Saturday, October 9, 2010

Guilt and Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving weekend is here once again. I love the preparation for the holidays, with all the baking and cooking and meal planning filling the week leading up to the big event, but when the day arrives I would honestly prefer to be anywhere but where the feast is taking place. I know it's selfish and odd for me to say that, but no matter how many years go by I can't escape the "awkward" feeling I get by having my own, totally different meal at the table. It doesn't really help matters on my end that I'm always juggling stove and oven space with everyone and everything else just to get something warm for dinner, or that if I'm going to someone else's home for the meal I wind up packing a duffel bag of my "safe" foods to take. Awkward. I feel badly too for the hosts of those get togethers too, who really do care about me and want to do whatever they can to make my holidays enjoyable, since I really do dread the travel and long evenings, and always wind up leaving the party at around 8 because I'm so exhausted!

Yeah, so I'm the "bad" relative these days... but every family needs one, right? At least I show up, and I never come empty handed - you can always count on something yummy walking in the door with me! Especially around the Fall and Winter holidays, where pies reign supreme. We always seem to have at least two of them on offer at Thanksgiving and Christmas, usually a pumpkin and an apple, to satisfy the masses. I think the apple pie thing started out of the fact that I actually hate pumpkin pie, but love my mom's apple pie that we would make by the dozen in the Fall and freeze. Ironically enough, I've become somewhat known for my own apple and pumpkin pies now, but I would always default to something baked by mom if given the chance (and if I was actually able to eat it).

The basis of this recipe is the same idea as the last apple butter pumpkin pie I made, but I made it deep-dish style this year, added maple syrup and tofu (!) to the custard and really bumped up the flavour and texture in the crust. Don't get oogied out by the tofu thing though - it replaces two of the eggs in a standard recipe, with the added benefits of no cholesterol, no flavour, and a naturally creamy texture that doesn't "whip" like eggs can, leading to cracks in things like cheesecakes and custard pies. I swear by it in any cheesecake I make now - it really makes a difference and nobody is ever the wiser! With the crust this time, I wanted to bring in another of my mom's favourite flavours (especially in pies) - pecans. So I ground some in my food processor until they were basically the same texture as ground almonds (wow, what a revelation... ;-) ) and tossed them in with a bit of spelt flour and cinnamon.

So what's on your dessert table over the Fall holidays? Apple pie? Pumpkin? Pecan? Or something totally different?

Perfectly Pumpkin - Apple Pie with a Spelt - Pecan Crust
Makes 1 deep dish 9" pie, 12 slices
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup ground pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
5.8 oz (3/4 cup) shortening
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
4 to 8 tbsp ice water
5 oz silken tofu
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups apple butter
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1 cup evaporated milk

  1. In a small dish, whisk together flaxseed and hot water. Set into the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile whisk together flours, pecan meal, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Cut in shortening until a coarse-meal texture forms.
  4. Stir in vinegar and flax mixture, then add only enough water so the mixture becomes a dough.
  5. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly (don't work it too much), then roll out into a large circle and fit into a 9" deep-dish pie pan. Place into the fridge while preparing the filling.
  6. Preheat oven to 425F and place the rack on the bottom rung of the oven.
  7. In a food processor, puree tofu, vanilla, apple butter, pumpkin, sugar, syrup, salt, spice, egg and evaporated milk until perfectly smooth.
  8. Spread into the crust and smooth the top.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes at 425F, then reduce oven to 350F and bake a further 45 minutes.
  10. Turn off the oven and let the pie sit inside for 1 hour, then remove and cool to room temperature before cutting (ideally, chill this overnight - the flavours really blend well!)
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 345.0
Total Fat: 16.9 g
Cholesterol: 23.8 mg
Sodium: 38.3 mg
Total Carbs: 44.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Protein: 6.6 g


  1. Gorgeous pie! So are you saying that you can't even eat a piece of it? You really ARE a great relative! And I know what you mean about having to lug your own food to events. . . I'm used to it now. ;)

  2. Hmm. I must say that, when we have someone over with a dietary difference, we just make whatever satisfies that individual and ... well, that's that. We all eat as if we had the difference, end of story.

    The pie looks yummy!


Thanks for the feedback!