Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel

IMG_1169    This is basically Gena Hamshaw’s pumpkin pie, but I added 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and also put a pecan streusel on it.  It’s thickened with cashews instead of eggs, and it’s delicious.  The photo above is old.  In 2015, I replaced the molasses with pure maple syrup, to lighten up the color and flavor.

VEGAN PUMPKIN PIE WITH PECAN STREUSEL

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS FOR PIE
1 single pie crust, such as my pate brisee
2.5 Cups pumpkin puree  (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 Cup cashews, soaked 3+ hours (or overnight)  and drained of soaking water
3/4 Cup demerara, brown, or cane sugar
2 Tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup  (instead of molasses)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves  (1/16th teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

INGREDIENTS FOR STREUSEL
1/4 Cup chopped pecans
3 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Stick
1/4 Cup flour
1/4 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 Teaspoon fine sea salt
tiny pinch cinnamon

DIRECTIONS
Roll out pie crust and place in pie pan, pinch the edges decoratively, and put it in the fridge.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make streusel:  Melt butter.  In small mixing bowl, dry whisk all other streusel ingredients.  Add melted butter, stir well to combine.  Set aside.

Blend all pie-filling ingredients in a food processor until super smooth.  I used a Vitamix instead, see photo below.  The mixture should be quite thick, but if it’s too thick, you can thin it with a Tablespoon or two of water or non-dairy milk (I did not thin it).  Spoon into the crust, smooth over, and put a pie shield on the pinched edges of the crust.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Add streusel to the top of the pie, and then bake 15-20 minutes more until edges of the crust are golden brown and the filling is dark.  Let cool completely before serving.  Serve with Coconut Whipped Cream or So Delicious CocoWhip.

Notes:  This is a great time to use fresh pumpkin, but canned is perfectly great too.  If you don’t have a pie shield, lightly crumple tin foil over the edges of your pie crust, to keep it from over-cooking.  Next time, I would possibly use all pure maple syrup, and no molasses, but it’s great this way too!
IMG_1156  Filling blended w/cashews in Vitamix.

Vegan Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

This recipe is from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, and wow, is it good.   It’s rich and creamy but somehow light.  It has the pumpkin flavor without being cloying, and yet it’s also got that classic cheesecake tang and texture.  I would take this to any Thanksgiving, and serve it at any dinner party.  On the other hand, it’s easy to make, and you can throw it together in under 30 minutes, not counting cooking and chilling times.
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Vegan Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Servings:  8 to 10

INGREDIENTS
8 ounces Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (look for the non-hydrogenated one in the yellow container)
12 ounces extra-firm silken tofu, such as Mori Nu (Morinaga) brand in the little box
1/2 Cup light agave nectar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons lemon juice, or the juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 Cup pumpkin puree  (canned, not pumpkin pie mix)
2 teaspoons rum (optional)  (I used Malibu brand coconut rum)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg  (fresh is preferred but not required)

1 pre-made 8-inch graham-cracker crust  (or oatmeal cookie crust)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Put the first set of ingredients (Tofutti through vanilla) in a food processor and puree until completely, silky smooth.
Remove a heaping Cup of this mixture from the processor and spread it in the bottom of the crust.
Add the next set of ingredients (pumpkin through nutmeg) to the ingredients remaining in the food processor, and process until well blended.
Smooth the entire mixture carefully over the white layer in the crust.
Bake until the center is almost set, about 50-60 minutes.
Insert a toothpick–if it comes out liquidy and cold, give it more time until the center is firm.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan on rack.
Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least three hours.
Serve to delighted guests  (don’t tell them it’s vegan until after it’s eaten).

Notes:  I did not bake longer than 60 minutes.  If you don’t know what to do with the leftover pumpkin, dogs like a spoonful or two in their dinner,  but don’t give it to them all at once, if you know what I mean.  The original recipe called for only 1.5 Tablespoons of lemon juice.  My friend Piliki made it with her fresh, pureed pumpkin.  She put the pumpkin in a fine sieve and let it drain well and pressed excess moisture out of it.  She also baked it for 65 minutes, and said, “It was perfection.”

Vegan Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

These little Vegan Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are such a nice treat for Halloween or Thanksgiving.  Lars gave them a thumbs up, and I’m impressed by how perfect the cake and spices are.    I’ve increased the filling amount below, because it made a lot more cake than the instructions said it would.  I also reduced the oil.  They’re perfectly spiced, thanks to a great recipe by Valeria on Food. com.   I’ll definitely make these again next year.

p.s. They freeze beautifully, so you could make them ahead.

