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Twisted Pumpkin Pie or Pumpkin Pie with a Twist!

April 22, 2013

I like coconut yoghurt on my pie but you could enjoy whipped cream with it!

I like coconut yoghurt on my pie but you could enjoy whipped cream with it!

I know, I know, before you all shout me down, it’s not Thanksgiving or pumpkin pie season!! BUT it is Autumn in Australia and time for pumpkin growing!

If you are lucky and have your own pumpkin patch, pumpkins are prolific now. They are so easy to grow as they have both male and female flowers on the same plant and self fertilise easily. The name ‘pumpkin’ generally refers to the broader category called winter squash in America. Squash share the same botanical classifications as pumpkins so the names are frequently used interchangeably. Pumpkin stems are generally more rigid and prickly, than squash stems, which are generally softer and more rounded.

Pumpkins are very versatile in cooking. You can eat just about every part of the pumpkin: including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers.

Pumpkin puree ready

Pumpkin puree ready

When ripe, pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted. In its native North America, it is a very important, traditional part of the autumn harvest often being made into pie. In Australia, pumpkin pie is somewhat of a curiosity as most people regard the vegetable as a savoury ingredient – mainly to be baked as part of a roast meat dinner. Only in the last few years, have Aussies embraced the idea of a sweet pumpkin dessert.

But they are enjoyed worldwide in both a sweet and savoury context. In the Middle East, pumpkin is used to flavour a well-known sweet delicacy called halawa. A similar dish is made in India, but it is also used to make sambar in Udupi cuisine. In China, the leaves of the pumpkin plant are consumed as a cooked vegetable or in soups. In Japan, pumpkins are sliced and served as tempura. In Thailand, small pumpkins are steamed with coconut custard inside and served as a dessert. In Italy, it is mixed with cheese as a savoury stuffing for ravioli.

In Mexico, pumpkin flowers are a popular and widely used to garnish dishes. They may be stuffed with meat and battered then fried. Pumpkin leaves are a popular vegetable in Kenya where they are called seveve, and are an ingredient of mukimo, whereas the pumpkin itself is usually boiled or steamed.

I love to eat the roasted seeds, also known as pepitas. I often grind them down and use them to substitute almond flour if I don’t have enough. Per 30g serving, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc.

I am yet to try pumpkin seed oil which I have seen at the local deli. It is a thick, green-red oil that is produced from roasted pumpkin seeds. When used for cooking or as a salad dressing, pumpkin seed oil is generally mixed with other oils because of its strong flavour. Used in cooking in central and eastern Europe, it is considered a delicacy in traditional local cuisines such as for pumpkin soup, potato salad or even vanilla ice cream.

But back to pumpkin….pumpkin flesh is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins. This humble backyard low calorie vegetable contains vitamin A, flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as leutin, xanthin, and carotenes in abundance. So you won’t feel guilty eating this chocolate crusted, ginger flavoured pumpkin pie!!

Chocolate tart shell baked and ready for filling

Chocolate tart shell baked and ready for filling

180g almonds (or a mix of nuts)

100g dates
45g butter or coconut oil
30g tapioca flour or cornflour
20g cacao powder
1 teas honey or sweetener of choice
1 teas cinnamon
Blitz all ingredients in your TM on SP 8 for 20 seconds until it comes together. Press into a tart shell and bake in a moderate-low oven (160ºC) for 15 minutes.
30g glace ginger
370g cooked pureed pumpkin, cooled
70g honey
1 tablespoon gelatine (or agar agar powder)
100g orange juice or water
2 teas ground ginger
1/2 teas nutmeg
400g can coconut cream
1/4 teas salt
Sprinkle the gelatine on the juice and leave for 10 minutes to bloom. If you are using agar agar, melt it in the water and heat until boiling, then cool.
Chop the ginger on SP 6 for 10 seconds, scrape & repeat. You want it quite fine.
Add the rest of the ingredients, including the gelatine mix and blend on SP 7 for 30 seconds. Test for sweetness and add some more honey if you want.
Pour into the tart shell and refrigerate for at least 6 hours to set. Garnish with coconut yoghurt and toasted pepitas  or whipped cream if you are so inclined!!


If you want to keep this recipe raw, omit the tapioca flour in the tart shell ingredients and double the honey. Put into the freezer to set while you make the filling.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2013 4:21 pm

    Sarah, that looks delicious!! Another one for the make list!!! Thanks for a very informative post about pumpkins/squash too! In England, they call Butternut Pumpkin, “Squash”. Old habits die hard, as it’s still “pumpkin” to me. Squash are those little yellow veggies, about the size of a tomato … Hee hee

    • April 25, 2013 3:58 pm

      Hi Lesley,
      Yes, I agree, squash are those little yellow buttons that are very expensive and taste similar to zucchini! This is a good one, especially if you like ginger – it goes perfectly with the pumpkin. Its also not too heavy or sweet like the American version!!

  2. Carla permalink
    April 22, 2013 2:00 pm

    As I’m allergic to nuts, I’m looking for alternatives to almonds. You mentioned grinding pepitas. I was thinking a blend of pepitas & sunflower seeds (& maybe linseed?) might be nice. Any other suggestions?

    • April 25, 2013 4:00 pm

      Linseeds might be a bit to heavy & strong in flavour. I would stick to a sunflower & pepita mix. Can you have macadamias or coconut? Either would work too!

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