Thanksgiving provides a great opportunity to reflect on gratitude, especially for the seemingly little things in life. When it comes to healthy baking, I am constantly grateful for the pioneers who ventured before me, who revamped and tested staple recipes themselves so that I don’t waste my pricey ingredients on trial baking sessions. Yet I always approach the new recipes with slight trepidation that if I miss a step or don’t have the right ingredients, a recipe fail will still end up in my oven. So it is with great joy and gratitude that I submit a humble as pie Thanksgiving recipe that arises partly from another baker (pie crust), and partly from my own concoctions (pie filling).
A little background for the adventure, if anyone wants a story…. I tend to be a last-minute, when-the-mood-strikes type of baker, which means it doesn’t happen too often. If you read my last post on the effects of sugar on the body, you get an idea why I stopped baking. But then Fall comes around, and inevitably I buy a pumpkin or two, starting off as decoration in my yard before progressing to decoration on my pie plate. (If you’ve never baked a pumpkin or squash, I recommend giving it a try…it’s very easy, plus the seeds make a nice toasted snack as well!) And now that my son is old enough to think he is a professional chef, he also knows that pumpkins need to be made into pumpkin pies.
So of course I added an unplanned incentive to the potty training begging routine…after you go, you can help me make a pumpkin pie. (Let’s face it, food is an incentive at any age, right?)
But then I start to follow through on my incentive, and start checking cupboards and fridges…butter? Not much. Condensed milk? Nada. Sugar? Honey, liquid stevia and small amount of brown sugar…not really pie material.
Next step: Google.
Answer: Coconut Oil Pie Crust and Almond Milk Pumpkin Pie filling.
Despite the sugar shortage, we made it through the first trial run with an actual pie. However the next day we still had leftover pumpkin and pie crust dough. Plus I had already donated my test pie to a willing friend, so now I had no pie, and no pie plate. So we made an actual trip to the store to buy more sugar, although not “real sugar;” a mix of cane sugar, stevia and erythritol (sugar alcohol).
Although there is some disagreement out there, the general consensus seems to be in favor of sugar alcohols providing a safe and lower-calorie option to regular sugar (does not raise blood sugar or impede weight loss). So I decided to give this option a shot for my baking experiment.
And I’m happy to report that with my baking adventures, I produced a tasty pie treat for almost half the calories of a regular slice of pie! According to my recipe input on MyFitnessPal, this recipe should yield 180 calories per serving, and only 3.8g of sugar, compared to 323 cal for a slice of pie (not including whip cream!) and 25g of sugar!
So take a look around the house, you might have the ingredients on hand to serve a lower calorie, lower sugar, and much cuter version of the pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving.
Vegan Mini Pumpkin Pies
Pie Crust (as adapted from the Minimalist Baker
2 Cups Unbleached White Flour
2/3 Cup Organic, Virgin Coconut Oil, softened, not liquid
3-6T Ice Water
Pumpkin Pie Filling
3 Cups Fresh Pumpkin Puree (or 2- 15oz canned pumpkin)
1/2 C Truvia Sugar Cane Blend
2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1 C Unsweetened Almond Milk
Preheat Oven to 350 F.
*Pie Crust: In a large bowl, gradually scoop in coconut oil and mix either by hand or with fork into the flour until it resembles sand texture. Gradually add in water to bind dough together until it forms a ball. Transfer to floured surface to roll into a medium sized disc, then use a knife to cut the disc into 14 strips. Form each strip into a ball, and on a floured surface, roll each one into a small disc. Transfer the discs to a greased or non-stick muffin pan, patting dough into the pan to form muffin shells.
Filling: In another large bowl, mix the pumpkin and spices together first, then add the milk and whisk until smooth. Using a ladle, scoop filling into each pie shell. Bake for 45 min or until toothpick comes out clean from the pie filling. Let cool and Enjoy!
*The crust ingredients can also be used to make one regular 10 inch pie crust instead of mini pies.
Serving Size: 1 pie
Carbs: 21.8g Fat: 11.4g Protein: 2.7g Sugar: 3.8g
Cholesterol: 0g Sodium: 12.8g Potassium: 106.3g Dietary Fiber: 1.1g
Vitamin A: 39.9% Vitamin C: 3.9% Calcium: 4.2% Iron: 8.8%
Percent Daily Values Based on 2000 Calorie Diet.