Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts with a Sunflower Cookie Crust (Nut-free, Vegan)

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A couple weeks ago, I received a reader recipe request. Let’s call him “Jason”. Jason asked if I could create a nut-free version of my Raw Pumpkin-Maple Pie with a Baked Oat Crust (found in my cookbook, page 247) because his wife can’t have cashews and pecans. Apparently, it was tormenting her not to be able to try this pie! He wants to surprise her next month with this dessert as a special thank you because “she’s the best wife and mom ever”.

He went on to write, “Angela, I have no clue where to begin and don’t want to mess this up like I usually do.”

I immediately knew that I had to step up to the (pie) plate on this one (no pressure, no pressure!) because the world needs more love. And pie. Plus, I’ve always wondered how I could make this recipe without pecans or cashews, and now I have a nice option to share with you all. I tested multiple fillings and there was a clear winner that I’m sharing below. Spoiler alert – a combo of super luxurious full-fat coconut cream and sunflower seed butter worked so well as a replacement for cashews! It tastes so awesome.

I also paired it with a new toasted sunflower seed and oat “cookie” crust that’s a wonderful, crunchy compliment to the creamy and cool pumpkin pie filling. Pie crusts should never be boring or flavourless, and I love that this one is an easy “press-in” crust.

I meant to have this recipe up on Monday, but I ended up testing this pie about 7 times this week! I can’t sleep at night unless I’ve tested all of my options. Better late than never, I say. I’d rather not rush a recipe just to get it out on time. Anyway, I made this pie as a contribution to our Thanksgiving dinner later today (we’re in the US currently), and I’m so looking forward to the spread at my mom and stepdad’s. I hope those of you celebrating have a happy, fun, and safe Thanksgiving! And if you can’t make this pie today or this weekend, I hope you’ll include it on your holiday baking list.

Well, Jason (you know who you are) I hope this works out for you. If it doesn’t, I’d prefer that you not mention my name.

I’m joking! It’ll work out. Promise.

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Pumpkin Pie Tarts with a Cookie Crust

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

By

This is a luxurious and creamy nut-free version of my favourite Raw Pumpkin Pie from The Oh She Glows Cookbook (page 247–248). After many trials, I ended up using a combination of sunflower seed butter and full-fat coconut cream to replace the cashews in the original recipe, and it worked out so well! The pie has a light coconut flavour, but it's balanced out nicely by the earthy sunflower seed butter. As a bonus, this filling doesn’t use any whole nuts or whole seeds so you don’t need a Vitamix (or other high powdered blender) to get the filling super smooth. I used 4 tart-sized (about 4-inches diameter) "freestanding" baking cups which I found at Target, but you can also use a standard muffin tin lined with paper liners (or simply greased well) to make mini tarts. I'd imagine a 7- to 9-inch springform cake pan would work well too. The dough is a bit difficult to shape into a traditional pie crust (with high sides) so that's why I went with a flat crust for this recipe. If you don't mind fiddly things, then by all means take a stab at the regular pie crust. Also, the paper liners are easily removed if you remove them while the pies are frozen.

Yield
8-10 servings
Prep Time
Cook time
Chill time
3-5 hours

Ingredients:

For the crust:
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 3/4 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted*
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons smooth sunflower seed butter (pour off oil before measuring)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons water, if needed to bind dough
For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup canned full-fat coconut cream**
  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin purée
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted*
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sunflower seed butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, to taste***
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For serving:
  • Coconut Whipped Cream or So Delicious Coco Whip

