Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Healthier Pumpkin Pie

How do you know you have met 'the one'?

Do you just wake up one morning and think, yes, this is the person I will spend the rest of my life with? Or do you think that you will never really know and will simply wake up one morning in your mid thirties and go crap, time to get married so my friends and family get off my back?

I like to think you just know... at least to some extent. Perhaps you don't simply wake up and with 100% certainty know that they are 'the one' for you, but you certainly think that they could be.

The moment I realized I loved William was after Spring Cycle last year. I had for the first time met his family, been inside his childhood home and really let into his life. After a day of cycling around Sydney and a celebratory BBQ with his family, I realized how much I loved being a part of his life. Being there in that moment with him just felt natural, like I belonged there and how I could happily spend the rest of my life enjoying such moments with him.

For William I think he realized he loved me when he discovered I loved pumpkin pie. No seriously... I honestly think it was.

Most Australians have never tried (or heard of!) pumpkin pie. Its just not something that anyone born in Australia grew up eating and it is not a symbolic dish for any of our holidays unlike in the US and Canada. William being raised in a Canadian family grew up with the dish and has developed a deep sentimental attachment to it. When I told him I too loved pumpkin pie he looked surprised and said, "how on earth did I find an Australian girl who has tried and likes pumpkin pie?!" Well luckily for him he was dating an Australian girl addicted to American food blogs!

As it was our anniversary last week I decided to make this relationship defining dish, however added a few tweaks to make it 'Brooke' diet appropriate. I would of loved to have made it with a more healthier crust but I took the large tub of crisco bought for me by William as a hint to what he would prefer. Crisco is not sold commonly in Australia, and for anyone wondering what it is, it is essentially vegetable shortening and is used in pastry in place of butter. You can buy it at specialty Thomas Dux Grocers and also online at USA Foods.

For our anniversary we went for a lovely walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and then dined at Circular Quay at a scrumptious waterfront restaurant. The beautiful weather and scenery made it a perfect day spent with the man who I believe is perfect for me.

For the pie I used wholemeal spelt in the crust, which despite my gluten sensitivity I can digest rather well and I also replaced all sugar with stevia and the cream with coconut milk. The result was a rich yet not overly indulgent pie, refined sugar and dairy free and with William giving it the big tick of approval. I urge all Australians to at least try pumpkin pie because it it honestly delicious and nothing like what you would expect a pie made from a vegetable to taste like!

Healthier Pumpkin Pie
Serves 8-10


1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening (or 100g butter for Australians who can't find crisco)
1 1/2 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt

Pie Filling
1 1/2 cup puréed pumpkin (feel free to use Libby's canned pumpkin if you have it!)
2 eggs
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
3/4 cup granulated stevia
2 tbsp wholemeal spelt flour


1. For the Crust: Place the crisco/butter in a food processor. Add the flour and blitz until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the salt and vinegar and blitz again until the mixture comes together. You may need to add more flour depending on how wet your mixture is.
2. Once the mixture resembles a workable dough, knead it with the palm of your hand for about 30 seconds before shaping it into a ball and wrapping it in plastic. Place the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour to rest.
3. For the filling: Meanwhile place the eggs in a stand alone mixer and beat on medium until pale and creamy. Add the stevia and coconut milk, beating again. Add the spices, vanilla and pumpkin, beating until combined. Finally add the flour, mixing for a further 30 seconds on low until incorporated.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Once the dough has finished resting, roll it out on a dusted surface until it has reached a desired thickness, which will depend on your taste- we like our crust thin. Once rolled out, roll the dough over the rolling pin so you can pick it up and unfold over a prepared pie dish. Trim the edges and place baking paper and pie weights on top of the crust as it needs to be blind baked.
5 Blind bake for 20 minutes with the weights on top, and then a further 10 with the weights and baking paper removed. Remove the crust from the oven and pour the filling into the partially baked pie crust, which should now be light golden brown in color. After smoothing the top of the filling with the back of a large spoon, place the pie back in the oven to bake for a further 40-50 min, until the center of the pie has just set, meaning it is firm but still has a nice little wobble to it.
6. Once set, remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before serving. Eat immediately at room temperature or refrigerate to be eaten cold later. This pie will keep in the fridge for up to a week.


  1. A fantastic effort from a fantastic girl! xoxo

  2. You are an amazing girlfriend and I am sure he knows u are a keeper :)! Love the healthier pumpkin pie...especially the use of coconut milk!

  3. We don't have pumpkin pie in Italy either. I tried this exotic (for me) pie just once in my life. I hate pumpkin, cannot eat it. But the pie... oh my, the pie is JUST delicious! Your healthy version goes straight in to my to-do list.

    p.s. Canadians knows best :) :)

  4. I always find it strange when people say that they don't like pumpkin pie. I love the stuff although I didn't grow up on it :) I love that this was your qualifier!

  5. Beautiful blog post Brookie! Stunning photos. You make me want to try pumpkin pie. :-) Mads. x

  6. I love everything pumpkin...and have been eating lots of them since late August. Your pumpkin pie look wonderful.

  7. I have fallen in love with your blog after reading only two post that struck a cord and tugged on my homesick heartstrings! I am an American living in Australia with my Australian husband. I came across your blog while searching for a Paleo pulled pork recipe (which is cooking in the crock pot at the moment) then your pumpkin pie post pulled me in hook, line and sinker. Also the suggestion where you can get some US ingredients was great too. Looking foward to following your blog and trying the paleo pumpkin pie............by the way you can get a awesome "American" pumpkin pie at Costco..........but I am sure it is a long way from Paleo or healthy, but may have to be my Thanksgiving treat!!!

  8. I'm from the states and grew up on pumpkin pie and I love your version using healthier ingredients. How romantic to fall in love over pumpkin pie. Maybe sometime soon he'll make one himself and place a ring in it. Now that would be a love story!

    Yes I think after years of dating you finally single out the perfect guy and realize he's your match. Wishing you and William years of happiness together. ;-)

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