About this recipe:This gluten free pie marries beetroot and almond which are great partners, and offers a colourful change from ordinary pumpkin. Beetroot is usually sold in the supermarket in 250g packets, so you’ll need two – just make sure it’s not packed in vinegar. You'll also need a deep-sided, round, loose-based pie or flan tin that's at least 5cm deep and about 24cm in diameter.
Mix the crust ingredients together in a medium bowl with a fork until fully moistened and combined. (There is no need to grease, flour, or line your tin.) Press the mixture into the pie/flan tin with your hands, ensuring the crust goes all the way up the sides. Use your knuckles around the bottom edge to ensure it isn’t too thick there. Prick the bottom and sides all over lightly with your fork (it will puff up if you don’t), and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack.
Turn oven down to 180 C / 160 C / Gas 4.
While the pastry crust is baking, make the frangipane by mixing the butter and caster sugar together with a wooden spoon until you achieve a paste-like consistency. Add the beaten egg and ground almonds, and mix until it is completely smooth.
Now make the filling: drain the excess liquid from the beetroot, chop into smaller pieces, and puree with the cream in a food processor, or in a bowl with an immersion blender.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs at medium-low speed until frothy and doubled in volume. Gradually add the dark sugar and cornflour while mixing at medium speed. Add the spices, lemon, and beetroot puree, and whisk at medium-high speed until fully combined.
Transfer the frangipane to the crust, smoothing it into an even layer over the base with the back of a spoon; then pour over the filling. If you have air bubbles, drop the tin (carefully!) on the counter from an inch height once or twice.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, turning halfway through for even baking. The filling should have a slight wobble in the middle, and the visible edging of crust should not be too dark. If the pastry crust edging is getting quite dark, wrap a strip of tin foil around the edge of the tin before continuing to bake.
Remove the pie from the oven to a cooling rack and cool completely, before removing the side (I sit the pie dish on a stack of tuna cans, which is small enough and tall enough to allow the side to drop cleanly), then slide off the pie tin bottom.
You can decorate with a dusting of icing sugar, or sprinkle some almond flakes over the top (or both) before serving, if you like.
Tip for substituting pumpkin:
You could make the filling with pureed roasted pumpkin instead of beetroot. I would add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and leave out the frangipane layer if doing that. I’d also decorate with finely chopped pecans instead of flaked almonds.