How to make healthy choices every day

Spiced & Salted Pumpkin Pie Minis

I’ve been staring at the blinking cursor for a couple days now. Why is this? Well, I think life lately has been rather overwhelming, even if it is in the best way possible. I am traveling more than I am home, speaking more often than being silent, and seeing more new faces than old, familiar ones. At the end of the day my blissfully tangled mind cannot unravel enough sense to put a complete sentence together! All this newness, all of this expansion is entirely because of this little blog, My New Roots, and that means it is all because of you.
I started My New Roots five years ago. Five years. Even if someone told me last spring that I would now be staring at a calendar full of sold-out cooking classes in exciting cities, interviews, lectures, and amazing collaborations with so many talented people…whew. My heart. Bursting.
This is thanks giving.

To celebrate my gifts and blessings, I decided to get ultra-traditional, with my own little twist of course.
You see, I’ve never made pumpkin pie before. Ever. I was the kid that turned her nose up at every Thanksgiving dessert hour because who in their right mind would eat vegetables in a pie? Sickatating. But can millions of people be out of their minds together? Let’s not answer that. And after growing up a little, and sneaking beets, avocados and squash into more sweets than I could count, I thought it was high time I tackle the oh-so “bizarre”, pumpkin pie.

Turns out, I rather like this little number.
The tart shell, made of oats and roasted hazelnuts, is rich and buttery and has almost shortbread-like crumbliness. I used barley malt as a sweetener, but brown rice syrup would work well too, making the entire dessert gluten-free.
The filling is creamy and spicy and pumpkin-y without it feeling like you’re diggin’ into a casserole, which was my greatest fear. The sweetener here was coconut palm sugar; a fairly new-to-me white sugar replacement. So far I am pretty sold on the stuff because it’s the “no-brainer” of white sugar substitutes, as you use it 1:1 in any baked recipe. This is often difficult with alternatives because so many of them are liquid; honey, maple syrup etc. Coconut palm sugar is a dry sweetener and crystallized so there is no guesswork around changing up all the other ingredients, which often leads me to total baking flops. Coconut palm sugar has a round, caramel flavour and a sweetness that is mellow. Said to be low on the glycemic index, it is a great sub for anyone looking to keep blood sugars a little more stable. You can read a rather thorough article about coconut palm sugar here.

The icing on the cake is the salt on the pie. Bahaha. No, but seriously. The salt here is key – they are like little crystals of flavour-enhancing magic garnishing this dessert, so try to get one that is flaky (such as Maldon) and pretty to look at. If this is not possible, just use a good sea or rock salt with a clean taste that you feel compliments sweets. I trust you. Just promise not to sprinkle table salt all over the top. That is all.

The pumpkin I chose for the filling was a Hokkaido pumpkin, which is grown locally here in Denmark. If you cannot find this variety, any sweet, flavourful pie pumpkin will do. Ask your grocer if you are not sure.

Spiced & Salted Pumpkin Pie Minis
Makes 12 mini pies

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cardamom
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
¾ cup coconut sugar
½ vanilla bean, scraped
3 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
¼ tsp. sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Slice pumpkin in half, remove seeds and rub with a little coconut oil and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes until soft. Remove from oven and let cool. Scoop out flesh and set aside.
2. In a food processor or blender, puree all ingredients until smooth. Season to taste.

Hazelnut Crust:
2 cups / 175g rolled oats (gluten-free, if possible)
1 ½ cups / 200g toasted hazelnuts
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup barley malt (or brown rice syrup)
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

1. Roast hazelnuts in the oven with the pumpkin. Remove when toasted and fragrant, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside to let cool. Remove skin by rubbing nuts together. Reserve 6 or 7 hazelnuts for garnish.
2. In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts until they resemble sand (do not over-blend, or you will get hazelnut butter!). Remove from food processor and set aside.
3. Place oats in food processor and blend on high until you have a rough flour.
 Add all other ingredients and pulse to mix. Dough should resemble a sticky, rough sand and hold together when pressed (see photo).

Baking Instructions:
1. In a greased muffin pan, press a golf ball-sized amount of dough very firmly into each form. Fill each crust with pumpkin pie filling to the rim. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the filling is dark brown and set.
2. Let cool completely before attempting to remove from muffin forms. To remove, run a sharp knife around the outside of each crust and pop out mold. Garnish with flaky sea salt and a sprinkling of chopped roasted hazelnuts.

This Thanksgiving I am just grateful. So, so grateful for everything that has happened in the last five years, and thankful to each and every one of you who continue to make that possible. Your unwavering enthusiasm for My New Roots, love for all things tasty and healthy, and your sharing of personal stories toward health and balance, have changed my life. As overwhelming as it all may seem I keep reminding myself that the universe does not deliver more than I can handle. Deep breaths. Challenges are opportunities for growth, whether that challenge presents itself in an empty kitchen or a room of hundreds of people. And I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t meant to be. For that, and all of these lessons, I thank you again.

Giving thanks. Thanks giving.
Peace and blessings to everyone!

Love always,
Sarah B.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at

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