Ok so let's start with a confession --I'm not crazy for pumpkin. I'm more of a butternut squash girl. I guess I'm just not that basic.
Would you believe me if I said I thought pumpkin was meant to be hidden in desserts instead of featured? I occasionally like it on the sidelines but something about it rubs me the wrong way as soon as its a focal point -- like in pumpkin pie. Though I have come to tolerate pumpkin pie, I have never loved it. Butternut Squash Pie though...after today's recipe that is definitely something I'll be tinkering with. I made this pie for me and my husband this weekend. It was our anniversary last week but I was too under the weather to celebrate. For our little celebration activity we went indoor skydiving -- it was not my cup of tea. I'd rather just eat some pie! But I like to face fears (like my fear of heights), and with my husband around I find its easier to work up the nerve to try some new and often terrifying things. I didn't last as long as I had hoped in the chamber -- with my super stuffed up nose I just couldn't breathe in there and it eventually freaked me out too much so I bailed and felt a bit like a pitiful baby for it. I transferred my extra time in the chamber to my husband. I just didn't want to do it again. To be honest I should have seen that coming -- I'm much more of a second time's a charm kind of person in many ways. I'll probably try it out again and force myself to stay in there a lot longer and be more open to the experience. But this time around I just wasn't up to it and that's fine.
This pie is a bit like that little anecdote. You see, I've made a few desserts with butternut squash in the past that I absolutely loathed. Back then I used canned butternut squash. BIG MISTAKE -- it just tastes like metallic and slightly rotten squash puree. Luckily I had a little faith in my favourite Fall vegetable. Knowing that butternut squash is naturally sweet and effortlessly transforms into a velvety cream for sauces, soups, sides, it clearly deserved a second chance in dessert.
This Harvest Chocolate Tart gets its creamy filling from - you guessed it - butternut squash. And before you say 'ew gross', let me tell you something -- this pie is fantastic. Creamy, with a deep dark chocolate filling and a dark chocolate shortbread crust. This gluten free and vegan double chocolate pie hides THREE CUPS OF VEGGIES and is kind of a winner. Let's just all stop to acknowledge that -- 3 cups of veggies in a pie! A pie that tastes like a double chocolate tart! I should add that my husband paid me a great compliment on this dessert -- and I quote -- "This is just a really good pie -- NOT just really good for gluten free. This is just really, really good pie." I'll take that! Doubt me if you must but don't knock it till you try it, man. Oh by the way -- its super easy to make. The filling is just steamed and pureed butternut squash blended with a few healthy vegan ingredients.
The dark chocolate crust is also gluten free and super simple to make. I just whiz it together in my food processor. I don't even bother to roll out the pastry -- it just gets gently pressed into a tart pan and flash baked.
Once your crust is cool from the oven, pour in the filling, spread it out to the edges and chill. It sets firm in the freezer and stays firm in the fridge. Dessert done.
This pie did not last long -- only about a day and half between us. That says it all for me because chocolate these days tends to make me uncomfortably wired so I try to minimize my consumption of chocolatey desserts -- but I just couldn't hold back on this one! Enjoy!
- 1 1/3 - 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 5-6 tbsp coconut sugar
- 4-5 tbsp solid coconut oil
- Pinch pink salt
- 3-4 tbsp raw cacao powder
Preheat oven to 350F. Add all the crust ingredients (Only add 1 1/3 cup of brown rice flour and 3 tbsp of cacao powder at first) to a food processor and pulse until a crumbly mixture forms. Pulse in the cold water (a little splash at a time) until a semi firm but not very dry dough forms (should feel similar to play-dough and have a slight sheen). If your dough gets too wet, add extra flour and cacao and pulse again to incorporate. Taste and add extra sugar if desired and pulse a few times again to incorporate it. Press the dough into a 9-10" non stick shortcrust tart shell by hand. Prick all over with a fork and bake in the center of the oven (350F) until crisp. Cool to room temperature on stove-top while you prepare the filling.
- 3 cups butternut squash, cubed and steamed until tender
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 tbsp vegan chocolate chips
- 4 tbsp coconut cream (skimmed from can of coconut milk)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- Pinch of salt (not too little as it really brings out the chocolate flavor)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp raw honey OR brown rice syrup (to keep it vegan)
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- Stevia to taste
Once filling is blended and smooth and sweetened to your taste, scrape filling out of processor into the middle of your cool tart shell. Spread out evenly to the sides. Chill in freezer to set firm then store in the fridge to keep firm but sliceable. Slice and serve.