Pecan Pumpkin Pie Baked Porridge

 So I’m told it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow. I only know this because a few of my classmates are American; otherwise the holiday would have totally passed me by. I haven’t been reading blogs too often lately because my laptop recently crashed (hence the lack of updates here; I’m working whenever I can from a  uni computer) so haven’t been keeping up to date on which recipes are trendy right now. But I do love a good slice of pumpkin pie (or two, or three) and if I can have it for breakfast, I will never say no.


Notes: 
Making your own pecan butter is easy: all you have to do is processor the pecan nuts in a high-speed blender or food processor until they turn into a creamy paste (this can take up to 15 minutes, depending on the power of your processor or blender).

50g (1/2 cup) porridge oats
125g (1/2 cup) pumpkin puree
200ml (just over 3/4 cup) of half water, half almond milk 
2 tsp maple syrup
a handful of pecans
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tbsp almond or pecan nut butter

 Pre-heat the oven to 180C (356F). 

In an oven-proof bowl, combine the milk, water, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, spices and oats. Let the mixture stand so the oats can absorb the liquid whilst you prepare the toppings.

Decorate the porridge with pecans and a dollop of almond or pecan nut butter in the middle.

Bake the porridge in the oven for 15-20 minutes. 

Let the bowl cool for 5 minutes before digging in. 

Americans, what’s your favourite thing to eat for Thanksgiving? I’m very curious as I know little about this holiday, so spill the beans 🙂

 

Apple Pumpkin Pie

Remember when I put real pumpkin puree in my hot chocolate? I’ve been pumpkin-mad lately — well, as much as my wallet will allow: a can of pumpkin puree costs £2. (!!!) If anyone knows where to get cheaper pumpkin puree in the UK, let me know. I’ve already looked in most supermarkets and online but it’s the same price everywhere. 


Anyway, the point I was making was that I had another pumpkin-related conversation with my American friend. He was telling me that for him it’s all about the apples right now, whereas i was really looking forward to all pumpkin and all of a sudden it hit me —

PUMPKIN PIE + APPLE PIE = HYBRID APPLE PUMPKIN PIE. 

Granted, this one looks more like a cross between a pumpkin pie and an apple tart, but just didn’t sound as attractive, so a pie I shall name it even though it absolutely, unequivocally is. not. a pie. 

But it’s my blog, so there. 


Notes:
• Look at the pictures above. I tried very hard to conceal it, but you should be able to see that the pecan & date crust is badly constructed. That’s because I forgot to grease and/or line my pie tin. Bad move. You want to make sure you grease, and just for extra precaution line your pie dish, otherwise you will have a hellish time trying to serve up a slice of this pie. It also helps to bake the pie in a spring-form tin. I’ve added comparative photos so you can see the difference. This pie turned out perfectly the second time around.
* The pie looks much more impressive if you choose a smaller pie tin. I tried it with my big 30cm (12″) one first, thinking I would fill it up nicely, but by the time I had realised I wouldn’t, it was too late. I remade the pie in a smaller dish and it worked out fab, but I’d already taken the photos and due to a preposterously busy schedule I simply could not re-shoot the whole damn recipe properly. 


Recipe adapted from ‘Voluptuous Pumpkin Pie’ on The Post Punk Kitchen.

Makes a medium-sized (25cm/10″) pie, serves 8-10

For the crust:

300g (10.5 oz) chopped dates
200g (7 oz) pecans, chopped
100g (3.5 oz) hazelnuts, chopped
 
Pulse the nuts and dates in a food processor until the begin to form a sticky dough. 
 
Press the “dough” into a 25cm (10″) pie tin; it’s easiest to do it with your hands, rather than a spoon or spatula. Set aside for now. 

For the filling:

1 + 1/2 can pumpkin puree, unsweetened
4 tbsp pure maple syrup + extra for drizzling
130ml (1/2 cup) almond milk
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp agar flakes
1 tsp ground cinnamon + extra for garnish
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 small braeburn apples (or any sweet apple of your choice), cored and sliced into half moons (about 4-5mm)

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend thoroughly. This is essential so that the agar flakes are well distributed throughout the mix. 

Pour the filling into the pie tin, spreading it evenly with a spatula. 

Arrange the apple slices such in the photos (or in any which way that tickles your fancy). Drizzle a little maple syrup over the top of the pie. 

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC (356ºF) for 40-45 minutes. Keep checking on the pie; depending on how thinly you sliced the apples your pie may bake more quickly than expected. If it does, lower the heat ever so slightly. 

Cool on wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Serve with some coconut whipped cream or vegan vanilla ice cream, or even a drizzle of soya cream. Dust with a bit of cinnamon powder.

 

What’s your favourite, pumpkin pie or apple pie? (Or apple tart? Pumpkin tart? Is there such a thing as pumpkin tart? Pumpkin apple tarte tatin, anyone?)


Salted Chocolate Tart



Do you see that really nicely edited photo up there? Yours truly has been practising her Photoshop skills. 



Yours truly has been practising many skills lately, and is now utterly tired. Thank goodness for reading weeks. (That’s a week when you’re meant to ‘read’ or study, and do even more work than you do usually, except that there are no classes so you do actually get a breather.) I can’t wait for the Christmas period; I know lots of people find it stressful but I rather delight in the act of cooking for my loved ones, lying in front of the telly watching old favourite films, fairy lights twinkling in the background. No homework, no deadlines; just feasting and being thankful.  

But that’s not for another two months. Before then, I have 13 more assignments to complete and then begin the work placements after Christmas. I am very much enjoying my studies, but I won’t lie, sometimes I need to make a beautiful salted chocolate tart to calm myself a bit. Just looking at a slice of this silky chocolate tart makes me feel more serene.



