First a disclaimer: I just can’t make a sugar/sweetener-free pumpkin pie yet, so if you are looking for an LCHF (Low Carbohydrate High Fat) pie, this isn’t it.
I don’t trust the “sugar substitutes” like Stevia drops and any of the other more complicated industrial sweeteners; I am still turned off by the flavor of green Stevia leaf powder; I don’t eat grain so this is made with an almond flour crust – other nut crusts tend to brown too quickly; unlike the Paleo People, I still appreciate whole fat organic dairy like butter and sour cream, so I use those instead of coconut oil and cream; and finally I can’t just eliminate the sugar without everyone in my extended family ridiculing me ad nauseum.
So this is a very simple pumpkin pie made with some nutrient-dense ingredients (eggs, butter, almonds, sour cream, pumpkin purée) and plenty of free radical-fighting spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, lemon zest, vanilla). This version is not Low Carbohydrate though, it is simply a pie.
START WITH THE CRUST
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Now I’m going to do all the mixing for the crust and the filling in the bowl of my 7-cup Cuisinart food processor – because it’s simple and tidy. Into the bowl, add:
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 egg white (reserve the yolk for the filling)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Pulse it up until a dough forms. Press this dough out into a pie plate, and crimp up the edges. Put it in the freezer for ten minutes while your oven gets up to temperature. Finally, prick the pastry with a fork and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, until the crust is barely brown and dry on the surface.
NOW LET’S MAKE THE FILLING
Don’t even wash your food processor bowl; I’m sure it’s fine. Now add:
- 2 eggs plus the reserved yolk
- 1 can of pumpkin purée or equivalent freshly baked pumpkin
- 1 cup of full fat sour cream
- 1/2 cup of rapadura or coconut sugar
- 3 TBS maple syrup
- 1 TBS freshly grated ginger
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp powdered cloves or less
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Pulse a few times until all mixed together. When the crust has finished its 10 minutes in the oven, remove and fill right to the top with this mixture. It will be pretty runny, but the eggs will make it set nicely.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Cook for at least 50 minutes or until it is barely “jiggly” in the center, and before the crust starts to brown too much.
The filling is going to really puff up, and then will deflate a little as it cools.
Serve heated with a generous dollop of whipped cream.
A NOTE ON NATURAL SWEETENERS
Honey is great but I like to use it raw, so never in baking. Agave nectar is too high in fructose, so basically no better than HFCS. Regular table sugar and brown sugar have been really refined, so are missing their trace minerals.
Better to choose maple syrup or molasses for your wet applications, as they are both high in trace minerals. And use rapadura (also called Sucanat) or coconut sugar crystals for your dry applications, as they are simply evaporated, so also high in trace minerals.
Trace minerals don’t make maple syrup, molasses, rapadura or coconut sugar good for you; they just make those sweeteners less of a waste of your time. They all have basically the same 4 or 5g of sugar/carbohydrate per Tablespoon – so are interchangeable depending on what flavor you are going for.
In this recipe, I used 1/2 cup of rapadura, which imparts a mild sulphurous molasses note, and 3 TBSP of maple syrup for a sweeter, earthier note. There is even more natural sugar incorporated from the pumpkin purée, but at least its sugar effect is moderated by its own soluble fiber.
This makes a huge pie. If you divide it into 8 really generous slices, each slice has:
- 19g carbohydrates (13g sugar, 4.7g dietary fiber)
- 26g fat
- 8.4g protein
- 135% of your Vitamin A RDA
- 12% of your Calcium RDA
- 12% of your iron RDA
- trace minerals
I am pretty satisfied with this ratio of fats:carbs:protein at 67:23:19, especially since I know the generous amount of cinnamon and fat will help lower blood sugar spikes resulting from this dessert.
But if you are worried about pleasing your crowd, I would suggest adding at least 1 TBSP of maple syrup, some vanilla and cinnamon to the crust recipe, and possibly adding another TBSP of maple syrup to the filling. You might also cut back on the powdered cloves because some people find them overwhelming.