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.
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
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!
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.
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:
My rustic spelt pie crust from 2009:
A gluten-free pie crust made from pecans, GF oats, etc.:
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
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)
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:
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.
Pretty, but lacking in the taste department.
Next up, the hearty spelt crust and classic filling!
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.
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.
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:
Now crimp/flute your pie edge using your fingers. Work your way all around the edge.
Prick crust with a fork and pre-bake for 7 minutes at 425F. Cool for 10 mins. Add filling and smooth.
Add your cut-out shapes on top (I cut 4 big leaves, 12 small leaves, and 5 balls)
[These photos are of the actual spelt crust now!]
Before baking the spelt crust:
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!
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?
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.
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.
Inspired by Manifest Vegan.
- 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!
After mixing all the ingredients, the dough should be a bit sticky like this:
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:
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.
Ding, ding, ding we have a winner!
This pie crust also makes the house smell divine. Mmm. For the full recipe (including filling) to print, click here.
If you made it this far, bless your soul. That was one long post!
Here’s to a stress-free pie season!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! The sweet & salty pecan crust was AMAZING even though I used the old instructions with the 425 typo. It will become my new go-to pie crust for SURE. I bet it will go swimmingly with apple and peach goo, too. I wonder if one could make a top out of it, if one were very careful? Thanks again!
The pie was excellent! I wondered about the pie crust temp, but reading other comments I will definitely make that change the next time I make it. Mine is slightly burned, but still delicious. I can’t wait to make it again with a less “rustic” outcome. Thanks!
Hey Teresa, I’m sorry about the temperature mix-up! What a lesson in not only double checking things but triple checking! I guess it was my fault posting 3 long recipes ;) Happy Thanksgiving!
I also wondered about a top, but not a pie top, maybe a topping for apple or peach crisp.
Wow. you saved my thanksgiving! not only was it vegan but also gluten free?! that’s incredible! i made the one with the pecans for crust and the traditional filling -it and it was phenomenal!
seriously, thank you so much for this.
i did substitute the oat flour for brown rice flower and i used agave instead of honey but just to let everyone know that turned out just fine.
I’m so happy to hear that Anna! :)
Agree! I forgot to mention that I did the same with substituting honey with agave syrup and it turned out phenomenal. :)
Great post, I just wanted to mention that the image at the end was made by NatalieDee.com – She is super awesome, you should check her out :)
I made the coconut/pumpkin gluten free recipe and LOVED it! I have been eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is SO much better than the tofu/pumpkin combo. Thanks!
I just saw your comment on your home page that the temperature wasn’t supposed to be 425; I ofcourse baked my gluten-free pecan crust pie before seeing that update! but, I ended up covering the slightly burnt edges early enough to keep them from burning further, and cut down on the baking time a little, and it turned out delicious anyways!
You were right; just call it “rustic” and nobody will even care! Everyone in my family still loved it.
Also made your gingerbread w/ buttercream frosting; my mom is still telling me how amazing it is!
Thanks for giving us the chance to be master bakers like you!
[or at least get to pretend!]
You are so inspirational, Angela; thank you :)
Thanks for your feedback Lexi!
I just wanted to tell you how wonderful the pumpkin pie was. We especially loved the pecan crust. My husband is newly diagnosed with a gluten intolerance and it’s been pretty frustrating for him to give up the foods he loves. This made him very happy and so me happy as well. The crust was delicious enough for his family too which is amazing bc they think the way we eat is weird. It was nice to show them gluten free can be just as good and in this case better than the way they eat! HA!
Im so happy to hear that Alli!
How many pie crust does the recipe for the “sweet and spicy spiced pecan crust” make?
it makes 1 pie crust Deanna. Enjoy!
Pumpkin pie is my favorite holiday treat. This is the first time I’ve had it in ages. It is delicious! I made the GF crust and it is like candy. The filling is super pumpkin-y, firm, and delicious. I’ve already eaten half the pie by myself. Thanks for such an amazing recipe.
