Thanksgiving + vegan pumpkin pie in my little east coast home, while missing my west coast kitchen

Happy Black Friday!
(and happy day after Thanksgiving)
All day yesterday I was thinking about making this a meaningful post. Thanksgiving is really meaningful, and I guess so is pumpkin pie, or at least the feelings that arise while baking and eating it.

Last year I had my first Thanksgiving away from home. To be honest, I didn't like that. I was living in a dorm room across the country from home, so Luis and I stayed with his distant relatives in New York. It's not that I was alone, I had company. The people around me were nice and generous. It's just not the same when I sat down for dinner without the family that I had sat down for dinner with the previous 17 Thanksgivings of my life. If that was part of growing up, then I'd like to phone Peter Pan to take me to Neverland so I never have to grow up or experience that home-sickness again in my lifetime.
.....
One year later, I am finding myself in the same predicament. A week off of school and work, with the option of going home, which I ever so strangely, turned down. It's tough to admit, but flights are quite expensive, and going home seems kind of..not pointless, but difficult, for one week when I will be right back three weeks later. 
Plus, this year's circumstances are a little different. I am no longer living in a dorm room, but in an apartment. I have a kitchen and I am a bike ride away from the grocery store. So I braced myself for the homesickness I am bound to feel, as well as the cold, bundled up, and Luis and I prepared for our first Thanksgiving together in our apartment. 
On the menu: Lentil loaf, roasted potatoes, squash fries, shredded squash salad, cranberry, sparkling cider, and for dessert: pumpkin pie.

I told Luis, it's not Thanksgiving unless there's pie. Pumpkin pie to be exact. I took a look through the fridge and pantry. I had a can of pumpkin that I had been saving for this moment, limited spices, almond milk, whole wheat flour, and some other ingredients that we can afford to buy as college students. Don't get me wrong, we live well. We don't have to scrounge for food, but let me mention again. We are college students in our first apartment. We have a kitchen and we make do. 
So back to pie: I made do. That's all I have to say about the crust. I made an attempt at an oil-less/butter-less crust that would perhaps turn out more like a cookie (made with applesauce). Not my best work, but the filling still gets an A. Not an A+, because I know I could have done better with the proper tools and ingredients, for example, I would have liked to use full-fat coconut milk in place of almond milk for a creamier texture along with cloves, which every recipe for pumpkin pie calls for, but I don't have. Just little things like that. 
But that's enough on the subject of making do for me, I just thought I would give a valid reason as to why I am not including a recipe for pie crust to go along with the pie. However, I am providing a link to one that I would have liked to make. 

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Filling
Recipe From: Oh She Glows
Yield: 1 Pie


**For pie crust, I recommend this recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 2-1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon applesauce or oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup 
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves

Method:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and cornstarch. In a large bowl, whisk together all other ingredients. Whisk cornstarch slurry into the filling mixture.
2. Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, covering the crust with foil for the last 15 minutes.
3. Cool for one hour. Transfer to the fridge and let set up for a minimum of 3 hours-overnight.

I'm thankful for a lot of things, things I don't realize until I'm sitting at our kitchen table eating pumpkin pie and drinking sparkling cider thinking about memories of all the Thanksgivings I've celebrated in the past by eating pumpkin pie and drinking apple cider.
I'm thankful to have parents that support me, Luis to love me, friends who care, a job that pays, a house with heat, and food to eat.

No matter where you are, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving with countless things to be thankful for.

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© A Little Baker
Maira Gall