Hi there pumpkin pie!

A sugar pumpkin - perfect for pies! image from Cook's Thesaurus

I absolutely love pumpkin pie. There are thousands of pumpkin pie recipes on the web - but most are loaded with superfluous fat and sugar. Winter squash is a magical thing, and has its own lovely richness. Here are some tips on how to make a classic recipe healthier, without compromising flavour and texture of course!

For the filling:

Pumpkin: For variety, instead of pumpkin try using another delicious winter squash.

Dairy: If a recipe calls for cream, sweetened condensed milk, or condensed milk - try using: yogurt, milk (organic), soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, silken tofu, coconut milk, unsweetened mango (or peach or apricot) nectar/juice.

Sugar: Try using half or less! Winter squash is sweet, so 1/2 c (or less) is all you really need for a regular sized pie (9"). Not into refined sugar? Try using sucanat, maple syrup, honey , brown rice syrup, agave nectar, unsweetened juice concentrate (white grape, apple), a bit of stevia... or a combination.

Eggs: Use organic eggs if you can. Vegan? Egg allergy? No worries here! One of these egg substitutes should work.

Spice: The spice blend is flexible (in ratio and proportion). If you like it very spicy, use up to: 1 Tbsp cinnamon,  2 tsp ginger spice, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Half of this is "regular spicy", and a quarter is "a touch of spice". You can also chop up some crystallized ginger and sprinkle it on top.

Flavors: Some great ones are vanilla (1 tsp - 1 Tbsp), dark or spiced rum (1-4 Tbsp), Grand Marnier (1-4 Tbsp), molasses (1-4 Tbsp), orange or lemon zest (1-2 tsp).

For the crust:

If you really like a traditional pie crust, there may be no great "healthy" adjustments you can make. Using unbleached organic flour and organic butter does make it healthier - and if you really need to use lard, try to find organic lard and have it be only 1/3 of your fat. Some folks make great crusts using vegetable oil too.

If you're like me and can do without the crust - or are too busy to make one, make a "self-crusting" (can I say that?) pie. Basically, add about 1/2 c of flour (I usually use fine-ground whole spelt flour - a gluten-free flour mix will work too) to your filling, generously butter your pie plate and dust with flour or coat with finely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts). Pour in your filling and top with pecans, walnuts, or pepitas if you like, and bake like usual.

A search for "Pumpkin Pie" recipes returns the following:

Comments

pumkin pies with out milk or eggs

I have been looking around the net for days trying to find a pumkin recipe that has not eggs or milk in it..I ran out of these the other day..and i have to make these pies real fast. Help is there such a thing out there.

http://pattycake.ca/comment/reply/66#comment-form

Here's a nice sounding

Here's a nice sounding recipe: Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Good luck! 

Healthy Crust Alternative

A healthy and super tasty alternative to a flour-based crust is a nut or seed crust. You can grind up a combination of toasted or raw soaked nuts and seeds in a food processor, maybe with a few soaked dates or some pumpkin/winter squash puree to act as a binder and to add some sweetness. Then just pack it down into the bottom of the pie dish, pour the filling on top, and bake. You can add spices or shredded unsweetened coconut to the mix. Nuts and seeds that would work well are pumpkin seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds (ground up will act as a binder).

And for those of you who have a nut allergy, using a gltuen-free flour could work instead of regular wheat. I've never tried this idea, but I think you could cook some whole teff grain into a creamy polenta. When this teff polenta cools down it can be cut into pieces, and has a texture simialr to the logs of polenta you can slice. So I would assume you could use this teff polenta as a crust.

Thanks for the super tips

Thanks for the super tips Ezra!
The idea for teff polenta sound good as a nutritious corn-free polenta substitute...

pumpkin pie

Hi Patty ,

Thanks for the great pumpkin page! I've been searching for a replacement for condensed milk for some time because I'm LI.
In muffins and quick breads plain soy yogurt works just great. But in something as silky as a pie, I've always imagined that the soy yogurt/pie filling would curdle.
I personally am not fond of the consistency of tofu in a pie (though my husband thinks it's fine). Do you have any experience using soy yogurt in something like a pumpkin pie when condensed milk is called for?

By the way, your trip looked great just as this amazing site always does!
Thanks!
Elaine

You're welcome + thanks! I

You're welcome + thanks!
I don't have experience with soy yogurt in a pumpkin pie - but I think it would work well. I tried using silken tofu (a long time ago) and remember it being good. Please let us know what you end up using, and how it goes. :)