Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving. Despite having been here four years now, it still feels like practice Thanksgiving, to be honest – a chance to hone your craft before heading down south several weeks later for The Show. Canadian Thanksgiving is pretty much a standard 3-day weekend up here. Participation is elective and spotty at best – it’s kind of like how you wouldn’t know it was Columbus Day unless you saw ads for Columbus Day sales at your local RV dealer and were planning on getting away this weekend because you had a day off…but you’re not necessarily going to do anything Columbus-y. (Especially not if you live in Berkeley, where if you are doing anything that weekend, you are celebrating Indigenous People’s Day as opposed to paying homage to that bumbling foreign oppressor…but I digress.)
Americans take their Thanksgiving far more seriously – a half day on Wednesday followed by a full 4-day weekend and the total shutdown of all stores – except the few grocery stores that stay open until around 11am to accommodate panicked shoppers who forgot shallots or cranberries or some such thing. Then of course there’s the football and the frenetic preparations for the utter chaos that is Black Friday.
With the exception of football and Black Friday, my family is no different. We all make it for Thanksgiving, and the food is epic. We each have our areas of expertise. Mine happen to be pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. I have a pumpkin pie recipe that was handed down from my grandmother to my mother and eventually to me. It’s been tweaked and honed over the years – tricks to get that crust to flaky perfection, the slightest adjustments to get the filling to the perfect balance of creamy goodness and pumpkiny spice. Oh, yeah – and this is not that recipe. Sorry folks. That recipe will kill you.
I’m really taking a long time to get to the point. This is the part I always skip anyways when I’m looking for recipes online….blah blah blah, it’s fall and you wanted to make something homey…we get it, skip to the ingredients. So odds are you aren’t even reading this. If you are, the point is that my husband’s family does make a big deal out of Canadian Thanksgiving – thank goodness! – and I’ve got some dietary restrictions this year. Meh. Normally, I don’t ask other people to accommodate my diet – I just skip things, or I break the rules and feel gross later. It turns out, however, that my brother-in-law recently discovered that he is pretty much allergic to all things that you need to avoid on a fertility diet, which works out perfectly for me, since he very much is the sort to ask everybody to accommodate his diet. So this year, we had vegan mashed potatoes, and vegan, gluten free cornbread and stuffing, and I made this pie. I have to say, it was the first time I’ve ever finished a Thanksgiving dinner and not felt sluggish, overstuffed and yucky. It was fantastic!
I adapted the pie from this Vegan Sweet Potato Pie recipe on my Endo Diet Pinterest Board. Let me be clear: it’s not as good as the eggy, creamy, gluten-and-crisco-laden recipe that my family has handed down for generations – BUT – it was very good. I felt that my pumpkin pie needs were met and was not tempted to drift over to the regular pumpkin pie that my mother-in-law brought. Also, I remembered to take a picture this time – yay!
I have made this crust before with regular flour, and it was really tasty. This time, to make it gluten free, I used this, which I recently stumbled across in Costco and decided to give a whirl:
I found the crust slightly more brittle and slightly less flavorful using this, but people who had not experienced the previous crust said that they thought the gluten-free crust was good. So, perhaps better if you don’t know what you’re missing.
I’m just reposting the recipe here with all my modifications because it’s going to be easier than switching back and forth between two recipes:
For the crust
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup gluten free flour
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
For the filling
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 14-oz cans pumpkin
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 heaping teaspoon nutmeg
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the coconut whipped cream
2 cans full-fat coconut milk (chilled overnight)
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Add almonds and rolled oats to a food processor and grind to a powder. Make sure you don’t overblend — you may end up making a paste. Place flour in a medium-sized bowl and add almond and oat mixture. Mix well.
2. Add the coconut oil and mix with a fork until it is thoroughly incorporated into the flour mixture.
3. Stir in the maple syrup; mix just enough to blend well and form a dough that will hold together when pressed.
Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie pan and spread into an even thickness on the sides and bottom of the pan.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let the crust cool before filling.
5. While crust is baking, make the pie filling: in a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and cornstarch until combined. Add pumpkin, coconut milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt and whisk until blended. Pour mixture into pre-baked pie crust.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until edges are set and center slightly jiggles. Let cool on a wire rack at least 1 hour before serving.
7. While pie is baking, open the can of chilled coconut milk, turn upside down, and open. Pour out the liquid at the top; you’ll use the cream part, not the liquid.
8. Gently pour the coconut fat into a food processor and blend until whipped. Add vanilla and maple syrup and whip again until fully incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to serve with pie.
Bottom line: Easy recipe with no super obscure ingredients. Scratches the pumpkin pie itch without making you feel gross later.