How long does this keep in the fridge? Also, can it be frozen? I made it for my boyfriend’s birthday three days too early, and don’t want it to spoil before I can give it to him.
It should keep in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Im not sure about freezing it, but let me know if you try it!
I’m relatively new to your web-site, but I must say, I’m ADDICTED!! You’ve got some really amazing recipes, and you present them so beautifully with the perfect amount of humor mixed in.
I have a quick question about the GF pecan pie crust. I was thinking of making it and using your chocolate pudding recipe as well as the coconut whipped cream as filling. Obviously the pudding and cream don’t need to be baked, but how long should I bake the pie crust?
Thanks so much, and you are so appreciated!!
Hey Stacey, Thank you so much for your kind words!
I would probably bake it for 12-14 minutes, watching closely during the last 4 mins of baking so it doesn’t burn. Allow it to completely cool. Let me know how it goes…sounds great! I was thinking of doing a similar recipe for my book. maybe banana cream pie would be nice too.
For the Sweet & Salty Gluten Free Crust, can we sub oil or nuts or should we sub egg replacer for that? I like abroad and am having trouble finding flax seed. I can order online… but that means I have to wait and I don’t want to! haha Please let me know. This looks AWESOME! Thank you ^^
I’m definitely making the pecan crust version this weekend! I can’t wait :)
I am so looking froward to making your pecan crusted pit. I do have a few question, I have never heard of earth balance – it is not available in Montreal. Is is an alternative to butter? Also your GF oats – what they stand for ? do we food processs the oats until its powdery. For the pecas is it best to burst on-off or let the shred automatically for awhile. Thank your for help. Do also have vegan punpkin cookie recipe !!!
Hi Lily, Earth balance is a vegan replacement for butter. I also believe Becel makes one, but I havent tried it in cooking before. GF oats = gluten-free oats, but you can use regular rolled oats if that works for you. :) For the pecans, I think in the directions I wrote that you process them for about 30-35 seconds constantly. I hope this helps!
Thank you!!! This is what I’m going to make for our Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend!!
Just made your winning pie yesterday and it was a huuuuuge success. All of our Thanksgiving dinner guests raved about it. I topped it with homemade whip from a can of coconut milk and everyone said it tasted like something they would order in a fancy restaurant. And our kids had 2nds and wanted thirds! Thanks for coming up with this amazing recipe!
awww that is so great to hear! THanks for letting me know. Happy Thanksgiving!
Hi there, I just wanted to leave a comment to let you know that your recipe for the vegan pie with the pecan crust was a total hit at our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner this weekend. I used honey instead of agave and coconut oil instead of Earth Balance and it all turned out amazingly. Both my kids said that they were “proud” of my pie and that it was their favorite part of the meal (I’d have to agree!!)
I feel like I am so lucky to live in a time where I can type some very precise words into a search engine and be connected with a lady in another country who has just the right words of wisdom and support for me to get exactly what I need. Thank you!
This was hands-down the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever tasted. It was easy to make and it turned out exactly as pictured. Thank you for posting this recipe, I am officially a new fan of your website.
Aw thank you Sandra! I appreciate it :)
I’d really like to try making this pie with the classic spelt crust but I don’t have any spelt flour on hand. Is there any substitute for it?
I haven’t tried it with another flour, but I suspect an all-purpose would work fine. let me know how it goes!
I tried it with all purpose flour and I think it was fine. However I over baked it and it was too hard to eat although I liked munching on it like a biscuit :x I’m a crust lover teehee.
