May 9, 2010

Got Pumpkin?

Winter coming along and pumpkins are everywhere! I've always LOVED them but now being RAW I wanted to think of a few differnt things to do with them. Mum has made pumpkin soup, roast pumpkin for her Friday night pizza's, and pumpkin risotto. I've grated it on my salads (SO good with flax oil and tumeric), but with more than we knew what to do with... AHA MOMENT! PUMPKIN PIE!!

I had always been intigued by the humble Pumpkin Pie; a very American-Halloween-thing in my opinion. But something still seemed strange about pumpkin in a pie! And for it to be SWEET? I just didn't get it. Until I tried it.

Whilst living in Italy I spent time with an American guy who religiously made his mothers pumpkin pie recipe every year at Halloween. And so Italy was where I had my first taste (of all places; but it was made by a true blue American). My first taste was immediatley followed by a second, a third, I finished the piece, went back for anoter, and no doubt had more slices the day after. OMG. This recipe is taken from an American one I had in my recipe book The Art of Raw Living Food (Doreen Virtue and Jenny Ross), with a few tweaks of my own.

For the base:
2 cups soaked almonds (or any nut - pecans would be delish)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup chopped medjool dates
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Throw the
almonds in a food processor and blend until a dogh ball forms.
Scoop it all out and dump it into your pie dish (MINIMUM 20cm diameter). I pre-oiled mine with coconut oil to ensure easy removal when slicing :)
Spread your 'dough' with the palm of your hand to fill the dish and work the mixture up the sides as well. Use your fingertips to help with this until you have an even looking pie base.

Now you can either dehydrate the base at 40C degrees for about 12 hours, or use your oven to do this (be sure the temperature is still at 40C to be raw), OR for a texture variation pop it into the freezer for an hour until it's a little more solid and ready to fill. This will give you a much softer, stickier, goo-ier base.

I chose the freezer option to see how it would work, and personally wasn't too big a fan. It was still delicious but make cutting and serving alot trickier.

Now for the filling...
4 cups of pumpkin (i pre-shredded mine so my food processor wouldn't hate me throwing big chunks in)
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp vanilla
4 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp ground chia seeds (the recipe uses psyllium husks which I didn't want to use and so I tried grinding chia seeds instead. They have no taste and these thickened the mixture as the psyllium would have done also)

Blend all ingredients (except the chia seeds) until smooth and creamy. Then add the chia and blend again til thick. (My blender isn't so great so I first used my food processor and then transferred the mix to my blender to get the last little lumps out making it EXTRA smooth.

Be sure to taste your mixture. MOST IMPORTANT! This is where I always make adjustments. You might want it sweeter or spicier, saltier. You might hate it and really need to change a few things! Taste every recipe you make!

Putting it all together...
Spoon your filling into your pie base and spread it all over evenly - or real messy and lumpy if you prefer ;) making sure you fill every little bit!
Pop your finished pie into the freezer and don't be tempted for at least 4 hours to let it set (I know, shocking, my apologies)

But then... when it's ready to be devoured, serve with fresh berries, or sprinkle with pepita seeds. I chose to serve mine with a caramel sauce and a vanilla sauce.

Caramel sauce - agave syrup mixed with small amounts of lucuma, maca, mesquite, different spices (sorry I didnt really measure)
Vanilla sauce - ground macadamia nuts blended with vanilla, a little agave, dash of salt and coconut water (again, nothing measured)

Now I'm off to ENJOY THE SUNSHINE and prepare my raw lasagna for Mothers Day dinner :) More on that next time...

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