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Dan's Wheat Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie Recipe (Parve)

Kashrut -- For additional Kosher and Kosher for Passover cooking instructions for this recipe.

Dan's pumpkin pie

Updated 11/24/09

Since the fall of 1999 I have had to be on a gluten-free and casein-free diet (commonly abbreviated GF-CF), which means I cannot have any wheat or dairy products. This ends up being a very difficult diet since almost every dish and processed food you can think of ends up having some amount of wheat and dairy products or by-products.

The up side is that I have never felt better in my life, have lost 65 pounds, and have easily maintained my reduced weight. The down side is that many things that were my favorite treats are now off limits.

I used to make a fantastic pumpkin pie. However, the wheat crust and evaporated milk in traditional recipes makes it off limits. So, I set out to make a pumpkin pie that was within my diet's limitations.

There are basically two parts to any pie recipe: the crust and the filling. My piecrust is a faux graham-cracker crust made out of a GF-CF all corn breakfast cereal. My filling is a traditional pumpkin pie recipe but substituting rice milk for evaporated milk and adding extra egg and tapioca for body.

Disclaimers and warnings:

In each ingredient specified be sure to carefully check the actual products you intend to use and confirm that there is nothing in them that violates your particular diet needs. Even if you are used to using a particular brand and once in the past determined it was "safe" you still need to keep checking them – they sometimes change their recipe! For a long time we used “Blue Bonnet” margarine because it initially had no dairy products. However, at some point they changed the composition and started to include some dairy products. I only noticed because I started to have my old reactions to dairy products and we had to check everything again to find the culprit.

Finally: I personally can handle minute traces of wheat/gluten but cannot handle ANY dairy. I think of my diet as "gf-CF." For example I can tolerate the small amounts of gluten that commercial spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger may have but I have read that many people on the GF CF diet cannot. Your mileage may vary.

Rice Dream Gluten Warning: Rice Dream rice milk products do contain traces of "gluten from barley protein at less than 0.002%" If you need truly gluten free then you'll probably need to use a soy-based product (it turns out I can't tolerate soy).

Egg warning: This recipe has eggs in it. If you cannot have eggs you will have to try whatever you have good luck with substituting in the recipe. The eggs supply “stiffening” of the filling, which otherwise will stay liquid.

Corn based piecrust

Makes two 10-inch pie shells

2/3 cup margarine (Shedd's Willow Run Soybean Margerine)
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups crushed corn flakes (Nature's Path GF CF "Honey'd Corn Flakes") – a bit over one full 10.6 oz box of cereal.
Notes: I've specified brands that, to date, have proven to be okay to use. Many brands of margarine HAVE dairy products in them. Check the ingredients carefully. Almost ALL "corn flakes" have wheat in them. Nature's Path is an exception.

Crush corn flakes to a coarse to fine meal in a food processor. A blender should be able to do this too. I suppose you could just pound at it in a sturdy bowl but this may be the real excuse to buy a food processor! I use an attachment for my blender. The finer the better but you'll find you can't really turn it into a powder (but it'd be nice if you could!).

Melt margarine and pour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar. Add crushed corn flakes.

I find mixing it all up with a pastry cutter works best but almost nobody has one of these anymore. Pastry cutters were for "cutting" big blocks of butter or margarine into flour and that kind of cooking is so non-PC these days even the tools are now hard to find.

Anyway, if you don't have a pastry cutter, use a pair of butter knives and mix the melted butter/sugar thoroughly into the corn meal. Divide all but a little bit of the mix into the two pie dishes.

I then gentle the mix into a pie-shell shape using a lid from a plastic food container. You could also use the bottom of a small bowl. Start soft and then as the shape and amount are about right start really pressing it down.

If you find any thin spots, add the bit of mix you left in the bowl to cover it. Set the pie dishes aside in the refrigerator.

Rice based piecrust

Makes two 10-inch pie shells

2/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
3 tbsp potato starch
1 tsp xantham gum
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp Gluten-free baking powder
3 tbsp cold dairy-free margerine (omit and double the shortening below if you can't find a suitable margerine)
3 tbsp cold vegetable shortening in small pieces
1   egg yolk
3 tsp cold water
1 tsp cider vinegar

Blend the dry ingredients.

Cut in margarine and shortening until mixture resembles a course meal. Add egg yolk, water, and vinegar.

Wrap dough in plastic and press into a ball. Chill for 1 hour. 4. Between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll dough out into a 12-inch circle (about 1/4-inch thick). Remove top sheet of plastic wrap and flip pastry onto a 10-inch pie plate. Keeping the plastic wrap over the top of the crust, pat it into the pan, piecing together any parts that separate when the crust lands in the pan. Remove the second sheet of plastic wrap. Crimp edges.

Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie filling

Makes two nine inch pies

1 cup sugar (1-1/2 cup if using the rice-based crust)
1/4 cup Brown Rice Cream hot cereal mix (or tapioca pudding mix (tapioca pearls work ok, too)). The rice cereal really helps the pie firm up.
1/4 cup tapioca flour (or omit and double the rice cereal or tapioca mix above)
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground cloves
1 tsp. Ground ginger
4 large whole eggs
2 large egg whites
1 can (29 oz.) Libby's “100% Pure Pumpkin”
3 cups rice milk (soy is OK too if you like it).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, clover, ginger, and tapioca into a small bowl.

Beat eggs in a large bowl (I use the main mixing bowl for my big mixer) and then add the canned pumpkin. Running the mixer, add the sugar/spice mix, lastly add the rice milk. Mix thoroughly.

Pour into the pie shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, turn down to 350 degrees (maybe open the oven door for a sec to let some heat out), turn the pies a bit if spots of the crust are burning, and bake for another 40 minutes.

Usually you test a pumpkin pie for "doneness" by sticking a knife in the center and it's done if nothing sticks when you pull it out. That doesn't work with this recipe since it isn't doesn't make a pie that solid (when hot out of the oven). So, I say the pies are done if he center is not completely liquid. If you care, the pies solidify nicely when refrigerated overnight. However, mine rarely survive long enough to even cool down ...

© Dan Swearingen 2006