Ok, I know I have already shared 2 pumpkin pie recipes, but guys…this one is pretty special. I mean, technically, you can’t really make a vegan custard, with the eggs and milk and all…so why not just go full-force, and bust out some super rich and decadent plant-based ingredients, and make a unique pumpkin pie that is not only vegan, gluten-free and free of refined sugars, but also mega awesome? Yeah, I that is what I thought, too!
(ps: I in no way want to put the perception our there that I am totally ready for the holidays. Let’s be real here: I am trying to write a thesis, defend, and graduate by late December. And I have a metric f*** ton of work left to do. But pumpkin pie makes these tasks a little less crappy, so if you’re also stressed with school/work/life, I recommend taking a break, and making either variant of the pumpkin pies I have shared with you!)
This pie is versatile. Don’t want to make a full-on pie? Just pour the creamy filling into a parchment-lined 8″x8″ pan, chill until firm, and you have yourself a) a delicious pudding-like treat, perfect topped with whipped coconut cream and some crunchy toasted nuts, or b) place in the freezer, and once frozen/firm, slice into squares for a fudge-like treat. (side note: leftover filling also makes a bomb oatmeal topping)
The pie can be made up to 2 days in advance, simply cover the pie with plastic wrap so the filling stays moist (if you need to, you can smooth the top of the pie out after removing the plastic wrap). Leftover pie can be wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 1 month. Eating it straight from the freezer is like a pumpkin ice-cream pie. Yep-even another “versatile” way to enjoy this amazing pumpkin pie! You can also let the pie come to room temperature-it really is up to your preference. I find that slicing the pie is a touch easier when a bit cold, so feel free to pre-slice and allow individual pieces come to the desired temperature if needed.
Speaking of rambling, I think I will just get on with sharing the recipe. I do hope you try this for your next holiday get-together or potluck. This pie was approved by my dairy-farming family last Thanksgiving, so it can certainly please the palate of anyone that has a love for traditional pumpkin pie!!
Note: this pie cannot be made nut free-sorry! For a delicious nut-free alternative, check out the cashew-less version of my take on traditional pumpkin pie here. Have the time to make your own pumpkin puree? Good for you-come make some for me! Just kidding. See here for my puree how-to! If you don’t have time to do this, using one can of organic pumpkin puree is totally acceptable. No one will be the wiser, I promise.
Ultimate Plant-Based Pumpkin Pie // plant-based; vegan; gluten-free; soy-free; refined sugar-free // makes one 9″ or 10″ pie //
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup rolled oats, GF if needed
- 2/3 cup soft medjool dates, pitted (if yours are a bit firm, soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes, and drain thoroughly; they need to be soft to bind the crust)
- 1 TB virgin coconut oil, melted + a bit more for greasing pan
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 strips of parchment paper for lining pie pan (optional, but recommended to help prevent sticking)
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or for 1 hour in hot water
- 2 cups (or 1 15-oz can) pumpkin or squash puree, not pumpkin pie mix
- 6 TB virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground dried ginger, or 1/2″ hunk fresh ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp molasses
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1-3 TB plant-based milk, to help blend if needed
Whipped Coconut Cream:
- 1 can coconut cream*, refrigerated upside down, until firm
- 1-2 TB maple syrup
- pinch sea salt
- optional: a glug of cognac, brandy or rum, or vanilla
*the coconut cream CANNOT have guar gum in it; Trader Joe’s has carboxymethyl cellulose, and still whips, FYI. For an entertaining, yet sad picture of the results, see last picture at bottom of this post! 😀
1. Make the crust: in a food processor, pulse the oats, nuts, cinnamon and salt until medium-fine texture. Add the coconut oil and the dates, and pulse until it all comes together into a sticky ball. To know when you’ve processed enough, squeeze a bit of the mixture in your palm-it should stick together.
