Two Become One
CREATING NEW RECIPES FROM BELOVED FAMILY CLASSICS
Written and photographed by Whitney Miller
My grandmother, who I called “Wawa,” was an amazing baker. Known for her cakes, she also made delicious pies. Though Wawa had her repertoire of tried-and-true desserts, she wasn’t afraid to experiment. Her inspiration came from the local newspaper’s food section. Cutouts of recipes covered her kitchen table. If she discovered a recipe she thought I would like, she would slip it in an envelope and mail it to me.
When Thanksgiving rolled around, we had our choice of pumpkin pies. Wawa would use canned pumpkin in her filling, but bake it in her homemade piecrust. My dad’s stepmom, Nanny Ida, however, chose fresh pumpkin in her version. Deciding between the vying pies was impossible. So, each Thanksgiving my dad opted for slices of both. He really preferred Nanny Ida’s pie, but wise man that he was, kept that to himself.
In the spirit of Wawa’s willingness to try new things and to honor both of these women, I have combined their pumpkin pie recipes and come up with Pumpkin Pie Bread. Using gluten-free flours for this recipe results in a lighter texture. Pumpkin Pie Bread is delicious at breakfast, but decadent enough for dessert. It’s a treat to be enjoyed all fall long!
My family seems to have lucked out when it comes to talented cooks, and both my great-grandmother and my mom were also gifted in the kitchen. My great-grandmother made wonderful pies and biscuits and inspired me to become a chef. I wanted to make people happy through food the way she did. Both of these women had a love of cooking, but with very different styles. My great-grandmother was a traditional Southern cook, whereas my mom is more of a creative cook.
Here again, I celebrate two influential cooks by melding my great-grandmother’s coconut pie with mom’s seven-layer bar cookie to create Toasted Coconut Cream Pie with Chocolate and Pecans. I’ve enhanced their original flavors by adding chocolate, pecans and toasting half the shredded coconut until fragrant and golden brown before adding it to the filling.
One bite of this pie, and I am transported back to my great-grandmother’s kitchen. I love how foods can trigger a memory or create a new one. So, grab your family recipes and don’t be afraid to mix, match, experiment, and start new family traditions in the process.
Excerpt is from an article featured in the FALL issue of Flavors Magazine, subscribe today and don't miss a single issue!
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Bread
Yield: 4 mini loaves or 1 big loaf
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup pure cane sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup applesauce*
2/3 cup fresh pumpkin puree
or canned pumpkin
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 4 (5 1/2 x 3 1/2-inch) mini loaf pans or a 9-inch loaf pan.
In a microwave-safe medium-size bowl, melt butter. Add oil, sugar and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. Whisk in eggs until combined. Add applesauce and pumpkin puree. Whisk in vanilla and yogurt.
In another bowl, combine both flours, ground flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir.
Fold flour mixture into wet. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s).
Place on middle rack in oven. If making mini pumpkin bread loaves, bake for 30 minutes. If making 1 pumpkin bread loaf, bake for 1 hour. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool.
*If you don’t have applesauce, you can finely grate a small, peeled sweet apple.
Tip: If you want to make pumpkin bread that is not gluten-free, substitute all-purpose flour for the rice and almond flour.