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A pumpkin pie you can indulge in

Updated: May 9, 2012 9:59AM

November is a tough month. I mean, we’ve barely recovered from our Halloween sugar shock and already we’re gearing up for an all-day eat-off of turkey and trimmings.

And no matter how stuffed we feel at the end of Thanksgiving dinner, we still feel compelled to wrap up the festivities with the traditional slice of pumpkin pie and a dollop or two of real whipped cream.

Trouble is, that one slice packs tons of extra fat and calories you don’t need on top of everything else you’ve already enjoyed. A typical slice of pumpkin pie can have nearly 400 calories and more than 23 grams of fat.

It’s hard to feel thankful for those numbers.

So I decided to come up with a healthier version of pumpkin pie. It’s so good and so much lighter than traditional versions, you might even get away with eating two slices.

My version uses just a few healthy substitutions, and you’ll be surprised at how great they taste. Stevia (a no-calorie natural sweetener), agave syrup and coconut nectar stand in for sugar. Nonfat Greek-style yogurt subs for whole milk. And gelatin thickens the pie filling and the “whipped cream.”

The bulk of the calories and fat in pies comes from the crust, usually thanks to ample amounts of butter or shortening. Here, I’ve used sheets of phyllo dough stacked on top of one another. This eliminates most of the fat that goes into a pie. Plus, it makes a great crispy, crunchy crust.

About the “whipped cream” — gelatin mixed with fat-free milk, stevia and coconut nectar helps the mixture truly whip. There’s zero fat, and very few calories, so feel free to pile mounds of my whipped cream on your pie. Or run your finger through the whipped cream as you make it. And lick the beaters!

If you just make simple, low-calorie swaps like these during the season, you shouldn’t have a problem enjoying your favorite holiday foods. Since I started cooking like this, I haven’t had a problem myself, and I’ve even lost a few pounds over the holidays.

Making this pie is a cinch too, so resist the urge to purchase one of those frozen pumpkin pies. Simply make the phyllo crust, bake it, fill it with the pumpkin mixture, then chill the pie. Except for the crust, this is no-bake pie. Excuse the cliche, but it is truly “easy as pie.”


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