Making a pie from scratch has to be one of the most feared tasks of all time. I would say it ranks right up there with bread baking, public speaking, and drinking something green. I always had this expectation that everything had to go perfectly for my pie to turn out. If my dough ripped while putting it in the dish I would just about have a heart attack.
These days I’m more relaxed when tackling a pie crust. That comes from practice (and a bit of bourbon-spiked apple cider doesn’t hurt the process either!). I’ve learned that each pie crust tends to turn out a bit differently. Plus, when a pie crust doesn’t turn out as expected just call it a “rustic” pie and everyone thinks you are a culinary genius!
This fall, I tested a traditional lattice pie crust, a healthier spelt crust, and a gluten-free, nut-based crust. You can imagine my delight when I discovered that the best-tasting and easiest crust was the gluten-free, nut-based crust. This sweet and salty spiced pecan crust has an amazing nutty flavor, smells incredible while baking, and pairs perfectly with the pumpkin pie filling. No fussy pie crust required.
Vegan pumpkin pie with gluten-free pecan crust
This crust is absolutely worth every calorie, and then some! It’s a bit sweet, buttery, lightly spiced with cinnamon, and enhanced with a bit of salt to bring out the flavours. Best of all, no rolling is required. The lightly sweetened and spiced filling is a perfect complement to the nutty crust. For best results, allow the crust to chill in the fridge for at least four hours after cooling on a rack. The crust is very sensitive to changes, so I caution against changing a lot of things in the recipe.
Make sure to use certified gluten-free ingredients if you want it to be gluten-free.
For the crust:
1 cup gluten-free certified rolled oats, processed into a fine flour OR 1 cup GF oat flour
2 cups raw pecans
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp ground flax
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (acts as the binder, honey may work if you prefer that)
1 tbsp Earth Balance, melted or other non-dairy margarine
For the filling:
2 & 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup natural cane sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup full-fat coconut cream (or almond milk), softened
1 tbsp Earth Balance, softened or other non-dairy margarine
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
For the crust:
1. Grease a 9-inch pie dish and preheat the oven to 350F. In a blender, process your oats into a very fine flour. If you don’t think your machine can get the oats fine enough, then I suggest buying oat flour from Bulk Barn or other store. The oat flour needs to be very fine in this crust, not flaky or chunky. Remove oat flour and place into a large bowl.
2. In a food processor, add 2 cups pecans and process until it starts to clump and oils start to release (about 35 secs), but don’t make pecan butter either. You should be able to make a ball with the pecan dough.
3. Melt earth balance with brown rice syrup for about 30 secs in microwave. Stir. Transfer clumpy pecan mixture into a large bowl with oat flour and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Using your hands, squeeze the dough over and over to combine very well. You should be able to form a ball with it. If it’s too dry add a bit more oil.
4. Spoon the pecan dough onto the greased pie dish and smooth out evenly. Press down firmly with fingers to form a crust, bringing it up along the sides. Press as firmly as you can. Prick base with fork 12-13 times. Prebake crust at 350F for 14 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t burn. Remove and cool for 10 mins.
For the filling:
1. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) until no clumps remain. Now add all ingredients and whisk together, adjusting spices to taste. Add more sweetener if desired.
1. Scoop the filling into the pre-baked and cooled crust. Smooth out with a spoon. Bake for 30 mins at 350F. Remove and cover crust edges with tinfoil or crust shield (this is necessary or it burns). Bake for another 25 mins, checking crust after 15 mins or so. Place on cooling rack for 1 hour. Transfer to fridge to set for a minimum of 3-4 hours or overnight. (This step is very important!) Do not slice pie until it has set in the fridge for 3 hours minimum.
2. Slice with a very sharp knife, very slowly and carefully for best results. A bit of crumbling may occur, but that’s ok because it’s rustic and made from scratch! The main part is it tastes incredible. Yum!
Angela Liddon is the creator of Oh She Glows — a popular healthy vegan recipe website receiving over 1.6 million page views a month — and one of Chatelaine’s Women of the Year 2011. Angela’s passion for healthy vegan food is contagious and she’s eager to show others that vegan (and often gluten-free) food can blow your taste buds away.