Friday, October 5, 2012

Gluten Free Classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-free, Soy-free, Egg-free)

Today is the start of Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.  It is very much like the American counterpart, but we have it earlier in the year.  I haven't put much thought in our dinner this weekend yet, but I thought that I would get a start on dessert!

Lately, I have been having some health issues and bad acne.  To change things up, I decided to go soy, dairy, egg, chocolate (gasp!), and gluten-free for 6 weeks.  I'm happy to say that I've gotten used to my regime and am embracing the other delicious foods I can enjoy!

I decided to tackle the classic Thanksgiving favourite:  pumpkin pie.  First the crust had to be gluten and butter free.  Thanks to all the wonderful resources on the net, I lucked out with a delicious gluten-free crust  made with a blend of rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour and xanthan gum.  In the world of gluten-free baking, this is a very standard mix of ingredients.  There is a science behind gluten-free baking where all the qualities of each different flour/starch combine to mimic wheat.  It was PERFECT on the first try!  The crust was flaky, crispy and it held the pumpkin filling beautifully.  

Next, the pumpkin pie filling had to be butter, milk and egg free.  I found an amazing one that all the kiddies loved and asked for breakfast the next day!  Again, the hard part is to find substitutes to replace the binding of eggs (use of cornstarch) and the creaminess of milk (use of coconut or almond milk).  The filling was very easy to whip up.  

I also take into consideration that this will not be exactly like the "regular ones", but still a very delicious dessert.  It will be one that everyone would like to try out of curiosity and then be pleasantly surprised at how yummy it is.  

Classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie

1 - 8-inch or 9-inch unbaked pie crust (wheat, gluten-free or storebought)
2 cups pureed pumpkin (or one 15-oz can)
1 cup plain nondairy milk (soy, almond, coconut)* 
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup white)
2 1/2 – 3 Tbsp cornstarch (I used 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch and 1 Tbsp cornstarch)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or freshly grated nutmeg, just estimate!)
vegan whipped topping, if desired**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pumpkin, non-dairy milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and spices in a large bowl, and mix very well with an electric mixer (alternatively, you can combine these ingredients in a blender). Pour into unbaked pastry shell, and bake for about 60 minutes. The pie will still be jiggly when you take it out of the oven, but it will firm up as it cools. Cool completely on a cooling rack, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving. Serve chilled and top with vegan whipped topping if desired.
* To be nut-free, I used Coconut Dream coconut beverage as it does not have a strong coconut flavour.  The original recipe states that almond milk will also produce great results.  Canned coconut milk will yield a rich and creamy pie but the flavor of the coconut will come through. Rice milk is not recommended as it is too thin for the nice creamy consistency.  

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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