Recipe: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with Almond Flour Crust, By Kate Lebo

Photograph: Rina Jordan

Some of us love pumpkin pie and tradition. Some of us don’t. Baker Kate Lebo says she’s a fan of tradition, but not of pumpkin pie, so this chiffon pie has become a delicious compromise: “Pumpkin traditionalists, don’t knock this until you try it. The flavor is the same—still that pungent mix of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg that makes pumpkin into pie, still the dollop of whipped cream, still the dark orange smear left on your empty plate. But the texture is all new—light and airy, a delight instead of a holiday obligation.”

Makes 1 pie

1 recipe Gluten-Free Almond Flour Piecrust (see recipe), baked and cooled

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  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 (14-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup brandy, dark rum, or bourbon (optional)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Make the crust and let it cool while you prepare the rest of the pie.
  2. Set aside. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan off the stove, com- bine the milk and egg yolks, then stir in the brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and gelatin until evenly mixed. Set the pan over medium heat and cook gently, stirring constantly, until the sugar and gelatin dissolve and the mixture thickens slightly. Don’t let it boil.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool. Add the pumpkin puree and the booze (if using). Whisk until combined. Refrigerate the mixture, stirring every 5 minutes, until it thickens enough to form soft mounds. This may take 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. With an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add ¼ cup of the granulated sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks. Fold the meringue into the filling and pour the filling into the cooled crust. Refrigerate until set, an hour or two.
  5. Fifteen minutes before serving, chill a metal bowl and electric beaters in the freezer. Beat the cream on high with the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the vanilla until it forms hard peaks. Spread over the top of the pie, sprinkle with a little nutmeg and cinnamon.
  6. Serve chilled. Store leftovers under a large bowl in the fridge to protect the pie from off flavors and dry spots. Or drape the pie in plastic wrap. This pie will taste best if eaten within 3 days.

Gluten-Free Almond Flour Piecrust

Almond flour makes a crumbly, yet dense crust with a light, nutty flavor. It’s too delicate to roll out and isn’t suitable for top crusts, but it makes a wonderful bottom crust. Save this for cream pies and chiffon pies.

Makes 1 bottom crust

  • 2 cups almond flour or meal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and stir until the mixture is evenly moist. Add the egg all at once and stir until the mixture is evenly moist. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Put the dough into a pie plate and, using your fingers, spread it evenly over the bottom and sides, smoothing the rim. Bake the empty crust for 15 to 20 minutes. The crust is done when it is lightly toasted, slightly puffy, and fragrant. Set it aside to cool on a wire rack before filling.

*(c)2014 By Kate Lebo. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter by permission of Sasquatch Books.

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