Gluten free - dairy free - refined sugar free - additive free - vegetarian - grain free option available
I can already here you asking... Why is an Aussie blogger writing a pumpkin pie recipe? Settle in and let me tell you a little more about me. This one's going to be from the heart.
You may remember from my Kau Kau Bake Recipe that I grew up in Papua New Guinea. For six of those years I lived in a little town called Ukarumpa. It was basically a little American oasis in the middle of the Mountains of PNG! There were people from all over the world who congregated there and made it their home, but US Citizens were definitely the majority. My best friend was American. I learnt much of the American way of life from her and her family. I ate Pringles chips and Hershey's chocolate and Skittles lollies before it they had ever been heard of in Australia. I learnt how to roll my R's and elongate my vowel sounds (to this day I struggle to not break into my suedo-American accent when I run into an American). And we celebrated Thanksgiving.
Now, to be honest, I don't know much about the history of Thanksgiving- I know it has something to do with the early Pilgrims and Native American Indians helping them survive. And the celebration of the first plentiful harvest. And pumpkin and corn. (I apologise to my American readers for my simplification of the history!).
What I DO know is that giving thanks is life-changing. Focusing on being thankful for what I have instead of what I don't have is part of the key to a contented life.
And because of this, Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November has become an important part of my own family's annual celebrations. We make pumpkin pie and a big roast dinner. We talk about all the good things in our life and we write a letter to God saying thank you for all the things we can possibly think of that we're grateful for. It usually takes a long time.
My thankful list will always include that I got to grow up in such a rich cultural environment with such amazing people and experiences that money can't buy. And that I've had the privilege of visiting my best friend and her family in America a number of times now. Some of those trips have been timed to be there for Thanksgiving- to share in this special celebration with my 'second family'.
Here's the spread the last time we were there.....
If you've never tried Pumpkin Pie before, you simply MUST! It is a sweet, dessert-style pie and even my pumpkin-hating children love pumpkin pie!
For the pastry, you can use my Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry recipe. I use organic butter when I make this pastry, but if you're strictly dairy free, you can use Nuttelex or another dairy free spread (even though I don't really advocate using the stuff!). When I need to make a completely gluten AND dairy free pie crust, that does not need a 'lid', I use Jude Blereau's Almond Pastry recipe from her book 'Wholefoods'. This is the pasty in my pictures, and I will write it out here for you. The only change I've made to her recipe is that I use coconut oil where she calls for almond oil.
Scroll down to the 'variation' right at the end of this post for the grain-free option.
And now for the pumpkin filling. I had an old recipe given to me in handwritten form by a lady in PNG, that I've modified to make it dairy and refined sugar free....
Our pies turned out a little larger than a standard 'party pie' and smaller than a regular meat pie, as we used muffin tins to bake them in. You can make your pies any size you like, really.
As for the pastry, we used a store-bought, pre-made gluten free puff pastry that was pretty decent. If you want to make your own pastry, I have made many a lovely pie using this shortcrust pastry recipe (you will need to double it for this recipe).
“Tofu????” he exclaimed! “Just give it a go” I replied, and we left it at that. Once I'd whizzed it all up in the food processor he came by again, as he often does, just to 'check' how it's going (ie to see what there is to sample), and he had a lick of the mixture. Obviously surprised, he went back for more. My not-very-sweet-toothed husband has now had three helpings of the 'tofu pie' over the last two days, so I think I can safely say it was a success. It's also been a huge hit with my 7 year old who is a self-professed mousse-hater. Not bad, really!
The pie filling is a gorgeous stand-alone mousse and actually doesn't have to be served in a pie shell at all. We ate a heap of it fresh after being whizzed up, and it's just lovely. It solidifies in the fridge after a couple of hours and becomes too solid to really call a mousse, but if you wanted to make it ahead of time and serve it as a mousse, just take it out of the fridge for an hour or two before serving.
And, just to demonstrate that I don't always get my baking quite right, my attempt at making a large pie shell to put the filling in kind of failed. I made the the dough a little too moist, and rolled it out too thinly, and it ended up cracking to bits when I blind-baked it. Thankfully I also made some small tart shells that worked, so it wasn't a complete disaster. And remembering the old saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”...I found that the crumbling pie crust made a fantastic and fancy-looking 'soil' to crumble over the top of the mousse, and gave it a lovely crunchy texture-element. Hubby even said it looked like I planned it all along!As usual, I've modified the original recipe somewhat. It's an American book, so the quantities have changed a little in my conversions so that it uses more standard Australian quantities. I've also removed the refined sugar content and replaced it with a reduced amount of maple syrup.
While the shell is cooling, make the filling: