Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Perfect Piece Of Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Sweet damn, what a strange month this has been! Lotsa family, lotsa friends, and lotsa food... and with all that, a sincere want to stay away from my computer for as long as possible. But since I'm working on something tomorrow and have a moment to write about it today, I figure why not crank up some music and engage in a little "typing therapy"?

First of all, I'm going to have to write about my experiences traveling a lot over this month. Why? Because I didn't get sick on any of my plane rides, that's why! Hallelujah and a gloryoski! I'm not prone to coughs and colds, save for when I travel on airplanes. And not always, just certain times of year... like now. I'm usually the target of that one germy blob that's been circling the ventilation system waiting for the right person... and then BAM, it smacks right into me, and within a few hours, I'm going through boxes of Kleenex like nobody's business, sounding like a Muppet, and waiting for someone to stop the jackhammers in my sinuses. But not this time, no no!

Secondly, I have a backlog of recipes that I've eaten too quickly to take pictures of, so I'll have to go through and do them all again so I can write 'em up. (Gee. Darn.) What I do for the sake of posterity.

But now for the real reason I'm writing today... I'm making pies. Yummy, yummy pies. AND THEY'RE MINE, DO YOU HEAR ME?! ALL MIIIIIIIIINE! (Unless you're going to be at my friends' house for Thanksgiving, in which case, you may have some.)

Pumpkin on the left, Chocolate Pudding on the right
My mentor had told me last year that he had experimented with making different crusts for pies so he could, you know, eat at Thanksgiving without exploding. But what I remember from this conversation is that he didn't have the results he had expected. I'd been hesitating on this experiment since my own disastrous attempt at making sweet potato gnocchi with coconut flour and ended up with a giant pot of mush. It takes some time to get the egg/oil/"flour" ratios right for some recipes, and I don't want to waste food if I don't go into it knowing what I'm doing at least a little.

Almond meal is my go-to for crusts. It's easily adaptable for sweet and savory dishes, and inexpensive to make, so long as you have a food processor and access to almonds in bulk. This ended up being prefect for both pies in different ways. The Pumpkin was my standard crust of 2 cups almond meal, 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp salt, which binds together very well and gets crispy without burning. The Chocolate Pudding started off as a "let's just see what happens if" kind of thing, but became surprisingly delicious as a crumble. The recipe is 2/3 cup almond meal, 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp cold water, but I added flour and water as needed. This won't bind the same way without the egg, so don't expect something crispy and crunchy.

With both of these, I added cinnamon and nutmeg to the mixes to make the most of the almond taste along with the sweetness of the pies' contents. This made the Pumpkin Pie as close to perfect as I could imagine, and made the crumble for the Chocolate Pudding taste frighteningly close to graham crackers.

I'll write up the full recipes soon, I promise, but first...


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