The Easiest Pumpkin Pie Ever

15 11 2011

It’s that time of year, pumpkin everywhere. I was at Sunterra Market in Calgary a few weeks ago and they had organic unsweetened pumpkin pie puree on sale. So of course, I stocked up. I have made pumpkin pie from scratch, and there is nothing like it. Well, having cans of pumpkin ready to go makes using this healthy ingredient (pumpkins are full of important vitamins) that much easier.

This pumpkin pie recipe comes from the same great gal who gave us Chia Seed Pudding, Kathy Patalsky from Healthy-Happy-Life blog. It is vegan and only has four ingredients, well five including the pie crust.

  • 1 can unsweetened Pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup (not Aunt J’s)
  • 1 1/4 cups soaked Cashews (plan ahead you need at least 8 hours)
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Spice

That’s my kind of recipe, especially when you are experimenting. There is nothing worse than trying a recipe with a bunch of ingredients and steps and it doesn’t turn out all that great. Blah. This pumpkin pie recipe delivers. I experimented with a rice flour pie crust because I am making this for a gathering of friends and one has celiac. I didn’t love the pie crust, but hey, it did the trick. I picked up the rice pie crust from Planet Organic and noticed they had whole wheat pie crusts as well, two in a pack, mmmm.

mmm, Pumpkin Pie filling

For the original recipe go here. My adjustments and notes:

  • I had more filling than the pie crust could hold – but the rice crust is a bit smaller. That didn’t matter, I ate it right out of the Vitamix!
  • I made my own pumpkin spice, see below. It gave me the opportunity to use the whole nutmeg I got in Mexico last year, fresh ginger and Mexican cinnamon.
  • Because the pie was a bit full, I had to bake it twice as long, 65 min. The crust was tough, but softened the next day. I will try not pre-baking it for 8 min next time. If I have a regular crust, I’ll try the pre-bake again.
  • We didn’t try it with coconut whip, but will next time. I looked up that whipping gadget she uses and it is TWICE as much on Amazon.ca than Amazon.com. Annoyed. Maybe The Bay will have it. I also so want a jar of vanilla bean specks, that’ll get me to the mall and Williams and Sonoma.

A very full pumpkin pie ready for the oven!

Pumpkin Spice:
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg (fresh ground is so much better)
  • 1/4 tsp ground Cloves (use a mortar and pestle to easily ground the cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated Ginger (invest in a fine grater for things like nutmeg and ginger)
TIP: I freeze my ginger whole, and grate as I need. Perfect way to always have it on hand. If you buy a fine hand grater, then it is a cinch to add in a zip.

Fresh Baked

Seriously, make this. It is guilt free, vegan, naturally sweetened and makes you happy.
Eat well, Be well,
Nat
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Recipe Share: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

12 09 2011

I finally did it, I made a pie :). Well, I cheated though. I was over at grandmas the other day and after a tour of the tomato garden, raspberries and talk of slugs eating the soska (sorrel) we started talking pie. She makes pie all year round by making and freezing pie shells, tops included. She’s made round pie top holders out of cardboard and covered with tin foil, smart lady. In the summer she just adds fresh fruit and in the winter adds frozen. She is a bit sugar savvy and doesn’t like to use a lot of sugar although in recent years she started using Splenda…whadda gonna do? Oh well. However, I notice she will always give you the full recipe (sugar and all) so you can adjust it yourself. She knows you need to know and understand the basics before experimenting, so she never filters a recipe before giving it to you.

I have said before I am not a pastry chef, but she felt that I should make a pie with all the wonderful rhubarb I have. She is not happy with her own and can be caught now and then snatching some from my garden…and doing a general inspection of my gardening skills in which she gives me a report the next time I see her (rave reviews the last time :)). So, to facilitate this pie making she sent me home with a frozen shell and top. A boost of confidence, she trusted me with a pie crust!

In a previous post, I told you about the recipe journal I got at my wedding shower, with recipes from all the ladies pasted inside. Well grandma shared Strawberry Rhubarb Pie of course. I love how my friend kept the pin in the paper. So with recipe in hand (and a few other pointers that were left out) I gave it a go on Sunday.

Honestly, I only had to call her once when the pie filling was bubbling over in a couple of spots which I placed little pieces of tin foil to catch the dribble. Here is the recipe and instructions in its entirety and my adjustments:

  • 3 cups chopped Rhubarb, 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 cup sliced Strawberries
  • 3 tbsp Tapioca flour (if using honey, up the tapioca to 4-5 tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar (I used 1/3 cup Honey instead)
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 9″ Pie Shell, with a top
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Egg for egg wash or water

Mix the fruit with the tapioca, sugar/honey, nutmeg and salt. Let sit for 20 min. Dust the bottom of the pie crust with the cornstarch. Add the fruit to the pie shell. Brush the edge of the pie shell with an egg wash or water, put the top on, press the edges together lightly with a fork and trim excess (some people do fancy edges, grandmas way is faster and easier). Cut 8-10 openings in the top and brush with egg wash or water. Bake at 375 F for 1 hour or until golden brown on top. Use pieces of tin foil to catch any dripping fruit. Don’t put a pan or big piece of tin foil under the pie or you disrupt the heat.

