Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thanksgiving Update (with Recipes!)

Dear Readers,

I'm sorry.  I am a bad blogger.  Your memories of Thanksgiving are packed away, and I am about to tell you how my meal went.  Bear with me.  There will be so much holiday baking in the next few weeks, all will be forgiven.  That is my hope.

First, what went wrong.  I tried to make a seitan turkey.  I read so many blogs, and thought I would do bee-yew-ti-full-y, but no, I was left with a dense rubbery mass of wheat meat.

The before:

And the during.

I'll leave the after to your imagination.  I don't know what wrong!  I kneaded, I made dashi, I simmered.  Oh well.  I will not be deterred, and I will make delicious seitan one day!

For the almost perfect, I present a gluten-free, vegan pumpkin coconut pie with a pecan crust.  It's actually quite hard to find a recipe that is both gluten-free and vegan.  At our thanksgiving, we had someone with a gluten allergy and someone who is allergic to both dairy and eggs.  I knew it was going to be tough, but I felt sure that I could make a pie that was vegan and gluten-free and delicious.  And it was!  Too bad the filling never quite set.  Rather than messing with various starch flours to make a pastry crust, I made a delicious nut crust.  The filling was classic Libby's with some vegan experimenting.

Recipe at the end of the post.

Now for what went right...This fig crostata.

It was conventional baking perfection!  Buttery crust, rich filling, and the consistency was perfect.  I've never made a lattice crust before, and I was a little nervous, but it comes out so prettily that I've nearly forgotten the tense moments of broken pastry!  I've had my eye on this recipe since last year's Gourmet Thanksgiving issue.  And I might make it again for Christmas, it has a dark, fruity, filling like mincemeat.  I did need to bake it longer than the 30 minutes in the recipe.  More like 45 minutes for the crust to get golden and the filling to set.

It was a wonderful meal with good friends and good food!

Here's the recipe for the pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Coconut Custard Pie
Makes 12 servings
Takes 2 hours

2 cups crushed pecans
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegan margarine (or almond oil) 
3/4 cup brown sugar 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
4 Tbsp. cornstarch, sifted
15 oz. Pumpkin Puree (Not pie filling) 
1 can (15 oz.) light coconut milk

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. 

If you are using margarine, soften by placing it in your pie pan and heating it in the oven while it comes to temperature.  Remove before it gets too hot.

Toss the nuts with the brown sugar and then thoroughly mix with margarine in the pan.  Use your fingers to press the nuts into a firm and even layer all around the bottom and sides of pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  (Keep an eye on it because the pecans will burn if your oven is too hot of you leave it in for too long!).

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, add all filling ingredients.  Stir until combined.  When it begins to steam, turn heat down to low, and stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken (Watch out!  The pumpkin will bubble and can burn you and make a mess of your kitchen if you leave it be!).

At this point, I am not sure how long you should stir for, or if you should add more corn starch.  I felt my filling had thickened, and poured it into the cooled pie crust.  But!  It never fully set.

We ate it cold and it was so delicious!  Like yummy pumpkin pudding with a pecan praline crumble. 

If you try this pie, please let me know how it goes!

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