Emma Hatcher for Symprove – DIY pumpkin pie
Having lived (albeit briefly) in Canada, I love autumn and everything that it brings. The changing colours of the leaves, the newly cold, crisp air and most importantly, the welcoming sight of pies in all shapes and sizes. Pumpkin pie isn’t really ‘done’ in the UK, but it should be! Perfect for a celebration, it’s the epitome of comfort food, full of warm, autumnal spices and a lot of veg.
I’ve called this a DIY pumpkin pie because there are so many elements that you can chop and change to suit you and your gut. When it comes to the pastry you can use plain flour and pumpkin seeds as I’ve done, for a slightly savoury twist, or plain flour, buckwheat flour and oats for a slightly nutty, biscuit-base-like version. Use coconut oil instead of butter, if you’d prefer, and use regular (good quality) cream, lactose-free cream or coconut milk in the filling. As for spices, I’ve listed what I like to use, but again, add more cardamom if you love the flavour, or try just using ginger for a gingerbread-vibe. Whatever you do, don’t skip the blind baking – just 20 minutes or so avoids that dreaded soggy bottom.
For the pastry:
1 medium egg
15ml milk of choice
150g plain gluten-free flour, OR 100g plain gluten-free flour and 50g buckwheat flour
Big pinch of salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
50g ground pumpkin seeds, almonds OR oats
100g unsalted butter, OR coconut oil, chilled
1 tbsp brown sugar (for sweet pastry, optional)
For the filling:
2 medium eggs
75g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
275g tin pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200ml cream, lactose-free cream, OR coconut milk
1. Start by making the pastry. Whisk the egg with the milk and put into the fridge to chill. Sift the flour, salt and xanthan gum into the bowl of a food processor, then add the ground pumpkin seeds and pulse to combine.
2. Chop the chilled butter into cubes and add to the flour/nut mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, rub the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers). Add the brown sugar and stir.
3. Tip the ingredients out into a large bowl and add the egg and milk mixture, distributing as evenly and quickly as possible with a cutlery knife until the pastry comes together. If it doesn’t, add a splash more milk, little by little. Use the flat of the knife to bring the dough together, then pull the pastry together with your hands and shape it into a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour, or ideally overnight.
4. When you’re ready to bake your pie, lightly dust a work surface with gluten-free flour and roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Line an 8inch round, roughly 1½inch deep tart tin, prick the pastry base with a fork and chill for 15 minutes.
5. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Line the pastry case with baking parchment, then fill with ceramic baking beans or uncooked rice. Place the pie tin on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment and beans or rice, return the tin to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more, or until the pastry is cooked through and feels sandy to the touch.
6. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes using electric beaters). Lightly beat in the sugar, spices, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract until combined. Gradually fold in the cream until you have a thick, creamy consistency – you may not need it all. Pour the filling into your cooked pastry.
7. Reduce your oven temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Place the pie on the middle shelf and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until the filling feels lightly firm but still has a tiny wobble. Overcooking will cause the pie to crack. Serve just warm and keep any leftovers in the fridge for up to two days.