For some reason I have never shared my recipe for pumpkin pie here with you. I seem to have more and more people in my life with food sensitivities for a zillion reasons, every day. Now that we’re on Thanksgiving week in the US, I think it’s time to share.
I realize that some folks find holiday special foods so appealing that they will cheat and eat them rather than choose health. Fortunately, I was diagnosed in the spring and knew I’d want pumpkin pie by November, so I started right away experimenting with how to make it in a totally new way. It took 6 full months to get something I liked.
I made a few pies at first (years ago) that were substandard in different ways. I made one batch I could not eat at all. I think I have it nailed well at this point.
I’ve been making these now for probably at least 6 years, and I think the filling is quite excellent. Folks who can eat other standard pies will eat this and not realize it’s “special.”
There are two things that may impact a food-sensitive person’s ability to make this. One is that I use soy milk (the unsweetened, unflavored one with ingredients only soy and water). If you can not use soy milk, try almond or oat milk.
I personally want to experiment next with powdered goat milk, reconstituted and subbed for the soy. I do well with that product in baking, and it’s a good protein boost. Cooked powdered milk does not have any residual “powdered” flavor at all. In fact, it’s in a lot of processed foods.
I’m having trouble with crust. For a long time I would buy spelt crust in the health food store’s freezer section. However, spelt is a relative of wheat. This means it is not gluten free, and since I am more and more wheat sensitive, I want to avoid it.
If you know a good crust recipe that works for you, by all means use it. Please!
I have only made two crusts ever… and the first was inedible and impossible to cut, even with a knife! Last night I made an ugly duckling one that tasted fine and had a good texture, but anything tried and true is surely better than my second experiment.
However, I will share with you my “Alpha Version” of the crust I used last night. It turned out flavorful and flaky but nearly impossible to roll or thin out in the pan properly. I’d rather share something with you than leave you crust-less.
(If your only issue is gluten, this crust recipe looks promising. With my allergies, it does not work… so I’ve not tested it.)
For the record, I’m including brand names of products. In allergy cooking, the brand name truly can impact the final product. Sub as you must, but understand that cooking times and texture may be affected.
LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie
No Egg, Wheat/Gluten, Dairy, Tree Nut, Potato, Yeast, or Corn
2 Unbaked Pie Crusts in 9″ pans
2 sm cans or 1 lg can (total 3-1/2c) Pumpkin (Libby’s has less water in it than generic, cooks faster) NOT Pie Mix
1-1/3 c Boiling Water
1/2 c Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal
2 c Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1-3/4 c Soy Milk (check ingredients, no sweeteners. I use Westsoy Organic Unsweetened)
If you can tolerate cow’s milk or goat milk, these should substitute well, or try Oat Milk or Almond. I have not tried these options but what I know about baking says they should work, with different baking times.)
(Use any or all of the following spices. I like all of them together, but leave out or use less as sensitivities/preferences require.)
1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Allspice
1/2 Tsp Ginger Powder
Preheat oven to 375F.
If you are making your own crusts, make them now (see my recipe below if you have no recipe of your own). If you purchased frozen crusts, pull them out and separate them before they melt together and don’t want to let go.
Boil water. Measure into medium-sized bowl/heatproof container. Slowly whisk in flaxseed meal (I use a wire whisk). Make sure it’s well mixed, cover and leave to thicken.
In large bowl, place pumpkin and spices. Add milk and blend thoroughly with whisk.
Return to flaxseed mixture. Add brown sugar and whip until thoroughly mixed. Add this mixture to the pumpkin mixture and carefully combine until blended completely.
Fill unbaked pie crusts with filling. Do not overfill, as the pumpkin mixture needs to boil in the oven. If there is left over filling, place in a greased ovenproof glass/pyrex pan and bake with pies.
Bake. Depending on the moisture content of your ingredients, it will take no less than 50 minutes and easily an hour or more. Watch the pies, and when the very center of the pie filling is boiling consistently, it is done. Do not be too eager, it’s better if you let the center truly cook through.
My pie pans are glass/pyrex. You may find your baking times will be different than mine if your pans are a different material.
If you take a clean wet butter knife and insert in the center of the pie, it should mostly come out clean. Not as clean as a standard pumpkin pie, though… just not with what looks like pudding attached to the knife.
LET THE PIE COOL. This pie will manage significantly better if you serve it cold. Refrigerating will make it cut perfectly. Barely warm works, too, but it really does need to “set up.”
Experimental 2nd-Try Gluten-Free Piecrust
This is imperfect crust to say the least, it’s the first one I made that really tastes good. It does not handle well, though, and was frustrating to get in the pan in a thin layer.
1 c Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat flour (buckwheat is not related to wheat and has no gluten)
1/2 c Bob’s Red Mill Teff Flour (If you can not find, try substituting Brown Rice Flour)
1/2 c butter (dairy product), or stick margarine (can substitute lard or shortening, but they are not healthy by any stretch)
Salt if you wish
Appx 4-6 Tbsp Very Cold Water (different flour brands will need different amounts
Mix flours and optional salt in large bowl. Place cold butter/margarine in bowl and mix in with pastry blender, wire whisk or cut in with two butter knives. Mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Try to keep the mixture as cold as possible, you do not want to melt the butter.
Sprinkle in about 3 Tbsp of water in and mix gently with a fork. Keep adding water until it feels like the dough will stick to itself but is not all the way to sticky.
Handle the dough as little as possible, keep hands cool as much as you can. Separate the dough into two portions, one for each 9″ pie crust (mine are glass/pyrex).
Here is where you play it by ear, my friends. Supposedly you can “press” the crust into the pan. I had a lot of trouble making this work.
One crust stuck to my warm hands and came apart, I patched it. The other I could not push down enough and it was very thick in the middle. Again, less handling is better so I was afraid to push it around too much. You want those little crumblets to sort of stack themselves on top of one another like Greek fillo (sp) dough, which makes it flaky.
I think if you used just a little more water than I did, perhaps you could roll it out between layers of parchment paper? It’s just a guess, but what I did was imperfect, as I did it.
In the end I had crust under the pie and on the sides but none for decorative edgings. It tasted great, though one was really thick in the center. I’m going to keep trying, but I wanted to post this pie recipe (the filling is time-tested) for those who feel deprived entering into this week’s holiday baking.
Final Notes For New Food-Sensitive Bakers
The Flax meal and flours may need to be purchased from a health food or healthy grocery such as Whole Foods. Worth it.
If you can not find ingredients locally and have time, you can order online from Bob’s Red Mill for the Teff and Flax meal. Their buckwheat flour is very different (coarser) than Arrowhead Mills, though, and not recommended for this crust.
If you can find Hodgson Mills Buckwheat it will probably sub for Arrowhead well, and some food co-ops have buckwheat flour that will work. You want it more powdery than sandy in texture, more like all-purpose flour to the touch.