“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” Henry David Thoreau, American writer
Once upon a time, people everywhere ate everything and they did not double over in pain or break out in hives. Like glass slippers and whistling while one works, however, that time has passed.
In my household alone, we plan meals to nourish vegetarians and omnivores, gluten eaters and the gluten free, dairy eaters and the dairy free. Throw in a couple of food allergies (including coconut, hence no coconut milk) and preparing any meal, let alone a traditional Thanksgiving, is a bit like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
Yet, thanks to tips gleaned from others contending with the same food issues, we’ve developed new recipes that feed the body and spirit without making anyone sick.
This one is my favorite, as we all love pumpkin pie. Technically a reduced-calorie, crustless pudding rather than a pie, this recipe removes the trickiest gluten issue.* And, instead of the dairy or coconut milk that one or another of us cannot eat, it relies on vegan “egg nog” of all things. This adds a fun flavor twist. Third, by using dark brown sugar instead of white sugar, we were able to drop down the sugar level and the calories — while enhancing flavor.
*For Thanksgiving Day itself, I do a gluten-free crust, which is in my recipe archive under Fool-Proof Pie Crust. (Note: A sweet pumpkin pie requires the sweet crust mentioned in that recipe, not the one for quiche.) But, who can limit herself to one day of pumpkin pie a year? Through the rest of the winter, we enjoy the pudding version whenever we like.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Thinly coat the inside of one deep-dish pie plate with olive oil. Set aside.
In large bowl, combine 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree (or butternut squash if that’s all you can get), 1 cup vegan egg nog (or evaporated milk for dairy eaters or coconut milk as another vegan alternative), 2 eggs or vegan substitute, 1/2 cup (firmly packed) dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Mix thoroughly. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees and bake another 35-60 minutes. (The wide range of baking times shows how much various “cream” subtitutes can affect this recipe. Bake until a knife inserted in the center of the pudding comes out clean. Or, if using vegan egg nog, nearly clean. Look at the picture to get an idea of what a finished pudding should look like.)
Serve warm, room temp or chilled. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped nuts if desired. Serves 4 to 6.