You will not be able to tell that this isn't a conventional pumpkin pie. The taste and texture are amazing!
I had no idea how hard it was going to be to make a vegan pumpkin pie. I’m exhausted. But, I’m one of the most tenacious people I know, so four or five failures weren’t about to stop me from succeeding! Yep, you read that right, four or five pies that, to be frank, sucked. I actually might have made more, but it’s all a blur at this point. However, all of that time in the kitchen was time well spent, because I made a pie that’s just as good as the pie that my mom makes. The texture and the flavor are the same!!!! You have no idea how happy I am right now y’all. There is one gigantic smile on my pumpkin spiced, floured face. Seriously, I have pumpkin pie ingredients all over myself. Ridiculous.
I can’t even tell you how many vegan pumpkin pie recipes I looked at online. I tried to study the key ingredients in those pumpkin pie recipes, and then compare them to traditional recipes, and then to the ingredients that I’ve used successfully.
The biggest loser was the one that I used guar gum instead of corn starch to try and get the dang thing to set, and to have the consistency of custard. Bwaahaahaahahaaa!! (That's my - I'm going to lose it - laugh.) Well, in case you didn’t know, guar gum is 8 times the thickening agent that corn starch is, and I put a tablespoon in the mix. Oh yeah, I knew before I even baked it that it wasn’t going to go well. It was sooooo thick, and the mix tasted kind of bean like. Guar gum is made from beans. It was just yuck, that’s all I have to say about that pie.
Then there was the pie that wouldn’t set. I cut into it after it had cooled and it was like molten lava – only it wasn’t hot – was oozing from the center. I can’t even remember what I used to make that one.
But, enough with the failures, you don’t want to hear about those, you want to hear about this gorgeous thing.
In between making pumpkin pies, I whipped up a batch of my pumpkin blondies to send to my son and his girlfriend at college. As I was pureeing the chickpeas, I had one of those light bulb moments that Oprah always used to talk about. Pureed chickpeas have a really custardy texture, and I knew that they set well because of the blondies. It obvious what needed to be done.
I really feel kind of like a culinary genius with this one, because it’s that good. My husband has eaten most of the pie, and is hoping for more when he gets home from work tonight. Anyway, this is what you need to do to make your own vegan pumpkin pie.
Puree a can of chickpeas in a blender or a food processor. REALLY puree them. They need to be super smooth and creamy. No pieces, however small, allowed. Once you’ve pureed the chickpeas, pour them into a large bowl and add a can or organic pureed pumpkin, a can of coconut milk,* and the applesauce egg replacer. I know, it sounds like a lot of flavors that might fight with the taste of the pumpkin, but they don’t.
*You could use the light version of coconut milk, or almond or soy milk, but only add one cup and then slowly add more if the mix is too thick. It should be pourable, just not runny.
The next step is to add the cornstarch, brown sugar, and the spices. Whisk them until it’s well blended and there aren’t any lumps. Don’t use a spoon or a spatula, use a whisk for the best results. Now pour the pie mixture into the pie dish and bake it at 375° for the first twenty to thirty minutes – until the crust is lightly browned. Then turn the heat down to 350°, and cover the edges of the crust so it doesn't burn, bake for another twenty-five to thirty minutes. Note: You can use aluminum foil to protect the crust, but I highly recommend using a pie crust protector.
Baking tip: To prevent cracks in the pie, tap the pan gently on a flat surface before baking.
When the pie is done you’ll be able to insert a sharp knife on the edges and it will come out clean. The center will be a little jiggly, but don’t worry, it will set as it cools. You will need to refrigerate the pie for at least twelve hours before cutting it, so make it a day ahead of time.
OK, let’s talk about the spices, because besides the pumpkin, the spices are what this baby is all about. I used two and a half teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 heaping teaspoon of nutmeg, a quarter of a teaspoon of ground ginger, and an eighth of a teaspoon of cloves and cardamom. So savory and rich, you will want to take it slow when you eat this pie, so that you can savor every little morsel.
Oh yeah, the crust is pretty important too. I’ve tried many pie crust recipes in my years of baking, and I have to say that Ina Garten’s pie crust is my favorite. It’s so buttery (and vegan butter works just as well as dairy, so why wouldn't you use non-dairy?) and flaky, and it’s really easy to make and to work with. I’m not going to try and improve upon this one, so I’ll just share the link with you so you can make her crust too.
If you have extra dough left, and you should, roll it out and make some pretty cut outs. I used my maple leaf cookie cutter to make pretty sugar coated leaves to decorate the pie with. They will work out much better if you bake them separately and then add them to the pie when you’re ready to serve. I just brushed some maple syrup on the leaves and sprinkled decorator’s sugar on top, then baked until they were lightly golden.
I hope you enjoy this pie as much as I do, and as much as my food snob (I say that with total respect) husband did. Let me know what you think. Your comments are always appreciated.
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Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Crust – Adapted from Ina Garten’s pie crust recipe.
- 12 tablespoons 1 1/2 sticks very cold vegan butter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
- 6 to 8 tablespoons about 1/2 cup ice water
- 15 ounce can of chickpeas pureed – Drain and rinse well before pureeing.
- 1 /2 cup of applesauce +4 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 15 ounce can of coconut milk*
- 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1 heaping teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Pie Crust
- Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.
- Preheat the oven to 375°
- Puree the chickpeas in a blender or a food processor until they are creamy and smooth. There shouldn’t be any pieces of the beans visible.
- Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl.
- Mix the baking powder and apple sauce to a medium bowl and mix until it’s frothy and light. Add to the chickpeas.
- Add the pumpkin, milk, cornstarch, sugar, and spices to the chickpea mixture and whisk until smooth and completely combined. There shouldn’t be any lumps in the mixture.
- Pour into the pie pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the edges of the pie crust are golden brown. Turn the heat down to 350° and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes or until you can insert a sharp knife in the edge of the pie and it comes out clean. The center will be a little jiggly. That’s normal, it will set as it cools.
- Do not slice until the pie has been refrigerated for at least 12 hours. Store in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can freeze it for up to 6 months.
- *You could use the light version of coconut milk, or almond or soy milk, but only add one cup and then slowly add more if the mix is too thick. It should be pourable, just not runny.