#Thankful

I’m sitting here on Thanksgiving afternoon with a glass of prosecco in hand (in a stemless wine glass because I have already packed away most of my drinkware in anticipation of the big move coming up).  As I text friends and family, and flip through Facebook and Instagram, I ask myself “what am I thankful for?”  The list is pretty long.  And, honestly, I don’t feel the need to itemize all the good stuff in my life for the world to read about.  Let’s just say I have so much to be thankful for, I sort of feel guilty about it.  I lead a pretty good life, and for that I’m immensely thankful – and especially for all the people that make my life so good.  img_1412

It’s 5:00 and we haven’t eaten yet – we didn’t travel this year, and we didn’t host any guests, so we decided to go have a nice meal out in the Buckhead area of Atlanta at Southern Art and Bourbon Bar.  They are serving a family style turkey dinner with a variety of sides, so we’ll be eating the traditional fare, just in a non-traditional setting.  Last year at this time, we were in NYC.  It was one of the best family trips, packed with experiences and good food.  We attended the Macy’s parade in the morning, then ventured out in the subway in search of authentic Chinese food for our Thanksgiving meal.  There was no way I was going to shell out $100 a head for each of us to eat an overpriced tourist Thanksgiving meal, when there are so many other fabulous things to eat in the big city.  We ended up at a little hole in the wall in Chinatown and had the BEST noodles and dumplings at a small communal table.  And for dessert, we walked over to Little Italy in search of a tasty cannoli instead of the traditional pumpkin pie.  It was glorious.

Don’t get me wrong – we do enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving meal with family and friends, but sometimes it’s fun to break tradition and do something new and different.  A few years ago, the four of us spent Thanksgiving at South City Kitchen and enjoyed an absolutely fabulous meal, followed by early Black Friday shopping late at night.  It was so much fun, that I didn’t know how to react when a relative remarked that she felt sorry for us, “having to eat at a restaurant on Thanksgiving.”  Huh?  We LOVED it.  We weren’t sad or disappointed.  Would it have been nice to share the holiday with family?  Of course it would, but when it’s just the four of us, it is no less of a celebration (especially when good food is involved!)

Knowing we wouldn’t have any turkey day leftovers, and because I love to bake, and because my hubs has a restrictive diet, I decided to go ahead and make a pumpkin pie.  Well actually, I made two:  one dairy-free gluten-free for Chip and one *fat-free for me.  My daughters took the opportunity to sample both.  My last post was also a pumpkin post:  gluten free dairy free pumpkin bread, but this time, it’s pie.  I actually managed to make a homemade GF crust that didn’t suck – it was still hard to handle, and crumbles fairly easily, but it does have a good flavor and is light and crispy.  I used my favorite Emile Henry fluted pie plate, and pressed the pie dough along the top edge to give it a nice wavy crust.  img_1410

For the *fat-free pie, I used Libby’s recipe for the light version which uses fat free evaporated milk and egg whites instead of whole eggs.  Since the fat free milk isn’t as thick, it does require a tablespoon of corn starch to help the center set.  Also, I subbed pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon and ginger that the recipe calls for.  The dairy free pumpkin pie uses canned coconut milk – not the light version, and not the drinking version, but the thick canned version you find in the Asian food aisle at the grocery store.  This helps give it a dense and creamy texture, and no – it doesn’t taste like coconut.  This recipe also uses brown sugar instead of granulated sugar so it is a little darker in appearance, but with a nice, sweet flavor.  I baked both in the oven at the same time, and they turned out done at the same time.  My fat free version was topped with Cool Whip, and the dairy free version was topped with So Delicious CocoWhip.

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*The “fat-free” refers to the filling – there is some fat in the pie crust, depending on what recipe you use.

Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Crust:
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour (plus extra for rolling)
Pinch of sea salt
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ cup room temp or chilled coconut oil (solid, not melted)
1 egg, beaten
1/3 to 2/3 cup water

Filling:

1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, real puree)
3 whole eggs, beaten
1 cup coconut milk (use the canned, full fat version found in the Asian food section)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Sift flour, salt, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.  Cut in the coconut oil with a fork or a pastry blender until the mix is crumbly or resembles small peas.  Using a fork, mix in the beaten egg until well incorporated and forming a dry crumbly dough.  Slowly add water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough is no longer crumbly and holds together – be careful, as you don’t want the dough to be too dry, but you don’t want it too sticky either.  Form the dough into two balls; place one in the fridge to use for another pie.  Place the other on a large piece of parchment paper, lightly sprinkle with some flour, and gently roll out the dough into a large circle.  Don’t make it too thin, or it will fall apart.  Gently slide the dough over a glass pie plate and pull back the parchment paper.  Press the dough into the pie plate and up the sides, forming a nice-looking crust.  Set aside and prepare the filling (no need to pre-bake the crust).

To make the filling, empty the pumpkin puree into a large mixing bowl, and whisk in the beaten eggs.  Once thoroughly mixed, add in the coconut milk, whisking until the mixture is smooth.  Add the vanilla, salt and pumpkin pie spice, whisk again, then pour into the pie crust.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for another 45-50 minutes.  To prevent the crust from getting too brown, gently cover the outer crust with a silicone pie crust protector or some aluminum foil.  Cool before serving, and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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