If you’ve been tasked with finding the very best gluten free pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving this year, then well done my foodie friend, because IMHO you just found it! Three years ago tomorrow, I fell in love with a man who would forever alter the way I cook … because Shnoo is allergic to gluten and dairy (though he can have butter, weird but thank god!). I however, can eat anything and everything and I do, as a professional Food Flirt. So, what happens when a foodie girl falls head over toes for a gluten-free guy BEFORE she discovers his allergies? Recipes like this Gluten Free Maple Pumpkin Pie happen.
Since I don’t have allergies, my taste buds have not been starved and deprived of “the real thing” and thus, when I taste a gluten-free cookie, I can tell right away if it measures up to a non-gluten free version. If it tastes like sandy, dry cardboard, you better believe it’s not getting anywhere near my Shoobie! No sir. While he is just thankful he can eat a cookie at all, I have made it my mission to make sure that whatever he eats, is something that I would actually eat and ENJOY as well.
WARNING: This Maple Pumpkin Pie recipe does NOT need “allergy disclaimers” prior to serving. Some people won’t even try it if you tell them it’s gluten free. So, just serve it up and only when they are heading back for seconds, like a herd of stampeding elephants high on tryptophan, need you mention, or gloat about the fact that this luscious pumpkin pie-tart, with a caramelized, burnt orange filling, a warm glance of holiday spices and a crispy, nutty, buttery crust, happens to be GLUTEN FREE!
When we were discovering Shnoo’s allergies, which we did together about nine months after we met, my culinary heart sunk lower and lower. First is was dairy. No more cheese (sob), no more cooking with milk (sniffle), no more sharing ICE CREAM (wail). Then it was gluten. He tested negative for celiac disease, but when he went 100% off gluten, his constant digestive issues substantially subsided. At first he would have bread now and then, but we quickly realized that for him to truly feel good, he could not have any gluten all all (hysterical crying). Next on the list—COFFEE. Kill me now. One of my favorite things in life is to explore little coffee shops and cozy up with a cafe au lait made with a thick layer of microfoam. It turns out that many people who have gluten allergies are also allergic to a protein found in coffee. FINALLY, and you will just die, WINE and most all other forms of spirits (insert uncontrollable sob session here). I know what you are thinking right now: WOW, this guy must be something really supercalafragalistic expi ala docious for a Food Flirt to deal with all of that. And, you’d be right. He is the extraordinary person that I always hoped I would find one day and no matter what, his health and the ways he feels living life daily is my paramount concern. The icing on his gluten-dairy-coffee-wine-free dessert has been drinking one kombucha a day. Since he’s started doing that, along with avoiding the above mentioned, about 99% of his digestive issues have disappeared. We like GT’s Synergy Kombucha, Guava and Mango.
Today, my heart is back in the kitchen and filled with more happiness than ever before. After I emerged from my mild-culinary depression, Shnoo’s allergies presented me with a great challenge and the opportunity to learn new recipes and new ways to feed my man and myself, without sacrificing one ounce of flavor or enduring one dry, cardboard anything. And it is for that, and so much more, that I am truly thankful this Thanksgiving.
MAGIC MAPLE PUMPKIN PIE
(Adapted from MarthaStewart.com and Cook’s Illustrated Cook Book)
*Buckwheat flour is optional. It adds a nutty flavor. You can just use 1 1/4 AP GF flour if you prefer.
- For Crust:
Prep 9-inch tart or pie pan with vegetable oil spray. In food processor, fitted with steel blade, pulse together GF AP flour, buckwheat flour, xanthan gum, sugar and salt—about 8 pulses. Scatter chilled butter pieces over flour mixture and pulse until mixture looks like course sand, about 14-16 pulses. Open lid of processor and use a spoon to spread flour into an even layer. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water around flour, re-attach top and process until large clumps start to form, about 8 seconds. Add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until large, loose clumps form and no powdery bits remain.
Transfer dough to clean, flat surface lightly dusted with GF AP flour. Quickly press dough into ball to combine, then flatten into disk about 1 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle rolling pin and dough with GF AP flour. Roll out dough into 10-inch circle. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9-inch tart or pie pan, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into pan by gently lifting edges with one hand while pressing dough into the corners with other hand. If using a tart pan, press dough into fluted sides. If some of the edges are too thin, thicken them by folding dough hanging over edge back onto itself. To cut off extra dough, run a rolling pin over top of tart pan, then continue to make sides evenly thick by using any excess dough to fill in where needed. Reserve any remaining dough for pumpkin cut-outs. Dock or prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, evenly to let steam release during blind baking. Wrap crust in plastic wrap and smooth out any bumps. Freeze for 30 minutes.
- For Pumpkin Cut-outs:
Pat extra dough into small disk and freeze for 5 minutes. Roll out extra dough into 1/4-inch thick disk. Use a pumpkin cookie cutter to cut out 2 pumpkins, then use remaining dough scraps to roll into thin, long ropes and twirl into “vines.” Use a spoon to draw lines in the pumpkin. Brush lightly with egg wash then sprinkle with coarse sugas. Freeze for 5 minutes, then on lined baking sheet, bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Set aside.
Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375ºF. Place frozen tart/pie shell on baking sheet. Spray extra-wide, heavy duty aluminum foil with vegetable oil spray and gently cover dough, pressing onto bottom and over edges. Fill in even layer with ceramic pie weights or dried beans. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until top edge just begins to color and bottom surface of dough no longer looks wet. Remove from oven, remove weights, then peel off foil VERY GENTLY to ensure the dough does come off with the foil. If it sticks, bake a few minutes longer. Once foil is removed, return baking sheet with crust to oven and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until light gold. Remove from oven and reduce oven heat to 350ºF. While crust blind bakes, make filling.
- For Filling:
In small bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, salt, and spices. Set aside. To food processor fitted with steel blade, add pumpkin, eggs, coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pulse until just combined. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula and add flour/spice mixture. Pulse 6-8 more times until combined, creamy and smooth. Pour filling into pre-baked crust, filling to just below the edge. Bake on rimmed baking sheet until slightly puffed and set and tooth pick inserted comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove tart/pie from oven. Place pumpkin cut-outs and vines on top in center while tart is hot. Cool completely on a wire rack and get ready to wow and impress with the gluten free best in pumpkin pies!