My Mother’s birthday was on October 17th. She would always request to have pumpkin pie instead of cake for her birthday. Something that seems fully appropriate for any October birthday.
Every year my Dad would make my Mom a birthday pumpkin pie. A simple canned pumpkin affair, always made decadently good with a generous helping of whipped cream.
Because of this, I have always associated pumpkin pie with my Mom’s birthday, rather than with Thanksgiving. In fact, having pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving just feels out of place for me.
Since my Mother’s passing, I’ve continued the tradition of making pumpkin pies in October to honor her.
My version of pumpkin pie is a little fancier than the one my Dad would make, but is still true to it’s name.
I make my own pumpkin purée from whole sugar pumpkins, rather than using canned pumpkin. The advantage of this is that it comes with free pumpkin seeds which I use in this recipe. My mom always preferred pumpkin pie from canned pumpkin, but only because my Dad made it from whole pumpkin once and it wasn’t smooth enough to her taste. This problem is easily amended with the aid of a food processor, which my family lacked at the time.
Inspired by the 101 cookbook’s recipe, I use rich coconut milk rather than condensed milk. The salty, crumbly almond crust is a wonderful contrast to the smooth mousse-like pumpkin filling. A dollop of cool, vanilla bean-infused cream refreshes the palate and chunks of chocolate and chewy pumpkin seeds will grab your attention.
My recipe is gluten-free, and dare I say, borderline healthy, without tasting like it! Full of healthy plant fats and fiber, but still as decadent as ever!
I use all fresh ground spices in my recipe. It’s worth the extra effort if you have a spice grinder (read small coffee grinder), however you can use pre-ground spices and still get good results.
I know my Mom would have loved my version of pumpkin pie. In her absence, I’m happy to eat a second slice in her honor. Happy Birthday!
Coconut Milk Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Whipped Cream & Pumpkin Seed BrittleServes 12
- 2 cups almond meal
- 1 cup ground flax seed
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbs maple syrup
- 1 tbs water
- 2 cups pumpkin purée
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tbs arrowroot powder
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 pint whipping cream
- 1 whole vanilla bean
- powdered sugar to taste
- 3 oz dark chocolate
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbs sugar
For the Crust
For the Filling
For the Cream
For the Brittle
- If you wish to start with whole pumpkins rather than canned pumpkin purée, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut open two medium sugar pumpkins into quarters. Scoop out the seeds and pulp and set aside. Brush each quarter with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until the flesh is lightly browned and completely soft, about an hour. Once cool, remove from skin and purée in a food processor.
- To make the pie, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend together the almond meal, ground flax seed and corn meal. With the motor running, slowly add the salt and cinnamon followed by the maple syrup and water. Blend until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it in your hand.
- Press the crust mixture into a 9″ pie plate. Make sure the mixture is spread as evenly as possible and that it is not too thick in the corners.
- Prepare the filling. Whisk together the pumpkin, coconut milk, sugar, arrowroot, salt, spices and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs until the yolks and whites are completely emulsified. Whisk the eggs into the pumpkin mixture.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. The top will be set and there will still be the slightest bit of jiggle to the filling when shaken. Set on a cooling rack to let cool completely.
- If you used a whole pumpkin, sort the seeds out of the pulp in a large bowl of water. Strain and rinse the seeds. Toss with the olive oil and salt and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until the seeds are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
- Coarsely chop your dark chocolate and spread it out into a dense, 1/4″ thick rectangle on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds and the sugar. Bake at 300 degrees until the chocolate melts and starts to bubble slightly. It might get a little bit crusty around the edges. Remove from oven promptly to avoid burning the chocolate. Once cool to the touch, place the sheet pan in the refrigerator to harden.
- To make the whipped cream, place the cream in a double boiler. Split open a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cream and then throw the empty pod in as well. Heat the cream over medium heat until steamy, stirring frequently. Cook for five minutes then remove from heat and pour into a container. Cool completely in the refrigerator, or to accelerate the cooling, cool in an ice bath.
- Once completely cool, whip the cream on high with an electric mixer. Once it has thickened slightly, add a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar. Whip to just soft peaks and taste. Add more sugar and mix lightly if desired.
- Chop the chilled chocolate brittle into small chunks. Plate a slice of pie, top with a generous dollop of cream and sprinkle with a spoonful of the chocolate brittle.