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What's in The Nut Gourmet
Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving must if you cherish the long-standing tradition that began in the early 1600's. Though many believe pumpkin pie was served at the first Thanksgiving in 1621 sometime between September 21 and November 9, that may not have been the case. While pumpkins were commonly harvested in autumn, the feast was actually limited to simpler fare that may have included Indian pudding made from pumpkin.
Here's a recipe that captures the spicy taste and aroma of a well-seasoned pumpkin pie but features butternut squash instead. The Pilgrims would have really appreciated this treat to top off their Thanksgiving meal.
UNTRADITIONAL PUMPKIN PIE
FOR THE VEGAN FEAST
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. (Gas Mark 4) Put the almonds into a non-stick skillet and toast over high heat for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Immediately transfer them to a dish to cool.
- When the almonds are cool, toss them into the food processor and process them to a fine meal.
- Transfer the meal to a bowl and add the pastry flour, salt, evaporated cane juice, and enough water to hold the mixture together.
- Spoon the crust mixture into a 10-inch (25 cm) pie pan and press with the fingers to form the crust along the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake at 350 F. (Gas Mark 4) for 12 minutes. Remove and cool. Leave the oven on to bake the pie.
- Put all the filling ingredients, except the cornstarch and water, into the food processor, and process thoroughly to a smooth consistency.
- Combine the cornstarch and water in a cup or small bowl and stir until smooth. Add to the processor and process until well incorporated.
- Spoon the filling into the baked crust, and use the back of the spoon to spread the filling to the edges.
- Put the pie in the middle of the oven and bake at 350 F. (Gas Mark 4) for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove and cool completely.
- Cover the pie with an inverted 10-inch (25 cm) pie pan, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 8 to 10.
To prepare the fresh squash for the pie, select a large butternut squash, about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. (1.5 kilos) and wash it. Cook it using one of two methods, either baking or steaming.
- Put the whole squash on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, shiny side down. Bake at 450 F. (Gas Mark 8) for 1 to 1 /4 hours or until tender when gently squeezed.
- Remove from the oven and cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the squash in half, discard the seeds, and scoop out the flesh.
- Mash the squash with a fork or puree it in the food processor. Measure the 2 cups (480 ml) needed for the pie, and reserve the excess for a dinner side dish.
- Slice the squash crosswise into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick slices, discard the seeds, and place the slices in a steamer pan with plenty of water underneath. Cover the steamer pan, and steam over high heat until the squash is fork tender, about 20 minutes.
- Peel off the skin, and mash the squash with a fork or puree it in the food processor. Measure the 2 cups (480 ml) needed for the pie, and reserve the excess for a side dish or a delicious butternut squash soup. If you don't have a steamer pan, use a large stockpot.
- Put about 1/2-inch (1 cm) of water in the bottom, arrange the slices of squash in the pot, cover, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low, and steam about 15 to 20 minutes, until squash is fork tender.
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