Sunday, 27 November 2011

Thanksgiving Week: Pumpkin Pie Slice

Americans have it easy - go to the store; buy a can of pumpkin puree, a box of 'pumpkin pie spice', a pre-made pie crust and bam! - almost instant pumpkin pie.

Not so in Australia. Though Australians are the biggest consumers of pumpkin I've ever encountered, pureed pumpkin is just not available here. Nor is a pre-made graham cracker crust (good luck even finding a graham cracker!), and pumpkin pie spice - just forget about it. So that meant I had to crush some gingersnap biscuits by hand, using a cocktail muddler (I'm getting a food processor for Christmas I hope!), roast and puree my own pumpkin and make my own spice mix. This pie was a monumental pain in the a$$ to make and I don't think it will be happening again anytime soon, but at least it turned out pretty tasty!

Oh, and due to lack of planning and pie tin, I used a tart pan instead - it turned out to be more of a slice-like dessert than a pie, which I think I am cool with.

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 1 pack Coles-brand gingersnap cookies plus 4 (about 300g all together)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 5 tbsp Nuttelex, softened

Ingredients for the pie filling:

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup Tofutti cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • egg replacer to replace 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

A note on pumpkin: I found (after wasting half a pumpkin!) that the best way to obtain an awesome pumpkin puree is with Butternut pumpkin - half a fairly big one will get you 2 cups - roasted in a water bath. If you dry-roast, the pumpkin will be too chewy on the outside, may burn, and will not puree as well. Wash and slice the pumpkin, place face-down in a water bath and roast on 200'C for about 20 minutes. Flip the slices and roast for another 20 minutes or so - you may need longer. You can then easily cut the skin from around the edges of the pumpkin. I then cut it into chunks and blended with my hand mixer.

Okay, so, for the crust: soften your Nuttelex in the microwave and add to the crushed biscuits and sugar. Mix with a fork until the butter is absorbed. Now mix with your hands to make sure the butter is well combined. Spray your pie tin with cooking oil and press the crumbs evenly all around the bottom and sides of your tin. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 200'C. While this is baking you can mix the filling elements together.

Seeing as this recipe was a total "winging it" sort of deal, I was a naughty chef and just threw all the filling ingredients in together at the same time, then blended. I tasted it after this and was (surprisingly!) happy with the results, so I didn't need to add anything - though you could add other spices, soy milk, more maple syrup, bourbon, more sugar - whatever really.

Make a crust-protector out of foil and fold over the edges of your crust and and pan, so the crust doesn't burn. I completely forgot to do this (Pie-Making 101 failure...) and my crust burnt. The pie was easily saved after baking, but I would have enjoyed a bit more crust.

Bake at 200'C for about 20 minutes, then turn the heat way down to around 125'C for another 40 minutes or so. The pie is done when the sharp knife stuck in the centre comes out clean. Serve with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with maple syrup.


That's it for Thanksgiving Week - I might do a quick recap of a T-day menu and some other notes in the next couple of days, but today I am preparing for the upcoming Picnic Fortnight where I will be blogging picnic recipes for two weeks!


  1. glad you enjoyed the pie - your whole thanksgiving week seems a great idea

    I am pretty lazy and just microwave jap pumpkin chunks and then mush them up with a fork and I find the pumpkin usually works fine (I don't add any water when I microwave it) so I don't find getting pumpkin puree together too hard - but I keep meaning to try making graham crackers as I am curious about them. I did see a tin of pumpkin puree in david jones ages ago and keep meaning to go back and buy one just to see if it tastes different to what I am used to.

    will look forward to your picnic fortnight

  2. I have never made pumpkin pie/slice or anything before, due to the inconvenience of us not having pureed pumpkin or pumpkin pie mix here! Thanks so much for the tips about how to make your own.. I would have definitely roasted it and disappointed myself!