Food Friday–Meeting a Variety of Needs Edition

My oldest was born on Halloween.  My father began calling my daughter  Dalaat because of her birthday.  My daughter has a certain fondness for the name.  She is very fond of pumpkins.

Earlier this week my daughter mentioned that she was disappointed by the huge array of desserts that my sister had made for Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie was not part of that array.

I asked my daughter if a pumpkin pie would induce her  to show up at Shabbat dinner this week.  she agreed to show up and I got to work on the pie.
Making the pie was not completely simple though. We are eating a meat meal. This means no delicious butter in the crust and no cream for the pumpkin custard filling.
Making an oil crust is easy work with the food processor. The filling is made a bit more complicated by my youngest’s food allergies. He is allergic to soy and to tree nuts.  So we can’t turn to either soy milk or the more delicious almond milk.  A local fruit stand has a wide selection of non dairy milks.  I asked the clerk which non dairy, non soy, non nut milk was the least repulsive. He suggested oat milk, so that’s what I used.

I had trouble finding canned pumpkin which seemed really odd. So I  bought acorn squash and a kabocha squash and baked them until soft. The acorn squash is fairly wet and the kobocha is dry so they make a good pair. I made the custard in the food processor. I recently read that pumpkin is primarily a carrier for the spices and the sugar  that are paired with it. So I spiced the custard with lots of nutmeg, cinnamon cloves, allspice and ginger.

I made both the crust and the filling entirely by feel.  I have been making pie crusts for about 35 years. After a while you can just throw away the cookbook and just wing it. I always add flavor to the crust so it echoes the flavor of the pie so the spices repeat in the crust. Custard too  can be made cook book free.

I was amazed though, that the filling exactly filled the crust. The cooking gods must have been smiling on me.

A pie alone does not make dinner. we are eating idiot chicken ( baked with lemon Herbes Provençal), a mixed grain pilaf ( various hands full of grains and pastas from the pantry) a cabbage salad, two day soup and of course, challah.

And now for a bonus silly Shabbat story.
One of my classmates in yeshiva had a mother who crocheted kippot for her sons out of really heavy woolen yarn.  One of her sons was walking in South Boston wearing one of those kippot. South Boston in the early 1970’s was not the safest area to walk wearing a kippah. as my classmate walked down the street, a kid ran up to him, pulled on the cuff of his jacket and said, “ Mister, mister!  you have a pot holder on your head!!!” That was no pot holder, but it was  one of those thick woolen kippot.
To remember this silly story, my boys routinely wear potholders on their heads when I light Shabbat candles.  We live in a stupid house.

Shabbat Shalom


  1. Sarah -
    We del witha variety of food allergies in our cooking, including dairy, soy & tree nuts. I have learned that coconut milk, available in oriental & hispanic grocery stores, is great in pumpkin and other custard pies. With all the seasonings in pumpkin custard, there is barely a hint of the coconut taste. I use it in fritatta & quiche as well. Sweet white rice milk, made by soaking sweet white rice in water for 24 hours, then straining works in place of plain milk in muffins or cake, but is too thin to use in custards or any recipe that calls for half and half or cream.
    Sue in MN

  2. I have used coconut milk in non dairy ice cream. I do find that the taste is stronger than I would like...Coconut is great where I want screams at me where I don't. Banana s the same way for me. Thanks for the rice milk tip. That is something I will do for sure.

    The pie was good. My allergic boy slept through dinner and missed the pie. My big kids complained that it needed more cinnamon but ate it anyway.


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