Tag Archives: pumpkin

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

I celebrated Thanksgiving with Mark’s family this year. With only 6 of us at the table, it was a little more subdued than my family’s usual 20 person feast. Not that a small Thanksgiving is a bad thing. We watched a lot of football, played soccer with Reggie, Mark’s Family’s dog, and I went for a nice 5.5 mile run outside. Sadly, I had to work on Black Friday, but unlike everywhere else open, work was painfully slow.

This was also the first year I had a lactose-free meal… it was a little hard to accept that my 22nd Thanksgiving would not include butter, cheese or cream. What is Thanksgiving without those things?

It actually ended up being pretty dang good… I ate a ton of Brussels sprouts, cornbread stuffing made with veggie stock and acorn squash roasted in maple syrup. AND vegan pumpkin pie with gluten free crust! (Mark’s dad is gluten free).

The condensed milk was swapped with coconut milk and thickened with agar agar instead of eggs. Agar agar is basically ground up red algae and when heated and mixed with water it becomes a gelatinous substance. Oh the wonders of biology. I picked up some agar agar and the other necessary ingredients (vegetable shortening and tapioca flour) at the local coop, in bulk.

I also picked up King Arthur’s new gluten free multi-purpose flour… It was the best gluten free flour I’ve worked with and I was supporting local! As an added bonus, it doesn’t contain xanthan gum like some other gf flours… xanthan gum can cause upset stomachs in some people.

Source

The crust was kind of labor intensive, there are many crucial steps and some tips that I picked up from Simply Gluten Free.

  • make sure everything is cold… put ice in your water and put shortening in the freezer for 30 minutes before using it
  • use a food processor to incorporate the shortening.. it will make the crust flakier
  • skimp on the water… the dough should only stick together when pressed with your fingers
  • let the dough rest for 1/2 an hour before rolling… it lets the moisture distribute evenly
  • don’t try to roll the dough out…. extrude it by placing it between two floured sheets of wax paper.
  • use the highest quality ingredients you can afford… it really does make a difference, especially the flour

Since gluten-free baking is a tricky beast, I didn’t really stray from the original recipe. The dough had the consistency of shortbread cookie dough, and was pretty prone to cracking which can be frustrating to a perfectionist like me. I think next time I’d just buy a pre-made gluten free crust, but it was defiantly worth the experience. Plus, I wanted to use my festive little leaf cookie cutters before fall ends.

For the Crust,  from Simply Gluten Free

1/2 cup of organic vegetable shortening (I used spectrum brand)
2-4 tablespoons of water (I used 3)
1 1/4 cups of gluten free multi-purpose flour, such as King Arthur
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

Follow the tips and directions here, a lot of the steps are crucial so follow it closely… it’s also a long process. Don’t start it at 9 pm like I did.

For the Pie, from the Blender, a William Sonoma Blog

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of maple syrup (look for kosher label to ensure its vegan, if need be)
1 can of coconut milk (14oz)
2 tablespoons of tapioca flour (found in bulk section)
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
splash of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of water
2 teaspoon of agar agar powder, (not flakes or bars, found in bulk section)
 

Blend together the pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut milk, tapioca flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt and vanilla extract, in a large bowl and set aside.

In a sauce pot bring the 3/4 cup of water and agar agar to a boil, stirring constantly. Let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes then stir in the pumpkin mixture and return to a boil. Let thicken for 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring it constantly.

Pour the mixture into the prebaked pie shell. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours, until set and firm. Serve chilled or at room temp.

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Coconut Pumpkin Bars

Mark had a business trip this week, which meant I was on my own for 2 nights… I’ve never really lived alone, so the idea of being home alone at night still kinda creeps me out. But, I had to put on my big girl pants and be brave. After all, we are adults now, with full time jobs, and business trips, and bills, and all that real life stuff. It was weird to cook for just myself… one night I just ate roasted Brussels sprouts (with dried cranberries, a mustard glaze, and a balsamic reduction). Luckily, Mark’s next business trip isn’t until January.

Today, I rode my bike (15 miles round trip) to the farmers market with $13 in my pocket. I got quite the haul and I have big plans for dinner this coming week.

I confessed my pumpkin re-obsession last post and promised these coconut pumpkin bars… so here they are… they disappeared quickly, most were shoved secretly into our mouths, over the sink, when we though the other wasn’t looking.  Some were enjoyed on a plate with a cup of coffee. Luckily, each slice has only 128 calories and is vegan.

Coconut Pumpkin Bars

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spices

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 cup of shredded coconut

1 cup of pumpkin pure

3/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup of oil

1/3 cup of water

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 8×8 inch pan, and line it with parchment paper, for easy removal. In a small bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking soda and coconut. In a medium sized bowl, cream together pumpkin, sugar, vinegar, oil and water. Then add the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth it out. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely on the wire rack. Slice into 16 slices and enjoy with coffee or as a snack.

