It’s pumpkin season! Now I don’t have to feel so weird about making pumpkin smoothies and pumpkin bread, like I do in April or May. Yes, pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients – even the names of its different varieties make me smile: Bushkin, Lumina, Big Tom, and Funny Face, for example – and it’s officially time to celebrate this fabulous squash.
I’m starting off the Fall 2013 pumpkin season with these gluten-free Great Pumpkin Cream Pies, inspired by one of my childhood favorites: oatmeal cream pies. I used to eat them for lunch, my goodness. My other source of inspiration is the Peanuts Halloween TV special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” (I still root for Linus, as he waits patiently in his pumpkin patch for the GP!)
A few years ago, feeling especially inspired and do-it-myself-y, I baked my own pumpkin to use in dessert recipes – I did this even after watching a Food Network show where a good number of lifelong chefs unanimously agreed that canned pumpkin is the better choice than fresh. Turns out they were right. Pumpkin from a can is way easier, cheaper, and tastier and probably works better in most pumpkin recipes because whoever wrote the recipe likely used canned pumpkin.
These cream pies are gooey goodness when fresh, but my family loves freezing them too; the cream turns ice cream-like and the cookies become chewier. It’s like an ice cream sandwich. Enjoy!
Linus: Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.
Pumpkin Cream Pies
- Yield: 6 1x
For the Cookies
- 1 Tbsp. raisins
- 2 pitted dates
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup organic nonhydrogenated shortening (I use Spectrum brand)
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 small egg
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup pumpkin purée
- ¾ cup gluten-free baking flour
- 1/3 tsp. baking soda
- 1/3 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. each ginger, cloves, and nutmeg
For the Cream
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/3 cup organic nonhydrogenated shortening
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. soy lecithin (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 365°F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Soak the raisins and dates in the water for at least 10 minutes to soften.
- Meanwhile, beat together the shortening, olive oil, and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.
- Drain the raisins and dates and chop finely. (You can mash them with a fork to further smooth out.) Add to the shortening mixture, along with the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin and beat again.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, and spices. Add to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
- Drop the dough by spoonful onto the baking sheet. Smooth out the cookies some, as they won’t change shape much as they bake.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until done. Remove from the oven and let set on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream Filling Directions
- Place the vanilla, coconut oil, and shortening in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy.
- To make your own healthier, less processed “powdered sugar,” place the brown sugar and lecithin (if using) in a blender and blend until fine, being careful not to over blend or the mixture will start to thicken. Add this to the coconut oil mixture and beat again, until smooth and creamy.
- Refrigerate the crème while the cookies are cooling, then frost the cookies and press together lightly to make sandwiches. Refrigerate for a few minutes to set, or freeze for a totally different dessert treat!