The pumpkin pie recipe to please everyone at the table

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Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

It’s the time of year for pumpkin pie. But how does one make a pumpkin pie to please every friend and family member? Your vegan dad and grain-free best friend don’t have to miss out on typical Thanksgiving treats. This recipe combines the best of these not-so-traditional diets for a pumpkin pie everyone can enjoy. 

Pumpkin pie has been around for a while. In the 19th century, it was made by taking a pumpkin and filling it with other fruits, spices and sugars. But diets have evolved since then, and baking a homemade pie crust has become a complicated art form. This recipe pleases vegan, gluten- and grain-free, dairy-free and Paleo diets if flax eggs and honey are used. Thanksgiving bellies may be prepared for butter and fatty desserts, but this crust has the same delicious taste without all the guilt. 

If prepackaged pie crusts are off-limits, which they should be, then the process takes a little bit of time and love. The base of the crust consists of cashews and pumpkin seeds, with the fat and oil of the cashews making up for some of that lost butter. Other nuts can be used instead of cashews — pecans are also a good choice. Pumpkin seeds are optional, but are a must if you’re trying to go for the earthy and impressive pie look.

Almond meal or almond flour sub in for the bleached all-purpose flour found in typical crust recipes that are not kind to the gluten-free folks. 

The binding liquids in this crust get a little wacky, but your humble abode will smell like the holidays. A little bit of coconut oil helps make up for the lack of butter, and overpowers some of the bland almond taste. Maple syrup or honey adds a sweetness that is imperative. If vegan, use flax seed eggs rather than eggs of the chicken variety. Spice the dough accordingly, with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and the like. 

The pie filling follows a standard recipe for the most part. Roasting and pureeing a pumpkin by hand is okay, but really not worth the hassle or stained hands. Using a can of pure pumpkin puree is one of a few shortcuts worth taking this holiday season. 

Unlike evaporated milk, coconut milk gives a slightly richer taste to the filling and thickens it up significantly. Again, use flax eggs or another egg substitute if needed. Everything else
is standard.

Bake at a lower temperature so the pie gets all the love it needs. The coconut milk in the filling is likely to heat up quickly, and might cause some air bubbles to surface. But putting a layer of sugar on top of the pie and then broiling it ensures the final product will be a beautiful orange-brown circle of deliciousness. Plus, it gives the pie a crunch that can’t be found in other recipes. 

The ingredients are more expensive than those used for a traditional pumpkin pie, but go ahead and splurge on them and be thankful there is finally a pumpkin pie recipe that everyone at the table can gobble up this year. 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 ½ hours
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:
Crust-
-¾ cup cashews
-1 tbs pumpkin seeds
-1 ½ cup almond meal/flour
-1 tbs coconut or almond oil
-2 tbs maple syrup or honey
-1 egg or flax eggs
-¼ tsp salt
-½ tsp cinnamon

Filling-
-2 eggs or flax eggs
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 ½ tsp cinnamon
-1/8 tsp nutmeg
-1 can pure pumpkin
-1 can coconut milk

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grind cashews and pumpkin seeds in food processor, until they become a fine flour. Add remaining crust ingredients and process until a ball forms.
-Press the dough into a regular pie plate, making sure an even layer coats the surface and sides. Be careful to avoid making any areas thick. Make holes in the dough with a fork for baking.
-Bake for 10 minutes, then freeze for 20 minutes.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Beat eggs or flax seed mixture in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and pumpkin to the bowl, mixing until smooth. Slowly add the coconut milk.
-Fill the crust with filling and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven when the center is set and let cool.
-Cover top of pie with granulated sugar and put back in the oven to broil. Take out of oven when sugar is bubbling and caramelizing. Let cool before serving.