Healthy Pumpkin Pie

This is a healthy version of pumpkin pie that is not lacking at all in the flavor department. Using roasted pumpkin instead of processed canned pumpkin gives this pie a deeper flavor and enhances the natural sweetness of the pumpkin. This means you'll need less sugar.

Pumpkins are a healthy food choice; they are packed with beta-carotene and fiber. But did you know the seeds are loaded with vitamins, minerals and healthy omega-3 fats? I use pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil in the graham cracker crust. Pumpkin seed oil may be difficult to find, but it is definitely worth your time to search for it. It is not only incredibly healthy, it also has a deep nutty flavor that can't be found elsewhere. It is a flavor that goes very well with pumpkin, not surprisingly. If you don't have it, you may substitute the oil of your choice.

For the roasted pumpkin, choose your favorite type. Most stores sell small pie pumpkins in the fall. These smaller varieties tend to be sweeter and less stringy than the jack-o-lantern types. Butternut squash is also an excellent option and is technically a pumpkin. Whichever you choose, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Brush lightly with pumpkin seed oil and roast in a 425 degree F oven until soft, about 1 hour. Scoop out the pumpkin and put into the work bowl of your food processor fitted with a multipurpose blade. Process until very smooth.

Many types of pumpkin have seeds without skins or hulls; those seeds are the kind you want for this recipe. If your pumpkin has hull-less seeds, that's perfect. If not, get the seeds separately.

Ingredients for Crust

1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds

12 graham crackers (use whole grain for a healthier option)

2 tablespoons of pumpkin seed oil, or other oil of choice

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the pumpkin seeds into the work bowl of your food processor fitted with a multipurpose blade. Pulse until they are very well chopped. Add the graham crackers and pulse again until everything is in small crumbs. Add the pumpkin seed oil and pulse until well combined.

Press the crust into a lightly greased 8 inch pie pan. Bake for 8 minutes, then cool for at least 5 minutes before filling.

Ingredients For Filling

4 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature

1/4 cup of honey

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

2 cups of roasted pumpkin purée

1/4 cup of heavy cream 

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of ground mace

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

2 large chicken eggs

Directions

Put the cream cheese, honey and vanilla extract into the work bowl of your favorite food processor and turn to "on." Let run for three full minutes to blend well. Add the roasted pumpkin, heavy cream, cinnamon, mace and ginger. Pulse to combine, then run for three more minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Pulse to combine then process everything for a full three minutes. Be sure to pulse before turning to "on" or a mess will result.

Pour the filling into the baked and cooled crust. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving; the filling will not be fully set until the pie is cooled.


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