Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Cream

This pie was so good!!!  I've never made a vegan pumpkin pie, and I pretty much refuse to resort to putting tofu or tofutti products in baked goods, so I was worried that it wouldn't hold up.  But the texture was really, really lovely.  It felt lighter than the pumpkin pies I remember (with egg? sweetened condensed milk? cream? in them), but there is a cup of coconut milk in it adding both richness and nuttiness.  The cornstarch and egg replacer did the job just fine; I'm not sure you need the egg replacer, but I thought, "better safe than sorry."  I keep meaning to buy arrowroot, but cornstarch is sooo much cheaper and it works just fine (unless you're using it in something clear).

Other than using egg replacer instead of eggs, the changes I made were very minimal.  I didn't need nearly as many hazelnuts as the recipe called for; so much so that I was able to use my extra toasted-and-ground nuts in place of almonds or pine nuts in the Stuffed Mushrooms.  Also, I thought that using a premade spice blend was not helpful or convenient here, so I basically halved the blend recipe and then put it into the pie recipe proper.  How often do you need pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice as opposed to cloves, or cinnamon, or ginger, on their own?

So the pie has just enough spices and not too much sugar, and though it holds together it's rather light and puddingy.  These textures and flavors go great with the basic whole wheat oil pie crust that I often use.  I pre-baked it this time, look (at right):

Finally, I topped the pie with coconut cream, the recipe for which follows.

Spice-Kissed Pumpkin Pie
(adapted from 101cookbooks)

1 c hazelnuts (divided) , toasted
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 TB freshly ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground allspice
1/4 tsp freshly ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground ginger (pre-ground)
1 tsp salt
1 TB cornstarch (or arrowroot)
1 1/2 c of roasted pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ener-g egg replacer "eggs"
1 c coconut milk

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
2. Puree the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor until they turn into a hazelnut paste, past the 'crumble' stage. To make the pumpkin pie filling, whisk together the brown sugar, spices, salt, and arrowroot/cornstarch. Stir in the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Now stir in the 'eggs' and coconut milk until just combined. Set aside.
3. Before filling the pie crust, crumble the hazelnut paste on top of the pie dough into the pie plate, quickly and gently press it into a thin layer across the bottom creating a layer of hazlenuts that will sit between the dough and the filling. Fill the pie crust with the filling and bake for about 50 minutes - the center of the pie should just barely jiggle when you move the pie - the edges should be set.
4. Let the pie cool a bit; this makes slicing less messy. Serve with whipped coconut cream and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts.  Makes one 9 or 10-inch pie.


Spice-Kissed Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Cream

What was to be "coconut whipped cream" ended up not so whipped.  This is my fault; I only had "light" coconut milk (for some reason, this is the only kind Trader Joe's sells), and I think the fat content wasn't high enough.  As instructed by, I refrigerated a can of coconut milk, and when I opened it, the fat and the coconut water had separated.  I scooped the creamiest part into a bowl with some powdered sugar and beat it with an electric hand mixer.  After a good ten minutes, it was thicker, but definitely not "whipped."  Did I give up too soon?  No matter.  This thick, creamy topping was really delicious.

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