Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Savory Black Bean Pumpkin Pie with Brown Rice Pastry Crust

Anthony asked me the other day why I keep making pies for dinner, in a curious not complaining way, and the answer is, of course, that pies are delicious.  Doesn't everyone appreciate a pastry crust? The kids sure do, which is the main incentive for me exerting my kitchen efforts in this direction. Ingredients that they might otherwise snub are relished when encased in flaky pie crust. The crust here is my favorite part of this pie; this is a great way to use leftover rice, and since the rice makes up most of the crust rather than flour, it is not heavy like many pie crusts are.

The black bean filling is a good way to get the kids to eat their beans, as these legumes and their tough exterior are not always smiled upon in my house when served whole. Sawyer happily gobbled up this pie, and Abiline really liked it, too, once I broke up the crust and smooshed it all together with a fork for easier chewing by someone with only six teeth. Anthony and I ate this with a salad of spinach, mangoes, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, and the cinnamon vinaigrette from Peas and Thank You, and they paired nicely together. (I am yet to entice Sawyer to eat salad. So far Abiline will suck the dressing off the leaves and take a few nibbles, but for the most part she just takes the fork and feeds the salad to me.)   

For the brown rice crust:
1 1/2 c. cooked short grain brown rice
1/4 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. white whole wheat flour (could sub rice flour for gluten-free crust)
1 tsp. sea salt
3 Tbsp. melted soy-free Earth Balance, coconut, or canola oil
2-3 Tbsp. cold water

For the black bean filling:
2 cups cooked black beans
2 Tbsp. chickpea miso (or standard white soy-based miso if you don't have a soy allergy)
3 Tbsp. apple butter
2 Tbsp. pumpkin seed butter (You could sub additional sunflower seed butter or ground pumpkin seeds)
1 Tbsp. sunflower seed butter
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. agave nectar

For the pumpkin topping:
1 c. canned pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 1/2 Tbsp. soy-free vegan mayo, such as Earth Balance or Vegenaise makes
1 Tbsp. melted soy-free Earth Balance or coconut oil  
dash of ground black pepper

For the pumpkin seed garnish:
1/2 Tbsp. soy-free Earth Balance, coconut, or canola oil
1/3 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and oil a 9 inch pie plate. Finely grind the cooked brown rice and pumpkin seeds in a food processor; don't let them turn into a paste--you just want them crumbly. In a medium bowl combine the ground rice and seeds with the flour and salt and stir to evenly combine.  Add the melted Earth Balance or oil and stir with a fork until crumbly. Add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed into a ball. Place the ball in the oiled pie plate and press it into the pan and up the sides.  Set the crust aside while you make the filling.
2. To prepare the filling, place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and fully combined. Scoop the filling into the prepared crust and smooth it out.
3. Stir the pumpkin topping ingredients together in a small bowl and then spread it evenly over the black bean filling.
4. Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. The topping will look a bit browned, but still a little unset in the middle, just like with dessert pumpkin pie.  While the pie is baking, prepare the pumpkin seed garnish by melting the Earth Balance in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and stir around for a few minutes until they start to smell toasty and are browning a bit. Add the agave, salt, and cinnamon and stir around for a few more minutes; be careful they don't burn. Remove the seeds from the heat. Once they are cool, transfer them to a food processor and pulse into small bits.  After removing the pie from the oven, sprinkle with the seeds before slicing and serving.

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