It is no exaggeration to state that my mom makes *the* perfect vegan pumpkin pie. I have served her pumpkin pie at many celebrations with friends and family, and it is always the star dessert offering. I have had many other attempts at vegan pumpkin pie that left me longing for more. They are usually too runny, or too soft, or lacking in that good pumpkin-pie flavor. I actually think my mom has perfected vegan desserts beyond any dessert I have had in a restaurant or pastry shop (even before I went vegan eight years ago). My mom is Sicilian, and she loves cooking, so meal times with family and good food are very important to her. Mom has been lactose intolerant for many years, so her goal has been to re-make all the classic American and Italian desserts without dairy or eggs so that we can all enjoy hearty family meals together. Even my Dad, who hasn’t quite crossed over to the vegan side, admits this is one of the best pumpkin pies he has ever had. Ever. While Mom has vehemently stated that she will not open a pastry shop or write a recipe book (though I might be able to sway her on that), she was willing to share this recipe with me so that I could share it with the Peaceful Dumpling community for this Thanksgiving season.
*Notes on recipe – Using the nut and date crust makes this pie gluten free! Mom thinks the nuts and dates taste better with this mix (you could experiment with different nuts). She insists on the use of both egg replacers listed in this recipe. She has experimented with many kinds and says this is the best combination for a dense, full pie that holds its shape when cut, and actually holds up better than the egg variety pie. She has also tried a variety of vegan cream cheeses on the market and believes that Kite Hill vegan cream cheese makes the best taste and texture – but any variety could work. And finally, the flavorings listed here are optional- but again after much experimentation, she swears that using this exact combination gives the pie its best flavor.
Perfect Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- 1/2 cup Walnuts
- 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates
- 15 oz can organice pumpkin
- 1 -8 fl oz tub vegan cream cheese ((mom prefers Kite Hill, but any brand will do)
- 7 fl oz or 1/2 can organic coconut cream (make sure it is cream and not milk!)
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp clove
- 3/4 cup organic sugar
- 1 serving Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg (follow instructions on carton 2 Tbsp plus 1/2 cup cold water)
- 4 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp organic vanilla
- 1/2 tsp amaretto
- 1 tsp cream cheese flavoring (optional)
- 2 tsp vegan butter flavoring (your preferred brand)
- 1/2 tsp organic lemon zest
*We use the cream cheese flavoring by King Arthur brand. It is artificial in origin, though, so if you prefer to omit and make it all natural, please feel free–it just won’t have the same complexity of flavor but it will still be delicious.
1. Heat oven to 400 F.
2. To make crust: Process walnuts in a food processor until well crumbled. Then, add dates and process until a ball forms. Press this mixture into the bottom only- of a 9 1/2 “ diameter spring form pan.
3. Filling: Add all ingredients in bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer until well blended. Pour on top of prepared crust.
Note: Watch carefully during the last 15-20 minutes of baking!
4. Place prepared pie into 400 F degree oven for 15 minutes. Then, reduce temperature to 375 F and cover pie lightly with foil. Cook for an additional 40 – 45 minutes. Test pie with a toothpick pricked into center – it should come out clean. If the pie is still wet, cook for additional 5 minutes and check again. Continue process until a toothpick pressed into center of pie comes out clean.
5. Cool pie and serve. Buon appetito!
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Photo: Angie Follensbee-Hall