Sunday, October 17, 2010
It's Pumpkin Season!
Every October, my family waits in earnest for the first pumpkin pie of the season. I have become the pumpkin pie maker of the family, and that includes my extended family as well. Thanksgiving is at my parents' house every year and my contribution is always enough pumpkin pies to satisfy the 25 of us!
I think the biggest difference between my pumpkin pie and one made from the recipe on the Libby's can is the texture. Most pumpkin pies are thin with a highly concentrated pumpkin flavor. Mine is thicker, creamier, less pumpkin and more spice.
Now as pies go, pumpkin is one of the healthiest and lowest in calories. But you had to know that I would create an even healthier version, one with no processed sugar and a whole wheat crust. I made both versions recently when we had Tim's brother and his girlfriend over for dinner. The healthier pie was admittedly not as good as the original, but still very satisfying. Oh, and in case you are wondering, the healthy version is on the left. It comes out darker in color.
Pumpkin season doesn't have to begin and end with pies! Today, I made a batch of pumpkin muffins that started with a recipe I found online and with a few substitutions turned out to be both delicious and healthy. Try them- no one will ever know they aren't indulgent!
Enjoy pumpkin season! I know my family will. They are already asking for the pumpkin clove pancakes I make on Thanksgiving morning. If they weasel them out of me before then, I'll post that recipe too!
MARIA'S PUMPKIN PIE
1 lb. pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Pour into an unbaked pie shell. I use this one : http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Flaky-Food-Processor-Pie-Crust/Detail.aspx
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (I use a pie shield to prevent the crust from over-browning) and then reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for 30-40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
THE HEALTHY VERSION: Omit both sugars. Substitute 3/4 cup agave nectar. Increase the spices as the agave may overpower flavors. Use this whole wheat crust: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/952. You will need to bake this pie slower on a lower temperature because agave nectar will chrystalize at high temperatures. Start it at 375, then turn down to 325 until done.
PUMPKIN PECAN MUFFINS
1/2 cup dried berries
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup raw brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I used 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg and 1/16 tsp. cloves)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil (grapeseed, almond, hazlenut, canola are good choices)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper liners. Place the dried fruit in a cup, and add enough hot water to cover. Let stand for a few minutes to plump.
2.In a large bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center, and put in eggs, pumpkin, oil and agave nectar. Mix just until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Drain excess water from fruit, and stir in along with the nuts. Spoon into muffin cups so they are about 2/3 full.
3.Bake for 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan before removing from cups.