The air is cool in the morning. And again in the evening. Last night I wore boots and a wool beret to hang out in the Sukkah. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. I love the changing of seasons, and as trite as it sounds, I wait for that cold intake of air all year. There is something about the weather turning cooler that signals to me a fresh start. I carefully (ok, not always so painstakingly) put away the summer wardrobe, break out the bags and boxes of sweaters, fleece, and warm blankets. I eat hot oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon every morning. Afternoon tea is a totally legitimate past time and not to be considered overkill (as some might think it in the summer).
It’s a strange time for me, but a good one, and necessary I think. In two weeks time I’ll be moving out of our apartment into another. A nice little place off a pedestrian path, with a garden with a tree. I’ll have another month after that to settle in, set up house, and then my life will change drastically once again. It feels incredible to go through all of our possessions, shedding old clothes and knick knacks and garbage that has been weighing us down since before we were married. And our little baby isn’t such a little baby anymore. He’s chatting, cruising, getting into trouble. Soon enough he’ll be walking. Things are always changing, evolving. But I can count on that cold intake of air to bring me back to a familiar place of renewal.
There is nothing revolutionary about this pie. I use fresh pumpkin, which is actually quite simple to prepare*, and it makes a world of difference. You could use a can of pure pumpkin puree and I won’t hold it against you. A smooth dairy-free custard is baked in a gluten-free cookie crust which holds up well as the days pass; no soggy bottoms here. Spicy, sweet, delightful.
*I realize I forgot to mention how one actually prepares fresh pumpkin. I like small-ish sugar pumpkins, as the larger ones tend to have a funky taste. Save those for your front stoop. Hack it up in the pieces, scraping out the stringy insides and seeds. Place in a large microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic. Microwave in 10 minute bursts until all pieces are soft and easily pierced with a fork. Scrape out the flesh into another large bowl and puree with a hand blender, or blend in a blender. If it seems to be excessively watery, you can strain it in a strainer lined with cheesecloth. I like to freeze half-cup amounts in small plastic bags, labeled, so I can take out a few when I need an Autumn pick-me-up. Voila! Easy as pie.
Pumpkin Pie in a Cookie Crust
Gluten free, dairy free, soy free
Makes 1 9 inch deep dish pie
Adapted from Epicurious
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Brown rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (If using the canned version, make sure it is unseasoned)
2 tablespoons honey
3 large eggs
1 cup almond milk (or any dairy free milk of your preference)
1 prepared Gluten Free Cookie Crust (Recipe below)
Preheat oven to 450 F. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients, blend until smooth. Pour into baked and cooled cookie crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 325 F and bake for another 40-60 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool on a wire rack completely. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the pie and refrigerate until serving (2-3 days max.). Serve cold or at room temperature.
Gluten Free Cookie Crust
Makes 1 9 inch deep dish crust
Adapted from Allrecipes
1 1/2 cups finely crushed gluten free tea biscuits (or any other simple butter cookie similar to a vanilla wafer)
1/4 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons margarine, melted (The comma placement means you first measure out 6 tbsp of cold margarine, then melt. If a recipes states “6 tbsp melted margarine” it means you measure AFTER melting. Not as common)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
Directions for Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). In a bowl combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, margarine and cinnamon; mix until well blended. Press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, until lightly brown. Cool.