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Vegan Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Makes 24

INGREDIENTS
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2.5 Cups brown sugar
3/4 Cup safflower oil
2 egg substitutes  (I used 1 Tablespoon Ener G powder plus 1/4 Cup of water, frothed or whisked)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Cups canned organic pumpkin  (I used Trader Joe’s)

The filling
3/4 Cup Tofutti Cream Cheese
3 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons vegan butter or vegan shortening

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or grease them).
In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
In a separate bowl, stir together brown sugar, oil, egg replacer, vanilla extract and pumpkin.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated.
Drop by rounded Tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until center of cookie springs back when lightly pressed.  I baked mine for 16 minutes in my accurate, electric oven.
Cool thoroughly on wire racks before spreading with filling.

While the cakes are baking, you can make the cream cheese filling:  In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together vegan cream cheese and vegan butter.
Mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until thoroughly blended.  Chill in fridge.

To assemble, spread a dollop of filling on the bottom of one thoroughly-cooled cake and make a “sandwich” with a 2nd cake.  Wrap individually as they tend to dry out.

Notes:  These come out approximately 3 inches across.  They freeze beautifully.  I used Trader Joe’s canned organic pumpkin and found it superior to other brands I’ve tried, silkier and lighter in color.

Nutrition:  Calories 250, Fat 10, Saturated Fat 2, Trans Fat 0, Polyunsaturated Fat 1, Monounsaturated Fat 6, Cholesterol 0, Sodium 107, Carbs 39, Fiber 1, Sugars 22, Protein 2, Vitamin A 63%, Vitamin C 1%, Calcium 2%, Iron 5%.

Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi with Chanterelles and Sage

Rolling gnocchi off an antique butter paddle.  The whimper in the background is my dog Ipo letting me know it’s time for her mid-morning snack, not kidding.

I veganized this recipe from an old Martha Stewart show.  You can watch the video here.  The famous chef says this recipe is hundreds of years old.  I had never made gnocchi before and this combination sounded so good.  And, it is.  There’s a line in one of the Isabel Dalhousie novels where she says something like, “I think chanterelles just elevate a dish, don’t you?”  They sure do, and their golden color and flavor are so simpatico with the pumpkin and this time of year.  It wasn’t hard to veganize this.  I lightened it up by substituting cheesy (and vitamin packed) Nutritional Yeast for the parmigiana, and then used rich soy creamer and vegetable stock.  I also couldn’t see using two Tablespoons of salt.   One thing I ran into was that I needed a lot of bench flour, like more than an extra cup of it.  The dough was so sticky.  Watching the video helped, and I noticed that the chef used a lot of bench flour too.  I had never cooked with sage leaves in this way before, and was surprised at how wonderful and mild the flavor was.  With the golden chanterelles and the squash flavors, it was like a little Fall symphony!  p.s.  My gnocchi look a bit clumsy, but they taste great.  There are also some good videos on youtube where they show the old method of rolling the gnocchi off a fork to get the sauce-catching ridges in them.  Like this one.  These gnocchi freeze very well too.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Mushrooms

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 small sugar pumpkin (1.5 to 2 lbs.), stem removed, halved lengthwise and seeded  (or use my easier baked pumpkin method) (I bake two un-cut pumpkins since I’ve got my oven going)
2 Cups “00”  (zero zero) flour, plus more for work surface (or all-purpose flour, which is what I used)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt in the flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt in the water
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for serving
1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast
2 Tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance Buttery Stick)
2 shallots, finely chopped
20 medium chanterelle mushrooms, well rinsed, and sliced or trimmed
6 fresh sage leaves
1 Cup vegetable stock (I like Better Than Bouillon stock base, some are vegan)
1 Cup soy creamer  (I used Silk brand)
1 teaspoon dry sherry (totally optional)

DIRECTIONS
Use my easier baked pumpkin method, or do the following:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place pumpkin halves, cut side up, on baking sheet and fill each with one Tablespoon of water.
Cover with foil.
Transfer to oven and roast until soft, about 45 minutes.  Let cool.
Scrape pumpkin flesh from skin, and discard skin.
I like to puree my pumpkin flesh now.
Reserve 1/4 Cup of pumpkin puree (for the sauce).

Mound flour in center of a large work surface; add 2 teaspoons salt and the nutmeg. Using a fork, mix until well combined.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
Add up to 2 cups pumpkin and the Nutritional Yeast to the well.
Slowly incorporate flour, beginning with inner rim of well.
Note;  I used another whole cup of bench flour to get rid of extreme stickiness.
When flour is incorporated, gather dough together to form a rounded mass; knead mixture until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.
Divide dough into 6 equal pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into a cylinder about 1 inch in diameter; cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces.  My knife kept sticking to the dough, so I switched to a plastic pastry scraper and it worked great for cutting the gnocchi.
Transfer gnocchi to a baking sheet and cover with a clean, wet/damp towel.
Repeat process until all the dough has been used.

Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
Add last teaspoon of salt to water, and return to a boil.
Add gnocchi and cook until they rise to the top, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over high heat and add butter and shallots.
Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until shallots are golden.
Add stock, mushrooms and sage; cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup pumpkin, vegan creamer, and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
If you want to, you can add an extra Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast here.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to skillet and toss to combine.
Serve immediately with freshly grated nutmeg.
Everyone can season with salt and pepper at table.

Notes:  You can make the pumpkin a day ahead, as I did.   Note that once you begin to add the mushrooms, sage, etc., the sauce should be done in a couple of minutes.  If you overcook it at that point, it sort of turns into a loose pumpkin puree, instead of a creamy sauce.  I was surprised at how pleasant and mild the sage leaves were.  The second time I made it, I put the mushrooms in a couple of minutes earlier, and added 1 teaspoon of dry sherry, and we really liked it.  Be sure to rinse the chanterelles really well as they can have teensy bits of grit in them.  You could use cheaper mushrooms, but now that we’ve tasted the chanterelles in this dish, I wouldn’t even make it without them.  Their golden meaty flavor is just perfect here.  These gnocchi freeze very well.

Harvest Pumpkin Cake

Here is the link for this recipe.  I bought this cookbook called Vegan Baking Classics by Kelly Rudnicki, and this recipe is in there, along with her recipe for the Dairy Free Cream Cheese Frosting.  It seems that Kelly Rudnicki is not an ethical vegan, but cooks vegan due to having a child with allergies.  I’m not sure about this, but that’s what I’m getting from her web site and her cookbook bio.  Either way, this cake is absolutely scrumptious.  I would not hesitate to make it for an Autumnal birthday, or even for Thanksgiving.  Last year, I learned how to bake sugar pie pumpkins, and that’s what I used for this cake.  I just weighed out 15 ounces of pumpkin puree that I had run through the Vitamix.  FYI, I found organic “sugar pie pumpkins” at Whole Foods recently, the first time I’ve ever found them organic.  This is a very moist cake with a wonderful mild flavor.  The tofu is the egg replacer and gives it some extra protein.  Pumpkin is full of fiber, beta carotene and iron.  It also has protein, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium.  I did cut the margarine in half; I just couldn’t wrap my brain around using all that fat.  So, I did have to chill my frosting in order to do a crumb layer of icing.  Use as little icing as possible for your crumb layer because this recipe makes a somewhat scant amount, and you will need every bit of it for the finish coat.  I actually made a little extra frosting, and used it.
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HARVEST PUMPKIN CAKE

Yield: One 9-inch layer cake
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup dairy-free shortening, such as Spectrum brand
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup silken tofu
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)  (I used my own pumpkin puree from sugar pie pumpkins)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soy or rice milk
1 recipe Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine shortening, sugars, silken tofu, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract on low speed until creamy. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda with a wire whisk.
Preheat oven to 350ºF, and spray two 9-inch round cake pans with dairy-free baking spray. Add flour mixture alternatively with soy milk to the shortening mixture. Beat well.  Pour into prepared pans, and bake 25 to 35 minutes. Cool completely, and frost with Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting.  Note:  I let the cakes cool completely in the pans, and then ran a butter knife around the edges and then inverted them onto racks until they fell.
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Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 2 cups
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup dairy-free margarine  (I used 1/4 Cup)
3/4 cup dairy-free cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
21/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the margarine, cream cheese, salt, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, and mix on low for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, and beat 4 to 6 minutes, until light and fluffy. Chill before using.

I baked the cakes for only 25 minutes in my electric, non-convection oven, until they pulled away from the sides of my pale-colored cake pans.  i did use use a tester to make sure it came out clean and that the cakes were done inside.

