This is a guest post by Erica von Trapp, a chef in Portland, Oregon. Erica blogs at She plans to release an allergy friendly cookbook later this year.
The ideal articulation of holidays can be narrowed down as such: cozy, family, festivity, tradition and FOOD. While of course, there are those moments of stress, recollection of “Christmas ghosts past” or just straight-up indigestion, I think we can all thank the holidays for reminding us of what is really important, and where we are currently in our lives.
Let’s step back to tradition and indigestion, for a second. This is where is gets hard to be what I call a “Bubble Child,” which in my world means someone who has a lot of food allergies. After almost dying from eating a Brazil Nut at the age of 10 (anaphylaxis is a hoot, let me tell you) and discovering several more food sensitivities and allergies while growing up, I feel completely comfortable calling myself a Bubble Child – which has made cooking for me on special days, um, innovative fun for my family members. My Grandmother was a 1960s home economics teacher, and her version of cheesecake with a graham walnut crust is not exactly the same as mine.
The thing is, tradition is good. We all want those comforting pieces of the holidays, like the sound of the mixer whizzing away, indicating some form of mashed something-or-other or baked goodness approaching our remarkably starving palates. We want to remind ourselves of where we’ve been and meals past, but also keep in context where we are now for the present and future.

Erica and her family during one of her childhood holidays.

Since we have changed our food so much since, say, my Grandma’s day, so have our bodies’ ways of breaking down food. While we can mumble, grown and feel sorry for ourselves for never being able to eat those scrumptious foods like pumpkin pie or cornbread stuffing ever again, that just isn’t so. These foods were started to bring joy, not histamines, and they can continue as such! It simply takes a little creativity in the kitchen and knowledge of how to balance flavors and bind things together to make a dish that supports both you and others’ taste buds and digestive capability.
This is why I am happy that Happy Campers is doing what they are doing with bread. They have created a product that is downright delicious, no matter what your stomach or t-cells say, and they are moving forward in an honest, sincere and positive manner with the happiness they bring. Knowing your body and what it can handle is so important, and that, my friends, is healthy eating!
Since many people are Bubble Children like me, and share many of the same food allergies, I have a little present for us: Flax Seed Goo Pumpkin Pie.
This loveliness is made with no dairy, nuts, gluten, corn or any other ingredient that is a common offender in upset tummies. When I was apprenticing with Chef Abigail Hitchcock in New York, I made this pie, perfected the recipe and brought a sample to her. She took one bite, and mind you she has no food intolerances whatsoever, and said, “Erica, I don’t care if this is allergy-free or not, this is good.” My day was made, and, more importantly, I hope this can make yours, and the holidays of your Bubble Children loved ones, too.
Bubble Child Pumpkin Pie
Dairy, Gluten, Nut and Egg-free!
1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
2 tsp. xantham gum
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbs. non hydrogenated shortening, chopped into 1/2” pieces
3 tbs. flax seed goo**
2-4 tbs. cold water
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree* (made fresh from real pumpkin recommended. See below.)
1 1/4 cup flax seed goo**
Prep time: 15 minutes (not including flax seed and pumpkin puree prep. See below for instructions.) + 4 hours for the flax seeds to soak and become “goo”**
Cook time: 50-65 minutes
Yields one pie of deliciousness.
1. Prepare crust: in large bowl, mix flour, xantham gum, sugar, sea salt and cinnamon with a fork until combined. Using two knives in a crisscross cutting motion, incorporate shortening until pea-size pebbles of dough form. Repeat with 3 tbs. flax seed goo. Knead with hands, and add by the 2 tbs. cold water (more by the tablespoon if you need) until the dough is supple, but not sticky. Continue kneading until dough is consistent, and cohesive, then form into a ball.
2. Roll ‘er out! Line a flat surface with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Place dough ball in center and top with another sheet of lining. Using a rolling pin or empty wine bottle, roll out to a little less than 1/4” thick, and about 14” in diameter. (You want it to be enough to cover the base of your pie dish.) Remove top sheet of paper, and flip onto greased and floured pie dish. Break away extra dough from the edges and use to patch any gaps. Pinch around the edges of the dough, using your first three fingers, to make it pretty. Store in the fridge until filling is ready.
3. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Prepare filling: In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside. In large bowl, combine pumpkin puree and flax seed goo until well-blended. Gradually stir in sugar and spices until completely incorporated.
5. Remove pie shell from the fridge, pour in the filling, and pop in the oven for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake for another 40-50 minutes, or until the center starts to bubble.
6. Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until ready to serve***.
*Pumpkin Puree Recipe: To make pumpkin puree out of a fresh pumpkin, simply cut off the top of the pumpkin, slice in half, scoop out the seeds, and then cut into quarters. Bake on an
un-greased baking sheet, skin-side-down, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 50-75 minutes, or until they are soft and the skin peels off easily. Let cool to touch, then peel off skins. In a
blender, or using a handheld mixer, puree until completely smooth.
**Flax Seed Goo: Can be made in advance. Soak 1/2 cup flax seeds in 1 1/2 cups filtered water for 4 hours, or for up to 6-12 hours in the refrigerator. Puree in either a blender or using a
handheld mixer. That’s it.
***If you’re hankering for some whipped topping, that is dairy and soy-free, check out the rice whip options at health food stores. You can also use marshmallow cream.