Pumpkin Pie, Four Ways

September might seem like an odd time to feature a story about pumpkins, but as contributing writer Doug Oster points out, baking pumpkins are in season this month and can be used to make a broad range of delicious dishes. Of course, pumpkin pie is the most iconic, so here, we offer four takes on the quintessential fall dessert: One traditional, one vegan and gluten-free, one savory and one baked in a sheet pan with phyllo dough. Test them all out before your Thanksgiving feast!

Traditional Pumpkin Pie from Scratch:

One 6-inch pie pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 large eggs
1 can evaporated milk
Store-bought 9-inch pie crust or your favorite homemade pie crust

Wash the pie pumpkin, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and scrape out all stringy matter. Steam the pumpkin over boiling water in a vegetable steamer insert for 30 minutes until soft enough to scoop the flesh from the pumpkin skin. Scoop the cooked pumpkin flesh into a large glass bowl and puree either with a hand blender or in a regular blender. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix all spices, plus the eggs and evaporated milk, in with about 3 cups of the cooked pumpkin puree. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes; reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the pie to cool and serve.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie:

This recipe is from Amy Soergel, who runs Naturally Soergel’s in Franklin Park. It’s an organic market specializing in gluten free foods. One of the interesting ingredients is hemp milk, which Amy loves, "because it has great nutritional qualities." The milk is available at the store. This pie is crustless, but the buckwheat flour adds a texture of crust.

Naturally Soergel’s: 2573 Brandt Road in Franklin Park; 724/935-2090, soergels.com

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch glass pie plate.

In a food processor bowl combine:
1 14 or 15-ounce can packed pumpkin
1 1/2 cups plain hemp milk
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
3/4 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pie spice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cover and process until smooth and creamy. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary to incorporate all of the dry ingredients.
Pour into the prepared pie plate and smooth evenly. Bake in the center of the oven for about one hour. The pie should be firm but still give a little when lightly touched. The center should not be wet.

Cool the pie on a wire rack completely. Cover and chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Savory Pumpkin Pie:

Adapted from a recipe by Laura Anderson
One 9-inch store-bought pie crust, or crust made from your favorite recipe
2 pie pumpkins
5 tablespoons oil (olive or canola)
2 tablespoons butter
3 yellow onions
1/3 cup cheese (gruyere or Swiss) grated
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
Salt, pepper and nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cube the pumpkin and place it on a baking sheet, then toss with some of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until the pumpkin is tender, about 45 minutes. In a skillet, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Chop the onions and sauté them in the butter and oil until they are caramelized and brown, about 30 minutes. Mix together the cooked pumpkin and the onions. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Transfer the pumpkin mixture into the pie crust. Sprinkle the grated cheese over top.

Beat together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour the mixture over the pumpkin in the pie crust. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pie filling is golden brown.

Pumpkin Pita (Pumpkin Sheet Pie)

1 quart milk
1/2 cup cream of rice
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
4 beaten eggs
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 sticks butter
1 pound filo dough

Cook the milk, cream of rice, sugar and butter until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Fold in the pumpkin, eggs and spice.

In a 9 by 13-inch pan layer 1/2 lb of the filo, buttering each sheet well. Pour pumpkin mixture over. Layer the other 1/2 lb. of filo over, making sure to butter each sheet well. Score the top into 16 or 20 pieces. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees until the top is golden. Dust top with
confectioners sugar before serving.

Submitted by: Pam Lagios, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, Mt. Lebanon

Categories: Eat + Drink Features