Halloween Pie: Chocolate Crust, Squash Filling, Gluten-Free!

It is rainy. and windy. The trees are whirling all around like they are made of rubber. Lights flicker on and off. We all need to keep from going stir-crazy. I know I was doing a little of that myself today. I was contemplating just crawling into bed at 5 PM. What more was there to do? How many times could I look up the weather?

I texted a friend saying, “omg, this sucks I’m going totally stir crazy,” to which he replied, “haha I am having a great time! Baked three *** (some swears which meant really great) butternut squash pies!” I then proceeded to feel very lame for not creating my own amusement as my friend had. I mean, a great time? Alone, in a hurricane? Three pies?!

So, I started baking. And I recommend that you do, too, if you have electricity that is. If not, good luck, because you will need more creativity than I have a mind for right now.

The following recipe makes one pie, and I had a little leftover filling for two mini custards. The crust is adapted form the Chocolate Piecrust recipe in The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking By Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace, and the filling is adapted from a pumpkin pie recipe from Helen Friedman, owner of Desserts By Helen in Louisville, Kentucky.

Squash Filling

Ingredients:

1/2 butternut squash

1/2 kabocha squash * (you can use all butternut, but I like the richness and color the kabocha adds)

3/4 cup apple juice (or a couple of apples and a juicer or vitamix)

2 tsp. fresh ground ginger

2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar (this made it quite sweet, you can use a half a cup if you prefer a little less sweet)

1 tsp. fresh-ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the squash in half, and scoop out and reserve the seeds (not for this recipe, but for toasting if that’s your thing!). Drizzle olive oil into the pits of the squash and rub the outside of the squashes with oil, too. Place face down on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil.  )If you use half kabocha and half butternut, I would roast a whole butternut and a whole kabocha. You can always make a squash mash as a savory side dish, or do a plethora of other things once you have some roasted squash in your fridge). Roast for about 45 minutes, depending on size of squash, but until the squash is squishy (caves in when you squeeze the outside of it).

When cool enough to handle, scoop out the inside of the squashes, puree in a food processor together until smoothe, and measure out 1 3/4 cups of it. Combine the squash mixture with the apple juice, sugar and spices in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil (careful not to splash your clothes with squash, or to burn yourself!), and then let it simmer for about thirty minutes or until thickened. Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. I don’t think that letting is reduce a little longer will hurt. It will only make the flavor richer. Just don’t burn!

In the meantime, while that’s cooking, make the crust.

For the Crust

1 cup almond flour (113 grams)

1 cup coconut flour (80 grams)

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup unsweetened, natural cocoa powder

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ cup butter, melted

6 Tbspn. unsweetened chocolate soy milk* (I think whatever kind of milk you have in the fridge is fine. I used half and half)

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. grand marnier*  These last two ingredients ad a nice orangey punch. You do not need to include them.

zest of 1 orange

Directions

Preheat oven to 325.

Mix dry ingredients, working out any lumps with a whisk.

Mix together wet ingredients, separately, and then add wet to dry. Stir for a couple minutes, add extra liquid if needed. Dough should be stiff and playdough like.

Let the squash or pumpkin butter cool slightly.

Puree with 3 whole eggs and 1.5 cups milk (I used 1 cup of buttermilk, 1/2 cup of half and half. Originally this recipe calls for condensed milk. I am not sure how soy or almond milk would work but I believe an dairy milk would work).

Butter a pie dish, and press the crust evenly into it (as evenly as possible–this crust will not be easy to roll out so you will have to press it in by hand). Poke holes in the crust with a fork.

Fill the crust with the squash mixture and bake for about 45 minutes, or until set and just barely jiggly in the center. (It is easy to let it over bake. It will still taste great but as it could the custard will pull away from the crust, as happened to me. This just depends on your taste, if you want a looser custard or a denser one. Both are good!).

Enjoy it! It is great warm and a la mode!

Crust recipe adapted from The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking By Peter Reinhart & Denene Wallace

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