VEGAN Pumpkin Beet Pie fragrant with saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, coconut & vanilla, and a crust that almost melts in your mouth!
One can never have too much pie they said, and I was misled by the heavily implied expression of deliciousness that spews off that statement. False, there is such a thing as too much pie, and last week stands testimony to that.
I have never baked a pie (shocker!) and although I have made a few hand pies in the past (Peach Pie, Savory Veggie Pie, Mini Apple Pie), it was still not a true pie and it wasn’t vegan either! So this year, I wanted to try my hand at baking a proper pie and make it as pretty as I can!
Fall is my favorite time of the year (if I haven’t said it enough already!) for this month marks very many firsts in my life: it’s the month when I got my first (and only) proposal, which also happens to be the day we got married years later, the month when I moved from India to the US, the first time I saw Fall colors, to name a few. The most significant moments of my life happened this month, so every October, when the winds turn cold and the trees change hue, I get very nostalgic with a flood of emotions, all month long!
I wanted my first pie to encapsulate everything this month stands for, adaptational metamorphosis being the theme. A representation of new life, life in a new country as seen through the eyes of an Indian leaving her homeland for the very first time.
A task easier said than done because the first test crust came out crispy and bland and not at all flaky. Thank goodness for blind baking, otherwise I’d have wasted good filling. The second batch was a little better but the crust wasn’t melting in my mouth in creamy decadence. So I powered through and long story short, 5 pies and 4 days later, I managed to bake the perfect, PERFECT pie! Crust gets an A+ and the filling – well, you can fill it with anything and it’d still be amazing!
Me, I went with a not-so-traditional Pumpkin and Beet Halwa filling, flavored with cardamom and vanilla respectively. Inspired by the glorious colors of the season, and the fact that Diwali is around the corner, I wanted to celebrate everything together in this pie.
The filling for this pie was inspired by the colors that will forever remain etched in my mind – make the beet and pumpkin filling separately (remembering to wash the pan in between, beets are notorious and will stain anything in its path!) and drop dollops on the blind baked pie crust. Then spend your own sweet time fashioning the top crust anyway you like.
This being my first pie, I was a little nervous and a lattice crust seemed intimidating. So I used these amazing cookie cutters to cut out shapes and just lined them best I could on top. I loved these cutters by the way, they are actually fondant shapers, so there’s a press to impress patterns (like leaf veins) on top, and it also makes it so much easier to get the shapes out of the rolled out dough.
Here is a tip to get the most of them:
Press the cutter into the rolled out dough. Press the plunger firmly and hold for 3 seconds and lift. The cut dough should lift off with the cutter. Press once more to release the shaped dough. Easy peasy!
Instead of egg wash, I brushed with coconut milk and it had the same effect and turned the crust beautifully golden. And despite having had just about enough pies for one week, I truly cannot wait to try out more variations this month, now that I have a bunch of happy adopters who’d love to give my excess pies a good home.
If you have any excellent, but unusual pie fillings to tell me about, please do! I am in the mood for pie this month, and I am going to get my fill of it.
And in return, please, PLEASE try this one, even if you’re not vegan. It’s a delicious pie, fragrant with the flavors of cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, vanilla and coconut – oh yes, I went all in for my first ever pie, and yes, it was as incredible and decadent as it sounds.
Make the filling the day before, and refrigerate. And on the day of, bake your pie and make sure it’s in the oven as your guests walk in to make your home smell like what I image heaven must be like.
When you make these (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see what you cook from here!