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Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Smoothie

My runs have been cold the past few morings, the leaves are starting to change, it is starting to smell like fall and I’ll take any excuse to bust out the pumpkin! I might have been obsessed last year, but I can feel that this year will bring it to a whole new level. I brought out the fall centerpiece for our table and the apple pie candle.

One case of Shipyard Pumpkinhead has already been consumed.

Coconut Pumpkin Bars have been made (more to come in the next post)

Pumpkin Pancakes have been eaten

And every morning for the past week and a half I have eaten a Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Smoothie

It packs 18 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber and 290 calories… keeping you full and satisfied until lunch.

On a side note, I started training for a new full time job last week at KeyBank. It was hard to leave Green Mountain Coffee, but after weighing the pros and cons, even though Key is not my ideal job, it makes more sense regarding job security, benefits and pay. And it’s only for a year… it’ll motivate me that much more to get into grad school next fall at UVM (fingers crossed). GRE study books: get ready to be dusted off and poured over.

Linking this back to pumpkin, this breakfast smoothie is supper great for those busy morning before work/school, you prepare it the night before, then in the morning give it a whirl in the food processor or blender with half a frozen banana and voila… breakfast is ready.

A little note on the protein powder…I like to use Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein. It has 15 g of protein and 8 grams of fiber in a 3 tablespoon serving and it only has 1 ingredient: ground hemp seeds. Hemp protein is an “easily digestible, high quality plant protein with branched-chain amino acids that are vital for good heath”, boasts the packaging. It is also contains magnesium, iron, zinc and 8 essential amino acids. I like the Hemp Protein 15g because it has a higher protein content and it is ideal for dissolving in smoothies. Let’s be honest, some protein powders are chalky and loaded with weird ingredients you can’t pronounce… not to mention most soy based protein powders are processed with hexane, which is a petroleum solvent similar to gasoline. (Nutiva is not). (I am not endorsing Nutiva, I just happen to really like it)

Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Smoothie

1/4 oats

1/4 cup pumpkin

2/3 cup kefir

2 teaspoons maple syrup

dash of cinnamon

dash of pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 tablespoons of hemp protein (or whatever you like)

1/2 a frozen banana

Combine all ingredients except for banana, and place in fridge overnight. In the morning, blend the mixture in a blender or food processor with the banana until smooth, about 30 seconds.

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Brunch with Friends

This past Sunday, I had my two friends, Sam and Tracy, over for brunch. Tracy and Sam lived across the hall from me our freshman year and I probably spent more time in their room than my own. With different majors, going abroad different semesters and living in completely different places, it is a little bit harder now than just running across the hall. So, I bribed them with home cooked food and we finally got to catch up on what is happening in each others lives. And of course I went overboard on the food.

Now that it’s starting to feel like fall, I’ve been on a pumpkin kick… I bought a giant can of pumpkin and was determined to make some yummy baked goods for brunch. Mark and I couldn’t decide on just one so I made Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze and Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate Chips. I also made scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes, red peppers and onions, and hash browns and fresh peaches… for 3 people.

Sam, Tracy and I ended up talking for hours and had a great time… hopefully another brunch is in our future…

Pumpkin Scones

makes about 14-16 scones

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

5 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes

scant 1 cup of canned pumpkin

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon of almond milk (or milk of your choosing)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix in cubed butter with a pastry blender or your fingers, until it resembles coarse sand or small pebbles. Then gently mix in the pumpkin until just combined… be careful not to over mix it. Split the dough in half, shape each half into a circle about 1 inch thick. and cut the circle like a pizza into 6 to 8 “slices”. Arrange the scones on a baking sheet that is line with parchment paper or a silpat (or you can just grease the pan). Repeat with the other half of the dough. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let the scones cool. Then in a small bowl mix together powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, slowly whisk in 1 teaspoon of milk. you might need more milk, you are looking for the glaze to drizzle slowly off the whisk when it is held up, but it shouldn’t be too runny or too gloppy. Drizzle the glaze over the scones and let the glaze harden.

Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate Chips

makes 1 9×13 pan, cut to desired size

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/2 package (6 ounces) white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil, making sure that the tin foil hangs over the edges a bit… this will make your life so much easier. Mix together flour, pie spice, baking soda and salt and set aside. Beat together sugar and butter with an electric mixer (we don’t have an electric mixer and man was it an arm workout). Then mix in the egg. Then mix in the pumpkin pure… it might look a little funny but you did not do anything wrong. Add batches of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until all of the dry ingredients have been mixed in. With a wooden spoon mix in the white chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the pan cool completely then use the tinfoil to lift the uncut bars out of the pan. Cut in desired shape/size and enjoy.

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