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grab 4(4-inch diameter) baking paper cups, or 12 standard muffin paper liners and set aside. You can also use a 7- to 9-inch springform cake pan greased and lined with a circle of parchment paper.
  2. Add the sunflower seeds into a skillet and toast the seeds over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. Remove from heat.
  3. For the crust: Add the toasted sunflower seeds, oats, and salt into a food processor and process until finely chopped, resembling a coarse flour. Now, add the melted oil, maple syrup, and sunflower seed butter, and process until the mixture comes together into a heavy dough. The dough should stick together very easily when pressed between your fingers. If it's still a tad too dry, add the optional water and process again until it comes together. I find that I always need 2 teaspoons of water, but it'll depend on your ingredients’ moisture content.
  4. Divide the dough equally between the liners, crumbling it all over each base. (Note: I reserved about 1/2 cup of the dough for sprinkling on the pies when serving.) Lightly wet your fingers. Starting at the centre, press the dough into the base to form a crust. If the dough starts to stick to your hands at any time, lightly wet your hands and shake off the excess water. Once the crust is all pressed in, poke the base with a fork about 2 to 3 times to allow the air to escape while baking. I place the 4 liners onto a baking sheet so it's easy to remove them from the oven.
  5. Bake the crusts for around 10 to 12 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Place baking sheet on a cooling rack and cool the crusts for at least 15 to 20 minutes, or longer if you have the time.
  6. For the filling: Open the chilled can of coconut milk. Scoop off 1/2 cup of the white coconut cream only (not the water) and place it into a blender. (You can save the remaining contents of the can for a smoothie or other use.) Add the pumpkin purée, maple syrup, melted oil, sunflower seed butter, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice (to taste; I use 2 teaspoons), and salt. Blend, starting at a low speed and increasing the speed, until smooth.
  7. Divide the filling equally among the cooled crusts. Carefully, transfer the baking sheet (or muffin tin, if making 12 mini tarts) into the freezer on a flat surface. Chill until firm, about 3 to 5 hours. There's no need to cover it.
  8. After the tarts are solid, carefully remove the paper liners. Here you can transfer the pies to the fridge for a mousse-like texture, but I prefer the texture when frozen after sitting on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  9. Serve with coconut whipped cream on top, if desired. This pie filling softens a great deal at room temperature, so it's best not to leave leftovers on the counter. Return them to the fridge or freezer for best results.

Tips:

  • * A note about coconut: Health Canada classifies coconut as a "seed of a fruit" and not as a tree nut, however the U.S. FDA classifies coconut as a tree nut, so as you can see there is some confusion over classification when it comes to coconut. As always, if you think you might be allergic to coconut, be sure to talk to your doctor before consuming.
  • ** Be sure to chill a can of full-fat coconut milk for at least 24 hours before you begin this recipe. When ready, open the can and carefully scoop out 1/2 cup of the white coconut cream making sure not to use any of the coconut water.
  • *** I used 2 teaspoons of Whole Food's 365 Pumpkin Pie Spice. You can also try my homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix.
  • If you want to minimize the light coconut flavour in this pie, you can use refined (flavourless) coconut oil here rather than virgin.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

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le lenny face April 12, 2017
Recipe Rating:

Wow! I have never seen anyone use sunflower seeds for the crust :o I want to try this recipe right away. Thank you very much for the recipe! The pumpkin filling looks so good~
https://le-lennyface.com/

Reply

Teika December 23, 2016

i’ve probably made this in a spring form like 30 times, every potluck there i am pie in hand. though my friends call it ‘vegan cheese cake’.
through trial and error i’ve found that a packet of creamed coconut works better than the DIY solution, and Hubbard squash holds the texture better.
but all in all I LOVE this recipe so much!

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Lori December 17, 2016

I would love to try this for Christmas as I can’t have Dairy or Gluten and usually won’t eat dessert. I want to try the spring form pan but wonder how long I would need to cook it. The same amount of time as the muffins? Thanks Lori

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BC-Babe December 5, 2016

I’m delighted this recipe is not just refined sugar-free, but also coconut sugar-free as I’m not consuming either of those types of sugars.

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Kary November 20, 2016

Hi! Sounds yummy and I plan to make this with some of my pumpkin purée! Could I use my Kitchen Aid mixer to mix the pie ingredients? I have a food processor but not a blender. Just wondering. Thx!!

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Martin November 14, 2016

It was delicious ! I love the spice mix, coming from belgium it taste a bit like speculoos but more délicate. The creaminess is fantastic !

That’s a dessert i’ll do again, for sure.

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Angela Liddon November 14, 2016

I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it, Martin!

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Rachel October 20, 2016
Recipe Rating:

Hi there.

Love love LOVE! But yes, only problem is the tart is a little too crumbly and crusty and hard. Is there something I may of done wrong? Otherwise next time I make it I might omit the cooking of the base. Fabulous recipe though, thank you so much :)

Reply

Madeline October 17, 2016
Recipe Rating:

Tried these on the weekend and they were a huge hit!! The only problem was the texture of the crust compared to that of the filling…the bottom was rock solid while the filling was a nice mousse sort of texture. Do you have any tips on how to avoid that? Almost need to thaw out the bottom separately from the top!

Definitely our new Christmas Eve dessert! Thank you so much!

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Marianne June 30, 2016

This looks amazing!

This may be a dumb question, but aren’t sunflower seeds nuts? I desperately need a gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free dairy-free dessert!

