Most people who know me well know that this summer I’ve been working hard to eat less sugar and fewer carbs. Since a diabetic episode brought on by prednisone several years ago, I’ve tested my blood sugar occasionally to make sure it didn’t come back. This year it started creeping up again. So I cut out “easy” carbs — you know, passing on the rolls and breadsticks they serve at restaurants and “cheap” carbs like cake and donuts, drinking unsweetened coffee (that’s another post), eating smaller portions, etc. — and lost some weight. One of my doctors congratulated me on taking those steps then told me I had to take it further. Ugh. Okay, time to really crack down!
But I have a few problems: I cannot stand the flavor of artificial sweeteners (and I’ve tried a lot, in a lot of different things, both at home and at restaurants/coffee shops); I can’t eat many of the foods that most diabetics are told to eat more of, due to other issues; and I know for a fact that if I just cut out all the high carb foods I love I will NEVER keep up that diet, guaranteed. I know myself well enough to know that “cutting” won’t last. So I aimed for “reducing”.
One of my favorite foods on this planet is pumpkin pie. I eat it for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. Easter? Sure, I’ll bring a pumpkin pie. July 4th? What’s more American than pumpkin pie? Fortunately, other members of my extended family like pumpkin pie too, so I’m not left eating the entire thing.
But there is a lot of sugar in a regular pumpkin pie, even in the reduced sugar version I used to make (the recipe I use called for 2/3 cup and I’d reduce that to a 1/2 cup). And swapping out sugar for one of the artificial sweeteners isn’t going to work for me. So, going back to that “reduce don’t cut” motto, here is the recipe I’ve settled on. I figured out the sugar in this recipe, using the branded ingredients as marked, and it’s a total of 62 grams of sugar in the entire pie: 36 from the sugar, 9 from the milk, and about 17 from the pumpkin puree (the crust I use has no sugar listed on the nutrition panel). For eight slices per pie, that’s about 8 grams of sugar per slice. I can live with that!
So here’s my adapted recipe, based on Better Homes and Gardens’ New Cook Book (not so new; my copy was published in 1989).
1 15-oz can Libby’s pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I tend to round it)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (ditto)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 5-ounce can (2/3 cup) Carnation evaporated milk (use the 2% or skim version if possible)
1/2 cup skim milk (I have Lactaid skim milk in my fridge so that’s what I use)
pie crust for single crust pie (I use Pillsbury refrigerated crusts)
Allow pie crust to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375F.
Combine pumpkin puree, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat to preference: my husband likes “solid” pumpkin pie so I use a spoon and stir just until mixed, while my brother-in-law prefers “light” pumpkin pie so I use a hand mixer to beat it until it’s almost fluffy. Add in evaporated milk and milk and mix gently but well.
Place pie crust in 9″ glass pie pan and crimp the edges. Pour in filling. Cover the edge of the pie with foil or a pie crust shield (I love these things, worth the price if you bake a lot of pie!). Bake for 25-35 minutes. Remove foil or shield and bake for another 10-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. (I’ve baked enough in my oven to recognize when the pie is done to our tastes, so experiment as ovens will vary.) Cool on a wire rack. Makes eight servings.
In the future I may play with this a bit more: reduce the carbs by making it crustless (bake it longer at a lower temp); and/or try unsweetened almond milk in place of regular milk. But today I’ll just enjoy my “normal” pumpkin pie. :) Cheers!