Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gingered Pumpkin Pie

Last November, I went slightly non-traditional, with a sweet potato tart. This year, I'm craving good old-fashioned pumpkin pie - although I've added a streusel topping for a twist.

  • 1 (8-ounce) pie dough*
  • 10 gingersnap cookies (such as Mi-del)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1 and 1/2 cups evaporated non-dairy milk**
  • 4 Ener-G eggs
1. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle, and fit into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate.  Fold the edges under and flute; freeze for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the gingersnap cookies in a food processor with 2 tablespoons sugar and the flour; process until the cookies are ground.  Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the food processor; pulse until the mixture is crumbly; set aside.

3. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a bowl with the cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, pumpkin, evaporated milk, and Ener-G eggs.  Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes; this is a good time to make sure your filling is baking okay - the edges should be set by now, but the center will still be liquid.  Sprinkle with the cookie mixture and bake for an additional 20 minutes; the center should be set (although wobbly is okay, as it will continue to set as it cools).

Cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing.

*You can use a store-bought dough such as Wholly Wholesome, but for best results, I recommend making your own.  It adds only about 15 minutes hands-on time to the recipe. Try this homemade pie dough recipe, with Earth Balance butter and shortening.

**Evaporated milk is just what it sounds like - a certain volume of milk that has been evaporated off until condensed to half the original amount. Although a little time consuming, it is very easy to make non-dairy evaporated milk at home. I recommend soy or rice milk, rather than almond, coconut, or other plant-based milks for this particular task.  Start with 3 cups of milk, and cook over medium-low heat until reduced to 1 and 1/2 cups, stirring constantly. It will take about 1 and 1/2 hours.

Before you throw up your hands and abandon this recipe, I urge you to reconsider! Although not something I'd want to do every day, I love taking the time on occasion to evaporate milk. For whatever reason, I find the process extremely meditative. Put on your favorite music, have a book or magazine on hand in case you get bored, and stand and stir while the fall light fades outside the kitchen window. See, it sounds better already, doesn't it? Don't be tempted to turn up the heat on the burner; you'll scorch the milk. Patience is a virtue in this case, and you'll be rewarded when you bite into your homemade pumpkin pie.

Here's an image of the milk about two-thirds of the way done; you can see the line on the pan from the 3 cup mark, and here it's been evaporated down to about 2 cups.

I recommend gently pressing plastic wrap onto the surface of the milk as soon as you're finished; this way, you won't lose any more to evaporation while it cools, and you'll prevent a skin from forming on top.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 wedge), Calories 338 

Tasting Notes:
A fantastically creamy pumpkin filling, with the best double-dose of ginger - ground ginger in the filling, plus the crunch of gingersnap cookies on top. I may never make pumpkin pie without streusel again. My crust was nicely flaky on the bottom, although the tiniest bit too browned at the edges, but that quibble didn't stop me from gobbling up every last little bit of pie.


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