Pumpkins are part of the squash family, which includes courgettes and marrows, and can also be referred to as gourds… confusing, no? So when Halloween is over and pumpkins are less available, you can use butternut squash in place of pumpkin as it’s ridiculously tasty, easier to break into and easier to find in November!
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
Lay the pumpkin on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon and drizzle with maple syrup and coconut oil and bake for 45 minutes until soft.
Whilst the pumpkin is cooking, make the pastry crust.
Add the pecans to a food processor and process until they have turned into a coarse flour. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for 15 seconds, until a sticky dough forms.
Press the dough into an 8 or 9-inch pie plate (or springform pan for easy release), spreading it up the sides and covering the bottom. Prick a few shallow holes in the crust with a fork to keep it from bubbling during baking.
Once the pumpkin has finished baking, reduce the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4, remove the baking tray from the oven and allow the pieces of pumpkin to cool.
Whilst cooling, bake the pastry crust in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Once the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and discard the skin. You should have about 600g of cooked pumpkin flesh. Don’t forget to scrape out the bits in the tray and the maple syrup. Put in a food processor and whiz until smooth, adding the eggs and dates. Mix until well blended.
Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 180ºC/350ºF for 35 minutes, or until the custard has set but is still slightly jiggly in the center. If the crust starts to brown too quickly, you can cover the pie with foil and continue baking.
Whilst the pie is cooking, wash the stringy bits of squash off the seeds, dry them and lay them flat on a tray along with 6 pecan nuts drizzled with maple syrup and coconut oil. Place in the oven with the pie for the last 10 minutes until crispy.
Remove the pie from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to put in the fridge, refrigerate until chilled, then sprinkle the seeds on top and serve with a cup of chai tea
By Jess, graze nutritionist.
Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to Jess's blog at jessipes.co.uk for even more.
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