This pie is perfect for dessert! The creamy filling and the crunchy nuts are a perfect pair. Recipe Credit: Fran Costigan

Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans [Vegan]

Serves

8-10

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Ingredients

To Make the Tender Olive Oil Pastry Crust:

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 108 grams organic all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup / 103 grams organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 75 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil ice-cold, plus more at room temperature to grease the pie pan
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons 30 to 38 ml ice water

For the Candied Pecans:

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, grade B or dark amber
  • 2 teaspoons molasses, barley malt or coconut nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups raw pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons dark whole cane sugar (Sucanat) or coconut sugar

For the Filling:

  • 1 12.5 ounce aseptic box of firm silken tofu
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree or 1
  • (15-ounce) can organic pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup dark whole cane sugar (Sucanat or coconut sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, grade B or dark amber, divided
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
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Preparation

To Make the Crust:

  1. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Whisk the flours in their containers to aerate, and measure the all-purpose flour and pastry flour into the strainer using the “whisk, dip, and sweep” method (page 63). Add the salt to the strainer and stir with a wire whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.
  2. Drizzle the cold oil over the flour mixture. Using a silicone spatula, toss until the oil is coated with flour. Do not break up the irregular fat pieces that form. These lumps are equivalent to the solid shortening used in conventional recipes and help to create a flaky crust.
  3. In a small dish, stir the vinegar into 2 tablespoons of the ice water. Drizzle the liquid over the mass of dough and shake the bowl; this will get the water into the dough without extra handling. Handling as little as possible is one of the important rules of making pie dough. Toss gently, using the spatula, until all the flour is moistened and a rough mass of dough holds together. Do not over mix. It is unlikely that more water will be needed, but if it is, use only as much as needed so that the dough holds together. Do not squeeze or press the dough into a round at this point.
  4. It’s easier to roll half the dough at a time (and easier to find refrigerator space for 2 smaller pieces.) Turn half the dough at a time onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Enclose the dough lightly, al- lowing enough space for it to move freely. Pass a rolling pin over the dough until it is about 1 inch / 2.5 cm thick. Repeat with the other half. If you have extra-wide plastic wrap, you may wrap the dough in one piece. Rest the wrapped dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  5. Shape the crust: Unwrap the dough but do not dis- card the plastic wrap. Cut off small pieces of dough with a sharp knife. (The pieces do not have to be uniform in size.) Scatter the pieces over the bottom of the pan and on the sides.
  6. Cover the pan with a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten the pieces of dough with your fingertips by spreading them out until they form an even layer that covers the bottom and sides of the pan. Patch with extra dough as needed. Even out the dough by pressing on it with a flat-bottomed 1⁄2-measuring cup.
  7. If using a pie pan, flute the edges. If using a tart pan, press the dough straight up the sides. Press lightly on the top edges of the pan with the cup to smooth the top ridge. Clean the outside of the pan of any dough. Wrap the dough in the pan lightly in plastic and refrigerate for 40 minutes or up to 4 hours be- fore baking. Set a timer, and don’t let it go longer than 4 hours.
  8. Blind bake the crust: Preheat your oven to 425 ̊F / 220 ̊C while the pie dough rests in the refrigerator. Position one rack in the lower third of the oven and another in the center.
  9. Put the pie or tart pan on a baking sheet and remove the plastic wrap. Do not prick the dough. Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the pie pan. Crumple the paper to make it more flexible, and place it on the pie dough. Put a piece of heavy duty foil on top of the parchment paper, shiny side down, and fill with pie weights or dried beans used for this purpose.
  10. Bake on the lower rack for 17 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and very carefully remove the beans in the foil and the parchment. Unless the dough is completely dry, without any shine of oil, return the dough to the oven for 5 minutes. Do not bake longer or the crust will crack. (Should this happen, brush a little melted chocolate over the cracks to seal when the pie crust is cooled.) Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

To Make the Pie:

  1. Position a rack in the lowest section of the oven and another rack in the middle, and preheat to 375 degrees. To make the filling, tip the water out of the box of tofu. Add the tofu and pumpkin to a food processor and process until creamy.
  2. Clean the sides of the processor bowl with a spatula, and add the sugar, spices, salt, 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and the vanilla. Process a minute until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Combine the arrowroot and remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until the arrowroot is dissolved. Add to pumpkin mixture and process about a minute.
  4. To bake the pie, remove the pie dough (fitted into the pan) from the refrigerator and place the pie pan on a sheet pan. Pour the filling into the crust.
  5. Bake on the lower rack for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Move the pie to the upper rack and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling looks darker and has a sheen. The filling will have cracked and the center will jiggle when the pie is moved. A knife inserted into a crack near the center will come out almost clean and feel hot. The filling will firm as the pie cools.
  6. Cool the pie to room temperature on a footed wire rack. Cover with parchment paper and refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours.

To Make the Candied Nuts:

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the maple syrup and molasses in a medium bowl. Add the pecans and toss until well coated. Spread the pecans on the prepared sheet in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the dark whole cane or coconut sugar. Bake 4 minutes and stir. Bake 3 or 4 minutes longer, until the sugar is melted and bubbling. an
  4. Set the baking sheet on a rack and allow the nuts to cool to room temperature. Store the nuts until they are needed for the pie, in a tightly covered container, at room temperature. They can be made 2 to 3 days ahead.

To Assemble the Pie:

  1. Remove the pie from the refrigerator an hour ahead of serving to allow it to return to room temperature.
  2. When you are ready to serve the pie, or up to 15 minutes before serving, place the nuts decoratively on top, as many or as few as you like. Or serve the pie without nuts and pass a bowl of nuts around the table.
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Notes

A tender pie crust requires oil that is icy-cold but still liquid. –  Measure the amount of oil you need at room temperature and pour it into a small freezer-proof container. –  Cover and freeze for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the oil has become slightly thicker. –  Check the oil as it chills; you do not want it to get so cold that it solidifies. Don’t be fooled by the consistency: frozen, solidified oil will not mix into the flour mixture properly. –  If the oil has chilled too long and is solid, allow it to liquefy at room temperature (this will take 20 minutes, more or less) and chill it again. Remember to set a timer! Note: After the ingredients are mixed, the dough rests for 45 minutes to 4 hours—but after 4 hours the dough will be too greasy to use and will have to be discarded. Makes one (9 to 9 1⁄2 -Inch / 23 to 24-Cm) Pie Crust, Tart Crust, Or Freeform Tart Keeping: The baked crust can be kept loosely wrapped overnight at room temperature.

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