Tuesday, November 16, 2010

spice is nice

pumpkins are the most wonderful vegetables this time of year. sweet sugar pumpkins roasted in the oven lends character to nearly everything. i was just swooning over a menu item from 'Heartland' restaurant. it was lasagna with pumpkin, kale, wild mushrooms, and mornay sauce. we've been sneaking pumpkins into soups and salads here at the coop, and at home there is a beautiful specimen garnishing our dinner table waiting to be pureed and folded into a pie....
pumpkin pie. this pastry is best eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. after a few minutes of thinking about pumpkin pie, i had to immediately make one. i found an interesting recipe which has you making your own spice blend, and lightening up the filling with coconut milk instead of cream. paired with a ginger cookie crust, the end result was delicious!! here's the recipe:

ginger cookie crust: 2 cups well- crushed ginger snaps, 1/3 cup melted butter, and 2 tablespoons of honey. whirl all of the ingredients in a food processor, then press into the bottom of a spring form pan. (you could use a traditional pie crust, but i really dig ginger, and so i went with the ginger cookie crust)

2 cups pecans, toasted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbl pumpkin pie spice blend*
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl arrowroot
1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin puree*
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Puree 1 1/2 cups of the pecans in the food processor until they turn into a pecan paste. crumble the pecan paste on top of the ginger cookie crust, creating a layer of toasted pecans that will sit between the dough and he filling.

To make the pumpkin pie filling, whisk together the remaining ingredients, and pour on top of the pecan layer. Bake for about 45 minutes- the center of the pie should just barely jiggle when you move the pie- the edges should be set. allow pie to cool, which makes slicing mush easier (i chilled mine overnight in the cooler). serve it straight up, or with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of the remaining toasted pecans.

*the pumpkin spice blend- 1 tbl cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground allspice, scant 1/2 tsp ground cloves, and 1 1 /2 tsp ground ginger.

* the roasted pumpkin puree- 1 3# sugar pumpkin
preheat oven to 4oo degrees. cut the pumpkin into 4 big wedges, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt, and then bake on a baking sheet until tender throughout- about an hour. scoop the flesh out of the skins and puree with a hand blender of mash well by hand.