Oh how I love pumpkin pie. My favorite variety is a family recipe that I shared last year around this time. But this year, I wanted to make a from-scratch vegan version that required as little effort as possible. I’m happy to report the experiment was a total success.
Though this recipe requires more than 10 ingredients and 1 bowl, hands on prep time is only 30 minutes and there’s no baking involved, making this recipe quite simple and totally worth the effort.
It starts with a no-bake, completely natural, vegan, and gluten-free crust made from dates, nuts, oats, and pumpkin pie spice.
Next comes the filling: A creamy vegan pumpkin pudding that comes together in about 10 minutes (plus chilling time). The result is a from-scratch pudding that’s thick, pumpkin-y and perfectly sweet. So gorgeous.
NOTE: While making this pie I accidentally discovered a secret way to make perfect coconut whipped cream even if you get a bad can!
It happened when I thought I’d grabbed the powdered sugar from my newly organized mason jar pantry when I’d actually grabbed the tapioca flour. It couldn’t have been more perfect timing because the can of coconut milk I’d bought was a dud, meaning it was still liquidy and unseparated after chilling. Humph.
I was ready to count it a loss when I accidentally added the tapioca flour and it thickened right up! I couldn’t believe it – literally thee best and thickest coconut whipped cream I’d ever made. And it stayed thick and luxurious in the fridge for days after. Plus, because tapioca flour is so fine it didn’t affect the flavor or texture one bit! I added in a little vanilla extract and powered sugar and ‘voila’ – perfection! I did try this method with a can that produced plenty of thick cream after my initial test and it didn’t seem to help as much. So I would only add tapioca flour in the case that your coconut milk is still liquidy after chilling as more of a “last chance” method of saving it.
More coconut whip tips:
– Make sure your coconut milk is fresh – I find the longer it’s set on the shelf the less likely it is to whip.
– Give cans a shake test in the store. If it does a lot of sloshing around it probably isn’t a good can.
Look at those peaks! Hubba hubba. Where should I put all that whipped cream? Oh yeah, ON MY PIE.
This pie is an absolute dream.
The crust is perfectly sweet and super moist, yet holds its shape.
The filling is like pumpkin heaven on a spoon.
And the coconut whipped cream MAKES it.
Make this pie this holiday season. Your family will love it! Also, stay tuned for an even simpler version coming soon. Hooray!
- 2 cups pitted dates (deglet nour or medjool)
- 2 cups raw nuts (I used half pecans, half almonds)
- 1/4 cup gluten-free oats (or sub unsweetened coconut flakes for a different flavor)
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar (raw or granulated)
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- pinch sea salt
- 1 2/3 cup unsweetened milk (any kind, though I'd recommend almond or dairy)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk chilled overnight (I recommend Thai Kitchen brand)
- 2-5 Tbsp powdered sugar, depending on preferred sweetness
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- To make the filling, place all dry ingredients in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Then add pumpkin puree and whisk again. Slowly pour in milk and stir again until well combined.
- Place over medium heat and bring to a low bubble - not boil - whisking often. Once it starts bubbling and getting thick, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until a visible ribbon forms when spooning it across the top. It should be thick and kind of jiggly. During this process switch to a rubber spatula for stirring to ensure the pudding isn't sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla and whisk. Let set for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap TOUCHES the pudding - otherwise a film will form.
- Refrigerate for several hours or until completely chilled and set.
- In the meantime, prepare crust by adding dates to the food processor and pulse until it forms a ball - or at least until small bits remain. Remove from food processor and then add nuts, pumpkin pie spice and oats. Pulse until almost a meal, then add back in the dates a little at a time until a "dough" forms.
- Transfer to a lightly greased pie pan or small glass baking dish and press until uniformly flat and it comes up the edges 1.5-2 inches, making a crust (see photo). It doesn't have to be perfect, just make sure there are no gaps or cracks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or set on counter until filling is chilled.
- When the pudding is ready, place a glass mixing bowl in the freezer to chill for a few minutes so you can prepare your coconut whipped cream (make sure the can has been chilled overnight to harden - otherwise it won't whip).
- Without shaking or tipping the can, remove the top and gently scoop out the top thick, solid portion of the coconut milk, known as the cream. Leave the clear liquid at the bottom of the can and reserve this for smoothies or other uses.
- Beat the cream to incorporate it. At this point it should start firming up, but if not add a couple Tbsp of tapioca flour and it should thicken right up! Then add in desired amount of powdered sugar 1 Tbsp at a time, as well as the vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate until serving the pie.
- Once the crust and filling are both ready, pour the pudding over the crust and spread to smooth. Let it chill for several more hours or ideally, overnight. Top with coconut cream when serving. Will keep for several days covered in the fridge.
*Pudding recipe loosely adapted from vegetarianabout.com
*Nutrition information includes generous toppings of coconut whipped cream.
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