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?
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.
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.