This gluten-free, vegan pumpkin pie forms its own crust as it bakes. Delicious and addictive–and low-fat and only 153 calories per serving!
Most of you who guessed yesterday’s mystery food were right: Pumpkin or Squash Pie is a good enough answer on this test. But, if I were the kind of teacher who demands exact answers (and I used to be), you would have had to have written “Impossible Fat-Free Gluten-Free Vegan Cushaw Pie” in order to get full credit.
Cushaw? What the heck is that? Well, do you remember these cute squashes?
I did a little research into cushaw squash and found that much of the pumpkin that we buy in cans is actually cushaw and its close relatives; it’s less stringy than pumpkin and makes better pies. So I feel like it’s okay to call this a pumpkin pie even though it originated from a crazy little crookneck squash called a cushaw.
So that’s the “cushaw” part of the name. What about the “impossible” part?
If you grew up with a mother who relied on Bisquick baking mix, as I did, you may remember their Impossible pies. What you did was mix Bisquick in with the pie ingredients, and as the pie baked, a sort of crust formed on the bottom and sides. I’m not too embarrassed to say that the first cheesecake I ever made was the Bisquick Impossible Cheesecake–and it was really good. Flash forward to the present when I’m looking to get rid of the most fattening part of the pie–the crust–and the idea of a vegan Impossible pumpkin pie hit me.
So I went straight to my favorite cookbook–Google–and started looking for info on Impossible pies. I no longer use Bisquick, so I wanted to see if people had made this work with flour, and I was happy to find that they had. In fact, Something in Season and Bob’s Red Mill both had gluten-free versions of the pie, so I knew it could be done without Bisquick.
What remained to be seen was whether or not it could be done without oil or dairy products. I did a whole lot of substituting, but I’m happy to report that the pie was a success: Though the inside is more like a custard than a regular pumpkin pie, a slight crust formed along the bottom and sides of the pan, so you can actually pick up a slice of this pie and eat it like a piece of pizza. But it’s dangerously addictive, as shown by the fact that my husband ate about 6 pieces of it yesterday!
- 1 1/2 cups soy milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp. Ener-G egg replacer*
- 1/4 cup water*
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups pureed or mashed cooked pumpkin (or cushaw or winter squash)**
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour (see note)***
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ginger powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. (I used a Pyrex pan, and it came out with no sticking.) A deep dish is recommended because this pie will rise a lot during cooking but will fall back down as it cools.
- Put the first five ingredients in the blender, and blend well. Add the pumpkin, and puree. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides a couple of times to make sure everything is thoroughly blended. Pour into a pie pan and bake for about 60 minutes. The top and edges should be brown, but the edges should not be over-done. (Since this is a custardy pie, using the standard toothpick or knife test does not work; it will remain somewhat moist in the center, but it shouldn’t be uncooked.)
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter. For best results, refrigerate until chilled before eating.
**The pie will come out best if the pumpkin is very dry, so after my pumpkin is mashed, I drain all the water off completely by putting it into a cheesecloth-lined colander and letting it drip over a bowl.
***I have made this pie with white rice flour and with whole wheat, and the rice flour pie was infinitely better than the ww, which was gluey. If you use another type of flour, do so at your own risk. Check the comments to see what has worked for other people.
When you serve this pie, don’t feel obligated to tell your family or guests that it’s crust-free, fat-free, gluten-free, or vegan, but if they do wonder what’s left after so much is left out, tell them “Flavor, pure, delicious flavor!”
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