Well, it turned out pretty good. I learned I need more tapioca with the honey and I could have used a bit more honey. I have green rhubarb so it is a bit more tart. T liked it and that’s all that mattered, ah. Now, to learn to make my own crusts….

What is your favorite fruit pie?

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Blueberry Peach Cobbler

10 08 2011

Cobbler Warm from the Oven

Oh boy, this is yummy. I follow a chef/writer Mark Bittman and he posted a recipe for a Blueberry Cobbler the other day. It asked for white flour and 1 cup of sugar, so I of course set out to modify it. I had fresh picked peaches and blueberries from Kelowna and I was ready to experiment. If you want the original recipe, follow the link above, but for the no white sugar version, here you go. I saw no reason on adding white sugar or all that butter to it. I used honey instead and thickened it with a bit of Kuzu, or Japanese Arrowroot.

  • 4 cups Blueberries
  • 4 cups sliced Peaches, skin on
  • 4-8 tbsp Honey (instead of 1 cup of sugar)
  • 1 tbsp Kuzu mixed in 1 tbsp water (or use the appropriate amount of cornstarch for a bit of thickening)
  • 4 tbsp cold Butter (instead of 8 tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup Spelt Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder (I use wheat & corn free, but double the amount)
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (get the good stuff, it’s worth it)
Pre-heat over to 375F. Mix the kuzu water blend with the fruit and 2-4 tbsp honey. If the fruit is in season, it doesn’t need sweetening, the sugar does make the juice thicker though, that’s why I used the kuzu. Use a bit of butter to grease a pie pan or a 8-inch square pan. Add the fruit mixture into the pan.

Warmed up over the Fire

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut the butter into small pieces, add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry knife cut the butter into the flour mixture as well as you can. Add 2-6 tbsp of honey, experiment with how sweet you like it, blend with pastry knife. If you have a food processor you can pulse the flour mixture, butter and honey together using it.

Add the egg and vanilla and mix into a thick batter using a fork. I made this twice and the second time I added a wee bit too much flour so I added a tbsp of water and mixed it in. This dough is not rocket science. Spoon the batter onto the fruit, I agree with Mark to not spread it out, but I gave it a little push around. Both attempts were good at 45-50 min in the middle rack, but check to make sure it doesn’t get to golden. I baked the first one in my brothers oven and it got a bit over done. Let cool and set for 10 minutes or so. At my brother’s house I warmed it up over the fire after dinner!

Cobbler served with Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

Serve with frozen vanilla yogurt like we did. Best compliment I got “Nat, this tastes clean, so good”. Just what I was going for, the fruit sang.
Eat well, Be well,
Nat




KFM: Saskatoon Berry Pie

29 12 2010

How was your Christmas? Your time off? Ate too much? Ate well at least? I did :). I always remind myself that our eating habits over a week of holidays is not as detrimental than the choices we make the rest of the year (right Donna Blande ;). If we do our best to choose wisely, not to over eat or over indulge during the holidays and continue our exercise, it all evens out. I think as a ‘health food junkie’ you are well aware of your own limits and what makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad. Having the discipline to continue this awareness over a period of time when the outings and dinners are plentiful takes practice, practice we do all year. I love this time of year when we can recharge, take the pressure off and stay close to the comforts of home, family and friends…when the New Year comes we get back in the saddle. Can you believe it is 2011 in just a few days?

So speaking of comforts, I have to encourage those of you in Calgary to check out the Kingsland Farmers Market. I know I have mentioned it before, but it moved into it’s permanent indoor location in December, and good timing since last week was the final day of the Calgary Farmers Market at Curry Baracks, a long time favourite of market shopping folk. KFM is bright, full of great vendors and still growing. I thought I’d use this blog to share a KFM favourite now and then. We first tried Little Purple Apple Saskatoon berry pie in the spring and loved it (so did Avenue Magazine recently). The owner promised a pie full of berries, almost a kilo, little sugar and thin flaky crust. Well he is right. I have tried the other pies at the market and they are good, but we think Little Purple Apple is the best. We share it will family and friends for dinner parties and Christmas Eve was no exception. It is so nice to find a pie that is full of whole fruit and not sugary filler. It is a treat and somewhat healthful, Saskatoon berries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants.

Although closed now till January 6, take a visit to the new KFM and if you’re up for a treat (and no time to bake one yourself), try out Little Purple Apple Sasktaoon berry pies…and the rest of the KFM community market.

Eat well, be well,

p.s. thanks for your comments lately…

Nat