart and vitamin C for keeping away unwanted colds and flu.
Ingredients for the 4 Sections
Short Crust Pastry
1 ¼ cups of all purpose preferably unbleached, organic wheat flour OR organic Kamut flour (For gluten-free version: 3/4 cups of buckwheat flour and ½ cup of brown rice flour OR 1¼ cups of a gluten-free flour mix)
½ teaspoon of Celtic sea salt
½ cup/115g COLD unsalted butter. cut into 1/2" pieces (or approximately 1/2 cup olive oil)
¼ cup + 1 teaspoon of iced water (for the diary-free version, you may need more water)
1 tablespoon of coconut sugar
2/3 lbs of sugar or pie pumpkins (specifically Baby Pam, Baby Bear, Autumn Gold or New England pie - they contain less string, water and are more 'sugary')
3 large eggs
3 heaped cups of fresh pumpkin puree
½ cup of heavy whipping cream (double cream/35% fat) OR ½ cup organic rice milk mixed with one egg OR ½ cup of my Sweet Maple Cashew Cream
¾ cup coconut sugar OR ½ cup of coconut sugar plus 6 drops of liquid stevia
2 heaped teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 heaped teaspoons of freshly ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
¾ teaspoon of sea salt
Ginger Pecan Crumble
1/2 cup (50 grams) of pecans
1/2 cup (50 grams) of crushed gingersnap cookies
1 cup of whipping cream (35% fat) OR Sweet Maple Cashew Cream
1-2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup (medium or dark flavour)
Orange zest or cinnamon - optional
We're starting off with the pastry as it needs time to chill!
In a food processor, place flour, salt and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of cold water and use the pulse setting to mix only until the dough holds together when pinched, adding more cold water a little at a time until it holds
Turn the dough onto a work surface and roll into a ball. Flatten into a disk and then cover with unbleached parchment paper and then cover the parchment paper with plastic wrap as this prevents the BPA’s (carcinogenic toxins) in the plastic wrap from touching the pastry
Refrigerate the pastry for 20/30 minutes allowing the gluten to relax and the butter to chill down
Whilst the pastry is chilling out in the fridge, let's steam the pumpkins and make the filling! You are welcome to roast your pumpkin however I prefer steaming it as it keeps more nutrients intact, doesn’t take away from the finished taste and is so quick
Wash and scrub the exterior of the pumpkin(s) and cut into halves. Remove all the seeds and string (if any), then cut into quarters and place in a steamer basket
Steam for 15/20 mins or until the flesh is soft. Scoop out the flesh (leaving behind the skin) and place into a high-speed blender, pureeing until smooth
In a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs. Add the remaining pumpkin filling ingredients and stir to combine. Put to one side
Meanwhile, grease your pie dish thoroughly and set the oven temperature to 350F making sure you have an oven rack set on the bottom third of the oven for the pie to sit on
By now your pastry dough will be well chilled, so place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to cover your 9" pie dish to about a 13" circle
Keep lifting and quarter-turning the pastry to prevent it from sticking, making sure to roll from the centre to the outside. Once you have the right size, fold the dough carefully over your rolling pin and transfer to the centre of your greased pie dish. Unfold and press the pastry into the base of the pie dish and up the edges, tucking the overhanging pastry under itself
Press down the edges of the pastry with the tines of a fork to make a decorative border then refrigerate the shell pie whilst you make the easy Ginger Pecan Crumble
Ginger Pecan Crumble
Toast the pecans in 350F oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned; alternatively roast them in a dry pan until fragrant and lightly toasted
Place the pecans and gingersnaps in a food processor; pulse until you have a crumble texture
Take the pie shell out of the fridge and using your fingers, gently press the crumble into the base and up the sides of pie dish
Whip together the whipping cream and maple syrup until firm peaks are formed. For a dairy-free option, whip up a batch of my sweet maple cashew cream. If you want to experiment, try adding some orange zest or a dusting of cinnamon.
Increase the oven temperature to 375F.
Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the pie shell and place on a large baking pan to catch any spills and place in the bottom third of the oven - this helps bake the crust more effectively.
Bake the pie for 50/55 minutes or until the filling is set and the crust has a golden brown hue and the centre of the pie looks moist. (A knife inserted 1 inch in the side of the pie will come out almost clean if it is properly cooked.)
Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool whilst you step back and admire your glorious creation. Congratulations - a culinary star is born!