My goal with this pie was two fold. Make it gluten free, vegan, nut free, soy free, and gum free. (Because everyone deserves pumpkin pie.) But, my friends, we’re not so dull as to define a wondrous treat by what it isn’t, are we? My second goal was, of course, make it the best damn vegan gluten free pumpkin pie that exists.
This pie is decadent, thick, creamy and custardy. The crust is crisp, nutty and insanely easy. The pie as a whole has a brown-sugar depth from the maple syrup and coconut sugar, which caramelize during the cooking process. And it’s spiced with hawaij, a yemeni spice blend made up of ground cardamom, ginger, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Aka pumpkin pie spice on steroids. My sweet and talented friend Molly Yeh posted some gorgeous hawaij coffee doughnuts last week. I mean, that spice blend is full of all of my favorite things. So you know I had to try it out!
And dudes! It’s magic. It’s sweet and aromatic. But also warm and grounded. It’s the perfect complement to the creamy-sweetness of this pumpkin pie filling. On top of that, I’ve added brandy and hella vanilla extract. Because I like my flavors amped up. Brandy adds depth and a heavenly aroma (don’t worry the alcohol cooks off
completely mostly… see update at the bottom of the post). A pinch of salt brings out the natural sweetness in the coconut milk and pumpkin.
Chia! Not just chia though. Powdered chia! Powdered chia thickens the pie filling as it’s cooking. You’ll notice how the filling starts to pull away from your spatula as it cooks down. How it becomes thick like an egg custard. Just like chia pudding. The powdered chia in the filling is what makes this dessert truly like a traditional pumpkin pie. I admit, it’s pretty mind-blowing to cut into it! It acts, looks and tastes just like the classic version! I did many a happy dance after taking the first bite. Oh god it’s good!
And now I know what you’re thinking. “ANOTHER recipe with coconut milk in it?!? (Or better yet: “YES! Another recipe with coconut milk in it!!!”)
Indeed. I rely on coconut milk heavily for many of my recipes. There’s simply nothing as delicious and good for you as full fat coconut milk, cream and water. Does it taste heavily of coconut? Not at all! The pumpkin and spice-blend mask most of the coconut flavor.
Here’s the twist with the vegan gluten free pumpkin pie process. After baking, it’s going to look very dark. Logan thought it was a chocolate pie when I pulled it out of the oven! But not to fear! Cool the pie completely on the counter. Then let the pumpkin pie cool in the fridge, ideally overnight. A minimum of 3 hours. Once it cools it regains its golden, glowing pumpkin color. Not to mention that the custard thickens significantly once chilled.
Serve with ice cream. Or coconut whip. Seriously tho. After all of that work, you gotta serve it in style!
Note: If you prefer to exclude brandy for whatever reason, simply omit it from the recipe. However, the filling may take a little bit longer to cook on the stovetop.
Update 11/18/2015 10:30 AM: Thanks to the wonderful contribution of a reader, I now know that alcohol will not be totally removed through the process of cooking/baking. This recipe contains 1/4 cup brandy. 75% of the alcohol in the brandy cooks off in this recipe. Brandy is typically 35-60% alcohol. In this recipe it cooks down to 25-45%. That’s about half a shot of liquor in the whole pie if you’re keeping track. There are approximately 12 servings of pie. Each slice would have about 1 teaspoon of low-proof alcohol in it. MATH. If you’re avoiding alcohol for any reason, omit the brandy. You can read more about how alcohol cooks off in food here.
Update 11/25/2015 Correction! This recipe originally listed “1/2 cup maple syrup” for the crust. It’s actually “1/4 cup maple syrup.” It has been corrected in the recipe.
- 1⅓ cup rolled oat (certified gluten free oats if necessary)
- ⅓ cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- pinch sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 13 oz can pumpkin puree
- 1 13 oz can full fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons chia, powdered (powder whole chia in a spice grinder or blender)
- ¼ cup brandy
- ¼ cup vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- dash nutmeg (or to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Add the oats to the bowl of a high powered blender. Grind until you have a semi-fine flour. Add the sunflower seeds, coconut oil, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon. Blend until it comes together into a smooth, pliable dough. Scoop the dough out of the blender out into a 9" pie or tart pan. Using your hands, press the crust into the pan evenly. You want the crust to go all the way up the sides of the pan to form the "wall" of the crust, but not over the edges of the pan. Prick holes all over the crust. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating half-way through, until golden. One baking, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium sauce pot, whisk together the pumpkin custard ingredients: pumpkin puree, coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut sugar, powdered chia, brandy, vanilla, cardamom, ginger, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir everything together until smooth. Place the mix over medium high heat. The mixture will smooth out more as it cooks. Cook, stirring relatively constantly and scraping down the sides of the pan, until reduced by half of the original volume. This takes roughly 20-25 minutes. Once done, the filling will coat the back of a spoon thickly.
- Pour the pie filling into the pie crust, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. The filling will thicken and turn a dark brown color. Remove the pie from the oven and let cool on the countertop to room temperature. Then place the pie in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 3 hours, ideally overnight. The pie will be firm and golden orange when it's ready.
- Slice into your pie and enjoy! Best served with coconut whip or a la mode.