Posts Tagged ‘pie’

Pumpkin Pie

A few weeks ago, when Dan’s parents were visiting, they wanted to spend their last evening on Maui watching the sunset from the summit of Haleakala. We decided to take “the quick way” up the mountain, forgoing the main road for a back road that we had stumbled upon a while back. Even though we had only driven this road down the mountain, we figured how different could it be on the way up? Surely you can see where this is leading to … us, on a dead end country road after 25 minutes of reassurances that “of course we know where we’re going!” Think it’s impossible to get lost on an island? Think again. But don’t worry – the story of Dan’s parents wish to see a Haleakala sunset before heading back to Florida has a happy ending – we backtracked down the road and made our way up the well established route to the top in plenty of time to enjoy an amazing sunset.

On this road of misadventure we passed a trail head that looked promising and we took note of it. One week later – this past Saturday – we drove back up the mountain and found that trail head. The trail was up around 4,000 feet, which made for a brisk hike … through pine trees … with crackling, crunching leaves under foot … and it was downright autumnal. All I could think of during the hike was: I want hot apple cider! And pumpkin pie! And sweet potato casserole! And a big bowl of hearty stew! I had suddenly realized it is the middle of October and people in other locales are enjoying these very things.

On our way back down this back country road, we passed a house that had some homegrown pumpkins for sale out front. (These produce stands in front of people’s homes are a common – and welcome – sight in the islands.) Inspired by the hike, I bought up three of them (for $5) and had visions of pumpkin desserts dancing in my head. Once I got home with them, the question was which dessert to make.

But the answer seems, obvious, doesn’t it?


I had never made my own pumpkin puree before, and was happy to find the Pioneer Woman’s tutorial on roasting your own pumpkin.

Homemade pumpkin puree was a revelation.

Until now, pumpkin pie had never knocked my socks off. Growing up, I was always a cherry pie girl. At our family Thanksgivings, there always had to be a cherry pie on hand so that everyone could have pumpkin pie and I could enjoy my pie. Several years ago, just after I gave up dairy products, I attempted to make a pumpkin pie for a friend. What I ended up with was tasty but runny – lacking eggs or a substitute as a stabilizer, my pie didn’t stand a chance of holding itself together. This time around, I made sure to add my stabilizing agents (arrowroot and firm silken tofu) and – as promised – I eschewed refined sugars and flour and instesd used maple syrup as a sweetener and spelt flour mixed with ground nuts for the crust. The result? In a word : heavenly.

I now dream of pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie

½ cup walnuts
½ cup almonds
1 ½ cup spelt flour
3 tbsp agave
2 tbsp canola oil
Pinch of salt

Process the nuts in a food processer until finely ground. Add the spelt flour and pulse until well combined. Add the agave, canola oil, and salt and process until well incorporated. Press into a pie pan and set aside.

2 cups pumpkin puree
2 ½ tbsp arrowroot powder
½ cup soymilk
1/3 cup maple syrup
½ package of Mori Nu firm silken tofu
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Place all ingredients in a food processer and process until smooth.

1 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded
3 tbsp agave

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

To assemble and bake:
Pour filling into crust. Bake in an oven that has been pre-heated to 350F for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, spread the topping evenly over the pie and return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Allow pie to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.


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Small Tarts Have Big Hearts!

Sticking with foods that say “love” this week, I offer a dessert that may just be the perfect ending to that romantic dinner you have planned for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day: tartelettes. I love things in miniature and these are especially fun because they have a deliciously simple base that you can get really creative with.

For the filling I adapted an “old-fashioned vanilla filling” recipe found in the Williams-Sonoma Desserts cookbook. I’ve never made a custard before and was temporarily at a loss as to what could replace the eggs in the recipe without resulting in a thin and runny cruel imposter of a custard. I don’t usually use Ener-G Egg Replacer but I thought that with its potato starch and tapioca flour that it would be just what my custard called for. I wasn’t disappointed – the custard thickened up almost immediately and it turned out beautifully.

You may end up with more crust mixture and filling than you’ll need for the tartelettes – this is not a problem. Just roll up any extra crust into bite sized balls and enjoy them as an easy and energy-filled snack. Save the filling for when all for the tartelettes are gone and mix in whatever fruits you have on hand for a quick and easy dessert. Voila!

Fruit and Vanilla Cream Tarts

¼ cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 cups vanilla soymilk
2 Ener-G Egg Replacer “Eggs”
1 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups almonds
1 ½ cup walnuts
¼ cup coconut, chopped
3 medjool dates, pitted
1 tbsp agave nectar

Fruit for garnish

To make the filling:
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a heavy saucepan bring the soymilk to a simmer. Pour the dry ingredients into the soymilk as a thin stream, constantly whisking so as to avoid lumps. Whisk in the Ener-G “eggs”. Whisk constantly while cooking over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until it boils and thickens.

2. Reduce the heat and boil gently for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the Earth Balance until smooth, and then stir in the vanilla until well blended. Pour into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, gently pressing the wrap directly onto the surface so as to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for a few hours.

To make the crust:
1. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture begins to ball up. The mixture should stick together when pinched.

To assemble:
1. Press the crust mixture into your tartelette pans to create crusts of your desired thickness. Pour filling into each tartelette so that it reaches the rim of the crust. Garnish with fruit and enjoy at room temperature of refrigerate to enjoy cold.

I garnished these tarts with blackberries and papaya but they would be delicious with any berry or tropical fruit. They would also be great with a berry coulis and some fresh mint. Be creative!

I am throwing my tarts into the ring for the Valentine’s Day mini tart contest being hosted by The Mini Pie Revolution Headquarters. Technically, I think that these tarts may be a few bites bigger than what they had in mind, but since I wanted to do a no-bake crust using a mini muffin or a cupcake tin was out of the question – there would have been no way to get the tarts out of the pans without making a huge mess of the tarts. Instead, I used my tartelette pans with the removable bottoms to create these cute little guys. Check the MPRH blog on Valentine’s Day to see how my little tarts fared!


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Raw Papaya-Banana Pie

This is one of our all time favorite desserts, hands down. It’s raw, contains no refined sugar, and is just nuts and fruits. This is a pie that we have one night for dessert and then again the next morning for breakfast. Consider this one guilt free dessert whose secret identity is power food.

Raw Papaya-Banana Pie

1 ½ cups raw almonds
1 ½ cups raw walnuts
3 pitted medjool dates
1 tablespoon agave nectar

2 papayas (mangos also make an awesome filling)
2 bananas
1 ½ tbsp lime juice

1. Process nuts, dates, and agave in a food processor until well combined. The nut mixture should stick together when pinched. Dump mixture into a pie or a tart pan and press into place.  (I use a 9 1/2″ tart pan)

2. Process fruits and lime juice in food processor until smooth. Pour into prepared crust.

3. Freeze tart for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Slice and serve.

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