Chat Masala Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

So I had these pumpkin seeds left after cooking a pie pumpkin but I hadn’t roasted pumpkin seeds in years.  I’m sorry to say we didn’t save our pumpkin seeds when we carved our Halloween jack-o-lantern this year.  If I had tasted these Chat Masala Pumpkin Seeds before we carved the pumpkin, we would have saved the seeds.  The word “chat” (also spelled chaat) in modern-day Hindi means snack, derived from the word chatna, which means tasting.  I ordered my Chat Masala online (see photo at bottom) and it was not expensive.  Chat Masala is a very popular spice blend in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, and sweet fresh fruit can also be dipped into a little dish of Chat Masala.  This makes sense to me, since I remember that as kids we would sometimes sprinkle salt on fresh watermelon, or crisp apples, or make our pickled mangoes extra salty by marinating them in shoyu.  We’d bring the long slices of green mango to high school in recycled glass mayonnaise jars, floating in Kikkoman soy sauce.  And then of course, we would “share share.”  We’d also eat Li Hing Mui or crack seed and it was incredibly salty.  My girlfriend Shandra, when she was pregnant, would even take a salt-encrusted dried plum and press it into into the center of a lemon half and suck the seed and the lemon juice simultaneously.  My mouth would pucker just to see her and I would involuntarily shudder.  But no worries, these Chat Masala pumpkin seeds are baby food compared to that.   So I looked around online and hybridized a couple of cooking times and amounts and then added my own spices and some lime juice.  I was a bit worried when I smelled the Chat Masala, that the end result would be too pungent, but the baking with the vegan butter and lime juice mellows them out and they are zingily delicious.  They would be perfect before an Indian-inspired meal, or with a cold glass of something, or a hot cup of plain tea.  Make sure to share them with someone.  p.s.  Here’s my super-easy method for baking a pie pumpkin.
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Chat Masala Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup raw pumpkin seeds, stringy stuff removed
I did not rinse or dry my pumpkin seeds, feeling that the minute bits of pumpkin flesh on them would only add flavor and give the spices something to cling to.
2 tsps melted Earth Balance vegan butter.
1 tsp Chat Masala ground spice blend
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt (I like sea salt)
2 tsps fresh lime juice

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a medium bowl, melt Earth Balance vegan butter.
Add spices and lime juice to melted butter and stir with fork to blend.
Add pumpkin seeds to butter and spices and stir to coat seeds.
Spread on rimmed baking sheet.
Bake 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir seeds all around.
Return to oven and bake 15 more minutes.
Cool and enjoy, or store in a covered glass jar.

Easy Baked Pumpkin – Sugar Pie Pumpkin

You know those big pumpkins we turn into jack-o-lanterns?  Well, those are not the best pumpkins for baking and eating, as it turns out.  These cute little pumpkins are smaller than the large ones, and they’re called Pie Pumpkins, or Sugar Pie Pumpkins, or Baking Pumpkins, etc.  I found that even at my local grocery stores, produce clerks were not sure of the difference.  Supposedly, one pound of Sugar Pie Pumpkin equals one cup of pumpkin puree, and the puree is usually what you bake with, make soups with, etc.  I took a photo here with a coffee mug so you can see the approximate size of this very-small Sugar Pie Pumpkin, and of course, they can be larger or sometimes even smaller.  I got exactly 2 cups of cooked flesh out of this little pumpkin, but many bigger Sugar Pie Pumpkins will yield at least 4 Cups (one quart) of cooked flesh.  Here below is my super-easy method of cooking a raw pumpkin.

EASY BAKED PUMPKIN

DIRECTIONS
Use a pumpkin big enough for your recipe.  One pound of Sugar Pie Pumpkin will equal one cup of pumpkin puree.  So if you need two cups of pumpkin puree, buy a two-pound Baking pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put Sugar Pie Pumpkin in a baking dish or casserole, in one half inch of water.  Note, I do not cover with any foil or anything, and it works just great.

Bake for 30 minutes, and then pierce the pumpkin in several places with a sturdy, sharp knife.  Doing this will prevent the pumpkin from popping or exploding in the oven.

Bake 45-60 minutes more, until tender to the touch.

Cool and scoop out the innards, setting seeds and stringy matter aside (do not discard if you want to roast the seeds).  An ice cream scoop may come in handy here, but a large metal spoon is fine too.

Scoop out good flesh down to the skin, and process in a food processor.   If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash the pumpkin meat with a potato masher until it’s really broken down, or leave a few chunks and mash for soups, as desired.  I found a blender did not work well because we are not adding any liquid.

Freeze in one-cup portions.

These are less watery and stringy than ordinary jack o’ lantern pumpkins, and sweeter and meatier.  See photo below, so you can see that the flesh can be light golden instead of the dark russet color of canned pumpkin.  Every fresh pumpkin is different so the color of the flesh will vary.  Also, it can be smoother or as stringy as this.  I could have baked this a bit longer, but I figure it’s going to get pureed and cooked in a dish anyway.

    This photo is after baking but before pureeing.

Don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds!  Once separated from the stringy guts, rinse them (optional), pat them dry (optional) and toss them with 2 tsps melted Earth Balance, and the spices of your choice, or just a pinch of salt and bake them in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes.  Stir them around on the baking sheet and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Pumpkin seeds are nutritious, with plenty of potassium and magnesium and some zinc, folate and iron too.  See my recipe for Chat Masala Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.