Vegan Pumpkin Pie, Three Ways: Classic, Rustic, & Gluten-Free

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 20, 2011

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Making a pie from scratch has to be one of the most feared tasks of all time. I would say it ranks right up there with bread baking, public speaking, and drinking something green. I always had this expectation that everything had to go perfectly for the pie to turn out. If my dough ripped while putting it in the dish I would just about have a heart attack.

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These days I’m more relaxed when tackling a pie crust. That comes from practice (and a bit of bourbon-spiked apple cider doesn’t hurt the process either!). I’ve learned that each pie crust tends to turn out a bit differently. Some of them I like to burn to hell, while others I’m more mindful of the timer function. Anyway, when a pie crust doesn’t turn out as expected, you call it a “rustic” pie and everyone thinks you are a culinary genius. bahaha… fools!

burn the crust? It’s rustic.

the crust crumbles to pieces? rustic

Pie explodes when you cut it? yup, rustic

you find your dog licking the pie before dinner? it’s rustic with a hint of dog breath

No biggie.

If you want a sure way to loathe making pie, then my advice is to expect every outcome to be perfect. If you want to have fun with the process and get a bit better with practice, then stick around for pie crust class!

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Check out my pages of scribbled notes and recipes galore over the past couple months. Why must I insist on writing my recipes in chicken scratch and losing them all over the house? I am truly my own worst enemy.

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When it was all over, I think I said the words “never again” and “if I see another pumpkin pie I may hurl”.

With that being said, I think you will love these recipes!

I tested 3 kinds of crusts:

Classic flaky pie crust:

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My rustic spelt pie crust from 2009:

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A gluten-free pie crust made from pecans, GF oats, etc.:

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I also tested 3 kinds of pumpkin pie fillings:

  • Classic pumpkin pie filling using arrowroot or cornstarch powder
  • Cashew cream pumpkin pie filling for extra creaminess
  • Coconut flour pumpkin pie filling to thicken filling

 

The results:

Favourite pie crust winner –> Sweet & Salty Spiced Pecan Crust (gluten-free, all-natural, amazing flavour, paired perfectly with the filling!!)

Runner up: Rustic Spelt Crust (super easy to prep, no chilling dough, healthier flour)

Least favourite pie crust: Classic flaky (the most curb crust appeal, but lacking flavour, greasy, and very labour intensive/fussy)

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Favouite pie filling winner: Classic (the most classic tasting pie filling whisked together in just 5 mins)

Least favourite pie fillings: 1) Coconut flour (it dried out the filling a bit too much although it set much quicker) & 2) cashew cream (I could detect the cashew taste slightly, fussy prep with cashews, and it took longer to set)

First up, I’ll talk about the classic pie crust:

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Classic Pie Crust Ingredients (least favourite crust):

While this has the most traditional flaky crust and appearance, it was not my favourite tasting and greasy on the bottom! Make at own risk!

  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance (I used 1 shortening stick and 1/4 cup soy-free Earth Balance), frozen
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 7-8 tbsp ice water

 

I followed the directions to a tee for making a classic pie crust here. I tested this crust using a few different combinations of Earth Balance and was just never impressed with the outcome. The top crust baked well, but the bottom was always quite greasy and bland.

It did make a gorgeous lattice crust though! I also paired it with a pecan praline on top of the filling.

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Pretty, but lacking in the taste department.

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Next up, the hearty spelt crust and classic filling!

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Rustic Spelt Crust

While this spelt crust is anything but classic and flaky it’s one of my favourites simply because it’s easy, there’s no chilling required, and it’s healthier than than most. The crust is very dense and firm with a hearty, lightly spiced, sweet flavour. The filling is quite traditional, however not too sweet to let the pumpkin flavour shine. Serve with non-dairy ice cream or whipped coconut cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Print this recipe

for the crust (from here):

  • 1 cup whole grain spelt flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry sugar (Natural cane sugar, brown sugar, or Sucanat)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted OR Earth Balance, melted

 

for the filling:

  • 2 & 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut cream (or almond milk)*, softened
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance, softened
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (other sweeteners may work, but the flavour will change slightly)
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves

 

For the directions, and to print the recipe, click here.

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The beauty of this spelt crust is that you don’t chill the dough! It’s hands down the quickest pie crust I have made.

(note: these pictures are from my classic crust dough and not the spelt):

Tuck under the overhanging dough:

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Now crimp/flute your pie edge using your fingers. Work your way all around the edge.

