Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Very Dandy Halloween (Part III)

I may have gone a little overboard with the sweets over the holiday weekend. After the Dandies and the cookies, I thought "Gee, I really ought to make a pie," so I poked around the kitchen and ended up with a Gingerbread Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Pie (which is clearly in need of some kind of clever name, since it's almost too long to Tweet.

I really wanted to try a pie that started from real, live pumpkin chunks, not puree, which is something I'd never seen before, so this was born. It turned out to be a nice, cinnamony pie in a gingerbread crust shamelessly stolen from Vegan With a Vengeance. Everyone who's tried this has liked it (and the family has requested it as a Thanksgiving dessert), though we all agree that it's so spiced it's difficult to tell the difference between the pumpkin and the apple without looking, so you may want to tone that down a bit, if you want the natural flavors to come through.

Normally, I would never re-post a recipe from someone's book (and I'm willing to bet almost everyone reading this has the book, making it somewhat unnecessary anyway), but since someone else already did, I'll put it all together for the sake of convenience.

Gingerbread Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Pie

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoon cold water

For the filling:
One half small pumpkin (should yield about two cups when diced - see below)
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 cup dried cranberries
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch ground nutmeg
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons tapioca starch

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Make the crust:
Sift together the flour, sugar, spices, salt, and baking powder. Add the margarine one tablespoonful at a time and cut in with a pastry cutter, knife or your fingertips. Drizzle the molasses and water over the dough, mixing with your fingertips until the crumbs of dough begin to cling together. Set aside 1/2 cup of the dough. Gather together the rest of the dough and knead it into a ball. Press it evenly into the bottom and sides of a pie pan and bake for 10 minutes.

Make the filling:
(I've never seen anyone try to prep raw pumpkin online beyond cutting it in half, so here are some step-by-step instructions, with pictures.)

Cut the stem off your pumpkin, then cut it in half.

Use a large spoon to scoop the seeds and guts out of your pumpkin (if you want, reserve them to bake on one rack while you have the pie on another. I sprinkled cinnamon on mine, then baked them for about 40 minutes, shaking a few times to keep them from sticking. Yum!).


Cut each half in half, then peel it, using a serrated peeler.

Chop the bottom bit off each piece and dice. I found the easiest way to do this is cut each quarter into strips lengthwise, then chop up the strips (similar to doing a bell pepper).


While the crust bakes, combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with your hands until the ingredients are well mixed and the tapioca starch dissolves.

Assemble the pie:
Fill the pie crust with the filling, and crumble the remaining 1/2 cup of dough over the filling. Cover with foil and back for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 40 more minutes; the filling should be bubbling and tender. Serve warm, if you can.


melissa bastian. said...

Wow. I just, I mean... wow. How many dandies did you get?!

melissa bastian. said...

Hmm. That first comment was more pertinent for the last post. For this one - wow, cleaning out a pumpkin would be so much easier if you could just cut it in half! I must admit I've never tried to deal with a pumpkin outside of my ma's house. What we did there though was, we bought a huge a** pumpkin a few days before halloween, and then cut around the top, like you do. And then all the scooping and scraping and cleaning out happened through that orifice. When I was in kindergarten I learned about toasting pumpkin seeds, so from then on we always did.

My dad usually did the honors of making the pumpkin look like some scary halloween thing. He was pretty good at it.

My mom kept whatever pieces he cut out to make the jack-o-lantern face, and then the day after halloween she hacked the pumpkin up (minus whatever had gotten charred or waxed from candles or any bits that were getting funky) and froze the lot.

Then for Thanksgiving, this is the pumpkin that became our pumpkin pie.

I hadn't thought about our pumpkin cycle... well, ever, really, until just now reading your post. You inspired me, Miss Seitan. I think I have to call my ma.

Seitan Said Dance said...

Just one bag! A little goes a long way.

Thanks for sharing your pumpkin tradition. I think it's awesome that your family utilized the jack-o-lantern pumpkin; I usually just seem them rotting on people's doorsteps (and even more awesome that it was for another holiday).