Note: 
• When I say coconut cream, I mean coconut cream, not creamed coconut. The difference is monumental. Coconut cream is available from Sainsbury’s and other large supermarkets. (I use Amoy, because that is the only brand I am aware of. If you know a cheaper one, do let me know.) Alternatively, full-fat coconut milk might work, or ordinary soya cream if you really don’t like the coconut flavour, but I have not tried these. 
• If you can’t bear the thought of making your own pastry case, I shan’t judge you. Buy a ready-made one, but make sure it fits your tin and is vegan. 
• If you want a thicker slab of chocolate, use a smaller pie tin. You will then have some leftover shortcrust pastry (make another pie!).

For the shortcrust pastry:

225g (2 cups) plain flour
a smidge of stevia or soft, brown sugar
125g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) vegan butter

You can make the shortcrust pastry either in a food processor or in a bowl. If the former, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until they begin to form a dough. If the latter, place the ingredients in a large bowl and, with the pads of your fingers, rub together the flour and butter until they resemble wet sand. Add a splodge of water if your dough is too dry and crumbly. 

Lightly flour a clean surface. Roll out your dough roughly into a large circle, about 1/2 a centimetre thick. Drape it inside a 29cm (11.5 inch) greased pie tin. Fill with baking beans and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC (356ºF) for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the salted chocolate:

250g (8.8 oz) good quality dark chocolate
250ml (1 cup) coconut cream 
2 tbsp maple syrup
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt flakes, plus etra for garnish

Pour the coconut cream into a wee saucepan over medium heat. Roughly chop the chocolate, toss the pieces into the cream and leave it alone. Soon enough the chocolate will start to ooze into the cream, at which point you may begin to swirl the pan to help the chocolate blend with the cream. Or just use a wooden spoon. 

Take the pan off the heat, fold in the maple syrup and sea salt, and after a final stir, set aside to cool. 

When the chocolate is properly cooled, pour into the cooked pastry case and place in the fridge. Depending on how cold your fridge is, it will take between 2 and 4 hours to fully set. You can test the firmness of your tart by shaking it side to side; if the chocolate wobbles, it’s not ready yet. 

Sprinkle sea salt flakes over your tart and serve cold. 

What makes you feel serene?


Lentil & Veg Mini Shepherd’s Pie


A classic comforting meal for the last couple of chilly months ahead. It’s very hearty and keeps you full for long–you know what they say, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

I made the pies with these beautiful carrots. You don’t have to pick different colours (I know it’s hard, if not downright impossible, to find these kinds in supermarkets) but it’s fun to try something a bit more special than your normal orange carrots. 

Serve with a boatload of boiled peas (my favourite! I could eat these all day long).


Makes 10-12 little pies, or 1 big one
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes, if multi-tasking, plus 20 minutes baking

Ingredients:
4 medium carrots
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
approx. 200ml vegetable stock
100g puy lentils
a knob of vegan margarine
1/2 leek

Instructions:
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Bring vegetable stock to the boil in a large saucepan.
Finely chop all vegetables and simmer in the vegetable stock for 15 minutes until soft. The stock should have been absorbed by the vegetables after this time. 
Cook the lentils separately for 25 minutes (or according to package instructions).
Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes until soft, then mash (either by hand of with a food processor). Add a little bit of vegan margarine to make them buttery if you wish. 
Butter the ovenproof pie dish(es). Combine all the vegetables and lentils and spoon them into the bottom of the dish(es). Cover with the mash and bake in the oven for 20 minutes (slightly longer if you are making one large pie). 

The Cookie Fairy

Pumpkin Pie with Speculoos Crust


The idea for this recipe was so clear and simple in my mind, I was assured of its immediate success. 

The pie, yet unmade, begged to differ. 

It took three trials and much, much research to get it right. Before anyone tells me three trials for a dessert recipe is nothing, consider this: I am but a humble student who needs to feed herself well enough to keep alert during lectures, and this on a budget tight as a corset. This isn’t exactly a cheap pie to make–not by my standards–so shopping at Waitrose for pumpkin puree was getting a bit pricy. 


Third time’s the charm. 

But finally, finally it all came together to form a deeply satisfying creamy texture, along with the right autumny flavours and the right colour. My first pie was too spicy; the second’s filling sunk tremendously; they were both too dark. But after all that effort I am rewarded with a recipe I will be able to use every year for the rest of my life, and providing my future children won’t be too picky, I’ll pass it down to them. 


They better be grateful, after all I went through. 

Makes a small, 8 inch pie
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
For the filling:
1 +1/2 can pumpkin puree
50g firm tofu
1-2 tbsp arrowroot powder (more makes the pie firmer–choose how gooey you like your filling)
3 tbsp maple syrup
75ml coconut cream (or scoop the fat out of a chilled can of full-fat coconut milk, not shaken or stirred)
2 tsp mixed spiced (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the crust:
250g speculoos biscuits
75g vegan margarine or fat spread

Instructions:
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. 
Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until they have become a fine, sandy powder. Add the vegan margarine and keep on processing until the powder starts to clump together. Transfer to a buttered/lined springform pan and press the crust mixture down with your fingers, making sure it forms a solid base. Don’t worry too much about pressing it to the sides. Leave it in the fridge to set while you get on with the filling.
In a food processor or blender, whizz together the tofu and maple syrup until you obtain a smooth paste. Transfer this to a mixing bowl and add the rest of the filling ingredients, using a spatula to fold them in. Have a taste to make sure the spices are to your satisfaction. 
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. 

Do make sure to let the pie cool before you attempt to release it from the springform; while it is hot, the base will be fragile and the filling may not have set completely. Your patience will be rewarded in the end, I promise 🙂



— Clem