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Prick crust with a fork and pre-bake for 7 minutes at 425F. Cool for 10 mins. Add filling and smooth.

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Add your cut-out shapes on top (I cut 4 big leaves, 12 small leaves, and 5 balls)

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[These photos are of the actual spelt crust now!]

Before baking the spelt crust:

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Bake at 350F for 45 minutes, remove and cover crust with a shield or tin foil, and bake for another 15 minutes at 350F. Cool on rack for 1 hour and transfer to fridge for a minimum of 3 hours to set. <—very important step!

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Does anyone know the best method for covering the edges of a pie crust? I find tin foil so annoying to use…it always falls off! Any good crust shields out there?

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While I enjoyed the spelt crust, my favourite crust award goes to the gluten-free Sweet & Salty Pecan crust! It wins in the flavour department by a landside and it’s worth every single calorie.

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Sweet & Salty Spiced Pecan Crust (Gluten-free)

Absolutely worth every calorie and then some! It’s a bit sweet, buttery, lightly spiced with cinnamon, and enhanced with a bit of salt to bring out the flavours. This crust goes so nicely with the pumpkin pie filling! This crust is very sensitive to changes, so I caution against changing things in the recipe.

Print this recipe.

Inspired by Manifest Vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup GF certified rolled oats, processed into a fine flour OR 1 cup GF oat flour
  • 2 cups raw pecans
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup (acts as the binder, honey may work if you prefer that)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or Earth Balance

 

For the directions and to print the full recipe (including filling) recipe, click here.

The pecans need to be ground very finely until they release their oils and start sticking to the side of the machine (this took me 35 secs exactly in my processor, fyi). You should be able to form a ball with the pecans. If you don’t process the pecans enough the crust will be too dry. With that being said, you don’t want to make pecan butter either!

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After mixing all the ingredients, the dough should be a bit sticky like this:

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You should be able to form a big ball with it. If it’s too dry, add a touch more melted Earth Balance, a teaspoon at a time.

Crumble it into a greased pie dish:

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Press down and outward to form the crust (press firmly!) and pre-bake for 10-12 mins at 350F. Cool for 10 mins before scooping in filling and baking. Make sure you let the pie chill for at least a few hours in the fridge before carefully slicing with a sharp knife.

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Ding, ding, ding we have a winner!

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This pie crust also makes the house smell divine. Mmm. For the full recipe (including filling) to print, click here.

 

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If you made it this far, bless your soul. That was one long post!

Here’s to a stress-free pie season!

 

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

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Katie November 2, 2015 at 7:02 am

I made your pie last night and had a taste test this morning. Pie for Monday’s breakfast? YES. I followed the crust instructions to a T and ghost baked for 9-10 minutes. For the filling, I followed everything except cut down the total sugar (brown sugar and maple syrup) to a combine total of 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup. I checked at 37-38 minutes and it looked DONE. I let it cool a bit in the oven with the door propped but I still had some separation from the crust and just the very beginning of a crack on the surface. Edges were just slightly turning burnt. As for the taste, loved the pumpkin flavor but the texture was a little thick for me. Was it the chilled, solid coconut cream I used? I think I’ll add 1/2 cup of almond milk in addition and cook for around 33-34 minutes and cool in the oven. Crust was good but didn’t have that spice-kick I was looking for. Will try the addition of more spices and maybe dates? This was my first vegan dessert since making this lifestyle change and it’s set me on a path of exploration! Thank you!!

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Ruby Ernst November 6, 2015 at 10:34 am

I am wanting to make your pumpkin pie recipe but I have never seen full fat coconut cream before. Where can I find this and what brand? Thank you.

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cali November 24, 2015 at 2:25 pm

This recipe looks amazing! will it still turn out using regular 1% or skim milk. My father has a nut allergy so unfortunately I cannot use coconut or almond milk. Thank you!

