Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Date Sweetened Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Date Sweetened Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie, one of my favourite desserts. As seen from my various other pumpkin recipes, I am quite fond of gourds. Pumpkin pie is already one of the healthiest pie choices available, even the ones from the supermarket aren't terribly bad. But of course, homemade is better. And naturally sweetened ones even more. 

Don't mind the little burnt blotches along the crust; that's filling I got on there :P
Every year, I attempt a pumpkin pie. Usually it is the hard crust that my family complains about. I've tried traditional full-of-butter pie crusts to super fast olive oil pie crusts, but they just never worked out as advertised. Finally I experimented with making pie crust in the food processor (and using coconut oil!) and discovered the perfect pie crust. Flaky, tender, and delicious even on its own.
At Thanksgiving early this year, I made a pumpkin pie that was covered in cracks and wasn't sweet enough. Note to self: a quarter cup of honey isn't enough for an entire pie. Pumpkin pie filling isn't difficult to make, in fact it's pretty fail proof. But making one that isn't laden with refined sugars and one that is crack-free is the challenge. I think I have found the solution!

Date Sweetened Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Unlike most pumpkin pies that are sweetened with granulated or brown sugar, this pie is sweetened with date paste. Dates are fat free 'jewels of the dessert' that are a great source of fibre, iron, and potassium. Fibre keeps your intestines clean and happy, iron is especially important to incorporate into women's diets, and potassium is an energizer! Eat a few dates before exercising for a boost of energy. They also double up as a post-work out snack. When my mom first joined hot yoga, her instructor told them to eat a banana (which also has high amounts of potassium) to re-energize the body after sweating buckets. Yes dates are really carb heavy because of the sugar content, but they are very nutritious and make for a great dessert too! Medjool dates are the sweetest, largest, and plumpest variety; I used them in this recipe to make the date paste. Date paste can easily be made at home using dates and water. Blend blend blend away until the texture resembles that of pumpkin puree. If you have any leftover date paste, use it up in a batch of Healthy Carrot Morning Glory Muffins
Eggs are not part of this recipe, as this pie is vegan. Having egg whites in a pumpkin pie filling may contribute to surface cracks because the proteins in the egg whites will shrink and pull apart as the pie cools, leaving valleys and canyons in the middle of the pie. To combat this problem (as well as make it vegan), cornstarch is used as the thickener. Without a thickener, one would be left with a pile of mashed pumpkin instead of a 'custard'. This recipe of pumpkin 'custard' does not rise at all during baking, which also reduces the risk for cracking. As a heads up, the filling pulls away from the sides just a little bit as it cools. Other than that, the surface of the pie remains crack-free. 

Date Sweetened Vegan Pumpkin Pie
In my photos, the pie looks pretty short. I would prefer the filling to reach the top for cosmetic purposes. Maybe my pie pan is just too deep..? I may add half a recipe more of the filling the next time I make this. Taste-wise, I have no complaints. The excess crust on the top makes for a delicious 'cookie' to munch on! My vegan pie crust is fragrant from coconut oil, flaky, and crunchy and makes for the perfect vessel to spread the pumpkin filling on. The way I like to eat my pumpkin pie probably sounds ridiculous, but hey. Don't judge. Just make the pie and taste for yourself ;)

This pie is essentially guilt-free. It's pretty much just dates, pumpkin puree, coconut oil, and flour. I am not ashamed to say that I've eaten this pie for breakfast on several occasions. This is how I like to get my fruit and vegetable intake.

Find the healthiest vegan pumpkin pie that is crack-free after the cut!

Date Sweetened Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Filling adapted from The Nonstop Nutritarian
Yield: 1 9-inch pie

  • 1 recipe of Easiest & Fastest Vegan Pie Crust
  • 1¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup date paste (9 medjool dates + ¼ cup water, blended until smooth)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • A pinch each of ground ginger, nutmeg, all spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Prepare pie crust in pie pan (shallow one is fine) and set in fridge until ready to use.
  2. Bring all ingredients to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin puree and date paste together until homogenous. Whisk in milk.
  5. Add remaining ingredients to filling mixture and whisk until smooth. Taste the batter at this point. For a sweeter filling, add an extra 2 tbsp of liquid sweetener such as maple syrup, agave nectar or for non-vegans, honey.
  6. Spread pumpkin pie filling into prepared pie crust and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. If the crust begins to get too brown, shield with aluminum foil.
  7. Cool on the counter for an hour before wrapping with plastic wrap and chilling in fridge overnight. Once thoroughly chilled, slice with a sharp tipped knife.
Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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