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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tiffany. AKA The Mermaid, since she is sexy, beachy, (yet intellectual) and has a Siren-like ability to coerce even the most even keeled people (not that I count myself in with that group) to do things with just a flash of a smile and a bat of her impossibly long eyelashes.

It seems that just like our dearest peach Ms. LaRue, my Mermaid-like friend has a fixation with pumpkin, and recently wondered aloud on her extra-fab site Breakfast At Tiffany's (so chic!) if I may be able to provide some culinary relief by challenging me to make a vegan pie. (She isn't vegan, she is just a level headed and healthy girl) That's right. A vegan pumpkin pie. And seriously kids, how could I resist her request? I am nothing if not a girl who will rise to a challenge. (That's actually not true at all, but whatever)

With that I looked, I searched, I scrambled, I fretted (over a course of six to eight minutes) and in the end, with options including pureeing silken tofu, using $25 worth of maple syrup instead of sugar or adding prune puree for body and texture, I said no thanks. While I think being vegan is super fantastic, I also know enough about my limitations as a baker to not want to try to mess with a American classic. Ergo, the pumpkin pie you see right here on this page.

So for you, sweet Tiffany, here is a completely vegetarian virtual pumpkin pie. It was silken, and creamy (due to cream, I'm thinking) very spicy and had a strong and comforting pumpkin flavor. I would offer you a slice, but much to the joy of several people, every last crumb of it has been consumed. It took less than five minutes to pull together, and the scent of pie wafting through the house made the hour it was baking pure heaven. (And torture, knowing it had to cool before I could take a taste!) Try it, and enjoy.

3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 9-inch pie crust, par-baked

(I made my own pie crust, but I am just not in the mood to write out my recipe. Maybe next week.)

Preheat your oven to 450F

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, flour, salt and spices. Place baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450°F. Whisk first 8 ingredients together in large bowl to blend. Whisk in pumpkin, molasses and eggs, then cream. Pour mixture into the crust.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325F and bake until the center is just set, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven, and cool completely.

Serves 8


In an excellent example of solipsism, please do visit Breakfast at Tiffany's today (and tomorrow, since it was so durned long) for my extra cheeky shopping tips

Mexicans are Latin America's largest per-capita consumers of instant ramen. Diners consumed 1 billion servings last year. The Chinese ate nearly 30.5 billion servings last year. Outside that region, only the United States, Russia and Brazil gobbled more instant ramen than Mexico. Its consumers ate an average of 9.4 servings in 2004, according to the Japan-based International Ramen Manufacturers Assn.- LA Times.com

It takes approximately 40 gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of syrup

Research has found that men find "pumpkin pie" to be the sexiest scent

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