Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-Free)

Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-Free)

A few inches of snow cover the sidewalks and a mug of warm black tea is an evening necessity. The fewer hours of daylight make the nights grow long. I check the clock frequently, wondering why time appears to be passing faster than the hands on the clock read. At long last, winter is upon us. The feeling is still fresh, a seasonal novelty. For now, it suits me just fine.

Even though Thanksgiving is only a week away, I could swear that it was nearly Christmas. I fear I am the latest victim of "Christmas creep," the idea that the early exploitation and over-commercialization of Christmas makes it feel as if it is just around the corner instead of an entire month away. With sugar cookies on the brain and a Netflix queue of holiday movies, I knew I needed to do something drastic, lest I grow tired of the holiday season before it had even begun.

And so, I pushed aside thoughts of the holidays, pulled the flour out of the cupboard, and made myself an old-fashioned pumpkin pie. There is nothing more reminiscent of Thanksgiving than a large slice dolloped with whipped cream. I may not be able to stop the "creep," but I do have the power to claim back Thanksgiving as my own.

Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-Free)

Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-Free)

Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-Free)

This pumpkin pie is dairy-free, although you would never guess it. I have been dreaming of this pie long before the leaves fell from the trees, but I waited until the time was right to take it for a spin. I substituted the butter in the crust with dairy-free margarine for a flaky texture (Earth Balance is my personal brand of choice). Instead of heavy cream, I used full-fat coconut milk. I worried that the milk would lend a subtle coconut flavor to the final product, but it is completely masked by the pumpkin and spices. This pie truly tastes exactly like its dairy-filled counterpart, which is an accomplishment of its own.

I shared this pie with my coworkers for a Tuesday lunch dessert. Even unadorned, the entire pie disappeared in short time. One coworker shared that this was the best pumpkin pie she has had since her grandmother had passed away many years ago. To me, there is no higher compliment this pie can receive.

Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-Free)

This dairy-free pumpkin pie will be a hit whether or not its "secret" is revealed. The filling sets up well, but still manages to retain a light texture. The pie is spiced primarily with cinnamon and ginger, which complement the pumpkin nicely. Serve warm or chilled with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.

One Year Ago: Stovetop Popcorn and Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Pear Caramel
Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Rolls, Butternut Squash Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, Baked Apples, and Molasses Cookies with Ginger Cream Cheese Filling
Three Years Ago: Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake, Spicy Pumpkin Taco Dip, Apple Cinnamon Cake, and Grandma's Applesauce
Four Years Ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Fig & Balsamic Jam, Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal, and Sweet Potato Fries

Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-Free)

1 recipe for single pie crust dough
2 1/2 cups (670 grams) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups (315 ml) full-fat coconut milk
Coconut whipped cream, optional

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust dough into a 14-inch round. Wrap dough lightly around rolling pin and transfer to a deep 9-inch pie pan. Gently press dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the dough to allow a 1-inch overhang. Pinch dough between thumb and forefinger to make a decorative edge around the rim. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).

Using a fork, prick a couple dozen holes into the bottom of the crust to prevent the dough from rising. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup, spices, salt, and eggs until uniform. Gradually mix in the vanilla extract and coconut milk. 

Pour the pumpkin filling into the prepared pie crust (depending on the size of your pie pan, you may have a small amount extra). Bake for 75 to 80 minutes, or until the middle barely jiggles when shaken and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the edges darken too quickly, line the outer crust with aluminum foil to prevent further browning. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature to finish cooking the center of the pie.

Serve warm or chilled with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.

Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds

Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds

My Canadian roommate introduced me to maple syrup when I first moved to Montreal. You've never tried real maple syrup before? We need to fix that. She poured a little on a spoon, handed it over, and my love for the sticky sweetener began. In the past, I drowned my pancakes and waffles in Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth's, but pure maple syrup would be my future. 

In Canada, maple syrup is considered a standard commodity and is sold in 15 oz cans, perfect for stacking away in the cupboard. When I moved back to the United States, I tucked a stack of cans of maple syrup in my suitcase. Some were for gifts, but most were for myself. After leaving the land of maple syrup festivals, I thought it best to pack away as much as I could before the only syrup I could get my hands on would come in small, maple leaf-shaped containers.

Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds

Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds

This Maple Syrup Cake comes from Linda Lomelino's newly translated cookbook Lomelino's Cakes: 27 Pretty Cakes to Make Any Day SpecialI have been an admirer of Linda's blog Call Me Cupcake since I began blogging over four years ago. Her first cookbook was published in 2012, written in Swedish, her native tongue. I have anxiously awaited the day it would be translated into English. Her love of cake is pure and shines through in the way she creatively layers and decorates her desserts.

The English version of her cookbook is finally released today and cake seemed like the right way to celebrate. I ever so slightly adapted this recipe from her cookbook to suit the ingredients in my cupboards, substituting the almonds for pecans, and using brown sugar instead of muscovado. The maple flavor comes through so beautifully that I had a hard time leaving the cake along long enough to frost it. 

Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds

To celebrate a love for cake, I am giving away two copies of Linda's cookbook. To enter this giveaway, simply comment below and share your favorite type of cake.

The giveaway ends on Friday, November 14th, at 9:00 pm CST. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents who measure their ingredients in cups. The winners will be chosen randomly and will be contacted shortly thereafter.

Edit: The giveaway is closed and the winners have been chosen.

Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds

Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds has all of the flavors of autumn. A little cinnamon, toasted nuts, and the sweet flavor of maple syrup form the seasonal medley. With maple syrup icing, the cake is complete. The cake recipe is written for 6-inch pans, but, since they can be difficult to come by, a larger pan could be used instead to make a single layer cake.

One Year Ago: Apple Crisp and Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts
Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Waffles, Black Velvet Spider Cupcakes, Apple Cinnamon Scones, and Pear Crisp
Three Years Ago: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Oatmeal Raisin Crisps, Red Wine Chocolate Cake, and Pear & Almond Chocolate Spice Cake
Four Years Ago: Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup, Homemade Apple Cider, and Fresh Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears

Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds
Adapted from Lomelino's Cakes: 27 Pretty Cakes to Make Any Day Special

Yields 6-inch 3-layer cake (or 1 layer 9 inch cake)

Maple Syrup Cake
3/4 cup (106 grams) whole almonds (or pecans)
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar, loosely packed 
6 tablespoons (60 grams) maple syrup
1 large egg 
1 1/4 cups (156 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (177 ml) milk 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease three 6-inch cake pans. Set aside.

Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes in the oven. Place in a food processor and process until the nuts resemble a coarse flour, about 1-3 minutes. Do not overprocess. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the maple syrup and beat until smooth. Add the egg and completely incorporate it into the batter. Gradually add the flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and finely processed almonds. Stir in the milk until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Maple Syrup Frosting
(yields about 2 cups)
3 large egg whites
6 tablespoons (76 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
4 tablespoons (40 grams) maple syrup
3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature 

Place the egg whites and sugars into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmer water (or a double boiler). Use a whisk to beat the mixture until it reaches 150 degrees F (65 degrees C), or until the sugar crystals have dissolved and do not feel grainy when rubbed between your fingers. Remove from heat and add the maple syrup.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the meringue until the mixture is cool and thick and forms glossy, stiff peaks, about 5-7 minutes. Add room temperature butter a small amount at a time. Continue beating frosting 3-5 minutes after all butter has been added.

To Assemble
Place first layer on a serving plate. Spoon frosting into a pastry bag. Using a star tip, pipe circles around the top of the cake, beginning at the outer edge and working inward. It's easier to see what you are doing if you start at the outer edge. If you want the cake to be higher, pipe an extra circle around the outer edge, on top of the previous circle of frosting.

Place next layer on top and repeat the piped circles. Place the last layer on top, cut side down, and leave the exterior unfrosted. Garnish with gold sprinkles, if desired.

Last-Minute Halloween Recipes

Halloween is a marvelous holiday for children, but it loses a bit of its appeal once you become an adult (especially one who lives in a place where little witches and wizards cannot come knocking on the door).  Nowadays, I spend the evening watching horror movies and eating too much candy. This has its own appeal, of course, but I am not sure it has quite the same Halloween spirit as in years past. 

Though I rarely create holiday-themed recipes, I have accumulated my own Hallows' Eve collection over the years. Inspired in part by Harry Potter and a love for the cute and creepy, these recipes would make a fun addition for any last minute weekend preparations. 

Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops

Black Velvet Spider Cupcakes

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Ghost Meringues
Pumpkin Waffles

Pumpkin Waffles (for brunch) | Stovetop Popcorn (because adding your favorite candy bars into the bowl is a delicious decision)