Pie-a-Day #3: Hugo’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie

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This recipe comes to us from Tom Kaplan who is the owner of Hugo’s Restaurant in West Hollywood.

A cross between a pie and a cheesecake, Head Chef Nabor Diaz and I created this vegan, gluten-free Pumpkin Pie one holiday and it became so popular it’s still on our dessert menu.  For those who aren’t vegan or have dairy allergies, it is mounded with whipped cream, but it’s just as tasty without.  People who love a traditional cheesecake texture and flavor will find it comparable in taste to a traditional recipe.

Bake at 350

1 cup pecans
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter substitute

Put all ingredients in food processor and process to a crumbled texture.  Press evenly into 9 inch cheesecake form.  Bake for 10 minutes and cool before filling.

3 lbs pumpkin puree (3 16 oz cans)
1 1/4 cup raw cashews water to cover
2 Tablespoons agar agar dissolved in OJ)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Xanthan gum
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
1 tsp ground ginger
2 Tablespoons corn starch
4 oz butter substitute (1 stick)
1/4 tsp salt

While crust is baking, prepare 3 pots – two small (1 quart) and one medium (2 quart) – on the stove.  Put cashew nuts in one small pot and cover with water.  Cook on medium heat until soft (approximately 15-20 min.)  Drain.

In the second 1 qt stir agar agar into orange juice and place on low heat for approximately 5 minutes until dissolved. In the medium pot mix pumpkin puree, dry spices and corn starch together and place on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes.

In blender put cashews, orange juice mixture, molasses, vanilla, lemon juice, salt and blend for about 2 minutes, until smooth. Add xanthan gum to pumpkin and mix completely in food processor for 1 minute.  Combine all ingredients and fill pie shell.  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.  Let cool in refrigerator (about 2 hours) before serving.

PUMPKIN BRITTLE TOPPING – optional, yield 2 Cup
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tablespoons butter substitute
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

Grease a sheet pan.  In a deep sauce pan, place sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until melted to a caramel color.  Add all other ingredients except baking soda, stirring until mixture begins to bubble and foam up.  Remove from heat immediately and stir in baking soda, mixing thoroughly.  Pour onto sheet pan and let cool completely at room temperature.  Break into pieces and sprinkle on top of pumpkin pie.