Do you love all things pumpkin? Nothing spices up the fall more than a nice and healthy dessert. In college, I used to work for a vegan cafe and making pumpkin pie was essential every year for the fall and Thanksgiving season. I remember when making vegan pumpkin pie was a revolutionary idea where tofu replaced egg and Earth Balance replaced regular butter.
Well, vegan cooking has come a long a way and is more sophisticated now than ever. I'm still living in Germany and wanted to concoct a pumpkin dessert based on a recent conversation with a Canadian friend. We reminisced about our North American Halloween and fall culture and began craving pumpkin pie. Unfortunately, pumpkin pie is no where to be found in Germany. And I do not own a circular pan so I had to get creative.
Why not do a cookie tart? It's simple, easy and follows the Mind Body Soul Food Philosophy where delicious cooking can be easy when you put your heart, soul and nature into the food. After a year of constant vegan recipe creation, I figured out a few tricks to the trade - fresh is the best and you do not always need tofu or certain ingredients to make desserts. I rushed home with my pumpkin to whip up whatever came to mind. I tasted the recipe after it came out of the oven and was like hmm? Big mistake. I tried it later after many hours of cooling and was highly impressed. The cookie even tasted better the next day once the pie had time to set. This may have been one of the best things I've ever created. Super Easy. Super Delicious. I'm in love with these pumpkin tarts.
For this recipe, I used real pumpkin that I steamed and blended in a food processor. You can use canned pumpkin, but the taste will not be as fresh. Also, the secret is to use fresh ginger to enhance the spiciness. In Germany, graham crackers do not really exist. So I use a vanilla cookie as the crust. You can use whatever is convenient in your area, but the vanilla cookie does enhance the flavor. My final recommendation is to let the tarts cool completely before enjoying. Finally, German pan sizes differ, so you can use the alternative 8x8 square pan.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cookie Tarts
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cooking Time 30 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Pan: 13 x 5 1/4 Bread Pan (or 8x8 square)
2 cups pumpkin, chopped and steamed (or canned)
1/4 cup coconut milk from the can
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped (or powder in replace, just gradually add)
1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp nutmeg
3.5 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp corn starch
Pinch of salt
2 cups vanilla cookie (or biscuit or graham cracker)
1/4 cup melted vegan butter (or coconut oil)
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Prep the pumpkin and steam until soft. You should be able to puncture the pumpkin with a knife.
Next prep the crust. Blend the cookie in a food processor until a flour-like texture.. Next, melt the butter and add it to the blended cookie. You can either blend in the food processor or mix by hand.
Line the pan with parchment paper. Dump the cookie crust evenly into the pan and press down until the crust is firm.
Once the pumpkin is steamed, place the pumpkin in the food processor and blend. (Here you can place the crust in the oven for 3 or so minutes while you blend the filling). Add all the remaining filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste test and readjust the flavors if needed. Pour the filling on top of the crust and place it in the oven.
Bake at 350 for 17 to 20 minutes. The edge of the filling should look cooked, slightly golden but not burnt. Let it cool slightly on top of the oven and then place in the refrigerator for several hours. The cookie cuts and tastes best when completely chilled.
Cheers to the beautiful sun in Hannover, Germany this fall!
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Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com