Not-So-Bad-For-You Squash Pie

This healthy and delicious pie comes from the lovely chefs of True Food Kitchen. The first time we ate at True Food was last year in San Diego, CA. We found it by chance during a day trip and were immediately hooked on the concept: a menu built around an anti-inflammatory diet. This is a dream that I've been hoping would come true! Being able to walk into a restaurant and knowing that whatever you pick has actual nutritional benefits. What a relief!

The hubs and I are all about healthy eats so it's not wonder my in-laws are hooked as well. My father-in-law had a slice of the Squash Pie and raved about it for days after. Much to my delight and surprise, True Food Kitchen was kind enough to actually publish the recipe for public consumption!

This pie is "not-so-bad for you" which is not license to eat the whole thing in one sitting though you may be tempted. There's still a 3/4 cup of sugar in the mix. It's dessert after all people! 

What makes this pie less evil than other traditional pies is the lack of ingredients like condensed milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream. Instead, the recipe calls for coconut milk which has much more nutrients. The crust skirts away from butter and uses tahini (sesame paste) as a binding agent with a hint of sweetness from maple syrup, a natural sweetener. What I really enjoyed was the use of brandy because it smells so heavenly - it's like concentrated vanilla. Play with the spice ratio until you love the flavor of the mix - you know me and the cinnamon!

The other perk is that if you use the vegan graham crackers in the crust - than you can serve this pie to a vegan audience! Don't wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy a slice! It tastes great with a scoop of vanilla gelato or a big dollop of coconut whipped cream. Personally, I enjoyed it after a thorough chilling in the fridge.

Have a fantastic week!

Not-So-Bad-For-You Squash Pie
from True Food Kitchen

1 packages vegan graham crackers, pulverized
2 tablespoons sesame tahini
 2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon water
1/2 tablespoon grape seed oil

For the crust, blend all ingredients until well combined. Press the crust into a pan and up the sides.  Bake crust for 15 minutes at 325 degrees, until the crust is dry and crisp. Set aside.

3 cups pureed squash — chef Cory Holland recommends butternut
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brandy
3/4 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
scant dash of nutmeg, if desired

For the filling, bake a whole squash (butternut, buttercup, Hubbard, Tahitian, etc.) at 375 degrees wrapped in aluminum file until it is soft enough to pierce easily with a toothpick (about an hour). Cool, cut in half, remove the seeds, and scoop out the flesh. Mash the flesh and measure out three cups.

Blend the squash with the remaining ingredients until smooth and pour the mixture into the baked crust. Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes, until browned and set. Cool at room temperature and then chill overnight in the refrigerator. Serve cold or cool with a dollop of sweetened, whipped coconut cream. Holland adds vanilla bean paste to his whipped coconut cream.