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.
Pumpkin Pie Tarts with a Cookie Crust
12 small servings
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.
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 (60 mL) coconut oil, melted*
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) smooth sunflower seed butter (pour off oil before measuring)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons (10 to 15 mL) water, if needed to bind dough
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) canned full-fat coconut cream**
- 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened pumpkin purée
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut oil, melted*
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (70 mL) sunflower seed butter
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, to taste***
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Coconut Whipped Cream or So Delicious Coco Whip
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- * 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.
This looks awesome. I’m definitely sharing this with my clients. Great dessert for the holidays!
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!!
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!
Julie and the people that live the fast metabolism life!
Congratulations on your book by the way. It seems to be going ever so well!
Thanks so much!
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!!
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!
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!
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!
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 :)
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.
I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it, Martin!
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!!
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.
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
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!
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~
Question: do you think you could fold in coconut whipped cream (and omit the coconut cream) to the filling to achieve a more mousse-like texture?
Hey Kat, Oh that’s a fun idea!! I’m not sure to be honest…if you try anything out please let us know how it goes!
I just made this yesterday in a 9″ pie shell and IT WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD. Everyone LOVED it!!!! Wow. You have a gift for taking flavors to a whole new level esp. when considering the vegan and in this case, the nut free diet. I really appreciate that fact that there are no cashews used here – a staple in vegan desserts. Thank you so much for this recipe!
Hey Meredith, Aww thank you so much for the kind words! I’m SO happy you love it as much as I do. :) And that it was a big hit!
This recipe was a huge success! The next time I would cut the maple syrup in the filling down to 1/2 cup.
When I made it this time I doubled the squash. I also added a big squeeze of lemon and about a 1/2 tsp extra of pumpkin pie spice. I made it in an 8″ spring foam pan and thought the crust was too thick, half as thick would have been better. I didn’t really know if I was supposed to use the whole amount or not… but it really could have made two full crusts at that size. I also used butternut squash rather than pumpkin since I like the flavor better. We just roasted one overnight and it was ready in the morning for the pie. We put it in the freezer and served it frozen. Everyone really enjoyed it!
Hey Jenny, Oh I love your tweaks to this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing. :) I have to agree with you on liking butternut squash better than pumpkin…why does pumpkin get all the glory? lol.
Oh, my goodness the filling and crust are amazing. Haven’t assembled it together yet…but I hope it makes it in the freezer until Thanksgiving. That is I have no will power and it is seriously that good! Used quinoa flakes instead of oatmeal as two people in the family have oat allergies. Seems to have worked just fine in the crust.
So happy to hear this Michelle! Happy Thanksgiving :)
This Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts looks delicious and has an easy recipe to follow. I would love to see more from you! Thank you for this one.
Angela, your recipes were literally what taught me to cook for myself 10 years ago when I was also transitioning to a plant-based diet. Thank you for all that you’ve done, and congratulations on the milestone with your blog!
This recipe looks perfect for me to bring to family with some allergies and dietary restrictions. I’m just wondering if it would be alright to make a few days ahead of time and store in the freezer until shortly before serving? It looks like it should, but I just want to make sure! Thanks again.
Hey Jenny, Thank you so much for your kind words! I appreciate your support so much. Yes these pies freeze so well…they are actually a great treat to keep stashed away in the freezer for up to 4-6 weeks.