I’m so proud of myself right now. I can’t help it, just look at the pie, my very first pumpkin pie. Oh, did I mention the filling is made from scratch too?
Despite the idea of making things from scratch is impressive in my book, I’m convinced that I’ll need a shortcut for the filling next time. Some of you will agree that peeling through the stubborn exterior of a pumpkin (actually about a quarter of a Japanese pumpkin) and cutting it into pieces are no piece of cake, especially when you’re relying on an old and blunt generic knife to do the job for you. I should have used pre-made pumpkin puree instead. I should have. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’ll make much difference, am I correct? Even if there is any difference, there’s nothing nutmeg and cinnamon can’t fix right?
The filling aside, I’m happy with the crust. Cornflakes and peanut butter, a tad unusual combination but guess what, they were in perfect harmony. The original recipe calls for cashew nut paste but if you read my post here, you’ll know that I won’t go out of my way to buy an ingredient that isn’t going to be used regularly. Normally I will happily omit the ingredient but since this is a baking task, I fear any omission of ingredient might lead to a baking disaster. Spending some time browsing through my pantry, imagining what MacGyver would do when faced with such kitchen crisis, I’ve managed to resolve the crisis with peanut butter. Clever, eh?
Pumpkin Pecan Pie with Cornflakes Crust
Enough to fill a 20cm/8 inched round cake pan
Note: I’ve doubled the peanut butter and honey as the portions provided in the original recipe don’t seem to create a mixture sticky enough to form a pie shell. I would start with 2 tbsps each for peanut butter and honey. Add more until you achieve the desire consistency. For me, it took me up to 4 tbsps for both ingredients.
One of my tasters (a friend who has great confidence in his culinary skill) has highlighted the lack of spices in the pie. To be honest, I’m satisfied with the amount of spices in the recipe. If you go through the recipe, there are a lot flavours coming from the cornflakes, cranberries, coconut, pecan etc. If I intesify the spices, I think it’s just going to confuse our tastebuds, what do you think? Again, this is up to individual taste so feel free to adjust to your liking.
6 cups / 180g / 6oz cornflakes
1/2 cup / 45g /1.5 oz desiccated coconut
2 tbsps pecan nuts, finely chopped
4 tbsps peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
4 tbsps honey
750g / 1.5 lbs pumpkin, deseeded, peeled & diced about 1-2 inched cube
5 tbsps pure maple syrup
juice and zest of 1 orange (if you’re using large navel orange, halve the amount)
2 tbsps vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 free range egg whites
100g / 3.5 oz dried cranberries or fresh sliced dates to scatter on the crust before adding the filling
Whole pecan nuts to garnish
1. Roast diced pumpkin in a preheated oven to 200 degrees Celsius / 392 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool. Reset the oven temperature to 165 degrees Celsius / 330 degrees Fahrenheit to continue preheating the oven for baking the pie later on.
2. To prepare the crust: Combine the cornflakes, coconut, pecan nuts, peanut butter and honey in a food processor. Blend until the mixture sticks together when squeezed.
3. Press the cornflakes mixture down on a pie dish to form a base and bring a little way up the sides. If you’re using a cake tin, make sure to line the cake tin with parchment paper.
4. To make the filling: Put the pumpkin, maple syrup, orange zest and juice, vanilla, spices and egg whites in a food processor. Process until well combined.
5. Sprinkle the dried cranberries over the base of the pie shell (picture below) and spoon over the pumpkin mixture.
6. Top with the pecan nuts and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the filling is firm. Cool. Serve chilled or at room temperature.