I just baked your recipe with the whole wheat-all purpose flour crust with pumpkin I baked last weekend. I’ve been looking around for a vegan pumpkin pie recipe, as I don’t eat eggs and my daughter is allergic to them. It turned out out great and I wanted to thank you for sharing this! xoxo
for the spelt crust could I sub whole wheat in place of spelt? I’d do it to the recipe if I hadn’t run out of flour D:
I just found your site a few weeks ago and have made a few of your recipes. All have been really good but this pumpkin pie recipe with the pecan and oat crust is AMAZING! I made it last night as a practice run before Thanksgiving and it is so yummy. I topped it with a little cashew cream sweetened lightly with maple syrup and even the non-vegans in attendance had nothing but good things to say about it:) Thank you so much!
So happy to hear that the test run was a hit! Have a great Thanksgiving.
I was wondering if you have a suggestion for a substitute for the oat in the GF crust mix? I am hoping to make a pie for our family working around food allergies of: egg, dairy, wheat, oat, barley. I tried to sift through the previous comments to see if anyone else had asked/addressed this issue, but there were so many . . . ! Testament to a good site, I will be bookmarking and coming back for more! Thanks!
Oh my goodness! I was searching around for vegan pumpkin pie fillings since my first attempt was a non-setting FAIL. :) Your post is awesome and so generously full of info. And the Sweet & Salty Spiced Pecan Crust…swoon! I just adore what you cook-up in the kitchen.
1/4 cup full-fat coconut cream (or almond milk)*, softened
Is this a can of coconut milk or something different? The ‘softened’ comment is making me question…or coconut butter or coconut oil?
Hi Aaron, Sorry for the confusion! I scooped the cream from the top of a can of full fat coconut milk. Sometimes if its in the fridge, it can get hard so just let it sit at room temp if need be.
Made a taste-test version of this tonight using the gluten free crust and classic filling. Delicious! Didn’t have a food processor, so I used a chopper, rolling pin, and a bit of extra oil to make the pecan dough. Didn’t use much of the ginger or cloves. Also substituted honey for brown rice syrup since I didn’t have that.
I am wondering if you have any idea how long this would stay fresh if I made it ahead of time? Could I store it for four days if I kept it refrigerated?
Hi Peter, I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Yes I do think it will last 4 days in the fridge (just thinking back to last year when I tested a gazillion pies!) I think you should be fine if wrapped up.
How can I replace the cane sugar with liquid stevia for the filling? Thanks!!!
Can you be more specific on the Earth Balance in the recipe? Is it butter or shortening?
Hey Valerie, I used the soy free butter spread in the red container. Im sure any of their spreads would work, but I probably wouldnt use the shortening simply because I dont think the flavour is as nice.
We love the gluten-free version of this pie so much. I blogged about it this year! Thanks for all of the wonderful recipes!
I want those brussels sprouts! Yummy.
I am so thrilled to have found your blog! My family is newly vegan and try to stick to eating mostly whole foods. I LOVE to bake and thought that I could no longer make amazing baked goods…until I found your blog. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your fantastic recipes! I just made the pecan pie crust and pumpkin pie recipe and can’t wait to try it. My daughters birthday was in October and I used your chocolate cupcake and icing recipe and we all really enjoyed them:) Have a wonderful holiday season!
Hey Kristi, It’s a pleasure to meet you! Thanks for your kind words. :)
Regarding the burnt crust issue – I’ve not tried it, but in the old days bakers would cut strips of old, clean sheets, soak them in water, wring them, and then form them around the edge of the crust. Those crust shields never fit your pie perfectly.
Wow that is such a good idea!
angela this recipe (i used the classic filling) was absolutely delicious and sooooo easy to make. my family loved it – said it was the best pumpkin pie they have ever had! i subbed in potato starch for corn starch and used half honey half maple syrup… i also didn’t have cloves or ginger but added pumpkin pie spice. i will definitely be making it again very soon! thank you so much!!
I just wanted to thank you for this recipe! I made the Sweet & Salty Spiced Pecan Crust with the classic filling and it was by far the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. Only thing I changed was I used coconut oil instead of Earth Balance. Everyone liked this pie better than the non-gluten free pies!! Thanks so much! I will definitely be making this again!
