T-Giving Brunch: Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

>> Monday, November 18, 2013

I like to eat dessert first and, let's be honest, sometimes in place of my meals. That's nothing to brag about, but in planning the perfect Thanksgiving brunch, the pie was foremost on my mind. So, I woke up early yesterday morning and mixed together a gluten-free pie crust I've been meaning to try.

I let the dough chill while I ran my long run (10 miles this week -- feels good being back at double digits again!) . . . and then returned home to finish what I started.

vegan + gluten-free, depending on pie crust

What you'll need . . .
  • Pie crust * 
  • 8 ounces (softened) vegan cream cheese
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup liquid chai mix
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup ground flax meal
  • Pinch salt
* Bob's Red Mill send me some Gluten-Free Pie Crust to try -- one bag makes two crusts. I froze one for later use.
Method . . .
  1. Prepare your pie crust and press it into your plate, then let chill while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar, then add in the chai mix (alternatively, you can use 1/4 cup maple syrup and a teaspoon mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) and pumpkin puree.
  3. Melt chocolate on the stove top or in microwave and then mix well into the rest, along with the flax meal and salt.
  4. Pour mixture into chilled pie crust (I don't usually pre-bake pumpkin pie crusts) and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until edges are browned. 
  5. Let cool before slicing, if you can wait that long.

I don't have tremendous experience with gluten-free baking or pie baking, for that matter. I was impressed with the pie crust. It held together beautifully and tastes delicious. The filling is sweet, but not sickeningly so. I made some mini Chocolate-Pumpkin Pies a few years ago -- and the cream cheese is a fantastic edition. It made the whole flavor more complex and rich.

So, this whole Thanksgiving brunch thing. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas for a mid-day meal that's both sweet and savory -- a crowd-pleaser for vegetarians/vegans and others, alike. At least for me, the dinner has never really excited me much. Brunch, on the other hand, is a meal that just oozes holiday spirit. 

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