29 November 2013

Vegan Viands #14: Bryanna's Brilliant Pumpkin Pie

We are in Minnesota with my family for this whole week - being teachers has its perks! Actually, the only reason Shana has the whole week off is because her school district is on a "balanced calendar," which leads to earlier starts and later ends, but a great schedule of breaks throughout the year. This trip to Minnesota has been great so far. We've not wandered too far from home, as my mother's health isn't all that hot, but it's been great to be low-key and have family time. With that said, we have done some fun things, such as seeing a show at Chanhassen Dinner Theater and cutting down a Christmas tree.

Yesterday (Thanksgiving) we spent a low-key morning and started cooking in the afternoon. My parents are omnivores (but my mom eats very little), but since Shana and my sister are vegetarians and I'm vegan, most of what we ate was a veganized version of traditional dinners. The dinner menu was marinated/broiled tofu for "the girls," turkey for my parents, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, gravy, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Everything was going well until we realized the oven wasn't working. Seriously. The oven stopped working on Thanksgiving. After a couple of moments spent staring at each other, my dad and I realized the broiler still worked. We just moved the oven racks down low in the oven and stirred/rotated food more often. Since I'd planned on broiling the tofu anyway, that part was perfectly fine.

Luckily for all involved, I'd made the pumpkin pie a day in advance (required for this recipe). Although I knew that Shana and I loved this pie, I was worried about my dad liking it, as he's the main pumpkin pie cooker in our house. He said it smelled good while it was baking and said that it looked good when it was cooked, but the real test is in the taste. After a bite, the verdict was in - delicious! Whew. I wish I could take credit for the recipe, but this is a very subtle adaptation from Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe. If you've not heard of Bryanna Clark Grogan, she's an amazing vegan cook who really helped to usher in the current vegan food movement. She's got numerous cookbooks, too. Absolutely check her out! But, enough small talk; on to the pie!

Bryanna's Brilliant Pumpkin Pie
This recipe is a very slight adaptation of Bryanna Clark Grogan's pumpkin pie, which can be found all over the interwebs.
1, 14-15 oz. can solid pack pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 c. plain soy creamer (see Helpful Hints)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
3 1/2 T. cornstarch
1 T. molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
scant 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ginger, salt (each)
1/8 tsp. cloves

Preheat oven to 350.
1. Pour all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.
2. Pour mixture into an unbaked 9" pie crust (see Helpful Hits)
3. Bake 60 minutes (cover edges of the crust with foil if they begin to get too brown).
4. Cool on a rack and then refrigerate overnight before serving, covered loosely with something like wax paper.
5. Top with a non-dairy whipped topping or whatever your heart fancies.

Helpful Hints
  • I use the non-dairy creamer because the original recipe calls for non-dairy milk but specifies that "richer is better." Some people think that non-dairy creamers have a strong taste, but this is a fairly spicy pie, so the other flavors cover it up.
  • It is possible to purchase a vegan pie crust at the store, but you have to look carefully (many contain lard). For this pie, I made my own oil crust. Oil crusts are SO easy, as you just mix them right in the pie pan and press them up the sides. Here's how: 
    • In the pie plate, mix together 1 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. sugar. In a measuring cup, whisk together 1/3 c. oil and 3-4 T. non-dairy milk. Pour over dry mixture, stir with a fork until well combined, then press into place. 
  • While cooking, your pumpkin pie will puff up a ton! Don't panic, it will go back down and have some lovely cracks in the top. 
  • I often find that after sitting in the fridge overnight, there are small beads of moisture on the top of my pie. I just gently blot them off with a paper towel (feel free to use a cloth towel, just know that it might get stained). 
  • For a whipped topping, I use a few different things. This time I used Soyatoo whipped topping, as it can be found a nearly any whole foods. I used to use Healthy Top by MimicCream, but the company is no longer selling products (they hope to return sometime). Finally, sometimes I make my own whipped topping. 
The post "Vegan Viands #14: Bryanna's Brilliant Pumpkin Pie" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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