Pumpkin Pie with Rustic Pecan Crust

     I am usually a pecan pie person but Robert and his brother Clint (yes, we had a guest this year!) said they preferred pumpkin so I decided to make that. Well, I am SO glad I did because this pie was, hands down, the biggest hit of our 2012 Thanksgiving. The pumpkin filling had lots of great spices, including cloves, which gave it an extra kick (as well as a slightly darker color than your typical pumpkin pie). Robert describes the pie as “exciting” (high praise indeed, as this man does not easily excite) and says he preferred its flavor to any other pumpkin pie he’s ever had (that’s basically the equivalent of a standing ovation).
     My favorite aspect was the crunchy, gluten-free pecan crust. I know I bought all its ingredients from the co-op across the street but it really felt like they were gathered from the forest near my imaginary log cabin. Earthy, crunchy, woodsy, rustic… this crust was was all of the above. We enjoyed it for dessert and breakfast, and it will definitely be on the menu next year.
     P.S. I recommend making it the day before, which actually makes things easier because it’s one less thing to do on the big day.

1 cup rolled oats, processed into a fine flour (or 1 cup oat flour)
2 cups raw pecans
3 tbsp ground flax
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tbsp canola oil
2 1/4 cups canned pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch pie pan.
2. In a food processor, process pecans until they begin to clump and oils start to release, approximately 30 seconds. You want them to stay chunky, not turn into butter. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Mix canola oil and brown rice syrup together . Pour into bowl with pecans dough. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and mix together. Using your hands, squeeze the dough over and over to combine very well. If too dry, add more canola oil.
4. Press pecan dough firmly into pie dish to form a crust. Pre-bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
5. In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
6. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together, adjusting spices to taste.
7. Pour the filing onto crust. Cover with tin foil and bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees. Place on a cooling rack for 1 hour.
8. Transfer to fridge to set for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight (this is a must!). Do not slice until it’s been in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Slice with a very sharp knife and enjoy every bite!

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