Every family has their own holiday traditions. Some traditions are very specific, others are broadly accepted and personalized by everyone. Pumpkin pie is one of the latter for sure. Everyone has a memory of pumpkin pie, right?
Nathaniel’s family, most of whom are in Tennessee, have this wonderful tradition of pies. His grandmother gave him pumpkin pie and home made crust recipes when he was in high school. It became the dish everyone asked him to bring for the holidays. His secret to heavily requested pumpkin pie: using fresh pumpkin. There was a 3-acre pumpkin patch on his family’s farm, so he started using fresh pumpkin. Not the canned stuff you buy at the grocery. But real, fresh pumpkin.
I think this is one of the reasons I married Nathaniel. His off-the-hook pumpkin pie. No joke! A million years ago, he walked into the college photo lab carrying a homemade pumpkin pie he baked himself. Schwing! And I mean seriously homemade ~ the crust was hand-rolled; the pumpkin was grown at home and baked to the perfect sweetness. Nathaniel’s pies are the real deal. Until you have a real homemade pie with non-canned pumpkin, you just haven’t lived a full life.
As I type this, Nathaniel is in the kitchen right now toiling over his annual batch of Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. In addition to the ones he makes for us, he now has to make several for my grandmother. She adores his pies. She starts asking for them in August, except she calls them “punkin.”
So for the first time ever, here is Nathaniel’s pumpkin pie recipe. It is not difficult, but it is time-consuming. And worth every second! Makes two pie fillings. Recipe is gluten-free and there are gluten-free pie crust recipes listed below.
Nathaniel’s Pumpkin Pie
4 cups fresh cooked pumpkin**(see notes below on cooking pumpkin)
8 tsp. Egg Replacer in 12 Tbs. warm water (we used Ener-G)
1 cup sugar (we use Florida Crystals)
1 pint vegan vanilla creamer (soy, almond, coconut)
2 Tbs. arrowroot starch
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 pre-baked vegan pie crusts (**suggestions below)
Mix egg replacer and warm water. Combine pumpkin, sugar and non-dairy creamer in a large bowl. Add all dry ingredients and mixed egg replacer. Mix together in a blender, with a mixer or by hand, and pour into pie crusts. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Turn oven to 350 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and chill before serving! It sets up best if you chill 8 hours or overnight.
The Dirty Hippie reminds me to tell you all that it’s also good with crushed & toasted almonds on top or the coconut whipped “cream.” Or to mix things up, add a handful of chocolate chips into the batter before baking. If you can’t find pumpkins to bake, you can also use butternut squash or sweet potatoes in the same ratios for this recipe.
**How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin: For two pies, you will need 3 sugar pumpkins or a large baking pumpkin, such as a cinderella or cheese pumpkin. Scoop out the innards of the pumpkin and slice flesh into palm size chunks. Place flesh side down in baking dish half full of water. Bake in the oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool, then peel off the skin or scrape out flesh with a spoon. You are ready to make pie or you can freeze the pumpkin and use it later! We use freezer bags with 4 cups each. Leftover cooked pumpkin is great in soups, curries and smoothies. Oh – and don’t forget to save and roast your pumpkin seeds! They’re a great source of protein, fiber, calcium and magnesium.
**Vegan Pie Crust: Baking a crust before the pie is called blind baking. You can use a pre-made crust from the grocery store for this recipe. (Be sure to check the ingredient list for lard.) You can also make a homemade crust. Here are links to some vegan pie crust recipes. Choose any one you like and be sure to blind bake it before you start the pies!