After my last post, I knew I was destined to make a dessert using my gluten-free graham crackers. It’s just the right thing to do. Plus, a girl can only eat so many graham crackers for breakfast! You can imagine how nervous I felt testing this recipe – not knowing if it would turn out – as I was risking the demise of my sweet, dear, homemade graham cracker crumbs. Thankfully, there were no graham crumbs harmed in the making of this dessert.
Word on the street has it that the U.S. Thanksgiving is coming up later this month! American friends, are you pumped? I love being a Canadian food blogger because I get to celebrate twice. Or should I say, 30 days before every holiday. I’m trying to come up with a couple more recipes to add to my vegan Thanksgiving recipe collection and this was a solid start! [Well, that’s after I decided to re-test and tweak the recipe first thing this morning and then re-shoot and edit every single photo. I like to torture myself sometimes.]
These pumpkin pie squares are the perfect solution when you don’t want to make an actual pie, but still want something similar that you can serve on the dessert table with a dollop of whipped coconut cream. Actually, this is one of the best pumpkin “pies” I have ever made, no matter how you slice it.
The homemade gluten-free graham crust, oh that crust, is so flavourful and held together so well. It’s one of my favs. All you have to do is mix three ingredients and press it firmly into the pan. No stressing about pressing the crumbs up the side of a pie dish (am I the only one who stresses about that?) or rolling out a crust. The filling is a vegan spin on traditional pumpkin pie filling, similar to the filling in my previous pumpkin pie recipe. It’s soft and dreamy, like a beautiful pumpkin cloud.
Instant homemade gluten-free graham crumbs, at your service!
I said a prayer to the baking gods, and whirled away…
I dolloped coconut whipped cream on top and added a dusting of cinnamon and chopped pecans because I’m a fancy pants.
I’m trying to save the leftovers for a get together this weekend, but it’s not looking good.
Must. distract. mouth…
Easy to throw together, these pumpkin pie squares are a nice option when you don't want to make a traditional pumpkin pie. The homemade graham cracker crust is so flavourful and holds together well. The filling is a vegan spin on traditional pumpkin pie filling, enriched with decadent coconut cream. Be sure to make this recipe the day before so it can set overnight in the fridge.
for the crust:
- 2 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs (see note)
- 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar syrup (or brown rice syrup)
for the pumpkin filling:
- 1 (14-ounce/400 mL) can pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (use only the white cream portion, see note)
- 1.5 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- pinch fine grain sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease an 8-inch square pan. Now, line the pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way. I like to spray the first piece of parchment paper with non-stick oil so the second piece sticks nicely and doesn't fall over.
- Prepare the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham crumbs, melted coconut oil, and sweetener until the crumbs are thoroughly coated in the mixture. Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Starting from the middle, press the crumbs into the pan firmly and evenly. You really want to press hard so the crust sticks together nicely. I use a pastry roller to roll the crust and compact it even more. Using your fingers, press in the edges until even.
- Pre-bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 minutes at 350°F.
- Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot powder and maple syrup until no clumps remain. Add this and all of the other filling ingredients into a food processor and process until completely smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. When the crust has come out of the oven, immediately pour this filling on top of the baked crust and smooth out as evenly as possible with a spatula.
- Bake, uncovered, for around 41-43 minutes at 350°F until the filling has darkened slightly and it's semi-firm to the touch (although the filling will still be very soft and sticky!). Place on a cooling rack for about 60 minutes and then into the fridge to set overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Freezer lover's note: The freezer will expedite this process. Just sayin'.
- Slice into squares and serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream on top and a dusting of cinnamon and chopped pecans.
- Store leftovers in the fridge or freeze for later.
- I used my homemade gluten-free graham crackers and processed them into crumbs for this recipe. If you are looking for a non-gluten-free graham cracker (without nuts), you can also swap them for this graham cracker recipe or use store-bought graham cracker crumbs.
- For the full-fat canned coconut cream: Chill the can overnight or for at least several hours before use. This is the white cream in the full-fat cans of coconut milk (such as Native Forest or Thai Kitchen brands). Do not use the water portion. Use the leftover cream for the whipped cream topping. For a how-to on Coconut Whipped Cream, see this post.