Q&A – Pumpkin Pie
I love pumpkin pie. But, I can’t tolerate dairy. Is there a way for me to have my pie and eat it, too?
Eating dairy- (or even gluten-) free doesn’t have to mean the end of all your favourite things. Substituting some ingredients for the ones you can’t have is totally possible, and in some cases, even preferable. I love pumpkin pie, too. It’s the perfect dessert to enjoy throughout autumn because it brings its own special spicy warmth to these chilly days and nights.
Try using thick (canned) coconut milk instead of whipping cream. The coconut flavour is so subtle, you won’t know it’s there at all. But, it does enhance the pumpkin’s natural sweetness. You won’t get a jelly-like firmness as you might were you using whipping cream. But, the texture will be pretty close. Check out the picture. It’s not runny at all.
I also decided to make the pie gluten-free. So, instead of a typical wheat flour crust, I bought gluten-free graham crackers. I crushed them up, stirred a few tablespoons of melted vegan butter into the crumbs, and pressed the damp crumbs into the shape of the pie dish. They gave the pie a wonderfully crunchy texture that tasted sweet and slightly spicy.
Dairy-free-Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie
Feel free to adjust the amount of spices to your taste. Add just enough coconut milk to achieve a thick consistency. If the pumpkin mixture ends up too runny, you’ll have to add more pumpkin purée and adjust the seasonings.
1 9-inch purchased pie crust, homemade pie crust, or follow the directions above.
2 cups pumpkin purée, fresh or canned
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tb dark maple syrup (or fancy molasses)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 to 1-1/3 cups coconut milk
Combine pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup (molasses), spices and salt. Blend together well in a food processor. Stir in eggs, then coconut milk. Pour into a chilled pie pastry.
Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350°F, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until filling puffs around the edges but has some jiggle in the middle. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator.
Of course, you can pair this pie with coffee or tea. But, I found that a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio really brought out the sweet spice.