Pumpkin pie & creme brulee recipes

The orange kabocha squash has bright orange flesh and a wonderful natural sweetness

The orange kabocha squash has bright orange flesh and a wonderful natural sweetness. This one is from the Berkeley Organic Farmers Market.

Why write about pumpkin pie recipes in the spring?! According to the USDA, pumpkin growing seasons are “from April 1st – July 31st and August 1st – November 30th for California crops.” Pumpkin is a beneficial food, high in antioxidants.

I recently made a delicious pumpkin pie for my husband’s colleague Raph and would like to share that recipe and other recipes. I use organic Kabocha squash in dessert, tempura and soup recipes because of its natural sweetness, depth of flavor, and because it is a favorite among chefs. (The rich gourmet Kabocha star anise soup in the Artful Vegan cookbook is to die for.) In my experience, the Kabocha is superior to the common pie pumpkins seen in markets in the fall. The delicious low-fat pumpkin filling recipe is from top natural chef Nava Atlas and used as a basis for the recipes. Nobody has missed the dairy when high quality ingredients are used.

Easy Vegan Pumpkin or Squash Pie
by Nava Atlas
modified by RB

Makes one nine-inch pie, six servings

2 cups well-baked and mashed Kabocha pumpkin
(Orange is preferable, but green is ok too. See Notes)
3/4 cup silken tofu (about half of a 12.3-ounce aseptic package)
1/2 cup natural granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp. each ground nutmeg & ginger)
2 tsp Allspice
9-inch good quality graham cracker or whole grain pie crust
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Tips
Red Kuri squash, or  butternut (less flavorful) squash may also be used.
The best silken tofu is Korean style.
Use all organic ingredients. Freshly ground spices are preferred and liven up the pie.

Instructions

  1. Combine the pumpkin or squash pulp in a food processor with the remaining ingredients (except crust). Process until velvety smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into the crust.
  3. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the mixture is set and the crust is golden.
  4. Let the pie cool to room temperature.
  5. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges to serve.
  6. Optional: Serve warm with delicious Wholesoy vanilla yogurt ice cream on side

Notes
How to prepare the pumpkin: Halve the squash or pumpkin (you need a really good knife to do so!) and scoop out the seeds and fibers. To quick cook the pumpkin or squash, pressure cook on high for ten minutes.

Orange kabocha squash after it is cooked in the pressure cooker. This method of cooking pumpkin saves time and energy.

Orange kabocha squash after it is cooked in the pressure cooker. This method of cooking pumpkin saves time and energy.

Second cooking option: To bake, place the the halves cut side up in a foil-lined, shallow baking dish and cover tightly with more foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp and discard the skin. Use any leftover squash or pumpkin pulp for another purpose.

Pie Crust Made with Oil
by Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons milk, soy milk or water

Mix the flour and salt together in one bowl, the oil and the milk in another. Gently stir the liquids into the flour until the dough comes together. Shape the dough in a flat disk, then roll it out between two sheets of wax paper, 1/8 inch thick. Peel off the top sheet of paper, invert the dough into a pie pan, and carefully remove the second sheet. If any tears occur — and they probably will — simply press the dough back together.

RB Tips
Flour options:
a.  Use 1/2 cup whole wheat flour plus 1 cup white flour
b.  Use Arrowhead Mills organic gingerbread cookie mix instead of flour for an amazing cookie crust that goes well with pumpkin pie. (Usually sold in the fall, around the holidays. We ran out of flour for pie crust and used this on a whim — with tasty results.)
c.  Arrowhead Mills also makes a gluten-free all purpose baking mix.

Vegan Pumpkin Custards
Notes: Use the custard ingredients from the superior recipe above.  The following instructions are from Vegan Visitor.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Set a kettle of water to boil.
  3. RB Tip: Add soy milk to pumpkin filling from recipe above to make a more custard-like consistency.
  4. Pour the prepared custard mixture into six 3″ ramekins or similarly sized oven-safe serving cups, about 3/4 full.
  5. Place the cups on a baking dish with raised sides.
  6. Transfer the dish to the oven and pour the boiled water into the baking dish to surround the ramekins, in a bain marie, about 3/4 the way up.
  7. Bake for about 40 -45 minutes or until the centers are fairly firm and no longer jiggling.
  8. Cool before serving and top with soy whipped cream or alternative and a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.

Vegan Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
John’s dad and our nephews enjoyed torching their own custards during the holidays.

  1. Follow the instructions above for the custard, omitting the topping of the cream.
  2. Once the custard cups have completely cooled, evenly top about 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar per cup along with a light sprinkling of ground cardamom, if desired.
  3. Caramelize the sugar to a hard, golden, crackly crust with either a brûlée torch or under close watch, beneath the broiler.

Enjoy!

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