Hi Katie, That is so great to hear! Thanks so much for letting me know. :) Happy belated Thanksgiving!
The gluten free crust is amazing! I’m going to try to turn this into a gluten free vegan cookie (sort of a pecan shortbread) by baking it flat on a cookie sheet and then cutting it into squares…maybe a thin layer of dark chocolate on top to keep it from falling apart. Have you ever tried that? And if it falls apart, I’ll eat it with a spoon! Your pumpkin pie recipe (and fluffy pull apart dinner rolls) helped me through my first vegan Thanksgiving. Even my omni family loved them. Thanks for all the great recipes – I can’t wait to start planning Christmas Eve!
That is funny you said this because I just made a recipe for my cookbook that sounds a bit similar (just without nuts). Eric thinks its the best thing since sliced bread.
Yum! I tried it last night – I was almost out of pecans so I increased the oats and added some almonds and topped it all with melted dark chocolate. It worked really well and held together just like the shortbread cookies my mom used to make for Christmas every year. I’m sure your version will be even tastier. I can’t wait for your cookbook…okay, I can’t even wait for your next blog! Hopefully more Christmas cookie ideas soon? :)
I tried the Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie With Pecan Crust for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. As the recipes notes, it is sensitive to changes so please follow the ingredients carefully. This is especially critical to having the crust turn out right.
But I did sub out agave Nectar for both the Brown Rice Syrup and the Maple Syrup as my preferred liquid sweetener and it turned out fine.
You asked for a good crust shield idea: Double the thickness above the filling! This was my aunties trick and it works a treat! Roger
The gluten free version was amazing! Even ate some leftovers for breakfast a couple days later
I am making your fav crust and filling tomorrow for my sister! Do you think the almond milk or coconut cream tastes better and more traditional? I have unsweetened almond milk and canned coconut milk at the house
I made your favourite recipe for pumpkin pie with the salty and sweet pecan pie crust for my family this Easter dinner and topped it with the coconut whip cream! it was to die for and my family loved it!!! I have never made a pie before and this was super easy and pretty quick to make.
Love your site and recipes!
Thank you Nicole! So glad you enjoyed it
I made your gluten-free pecan crust over the weekend because I needed a gluten-free recipe. It was so easy and delicious! I left out the cinnamon because I made a berry-rhubarb filling. I’m so glad to have found a gluten-free pie crust recipe that doesn’t have a million weird ingredients!
I just did this beauty, using your almond crust recipe but with pumpkin (butternut squash actually) filling. I never had pumpkin pie in my life ( I’m french), I’m excited! My mom seems to be excited too ! :)
This pie is the best I have ever eaten of my life ! Wow I don’t know how I am not going to do it every week. Wait, no problem, I will.
I made this today using fresh butternut pumpkin. It was amazing. My husband would have eaten the whole thing with my 1yr old for company!
I also figured out the soggy base thing…!! (For the classical middle part only)
Pre cook the base.
Then instead of placing the uncooked pumpkin stuff in and baking; place into a saucepan and cook, whisking all the while…when done pour into pre cooked base and let set. Works like a dream! (-;
The pecan pumpkin pie crust was amazing and even wowed the hard to please non-vegan inlaws!
how far in advance can you make this recipe?
We’re having dinner on Sunday and I wanted to get a headstart today.
The links do not take me to the full recipes. They go to a blank page with “recipage” at the top. I would really like the full recipe for the pecan crust and classic filling!
Can I use brown sugar for the pecan pie crust?
Hi Tina, Yes you can replace the sugar for brown sugar if you prefer. :) I wouldn’t replace the brown rice syrup though as it acts as a binder. Hope this helps!
I dont have earth balance, would coconut oil work?
i cant wait to make this:)
Mmmm, my mouth is watering! I’m having the same problem as Ashley, though — the “Recipage” is blank, so no filling recipe. *sob*
Hi Fawn, It should be working now, sorry about that! Recipage had some issues last week.
This post is so confusing!