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Betsi November 26, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Angela!! Thank you so much for all your work on these recipes! I took your advice and made the pecan GF crust (using honey as my sweetener) and fresh roasted pumpkins in my filling. I’ve just eaten my mini for breakfast this morning and WOW I can’t believe I made this and I also am so impressed at how delicious a vegan version I pumpkin pie tastes. I actually like it way better than the original. The pumpkin, maple syrup, and spices really shine. I can’t wait to share this with my family today. Especially since they usually think what I eat as a veggie is icky hehe not this one! Icecream and whip cream will be served as well. Oooeee! Thankyou happy thanksgiving! I love your blog. Xo Betsi

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Kristin November 30, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Hi Angela – I love your recipes, and probably don’t comment as often as I should! I just made the pumpkin pie with GF pecan crust this past weekend, except instead of making one regular sized pie, I used my muffin tin to make mini pumpkin pies! So cute! AND ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!! Best pumpkin pie I’ve ever eaten, hands down. No whip necessary :) There is no doubt, I will be using this recipe for every single Thanksgiving from here on out.

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Kristin December 22, 2015 at 12:37 pm

P.S. – for other readers, I used maple syrup in place of the brown rice syrup and coconut oil in place of the Earth Balance – turned out great! Also, when I made this a second time, the texture of the pies was actually a lot different. I am attributing it to using a different arrowroot powder the second time than what I used for the first time (which I think is more likely the culprit than the fact that I used non-organic canned pumpkin the first time and organic canned pumpkin the second time). Still wonderful flavor both times!! ALSO, I found that thai kitchen has a new product – specifically just “coconut cream”! I could never get into using the leftover coconut milk in the can for smoothies/whatnot, and now it won’t go to waste since I can get just the cream all by itself! Thanks again!

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Adrianna May 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Hi Angela,

I made the pie exactly like you directed but the filling is WAY too sweet and was also quite liquidy, is there a way to remedy that? Because I did taste before adding the brown sugar and thought it might be a bit sweet but thought for a first time it would be best to follow the recipe exactly. Also, for puree options, can there be substitutions for other squashes and sweet potatoes?

Thanks!

Adrianna

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Angela Liddon May 27, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Hey Adrianna, Thanks for your feedback and I’m sorry you found it too sweet! It’s possible that the brown sugar was packed too tightly in the cup. I tend to use cane sugar in this recipe. Did you taste the pie after baking? I find the flavours tend to mellow a bit after baking. :) If you try it again feel free to add the sweetener to taste next time. As for other purees, I haven’t tried anything, but I would guess that butternut squash puree might work too. Enjoy!

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Adrianna May 28, 2016 at 12:22 am

Thank you for answering – that’s never happened before! It was a bit better after baking but still way too sweet, I’ll try adjusting to my tastes next time :)

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Michelle k October 1, 2016 at 11:58 am

This looks fantastic! Have you frozen the pecan crust with raw filling? Looking to do some prep before our (Canadian) thanksgiving next weekend!

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David Bickel November 15, 2016 at 4:20 pm

I use Stevia instead of sugar. Stevia is sweeter than sugar and it is natural. 1 tsp of Stevia equals 3 tsp sugar. Stevia has no calories.

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Zoe November 23, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Hi! I thought I remembered making the cashew filling recipe that you included as part of this post a year or two ago, but now I’m not seeing it. Currently it appears that all the filling recipes are the same in the different links. Do you still have it or am I imagining it? Thanks for all you do!

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Erika December 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm

The filling is great! I made the gluten free crust- I would definitely look into the ‘crust shield’ she recommends, as I used aluminum foil to cover the crust and it was badly burned before the timer even went off. I’ve never heard of a crust shield, but based on my experience, it is necessary for this recipe!

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Mariarose April 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

For a traditional style piecrust, with out the greasy taste from EarthBalance.
For one 9″ or 10″ pie crust.
1 3/4 cup good quality flour (King Arthur)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil (organic / non-gmo Spectrum)
3 Tb cold water
Bring ingredients together with a fork, do not overwork this dough!
Roll out between two layers of floured wax paper.
Remove top paper. Slide hand under the middle of the lower paper. Flip gently onto pie pan. Press into place. Gently remove paper. Crimp crust as desired.

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GipseeInc May 15, 2017 at 3:17 am

Thank you! I made the pecan oatmeal crust and pumpkin pie for our guests and it was a hit! The spiced pecan crust becomes delicious & really amazing.. Thanks for sharing these recipes – I love the idea of a gluten-free one!

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Kaylee Stock October 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm

I am not able to print the recipes for the Pecan crust and classic filling. When I click the link, it takes me to a blank page. Can you help! I have made them before, and LOVED it, but I can’t find my recipes!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 3, 2017 at 9:50 am

Hey Kaylee! I’m so sorry that print function isn’t working for this recipe. It’s because it uses an old recipe system that we no longer have in use. I will make a note to update this recipe in the future. In the meantime, hopefully you can cook from the page or copy and paste it into a word doc? Happy cooking!

