Autumn has arrived in Eugene, Oregon once again, bringing with it the unmistakable feeling of food nostalgia. I find myself delighting in the color changes and the cold; the crisp air pairs perfectly with the warming spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. This is the season where connecting with our food has become an American tradition and, as the nights become colder, we find comfort in allowing our senses to indulge in the sweet familiarity of holiday cooking.
As pumpkins began appearing at local stores, I started fantasizing about all of the exciting ways I could begin incorporating pumpkin into my recipes–pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin chai, pumpkin bread. Then I remembered grub goal number thirteen from our blog post, 21 Grub Goals of the Slow Food Blog Team. This fall, I decided to challenge myself to create a raw pumpkin pie recipe from scratch.
When it comes to preparing raw food, I’m quite confident in the kitchen. If you understand the basics of raw food recipes, you can easily dream up your own creative concoctions. I knew that a basic pie crust for raw pies was a balanced combination of raw nuts and raw medjool dates. For the filling, I knew that I would need some coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, to hold it together while it’s being sliced. As for the pumpkin and the other ingredients that I incorporated into the filling, I used my intuition as well as my taste buds to determine the appropriate amounts. The finished product was exactly what I hoped it would be–delicious.
2 1/2 cups hazelnuts
12 pitted medjool dates
1 15 oz. can organic pumpkin (uncooked)
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
4 pitted medjool dates
3/4 cup raw milk of your choice (I used homemade almond milk)
2 tbsp raw coconut nectar
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
In a food processor, begin the crust by blending 2 1/2 cups of hazelnuts until the texture is crumbly, not powdery. If you’d like, you can use any nut of your choice. I choze hazelnuts for their slightly buttery flavor. Next, add the dates and blend for several minutes until the nuts are evenly combined with the dates. Use coconut oil to lightly “grease” a nine-inch pie dish and press the crust mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and sides of the dish. You will probably have some extra crust that you can use later to sprinkle on top of your pie slices or on top of another dessert of your choosing. When you’re done, place the finished crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Wash the food processor bowl and thoroughly dry it. Combine all of the ingredients for the pie filling, in no particular order, in the food processor until completely smooth. The filling should be slightly thick, but thin enough that it will pour easily into the pie dish. Take the pie dish out and scoop all of the filling into the pie pan. Place the pie in the freezer for at least three hours before you serve it. My estimation is that it will keep well in the freezer for about a week. I wouldn’t store it in the refrigerator because the filling will likely become soft and unmanageable. Also, you’ll want to make sure that you set the pie out to let it thaw slightly at room temperature before you try to cut it.
I finished off my raw pumpkin pie slice with bits of the crust topping and some of the pumpkin pie spice used in the filling. The pumpkin pie spice I used is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice from Mountain Rose Herbs–a local herb, spice, and tea company. I’m certain you can find a similar pumpkin pie spice at your local grocery store, or you can even make your own blend with a combination of spices from the bulk section.
However you decide to embellish your delicious pumpkin pie, make sure to let me know! I’d love to hear from you with any suggestions or ideas. As for me, I’m going to go finish off the last slice of my pie and sip on a cup of coffee while I finish my homework. Happy autumn, everyone!