Don’t send a Thanksgiving lynching mob after me, but I generally don’t care too much about pies. I am already not a huge dessert person, but if I am going to have a little something sweet, I’d probably always opt for chocolate. Gimme this Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Tart and I’ve got everything I need. But, I am fully aware that pies are part of holiday spreads for a reason, pies go with Thanksgiving like peanut butter to jelly. I am currently also painfully aware of baking’s ability to heal and it’s important role in relieving stress, something I have personally been in great need of since the election. So here we are, with an epic pumpkin pie that will change the minds of even the greatest pie skeptics.
I have always loved the idea of a pumpkin pie, as I am a big fan of pumpkin-spiced everything, but generally I find many pumpkin pies to be just a tad lacking. First, it’s just your standard pie crust, nothing too special there, not a ton of flavor, then the pumpkin filling gets a little spicing and maybe you top it all with a little whipped cream. To me, it just always feels like it’s missing a little something. It lacks a little dessert flair. I also find that when you add adequate spices and a sweetener with some depth, beyond just standard refined white sugar, the color of a finished pumpkin pie just ends up pretty drab. Beigy brown toasted edge crust, a orangey-brown filling. I dunno, I feel like we can do better than this you guys!
This Grain-free Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Macaroon Crust and Cinnamon Vanilla Meringue may be a mouthful with it’s name, but I can tell you on just one bite of this treat, you will see that the name and the various elements are all very much worth it. The crust brings flavors of crumbled gingersnap cookies combined with coconut-loaded macaroons. What a perfect marriage of two amazing cookies, am I right?
The filling then features coconut milk rather than dairy, that has been infused with Stash Tea’s Cinnamon Vanilla Herbal Tea before it blends with the rest of the standardly spiced pumpkin filling, bringing in flavors of the holidays along with subtle notes of earthiness from the rooibos herbal tea, and soothing, comforting goodness from the chamomile. The cinnamon vanilla meringue topping not only mirrors the spicy sentiments of the rest of the pie, but it also brings a bright, creamy pop of white to an otherwise drab-colored pie. Like a puffy, cloud of goodness.
I, in fact, also love to serve this pie with an additional warm mug of Stash Tea’s Cinnamon Vanilla Herbal Tea on the side, with just a splash of homemade vanilla bean creamer because you can never have too much of a good thing. Well, maybe that’s not totally true, but we are going with it here.
I recommend making the pie earlier in the day of (or the day before) when you plan to serve it and make the meringue just before serving for the very best and freshest results. It takes but a few minutes. Pop the meringue-topped pie under the broiler or if you have a kitchen torch, that will work beautifully, too – this last step gets those golden brown peaks and almost a little crisp on the meringue.
Grain-free Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Macaroon Crust and Cinnamon Vanilla Meringue
Gingersnap Macaroon Pie Crust
- 3 ¼ cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger root, or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3 large pasture-raised egg whites, reserve yolks for the filling
- 3 tablespoon honey, local or organic is best
- 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pumpkin Pie Filling
Cinnamon Vanilla Meringue Topping
- 5 large pasture-raised egg whites, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Liberally grease a 9-inch pie pan with coconut oil. (I use a slightly more deep pie pan, rather than the more shallow style)
- First start by infusing the coconut milk with the tea. Heat the coconut milk in a small pan over a medium heat, to a simmer, it should be steaming. Remove the pan from the heat, pour the milk into a mug and add the Stash Tea Cinnamon Vanilla Herbal Tea bags. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags, giving them a squeeze first and allow the tea infused coconut milk to cool while you make the crust.
- Make the Crust. In a medium sized bowl, add the shredded coconut, arrowroot starch, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of sea salt. Stir together to combine.
- In another bowl, whisk together the egg whites, the honey and the molasses. The whites should be getting just a tad frothy. Add the egg white mixture to the coconut and mix well. Evenly press the coconut mixture into the prepared pie pan. Going up the sides. Cover the edge of the crust with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let the crust cool.
- Increase the temperature of the oven to 425ºF
- Make the filling. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or in the pitcher of your high speed blender, add all of the pie filling ingredients, including the tea infused coconut milk (which should be cooled to room temperature). Blend, whisk or mix until all of the ingredients are very well incorporated. Add the filling to a medium sized pan and simmer over a medium-heat for 9-10 minutes, until it begins to thicken and bubbles around the edges. Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust.
- Bake in oven at 425ºF for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350ºF and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. You can also give the pie a nudge. The center of the pie should have some give and jiggle slightly in the center. If the crust is browning too quickly, wrap the edges in foil again, as you did for the first steps. Alternately you can use a pie shield.
- You can also dome the entire pie in foil if it's all browning too much. Cool the pie at room temperature for least 30 minutes to 1 hour, then refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up.
- A bit before serving, make the meringue. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs whites, cream of tartar, honey, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Start the mixer on low until the ingredients are combined then increase to high and beat until the egg whites are glossy and form stiff peaks.
- Scoop the meringue onto the top of the pie filling and with a spatula, spread the meringue evenly over the filling.
- Preheat the broiler to high and place the top rack of the oven in the middle. Put the pie under the broiler and cook until browned, about 1-2 minutes. Watch the meringue closely as it can go from browned to burnt very quickly.
- Let cool. Either serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time.
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