Here is a low-calorie, gluten-free recipe for an alternative to western pumpkin pie using Kabocha (“Japanese pumpkin”, available in most supermarkets) and Kudzu root powder (instead of flour).
Serve as is, or sprinkle with your favorite toppings such as roasted almonds, pecans, chestnuts or sesame seeds (as commonly done in Japan). Goes particularly well served with Japanese green teas.
You cook and mix the ingredients, pour the mixture into a common mold measuring about 12 cm (5 inches), and cool it in the refrigerator.
About Kabocha and Kudzu
Kudzu (or Kuzu) root powder is a thickener. It is light, wonderfully healthy and a gluten-free alternative to starch, flour and cornmeal. You can get it natural and pesticide-free here.
Recipe makes 2 pies. Each is for 4 generous dessert-size servings, or 8 snack-sized pieces.
Kabocha: 1/2 lb (220 g)
Vanilla Extract: 1/4 teaspoon
Cinnamon*: 1/4 teaspoon
Milk: 1 cup (200 cc)
Kudzu Root Powder**: 3 level tablespoons
Brown Sugar**: 4 tablespoons
* You can also use ginger, cardamom, etc.
** Adjust amount of brown sugar and Kudzu powder depending on sweetness and water content of your Kabocha (use a bit less Kudzu if your Kabocha is on the dry side, and vice versa).
How to Prepare
- Remove Kabocha’s skin and discard seeds. Cut into small pieces.
- Steam cut pieces in a pan until tender. Mash while still hot (or use a food processor). Add 1/2 cup of milk. Mix well. (A)
- In a separate pan, add Kudzu root powder, brown sugar and the rest of the milk. Mix well using a whisk. (B)
- Add B plus vanilla extract and cinnamon powder to A. Keep stirring until mixture becomes smooth.
- Place pan on low heat. Stir vigorously until mixture becomes pasty, silky-smooth and shiny (takes about 3 to 5 minutes).
- Pour mixture into your favorite mold. Let it cool down. Place in refrigerator.
- Refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Unmold by turning mold upside down on a serving plate.