Healthy ‘Pumpkin’ Pie

Thanksgiving isn’t a celebrated holiday here in Sweden, but I was lucky enough to be invited to two dinners hosted by Canadians! Can you guess what I was tasked with bringing?

Did you guess a gluten and lactose free pumpkin pie?! YOU WIN!
As soon as I found this vegan pumpkin pie recipe, I knew it wouldn’t be too hard!

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However, pumpkin puree and frozen pie crusts don’t exist here, so I got to learn how to make it all from scratch! Fun fact, most of the canned pumpkin puree available in stores is either a pumpkin-squash mix, or is made using a type of pumpkin that is actually closer to a butternut squash. Anyone who loves butternut squash will understand that the flavour and creamy texture of the butternut are second to none. Finally, one of the biggest advantages of using butternut squash is that they are easier to bring home and available all year round!

So I have adapted the Minimalist Baker’s recipe to be easily made from scratch! Trust me, it is so easy that I’ve made pies 3 times since thanksgiving just for myself (yes it has been only 15 days). This recipe is very forgiving (I never measure). My adaptation also cuts way down on the sugar, helping me justify eating pie all the time. I’ve also started doing yoga.

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Crust:
6 tbsp cold vegan butter or margarine (non-vegan works also)
1 1/4 cups flour (try a mix with 1/3 to a half almond flour! It is delicious, and the extra bit of squish and oil helps bind, especially if using gluten free flour)

Filling:
1 Butternut Squash (at least 4 cups, mashed)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2-3/4 cup honey
1tsp corn starch
1 tbsp pumpkin spice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened)

Pre-heat oven to 350F (175C). Quarter your butternut squash, remove seeds, and rub all interior surfaces with olive oil. Put cut-side down in a baking dish with walls at least 1 inch high. Pour 1/2 an inch of water into the baking pan. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until squash is soft.

Turn off oven and remove squash, drain water, and let cool until warm (or one hour-long netflix show later). This is also a good time to make the crust. Simply mix cold butter with flour either using a fork or a pastry knife, then once it resembles crumby small lumps disperse about a cup into a pie pan. Use a sheet of plastic wrap the size of your pie pan to act as a barrier to your fingers as you press the dough mix evenly into the sides then bottom of the pan, forming a 1/4 inch thick crust. Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

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When squash is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and remove any stringy fibres. Mash squash flesh with a fork until mostly smooth (I actually like finding little chunks of squash in my pie. It feels very authentic.) If you are fancy feel free to blend or food process your squash for that “passable as store bought” texture. But we’re too hip to nod to consumerism here.

At this point you can either continue making pie, or put the mashed squash in the fridge to continue later.scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world-continue

 

When you’re ready to move on, combine mashed squash with all filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix until homogeneous. Pour into your pie crust and smooth out evenly. Do not overfill your pie past the height of your crust. You may find that you’re fortunate to have too much filling for just one pie! If this is the case, take 10 minutes and make more dough and prepare another oven-safe container. If you are making your first pie for others, this second pie will be the secret pie you get to eat immediately out of the oven.

Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until sides of pumpkin are starting to darken in brown colour and visible crust is starting to turn golden brown.

 

DOUBLE or TRIPLE CRUST! Love crust as much as I do? Try sprinkling extra crumb dough mix on top, or even baking your filling in two steps in order to bake in a middle crumb layer, as I did with this pie: (The middle layer was a bit too moist, so make sure you add the middle crumbs during the first half of the cooking process until slightly golden brown, then add the second layer of pumpkin.)

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