Kabocha Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie is a holiday classic, but equally delicious any time of year. This version uses kabocha pumpkin, an heirloom variety of pumpkin, which has rich, creamy, deep-orange innards and dark green skin. In place of eggs, agar agar seaweed binds this blend together beautifully and with just the right level of firmness. While tofu is a common stand-in for condensed milk in many vegan pumpkin pies, this recipe uses cashews. It gives the pie a creamy, silky texture and body.
And what homemade pie would be complete without a homemade piecrust? This easy, flaky piecrust is big on flavor, not on fat. In place of butter, healthy oil gives the crust its flavorful flakes. Remember: With this recipe, less is more. So don’t overwork that dough! You don’t even need a rolling pin.
2 cups puréed cooked kabocha pumpkin*
1-1/2 cups filtered water
1-1/2 tablespoons agar agar
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons brown sugar, sucanat, or palm sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt
FLAKY PIE CRUST:
1 cup unbleached whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup spelt flour, or additional whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons organic granulated sweetener (organic evaporated cane juice, organic sugar or brown sugar, palm sugar or coconut sugar)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
8 tablespoons unscented coconut butter, organic vegetable shortening or vegetable oil, such as grape seed oil or safflower oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3-6 tablespoons cold filtered water
1. In a small saucepan, bring water and agar agar to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until agar agar has completely dissolved. Let cool briefly for safe handling.
2. Place cashews in a blender with water-agar mixture and blend until smooth.
3. Add all remaining ingredients, including puréed pumpkin, and blend until smooth.
4. Pour into prepared piecrust and place in the fridge to chill until well set, about an hour.
* Puréed cooked kabocha pumpkin
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Scrub the outside of the kabocha and cut in half.
3. Fill a casserole dish with ½-inch filtered water and place kabocha pumpkin halves facedown in the dish.
4. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender enough to easily be pierced with a fork. Let cool until comfortable to handle.
5. Scoop the seeds out and discard. Use a paring knife to cut away the skin. Cut into cubes, place in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and puréed.
FLAKY PIE CRUST:
1. Preheat the oven to 350?F.
2. Sift flours, granulated sweetener, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
3. Mix in coconut butter or vegetable oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and 3 tablespoons cold filtered water, first with a wooden spoon or paddle, then with your hands until the dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add another tablespoon or two of water, only as necessary. Do not overwork the dough or it will become tough from the gluten in the dough.
4. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. (The dough will keep fresh in the fridge for 2 days, or sealed in a bag or container and frozen for a month or two. If freezing, thaw in the fridge for a few hours before pressing or rolling.)
5. Press the dough evenly into a 10-inch pie plate. The edges may be pinched to form a decorative scallop. (This dough is easy enough to press into a pie plate with clean hands, rather than rolled with a rolling pin. But do what suits your fancy.)
6. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the crust about 8 times.
7. Bake the crust for 15 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
Let cool before cutting and serving.
Store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to 4 or 5 days.