Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pumpkin Pie in a Cup

Thanksgiving! My favorite meal of the year. I read somewhere that when you're a PWD (person with diabetes), you never get a holiday and that's true. Just because it's Thanksgiving doesn't mean your blood sugar gets to take a holiday and go off the charts. You need to plan ahead, make choices or substitutions and measure portions just like every other day of the year. I know for me, giving up my favorite holiday foods, especially dessert, would leave me feeling unsatisfied and left out of the festivities. The experts will tell you "don't make it about the food" but, let's be honest here, Thanksgiving is very much about the food! Are those experts giving up their slice of pumpkin pie? (I doubt it.) Well, neither am I!

This excellent recipe has been perfected after many trials. I tried making a low carb crust with almond flour in various combinations with white or wheat flour, but they all turned out to be duds. Either they were too soggy, too tough, too high in carbs, or were too far from the REAL pumpkin pie taste that they failed the test. I almost gave up on the idea of crust altogether and thought I'd have to settle on pumpkin custard (which is good but doesn't have that same pie taste without the crust), then a light bulb went on over my head! The crust doesn't have to be on the bottom, I can have a little bit of real crust on the top while keeping the carbs down with other minor adjustments to the filling recipe -- I can have it all and so can you! Have a happy and sweet Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Pie in a Cup
(Makes 6 or 8* servings)

3 eggs
One 15 oz. canned pumpkin (2 cups)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/3 cup LaKanto Monkfruit Sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (I use Sweet Leaf brand)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups almond milk or coconut milk (no sugar added, not vanilla flavor)
¼ purchased gluten-free pie crust
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
Whipped topping (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a large mixing bowl or 5 cup measure, beat eggs and add canned pumpkin. Whisk in brown sugar, sweeteners, spices (2½ teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice can be substituted), salt and almond milk; set aside.

2. Place six* (7-ounce size) custard cups into a 9" x 13" baking dish. Measure 2/3 cup of pumpkin mixture into each cup. Pour very hot water into pan until it reaches about half way up the side of the custard cups and carefully transfer to oven. (Tip: To avoid spilling water, place pan on oven rack before pouring in hot water.)

3. Bake for 60-70 minutes until set and a knife comes out clean when inserted in center of custard. Remove from oven and transfer custard cups to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. While custard is cooling, preheat oven to 375-degrees. Using only ¼ of the gluten free pie crust, cut out 18 small leaf shapes with tiny cookie or pie crust cutters. Place on a cookie sheet that has been covered with a piece of parchment paper (or lightly grease with butter). Combine the egg with water and beat with a fork. Brush egg wash on pie crust cutouts and bake for 15 minutes or until browned. Remove to wire rack to cool. Store in a sealed plastic bag until serving time. To serve, place three cutouts on each pumpkin custard as garnish.

Nutritional Information per serving with 3 crust cutouts (topping not included in calculations): 140 calories, 19.4 g carbohydrate, 5.1 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 2.5 g fiber, 4.3 g protein.

*NOTE: If you desire smaller portions with fewer carbs, use small custard cups and fill each with ½ cup pumpkin mixture. Cooking time will be reduced to 45-55 minutes. This measurement will yield eight servings with the following nutritional information per serving: 105 calories, 14.5 g carbohydrate, 3.8 g total fat, 1.1 g saturated fat, 1.9 g fiber, 3.2 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this recipe compare with traditional Pumpkin Pie? It is much lower in calories, fat and carbohydrates, plus, with this recipe, you actually get more pumpkin filling than you would if you had a slice of pie! For comparision, the nutritional information for 1/8th of a 9" traditional pumpkin pie is 375 calories, 52.5 g carbohydrate, 16.2 g total fat, 7.5 g saturated fat, 2.5 g fiber, 5 g protein.

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