Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Coconut Pie Bites with Coconut Crust

I normally don’t bake in the morning. Work schedules and general inclination make it easier to work in the evening without the aid of sunlight. This morning, though, my husband was away at a conference and the dog kept staring at me with sad brown eyes as if his life were over because I wasn’t paying enough attention to him. I figured if we made pumpkin pie together and then shared it, maybe he’d stop looking so pathetic. I didn’t realize, though, that he’d find the baking experience entertaining. Each time I moved one of my glass dishes through the light coming through the window, he dashed after the little pieces of rainbows that danced across the floor. When the light disappeared as I moved the dish, he searched the kitchen, nose to the floor, turning this way and that in case he missed something. Since I was actually making two kinds of pie experiments, there was enough of a light show to keep him busy for over an hour. *

The light was the main difference between working in the evening. That may sound obvious, but it was not the quantity of light, but the quality of it and the mood it created. Everything looks fresher, brighter, happier in a ray of sunlight. When I inadvertently placed dough ball I made for the crust into the sunlight, it looked as though it had been brought directly from the garden of earthly delights. I moved it into the breakfast nook, which gets no sunlight until the afternoon, and it became an ordinary dough ball. Sunlight gave it magic and power and beauty. I should find a night job just so that I can cook in the morning and have everything bathed in gorgeous light.

I confess that the real reason for baking this morning was because I needed to recoup from last night’s chocolate pecan bar disaster. I should have known that taking out half the ingredients of a recipe would result in something odd. The bar was easily separated into two parts: the top chocolate layer, which had the consistency of fudge, and the bottom a dry floury crust. I broke apart the top layer to take to work to use as snacks. This morning, I reused the bottom layer to make another crust for pumpkin pie.

This time I was paying attention. I was going to add more butter, but I decided to use a little grapeseed oil instead, which worked wonderfully. Then I added coconut flakes. The fun part about this dough was that it had other things in it from the last try, like bits of chocolate and cranberries and figs. It was like a big, flaky cookie. There's no recipe today because I'm not really sure what finally went into the crust mix, but it was something like this: 3/4 cup brown rice flour, 3/4 cup sorghum flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup oat flour, 3/4 cup buttery spread, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 3/4 coconut flakes, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tbsp grapeseed oil. I also added a handful of gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips on top of the crust before I added the filling because, well, why not? My taste taste concluded that the crust was actually better than the pie filling. I will test it again on Thanksgiving when I prepare the feast at my mom's house and will update this accordingly. The pie filling, thankfully, was just the same as Libby's recipe that is almost always on the back of the can. I just used the thick portion of the coconut milk from the can.

It's in small pieces because I'm taking it to work on Monday. People tend not to feel guilty about taking a piece if it's small and cute. Plus it's better for my health if I keep the treats out of the house.

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