Vegan Pumpkin Pie
It's not Autumn until the first pumpkin pie rolls out. This one has a rich, creamy and warming filling and a sweet and salty crumble crust. Best of all, the filling here comes together entirely in a blender, and the crust requires no chilling or rolling out. It's the pie we all need in our lives.
I don't typically like to mess with Thanksgiving tradition - and tradition calls for pumpkin pie to have a shortcrust pastry as its crust - but sometimes the rules are worth breaking. As a child, I believed graham cracker crusts were the best thing to ever be created. I would pick the crusts off cheesecake and ask for "crust" as a dessert at least once a week. Although my obsession has since mild down, I still think it's a pretty genius creation. It's crunchy, buttery and the perfect balance of just enough - but not too much - flavour to balance rather than overpower fillings. It's also perfect with pies which have soft creamy fillings, rather than solid fillings - as it provides a satisfying texture and bite to contrast all that creaminess. It also requires no rolling out, no fiddling with cold butter and no chilling. As I said, best thing to ever be created. As graham crackers aren't really a thing in the UK, I used plain digestives (which are now vegan) here which do the job just as well as good old grahams. I hope I've shed some light into the beauty of crumb/cookie crusts, but if you're a stickler for tradition, feel free to make the shortcrust pastry from this recipe instead!
30 mins (+chilling)
180g plain digestives
30g caster sugar
70g plant based butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
⅛ tsp nutmeg
2 425g tins pumpkin puree
160ml plant based milk
2 tbsp olive oil (or melted plant based butter)
190g maple syrup
60g light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
⅛ tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
200g oatly creme fraiche
30g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 175˚C.
Place the digestive biscuits into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Transfer the ground digestives into a bowl, along with the sugar, melted butter, salt and nutmeg. Stir together with a spatula until the mixture is coarse and resembles wet sand.
Grease a pie dish (mine was 26x26cm) lightly with butter. Transfer the crust mixture into the pie dish, and use a measuring cup to tightly press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the dish.
Place the pie crust into the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. If the crust has puffed up slightly whilst in the oven, use the same measuring cup as before to gently press it back down.
In the meantime, prepare the filling. Add pumpkin puree, milk, oil, vanilla, maple syrup, light brown sugar and spices to a blender. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Add the arrowroot (or cornstarch) and blend for 1 more minute.
Pour the filling into the baked crust. Bake for 60 minutes. It will still have a little jiggle at this point, but will set while it cools.
Let the pie cool completely at room temperature, then place it in the fridge for anywhere from 2-24 hours. Remove the pie from the fridge 1 hour before serving.
If you like your pumpkin pie warm, place it in a 145˚C oven - once it has already chilled and set - for 15 minutes before serving.
To make the topping, place creme fraiche into a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar, and continue mixing for another 3-4 minutes - until it has thickened and has soft peaks.
Serve the pie topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
by Valentina Concordia
Valentina is our Food Creative, who dreams up our tasty dishes and recipes for our social channels. She has loads of experience cooking up a storm in Italian kitchens, so it’s no surprise she can’t live without good-quality olive oil (don’t come between her and her olive oil) and fresh pasta.