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Kaylee Stock October 5, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Yes, I should be able to, thanks!

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Kelsie October 7, 2017 at 9:45 am

Hi Angela,

I can’t get your recipages to work to see the full recipe/instructions for the pecan crust option. I make it every year, but this is the first year I can’t get it to open up on a new page!! Can you help me?!

Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 7, 2017 at 11:05 am

Hey Kelsie,
I’m so sorry about that as this recipe uses the old Recipage system! Would you be able to copy and paste it into a Word doc and print it that way?

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Cristina October 9, 2017 at 7:39 am

Hi Angela!
I want to make the winner filling using your Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix, should I just replace the same amounts of spices with the mix? That would be 2 tsp and a pinch.
Thanks for the recipes!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 9, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Hi Cristina, Oh good question! I haven’t made this using my homemade mix yet, so I’m not positive if it would make for a good 1:1 sub. I tend to find that the pumpkin pie spice mix can taste quite strong, so I would probably add it slowly to taste..in 1/2 teaspoon increments. I hope this helps!

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Alisha November 17, 2017 at 9:28 am

This may be a silly question – but do I measure the pecans BEFORE processing them, or after? I know it could make a big difference and I don’t know what the general rule is.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 18, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Hey Alisha, Measure the pecans before processing…hope this helps! :)

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Tawny November 19, 2017 at 12:28 am

The links are not working for me :(

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2017 at 10:38 am

Hey Tawny, I updated the links…please let me know if they work now!

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Amy Lewis November 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Hi!

When I clicked on the link for the combined GF crust/filling link yesterday, it said I had the option to sub almond milk for the coconut cream. It looks different today for some reason, and the almond milk option for the filling is no longer there. Can I use the almond milk, or do I need the coconut cream?

Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Hey Amy, So sorry about that! Yes almond milk is an option, but it won’t taste quite as rich as the coconut cream.

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Amy Lewis November 19, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for replying! Would coconut cream be the stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 20, 2017 at 8:27 am

Yes, you got it! Thanks for clarifying Amy

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Amy Lewis November 22, 2017 at 12:32 am

Awesome! Thank you!!

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Marlene December 2, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Hi, Thanks for your recipes. I have a question about the pumpkin pie with gluten free crust. Can it be made in a fluted tart pan? Thanks, Marlene

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 3, 2017 at 8:16 am

Hey Marlene, I don’t think I’ve tried it in a fluted pan before. My guess is that there would be some cracking in the crust when removing the pie (not the end of the world, I’d say!) If you try anything please let me know how it goes.

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Lisa Chiappinelli Sutherland November 11, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Hi Angela – is the pie filling for this pecan crust still available online? The link is not working on my end. I’ve made this in past years and it is wonderful!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 21, 2018 at 8:17 am
Brook B November 17, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Hey there! I haven’t noticed anyone else commenting on this, so maybe it’s something with the print out. The recipe “Pumpkin Pie with a Gluten-Free Pecan Crust” is missing directions for the oat flour, sugar, flax, cinnamon and salt. It only says to process the pecans and then stir in the Earth Balance and rice syrup. What are the steps for adding the other ingredients?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 21, 2018 at 8:19 am

Hi Brook, Sorry for the confusion! I just checked the recipe and it says “Melt earth balance with brown rice syrup for about 30 secs in microwave. Stir. Transfer clumpy pecan mixture into a large bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients.” (so this just means to stir it with the rest of the crust ingredients…it’s an older recipe, but if I was going to re-write it I would list them all out to avoid confusion! ;) I hope this helps!
This is the recipe I was looking at by the way: http://theglowspot.com/recipes/2017/11/19/pumpkin-pie-with-a-gluten-free-pecan-crust/

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Trish November 21, 2018 at 10:42 am

I’ve been making your salty & spiced pecan crust vegan pumpkin pie for years now since I read this post and I freaked out a little when I saw the link wasn’t there. It’s a fantastic pie, and the crust is so darn good. I’m making it again this year! Happy holidays.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 21, 2018 at 4:04 pm

Hi Trish, So glad you love it so much! Here is the recipe link (It’s pretty buried in the post!) http://theglowspot.com/recipes/2017/11/19/pumpkin-pie-with-a-gluten-free-pecan-crust/

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