Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Throw away that trendy spiced latte and make yourself some pumpkin pie that actually tastes like pumpkin. Coconut milk is the secret ingredient to this awesome dessert.
By: Carol Blymire
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

AKA Touch the Pie (Gotta Testify, Lookin' Extra Fly)

I don't know about you, but I can't listen to music while I work. It's too distracting. I can't pay attention to the work and I can't pay attention to the song. So iTunes stays on lockdown during the workday. But when I'm home cooking? It’s a different story. There's music in the kitchen and I might check out my reflection in the window during the occasional booty pop, I'm not gonna lie. When I bake, it’s all hip-hop and old '70s soul and funk.

I was very much into Kanye West's album Late Registration a year or so after it came out, right around the time I started trying to figure out how to make a gluten-free pumpkin pie. I'd just gotten home from my parents' house after my first gluten-free, and thus very sad, Thanksgiving, and I was on a mission to make a gluten-free pumpkin pie that would make me look forward to the holiday the next year. I docked my iPod into the speakers and filled the house with music. Something about that Kanye album has a great baking rhythm to it. I can't explain it.

Music on, singing along, I tinkered with my grandmother's pumpkin pie recipe, experimenting with spices in the filling, then with flour blends for the crust. It took a few tries, but when I ran out of evaporated milk, I subbed in come coconut milk, and the clouds parted and the angels sang, and I knew I'd cracked the code. Sure, a gluten-free crust was important, but making the filling taste even more like pumpkin was the icing on the cake — or the whipped cream on the pie.

This pie will make your gluten-free loved one throw his or her arms around you in a big old Thanksgiving hug. Having a pie like this makes those of us with celiac disease feel normal, like we have a seat at the table for dessert during our favorite food holiday.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

The secret to making this pumpkin pie taste more like pumpkin and less like too much sugar and spice? Coconut milk! Too often, pumpkin pies are too sweet, or too thick and rich. This custardy filling has a nice balance of fall spices and earthy, sweet pumpkin. Not too sweet, just sweet enough. It's creamy and smooth, and the crust will taste just like the real thing. Happy new memories for the newly gluten-free, to be sure!

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Yield: Two 9-inch pies
Level: Easy

For the crust
1 cup sweet white rice flour (mochiko)
1/2 cup oat flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
7 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar
1/4 cup cold water

For the filling
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
5 eggs, lightly whisked
One 30-ounce can pumpkin puree
One 14-ounce can coconut milk
One 5-ounce can evaporated milk
Whipped cream or whipped topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine sweet rice flour, oat flour, potato starch, pecans, xanthan gum, salt and ground ginger. Using your hands, mix in the butter and pinch until mixture is crumbly.

Add the egg, vinegar and water, and fold it in with a large fork or slotted spoon until fully combined. Bring the dough together into a ball.

Divide dough ball in half. Cover one half with plastic wrap and set aside. Place remaining half between two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Remove top sheet of paper and invert dough into greased 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Peel away wax or parchment paper and trim excess crust. Turn edges under and crimp as best you can. Repeat with remaining dough for second pie crust.

Prepare the filling by mixing the sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Stir in eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut milk and evaporated milk. Stir until well combined.

Pour filling evenly into both pie shells.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 50 minutes. Carefully remove from oven, and cool on baking rack for 2 hours. Serve within a few hours or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream or topping before serving.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

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