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Butternut Pecan Pie

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    Crunchy pecans offer some textural contrast to the creamy butternut squash filling, while the quartet of spices ups the warming flavour.

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    1 1/2 lbs (700 g) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) cubes (about 4 cups/1 kg)

    3 large free-range eggs
    1/2 cup (125 mL) full-fat coconut milk
    1/3 cup (80 mL) organic coconut sugar or other raw-style sugar
    1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground ginger
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cloves
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
    Pinch of salt
    Prepared spelt pie dough (see recipe here)
    3/4 cup (180 mL) pecan halves
    2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup

    Set steamer basket in large saucepan and fill with 1 in (2.5 cm) water. Place squash in pan, cover, and steam over boiling water until very tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool. You can also roast squash in a 400 F (200 C) oven until tender.

    Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and set rack in bottom third of oven.

    Place cooled squash in food processor container and blend until very smooth. Add eggs, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, spices, and pinch of salt; blend until combined.

    Roll prepared pie dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper into a 12 in (30 cm) circle. Peel off top sheet and invert dough into lightly greased 9 in (23 cm) pie pan. Peel off remaining paper. If needed, trim crust with kitchen shears so it overhangs edge of pan by about 1 in (2.5 cm). Use both hands to pinch (flute) edge of crust by pushing the thumb of one hand in between the thumb and index finger of the opposite.

    Scatter pecans over crust and drizzle maple syrup over top. Pour butternut mixture over pecans and place pan in oven. Bake until set and no longer jiggly in the centre, about 45 minutes.

    Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate to cool completely before serving.

    Serves 8.

    Each serving contains: 425 calories; 8 g protein; 27 g total fat (13 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 44 g total carbohydrates (17 g sugars, 4 g fibre); 172 mg sodium

    A slice of beta carotene

    This decadent tasting pie has a nutritious side, too. Butternut squash is loaded with beta carotene, an antioxidant that may help protect the brain from age-related decline.

    source: "Life of Pi(e)", alive #383, September 2014

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    Butternut Pecan Pie

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    You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.