Pumpkin Pie

The funny thing is, pumpkin pie was the one food I never ate growing up! I despised the smell and taste of that ubiquitous canned pumpkin puree Americans love so much. In fact, I still gag when I think about it. So, how did I manage to get myself back onto the pumpkin pie bandwagon? Simple, I lived in Northern Italy for a while and discovered what fresh pumpkins were all about. This plant-based version is quite rich and custardy…and tasty! Yield:  Makes one 20-cm pie (about 9-inches)

  • 1/2 recipe vegan pie dough
  • 250 grams pumpkin purée
  • 50 grams all-purpose flour
  • 30 grams tapioca flour
  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 90 grams light brown sugar
  • 20 grams maple syrup
  • 150 ml. soy milk
  • 125 ml. oat cream
  • Prepare your pie dough by lining the pie tin. Make sure to roll out the dough rather thin so that it cooks completely while the pie cooks. For best results, use an aluminum pie tin instead of glass as the heat will conduct better. Make sure to place the prepared pie tin in the freezer for at least 20 minutes to get the dough rested and cooled.
  • Preheat the oven to 210° C (without using a circulating fan).
  • Make the filling by placing your prepared pumpkin puree in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, tapioca, spices and brown sugar. Sift into a clean bowl. Combine the maple syrup, soy milk and oat cream with the pumpkin puree. Place the puree mixture in a high-speed blender like a vitamix. Process over moderate speed until mixed completely. Add the dry ingredients and process again until well mixed (but just until mixed as you don’t want to over blend the mixture).
  • Place the prepared pie mixture into the cold pie shell. Place on a baking tray and into the preheated oven. Bake for 12 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 160° C. Continue to bake for 15-20 minutes – or just until the custard is set. You want to avoid the pie from bulging, which is an indication you over baked the pie or the oven temperature is too high.
  • Cool completely (ideally overnight in the refrigerator) before slicing.

Jack’s Fresh Tip

Let’s begin with the pumpkin puree. I think it is important to use an Asian-style pumpkin for this recipe because the flesh is starchy and smooth. The flavor profile is usually like chestnuts, sweet potatoes and sometimes even potatoes. Traditional large pumpkins will work, but you may need more due to the higher content of water. The brown sugar plays a very important role in pumpkin pie. It not only adds the rich color to the pie, but also a slight acidity. I like to make my own brown sugar by mixing together 200 grams of caster sugar with 25 grams of real molasses, but this is not necessary for everyone making this pie. To test for doneness, shake the pie very gently.  If it is no longer liquid, it is done.  The center will still be slightly soft, but its own heat will continue to cook the pie after it is removed from the oven.  You can also insert a knife about 2-cm from the center.  If it comes out clean, the pie is done. Finally, add some interesting variations to this recipe by substituting all or part of the pumpkin purée with sweet potato purée.

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