2. Cut two wide strips of parchment that cover the width of the pie pan. Grease the pan, and then lay the strips of parchment across in an “X”. The coconut oil that you greased the pan with will help these stay in place. Oil or lightly wet your hands, and scoop crust mixture into pan. Distribute it evenly, and pat firmly into the pie tin. Use the underside of a measuring cup or a glass to help even-out. You want the crust to be firmly pressed in, but not too firm so that it becomes too compact so it doesn’t come out easily when sliced (but if that DOES happen, you’ll have the parchment strips to help coax pieces out).
3. Bake the crust for 9-12 minutes, until it is fragrant and golden. Take crust out to cool while you make the filling.
4. Make the filling: combine all the ingredients in a blender, and puree until completely smooth. Taste and adjust spices as desired. If using a conventional blender, it may take 3-5 minutes for the mixture to blend to complete smoothness. Scrape down the sides as needed. If the mixture is too thick to blend, then add a few TB of plant-based milk or water. Once smooth, simply pour into the baked and slightly cooled crust. Smooth out, and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to 2 days ahead of time. Pie can be frozen whole or in slices, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and put into another container to prevent freezer burn.
5. Slice straight from the fridge, or freezer. Pie is easiest to slice when cool, but you can let it warm up as you see fit. Top with whipped coconut cream, and enjoy!
To make coconut whipped cream: open the coconut cream as you had it in the fridge (open the bottom of the can!). Empty the watery contents into a jar, and reserve for a smoothie. Scoop out the thick, cold coconut cream into a large bowl, or the bowl of a mixer. Mix with a whip attachment (or just with beaters), until light and fluffy. Beat in the maple syrup, sea salt and booze if using. Can be whipped a few hours ahead of time, and placed in the fridge. Re-whip a touch with a whisk right before serving if your coconut whip deflates while sitting.
Crust: this is the texture of the oats and nuts that you’ll want to aim for. Not too coarse, or else the mixture won’t stick, and not too fine or the excess oils released from the nuts will make this too…well, oily, and like nut-butter.
In with the *soft* dates (if they aren’t soft, soak in hot water for 5-10 minutes, and drain thoroughly). Pulse until you have a mixture that sticks together when squeezed in your palm.
Ok, now prep your pie dish by laying 2 strips of parchment cross-wise in a coconut-oiled pie dish (this is an extra precaution for if your pie crust sticks and you cannot manage to get pieces out! Simply lifting up simultaneously on the parchment flaps will get the pie loosened for easier cutting if the crust sticks).
Ok, now pat the crumbly crust mixture into the dish, getting it as even in thickness as you can muster. I like to oil or wet my hands a bit to prevent sticking. To finish the edges and make it all even-like, use the bottom of a measuring cup or a glass…lightly oil or wet that, too! Sticking=the devil.
Bake at 350F for 9-12 minutes, or until fragrant and just starting to turn dark brown around the edges.
Ok, while the crust bakes, get on with the filling! I love this part. The filling stuff!
Simply throw (ok, not throw, gently pour/scoop/etc) into a blender, and….blend until completely smooth! It took me about 2 minutes in my Vitamix, but when I used a conventional, it look me about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the blender container as needed. Taste, and adjust sweetness and spice.
This filling. So. Beautiful! The color gets me everytime. Just makes you want to smile, and shove your face in it. Right?
Ok, now this is the part where you can diverge into pudding (place into a bowl and chill), freezer “fudge” (into a lined 8×8″ pan and freeze until firm enough to cut into chunks) or carry on as pie! We’ll make pie. So, scoop into the baked crust, smooth, and chill for at least 4 hours, up to 2 days ahead of time (just cover it so it doesn’t dry out on top!).
Slice into whatever size pieces you’d like, whip some coconut cream, and serve! Highly recommend enjoying a piece for breakfast with hot coffee or tea.
So rich. So decadent. So not like your traditional pumpkin pie, but so delicious and full of pumpkin and spice! I love it. I hope you do to! If you do make it, let me know how it goes! Cheers and happy (early) Thanksgiving!
ps: this is how whipped coconut cream looks WITH guar gum (lesson learned for you-don’t repeat my mistakes!)