Reply

Rachel April 27, 2016

Hi there!

I was wondering if the crust you used above for the shell would work as a tart shell. I have a mini lemon tart recipe and looking for an alternative for the shell…. again its mini, so not sure about the crumble factor.

Thanks so much!!

Reply

Angela Liddon April 28, 2016

Hi Rachel, I didn’t have any problems with crumbling, so I can’t see why it wouldn’t work with another filling or size! Just be sure to press it in firmly. I’d love to know how they turn out!

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Airyfairycelt March 14, 2016
Recipe Rating:

So good!
Congratulations on your book by the way. It seems to be going ever so well!

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Angela Liddon March 17, 2016

Thanks so much!

Reply

Julie December 30, 2015
Recipe Rating:

I made this for xmas dinner desert! It was great! I have been eyeing it in the cookbook but my mom is allergic to nuts and couldn’t do it so thanks for making this version!!

Also…

I simply love your recipes. They always work out which is awesome!!

I have a request! Actually a whole group of us form facebook are requesting it!

We follow an eating pattern… Phase 1 Monday-Tuesday Phase 2 Wednesday-Thurdsay and Phase 3 for weekends.

I am sending you a link than includes the ingredients we are to use each Phase. The vegan options are also included.

If you could design some dishes that would fit into the phases so we don’t have to tailor them it would be very helpful. Especially phase 2!

Thanks,

Julie and the people that live the fast metabolism life!

chewfo.com/diets/the-fast-metabolism-diet-by-haylie-pomroy-2013-what-to-eat-and-foods-to-avoid-food-list/#phase1avoid

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Dr. Challotine Cius-Bonds December 29, 2015
Recipe Rating:

This looks awesome. I’m definitely sharing this with my clients. Great dessert for the holidays!

Reply

queenoffitness December 27, 2015
Recipe Rating:

Made these for Christmas brunch along with the chocolate espresso hazelnut torte from your OSG cookbook. Ridiculously easy. Angela, your recipes are always a cinch and I have yet to make something that doesn’t turn out awesome. I hope the original requestor also loved them. I had a bag of plain unroasted sunflower seeds from Big Lots hanging around in my cupboard for months and this was the perfect recipe to use them in.
Any tips for getting the whip super fluffy? Mine never gets that voluminous and I follow your directions to a T.

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Sophie December 27, 2015

A wonderful amazing recipe that I have made yesterday for guests! Everyone loved them so much & so did I! xxxx

Reply

Ian December 23, 2015

Can’t wait to try this!
Tip about coconut cream that I read on the internet (not my idea)… Put the can in the fridge upside down. Then when you open the can (right side up) all you have to do is pour off the liquid and you’re left with just the cream. Save the liquid for another use.

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Amy M December 21, 2015
Recipe Rating:

These were seriously THE BEST pumpkin pies I’ve ever made! I didn’t have sun nut butter so I used almond butter, but everything else was the same. I used muffin tins and it was fun to each have our own mini pie. I think this would also be good in a large springform pan and cut into slices. This recipe will be replacing my traditional pumpkin pie next Thanksgiving. Thanks so much, Angela, for all of your work on this blog and your cookbook. The way you cook feels like the way I cook so I always have great success with your recipes. :)

Reply

Shayda Yazdanmehr December 20, 2015

Would stevia or liquid stevia work as a replacement for maple syrup in this recipe? (Someone who can’t have “regular” sugar sources”

Reply

Nicole December 17, 2015

Thanks Angela
My niece has sever nut allergies and doesn’t tolerate gluten so I have been stressing about WHAT THE HELL TO MAKE for Christmas. I can’t wait for your new cookbook!

Reply

Pippa Clark December 11, 2015

Great! I’m going to make the pie for my sister, she’s a vegan and I’m sure she’ll like it!

Reply

Sarah December 10, 2015

I’ve had a can of pumpking puree for the longest time and this looks like the recipe to try it on. Only thing is I”m not sure I’ve seen sunflower seed butter in Dublin, would peanut butter be an o.k. substitute?

thanks!

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Eszter December 10, 2015

When my 4 year old daughter was eating the pumpkin pie I made from your book, she said “Mommy, you make the BEST pie ever!”
I try this one next. Is it always better to pour off the oil from the sunflower seed butter, or is it OK to stir it in and use that way?

Reply

Lou December 10, 2015

Oh wow! These look amazing and I bet they taste so good.

Lou
http://www.LoveHappinessYoga.com

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