Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free Pumpkin Pie

It's not invisible!

As a person with recently discovered food intolerances, I am lately on the look-out for recipes that are relatively easy-to-make, don't require too many ingredients that I wouldn't normally have on hand and/or are challenging to locate, and ... here's the big one ... taste like what they're supposed to taste like!

Thanksgiving is rough. There's butter and cream, eggs and flour everywhere! But it is not difficult to make holiday favorites without that stuff...if you're willing to experiment and trust :)

When I mentioned that I would be making a pumpkin pie without gluten, dairy AND eggs, there was a lot of incredulous joking. Well, guess what? I did it!

The Replacements

Makes one 9-inch pie

Pie Crust
  • one pkg. Gluten Free Pantry perfect pie crust mix...prepared as directed on the box with
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbs. sugar (optional...I exercise this option)
  • 2 tbs. ice cold water
  • 3 tsp. cider vinegar ... but use 
  • 1-1/4 cups Earth Balance natural buttery spread in place of butter and shortening (though technically it is shortening) and 
  • EnerG egg replacer in place of eggs (one tbs. powder and 4 tbs. warm water = 2 eggs)...I made this mixture separately and treated it as if it were eggs in terms of how I added it in.
The box of crust mix makes way more crust than you will need for one pie. I still haven't figured out how to divide it all reliably so I just make some more pies. When making pie crust you want to keep everything as cold as possible and work the dough as little as possible. This will help keep the crust light and flaky. Another tip...when they say to 'cut in shortening until pieces are the size of large peas' I like to use my hands and gently pinch the shortening hunks into the flour mixture. The idea is to get all the pieces of shortening coated with the flour. And it should end up looking something like this...

After you've added the wet ingredients and the directions say 'form into a ball,' it will look something like this...

If the dough starts getting too tacky (it's sticking to your hands and the bowl), put it in the fridge. As it warms up, the shortening melts and that is what makes it tacky and hard to work with.

Definitely chill the dough ball for an hour. The box recommends rolling the dough out between two sheets of plastic wrap. I've never had good success with that. I use baking parchment instead. I use a handful of white rice flour between the parchment and the dough ball, top and bottom. I use my hands to press the ball flat before I commence rolling. I try to roll as little as possible to achieve the proper thickness. A lot of action on the dough will melt the shortening and make it tacky and hard to work with AND will make your dough tougher and less flaky. The rolled out dough will be between 1/4-1/2 of an inch thick. 

My preferred method of getting the crust dough into the pie plate in one piece is to carefully peel off the top layer of parchment, place the pie plate upside down centered on the crust and then flip the whole thing over and peel off the remaining layer of parchment.

Remember:  if the whole thing comes out a mess, you can just roll it all up in a ball again and start over! No problem! There are 'do-overs' :)

Pumpkin filling
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (I use dark because my husband is not a fan of coconut at all)
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or you could use 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg or allspice)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs EnerG Egg Replacer
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1-15 oz. can of pumpkin 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I use unsweetened and full fat)

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Combine sugar, spices and salt in a small bowl.

Beat the egg substitute until frothy in a large bowl.

Combine pumpkin, sugar-and-spice mixture, and vanilla with the egg substitute. I used a handheld mixer set on medium until smooth.

Add in coconut milk and mix until smooth.

Pour into uncooked pie shell.

It will be fairly soupy.

Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for another 50-60 minutes...or until knife comes out clean. I have to say...this 'knife comes out clean' part...not so sure. I think the pie could have come out earlier...but I didn't want to risk needing to eat the pie with a spoon!

Cool for at least one hour. Best if refrigerated overnight.

A little on the dark side...but I think it's the dark brown sugar mostly.

The texture was perfect. The flavor was great...perhaps a little more 'molasses-y' due also to the dark brown sugar. But remember...I needed to make sure there was no coconut flavor. If you like coconut or don't mind it, golden brown sugar or even a golden brown and white sugar combo will work, too. The only thing I wish were different is I wish it were a little fluffier. It seemed to flatten out a good deal after baking and cooling.

Best thing about it?

It totally tasted and felt like REAL pumpkin pie :)

Addendum:  my family enjoyed their slices of pie with regular whipped cream. Whipped coconut milk can serve as a good substitute, and I had a scoop of vanilla Coconut Bliss ice cream beside my slice.