Makes 8 to 10 servings

Vegetable custard pies are an historic favorite in North America. Yankees prefer pumpkin or squash pies while Southerners cherish their sweet potato or yam pies. This very fine pumpkin pie satisfies every time without the usual ingredients: brown or white sugar, honey or molasses, eggs, butter, and cream, half and half, or condensed (evaporated) or regular milk.
I prefer to use whole roasted sweet winter squash for my “pumpkin” pies. The color is richer, and the flavor is naturally sweeter than either canned or even fresh sugar pie pumpkin purée. Squash is the main ingredient in canned pumpkin purée.
      Baking enhances the sweetness of butternut squash, the variety most widely available. Other favorites are buttercup, red kuri, blue hubbard, kabocha, delicata, sweet mama or sweet dumpling squashes, and Hokkaido pumpkin.
      This no-bake recipe uses soymilk for a custardy filling texture, along with both agar sea vegetable flakes (for a gelled consistency) and arrowroot or kuzu root starch (for the creamy smooth consistency) to create great mouthfeel.
      Since commercial pumpkin pie spice may contain sugar, dextrose and extractive of spice, look for a more natural combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Or measure your own as in this recipe.


2 cups baked winter squash purée
2½ tablespoons thickener (arrowroot powder or kuzu root starch)
1½ cups soymilk (Eden Original preferred) or another plant-based milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg and ginger
1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1/8 teaspoon each allspice and cloves
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2½ tablespoons agar sea vegetable flakes

Single Crust Cutout Pastry with Glaze:

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached white pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1/4 cup light vegetable oil (Spectrum brand sunflower oil)
1/4 cup water
Glaze: 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup mixed with 1 teaspoon water

Coconut Yogurt Topping (optional):

Coconut yogurt is a creamy white topping for the pie. Cocojune plant-based and probiotic coconut yogurt has no added sugar, so I choose it. Any plant-based yogurt would be nice here. Serve as is or stir in a teaspoon of real maple syrup.

1. To prepare the squash, place it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450° until quite soft when pierced with a fork or knife, 20 minutes to 1½ hours depending on the size of the squash. Discard skin or shell and seeds. Purée squash. A pound of squash yields around 1 cup of purée.

2. To prepare the pastry and the cutouts, first turn heat down to 350°. Mix flours with salt. Work in oil, then water, and form a smooth dough. Roll out between sheets of floured waxed paper. My favorite shape for the cutouts is 10 autumn leaves. Transfer pastry to pie or tart pan and cutouts to parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake, glazing rim and leaves after 10 minutes. Return to oven until done, 8 minutes more.

3. To make the filling, place the thickener (arrowroot powder or kuzu root starch) in a small bowl with enough of the measured liquid to cover generously. Place the remaining ingredients in a small 2-quart saucepan and whisk to submerge agar. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally, and simmer until agar dissolves, about 10 minutes. Whisk thickener mixture into hot liquid and return to a simmer to thicken.

4. Blend the hot liquid with the squash purée and transfer filling to pastry. Filling gels refrigerated or at room temperature. For a quicker gel, set in freezer for 45 minutes. Decorate surface with pastry cutouts.

Variations: Hobnail Pie: The early American settlers referred to raisins as hobnails. In this pie, the brilliant orange color of the squash is accented by the dark raisins. Simmer 1/2 cup raisins in 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes. Drain and mix the raisins with the squash.

For 10 servings, per serving:
Calories: 233   Protein: 6gm   Saturated Fat: 0.7gm   Fiber: 3gm   Carbohydrates: 39gm   Fat: 6gm.  Cholesterol: 0   Sodium: 124mg
Calories from Protein: 10%     Calories from Fats: 24%     Calories from Carbohydrates: 66%