I hesitate to call something the BEST EVER. Liking something is completely subjective, but in this case, I can say it with no reservations, this pie, is officially, my BEST EVER crustless pumpkin pie! Yes. I feel good about that. Now for the challenge, how do I sell you my BEST EVER crustless pumpkin pie so that you will try it and come to love it as much as I do.
Mr. Second Helpings and I began our weight loss journey four years ago. We built a collective momentum during the early months. When the calendar flipped over to November I threw myself into how we would continue that momentum through the holidays. Two things were clear in my mind. Number 1: There was absolutely no way either of us was going to lose sight of our long term weight loss goals. Number 2: We were NOT going to forego all festivities and hide under a rock until New Year resolution season. To keep our celebrating on track we needed a menu of festive foods made with ingredients we could keep track of.
I spent the first half of that November scouring magazines, web sites, and newspapers, flagging potential lightened dishes for the food-centric days ahead. It was important to me that we be able to fill our plates rather than staring down at a meager but “on track” meal. I remember making a few batches of a “stuffing” with quinoa, celery, crimini mushrooms, and dried cherries. It was not at all like bread traditional stuffing. Despite the difference we liked it because we could eat a satisfying volume while enjoying its savory holiday flavors. We didn’t feel cheated by the lack of bread or giblet bits because we had a tasty alternative that got us closer to our goals.
Now, before each holiday, I plan for the foods I love. During the meal I make sure to savor my favorite foods and truly enjoy each bite. That first year of holiday eating for weight loss, we were most successful because, we especially planned for dessert. Coming up with a light and indulgent dessert required additional creative planning. Four years ago, I followed recipes full of sneaky cheats to help me feel like I wasn’t missing out on the real thing. Today, I have come up with a pie that tastes real because, it is real. If I had a time machine, I would mail this crustless pumpkin pie recipe to my newly resolved self with this note: “Dear Rose, step away from the Sucralose and questionable whipped topping. Make this pie. Yours in good health. – A Friend.”
Broadly speaking pie crust isn’t terribly important to me. As a nod to tradition I implied a crust with a dusting of finely minced pecans. I strayed further from tradition with a “filling” far closer to a cake than a custard, achieved by removing liquid from both of the main ingredients which, simultaneously, concentrated the pumpkin and yogurt flavors. A combination of brown sugar and maple syrup gives the flavors depth and tips this pie, just over the threshold, from savory to sweet. A sprinkling of traditional pumpkin pie spices work their magic, further boosting the sweetness.
I hope by now your mouth has begun to water and you are starting to add these ingredients to your shopping list. For anyone in need of a bit more convincing you should know the entire pie is studded with tiny bits of crystalized ginger. That’s right, fragrant bursts of candied spice spring out of each and every bite. This crustless pumpkin pie is so darn good. I will have no trouble enjoying a 140 calorie slice in place of the standard offering – especially if the choice is homemade vs. store bought.
Note: There are two options for draining the liquid from the yogurt and pumpkin pureé.
- The quick way (I used this method) is to measure into cheese cloth or paper towels. Bring the sides together to make a little pouch and gently squeeze to force the liquid out. Hold the pouches over a bowl to catch the liquid – it can be used in smoothies or hot cereal.
- The slow way is to measure into two layers of cheese cloth or paper towels in a strainer. Let rest overnight in the refrigerator suspended over a bowl to catch the liquid.
- 1 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- ¼ cup pecan halves (30 grams), finely ground in a food processor
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of butter to coat the inside of the pan.
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 14 grams (3-4 large pieces) crystallized candied ginger, finely minced
- 3 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
- Strain the liquid from both the yogurt and the pumpkin pureé by spooning each into a paper towel lined mesh strainer suspended over a bowl. Leave for 1 hour up to overnight in the refrigerator, squeeze as much liquid from each before adding to the batter.
- Prep a 9 inch springform pan (or pie dish) by lightly coating the sides with butter. For a springform pan the butter only needs to go halfway up the side.
- Place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.
- Pour in the ground pecan halves and tilt the pan as needed so the pecans stick to the buttered inside of the pan.
- In a medium bowl – Combine brown sugar, maple syrup, egg yolk, vanilla, and spices. Mix in strained yogurt and pumpkin and coconut flour stir until fully incorporated. Fold in lemon zest and minced ginger.
- In a second bowl beat egg whites with a pinch of salt to into stiff peaks, then fold the egg whites into the batter ⅓ at a time. Use the under over technique to keep the air in the egg whites.
- Pour the completed batter into the prepared pan, smooth the surface as needed, then bake for 25 minutes. The finished pie will be firm through the center when the pan is jiggled.
- Let the pie cool to room temperature before covering loosely and refrigerating.
- Serve at room temperature.
[private role=”author”]For a dainty 1/10 serving: 112 calories, 4 g. fat, 18 g. carbohydrates, 1.4 g. fiber, 4.7 g. protein, PP = 3[/private]
[private role=”author”]For a modest 1/8 serving: 140 calories, 5 g. fat, 22.5 g. carbohydrates, 1.7 g. fiber, 5.8 g. protein, PP = 4[/private]
[private role=”author”]For a festive 1/6 serving: 187 calories, 6.5 f. fat, 30 g. carbohydrates, 2.3 g. fiber, 7.8 g. protein, PP = 5[/private]