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Vegan pumpkin pie – perfect for the holidays!
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Confession: I am not a huge fan of pie. But that’s because the crust is usually soggy at the bottom and I require copious amounts of whipped cream on top. My husband loves pumpkin pie, though, so I set out to make the perfect vegan pumpkin pie we’d both enjoy for Thanksgiving.
Typically, pumpkin pie contains milk or cream and eggs, and the crust uses butter for that flaky texture. Like with just about anything, it’s easier than you might think to make a vegan version. This pumpkin pie simply uses vegan butter in the crust. For the filling, we’ll be using canned coconut milk and cornstarch.
A lot of my readers enjoy my recipes because many of them are oil-free. Unfortunately, there is no way to make the “perfect pie crust” oil-free. If you crave that flakiness, the crust definitely requires the use of butter or oil. However, another great crust option is the almond crust I created for this tart recipe.
The filling is oil-free so you can go ahead and make that as the recipe is written.
How to Make Vegan Pie Crust
The instructions in the recipe card recommend making the pie crust in a food processor. This is just my favorite way to make pie crust. Less mess, simpler. You can absolutely use a big bowl and a pastry cutter instead.
The key to pie crust is an even fat distribution. In this case, the fat is vegan butter. While my favorite vegan butter is the whipped version from Earth Balance, the best type of butter to use in pie crust is the buttery sticks. Miyoko’s should also work.
First, combine the dry ingredients. Then add in chunks or slices of the butter. Using a pastry cutter or food processor, break down the butter until the mixture is coarse with little pea-sized butter balls throughout. Process or mix in cold water until the dough starts to form together.
Form the dough into a ball. On a flour-covered surface or parchment paper, roll out the dough to fit your pie pan. The dough should be about a 1/8 inch thick. Carefully place the crust into the pie dish. If I’m using parchment paper, I’ll pick the dough up with the paper and flip it over the pan. Form it into the dish. Clean up the edges and crimp the pie crust. Watch this video on crimping edges.
Poke some holes in the bottom using a fork.
Because we definitely want our crust to be sturdy and not soggy, we are going to blind bake our crust. AKA, bake just the crust and then bake again after adding in the pie filling. You need to place a piece of parchment paper over the pie dish and then pour in some dried beans, or use pie weights. I have a jar of lentils in my pantry specifically for blind baking.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes on a lower rack. Remove the pie crust, then reduce the heat to 350F. If you want to avoid a cracked pie, let the crust cool off a bit before you add in the pie filling. You can tell from my photos that I added in the filling while the crust was still hot, but honestly, I don’t care about cracks in my pie as long as it tastes good. A cracked pie has a rustic aesthetic! Haha.
After pouring the filling, bake 35-45 minutes on a lower rack. I know my pie is ready to come out of the oven just by looking at it and giving it a little jostle. It will be darker overall and puffed up slightly. It’s okay if the pie is a lighter color in the center. Note that a done pie will still jiggle, but it will be more firm and not sloppy. You can also do the toothpick test.
Can I Make Pumpkin Pie Ahead of Time?
Yes. The pumpkin pie needs time to set for at least 4 hours or overnight. You can even make it 2 days ahead. Just keep in mind that the longer the pie sits in the fridge, the less flaky the crust will be.
Can I Freeze Pumpkin Pie?
Absolutely. Freezing pumpkin pie is a great idea for people like me who are not hosting a big dinner this year. I doubt my husband and I will eat an entire pie (though I might be up for the challenge.)
Wrap up the pie in plastic wrap or store it in a container to avoid freezer burn. It will stay good for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge the day before you’d like to eat it.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
- In a food processor, add in the dry ingredients (all Pie Crust ingredients except the butter and water). Process for about 5 seconds to combine.
- Slice up the butter and add to the food processor. Pulse a few times until the butter breaks down and the mixture becomes a coarse texture. The largest chunks of butter should be about pea-sized.
- Add in 3 tbsp of cold water, pulse until the dough starts to come together. If it’s not coming together, add another tablespoon of water.
- Gather the dough into a ball and roll out into a large circle to fit your pie pan (I used a 9-inch pie pan). This is best done on a flour-sprinkled surface or a piece of parchment paper. Make sure your rolling pin is also coated in flour so the dough doesn’t stick.
- Form the dough into the pie pan. Create a pretty decorative edge if you want. Cut off excess pie crust that might be hanging over the edge of the pie dish.
- Poke some holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork.
- To blind bake the pie crust, you’ll need to use pie weights or grab some dried beans out of your pantry. Place a piece of parchment paper over your pie dish and carefully pour the beans in. Make sure the beans are spread out as much as possible to weigh the entire bottom of the crust down.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes on a lower oven rack. Remove the pie weights/beans and parchment paper.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350F.
- Pour the filling into the crust. If you want to avoid cracks for a more visually-pleasing pie, wait until the crust cools down before adding in the pie filling.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- Shake the can of coconut milk to evenly distribute the coconut cream with the milk. Then measure out 1 cup.
- Whisk together all of the ingredients until the filling is smooth and creamy.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust. Make sure the pie even by smoothing out with a spoon or silicone spatula.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes on a lower rack. There are several ways to know if your pie is done – I recommend reading this article for tips.
- Let the pie cool on the counter for about an hour, and then let it set in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Serve with some whipped coconut cream.