Food + Wine

Raw and Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Cream

Yes, you read that correctly.  Raw and Vegan.  On this blog.  It’s no secret that I am not a vegan, nor do I eat a raw diet.  But…many of you are and do so…here we are!  Now, I love my Pumpkin Pie animal style and baked, but I have to say, this is fan-freakin-tastic for what it is.  I had no real reason to write this recipe, I just figured I’d give it a try.  I had vegan clients for awhile until they decided they wanted to eat chicken again.  So, maybe since then I’ve just had all these vegan ideas running around in my head and they just now decided to pop up to the surface.

Oh, I almost forgot one of the most important parts!  There is no sugar in this pie.  ZERO.  There is no chemically made sugar substitute in this pie.  ZERO.  This pie, this delicious and satisfying pie, is sweetened with dates and dates only.  And the crust is sweetened with coconut flakes (and depending on the kind of coconut flakes you decide you use, the crust could be sugar-less too).  The base of this pie, besides the pumpkin itself, is cashews.  You may have heard of cashew cream before.  It’s what many ‘creamy’ vegan soups and desserts have in them because cashews are both slightly buttery and sweet.  And when you soak them in water for 4-8 hours, then drain and puree them, you end up with what it called ‘cashew cream’ and it’s delicious.

My husband and almost 5 year old son (both fans of regular pumpkin pie and all things animal produced) gave me their big thumbs up after eating this pie.  My husband said he wanted me to make it for Thanksgiving this year and that he no longer needs me to make the other one.  And my son licked the beaters from the filling (which is OK to do because there are no eggs in it!) and then happily ate a whole piece.

Thumbs up, mama!

I also brought some over to my friends and neighbors who used to be vegan.  I figured they were the perfect people to have test out this recipe.  One of them is pregnant and they have a 3 year old son.  My pregnant friend texted me later in the evening and said it was the best raw pie she’d ever eaten, which I couldn’t believe…since I not only had never made a raw pie before, but had never actually eaten one either.  But my favorite compliment happened earlier that morning- I walked some over to the dad and his son before I went out for my Saturday morning jog and by the time I got back I had received a text from the dad and it read:

‘Thanks for the awesome pie!  As my son devoured it he said, ‘I love Abbey so much!’… 
This is probably reflective of my warped mental state but I put some in my coffee and it was awesome… 
Seriously tho, awesome pie!’

If there was ever the best compliment to receive about your food, it has to be that someone loved it so much that they wanted to drink it.

*Raw and Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Cream

photo taken before the proper setting time elapsed…I just got too impatient!!

-For the Crust
-In a food processor, combine 1 rounded cup raw walnuts, 1 cup coconut flakes or shredded coconut* (not packed) and 3/4 tsp kosher salt.
-Process until completely pureed and moist.
-Press into the bottom and up the sides a bit of an UN-greased pie plate and set aside.

-For the Filling
-In the same food processor combine 2 cups of soaked, raw cashews**, 1 15 oz can of plain pumpkin puree, 1 cup of Deglet Noor dates, (which is 6 ounces and was 20 dates for me.  If you use another type of date like a Medjool, then the amounts would be different, so be sure that it’s in the 6 oz range.  And at the end, taste the mixture to see if you think you’d like yours sweeter.), 1/3 cup coconut oil, a good splash of vanilla extract, half that amount of almond extract, 3/4 tsp kosher salt and 1 TB of pumpkin pie spice OR my own blend which is 1/2 TB ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg.
-Process this until smooth.  This will take awhile as the dates take the longest to break down, but keep blending and scraping and blending again until you have a smooth puree.
-Spread evenly over your crust in the pie plate and refrigerate until slightly firm, at least 1 hour.
-Spread with your coconut cream (recipe follows) and chill for about 12 hours for optimum results and serve chilled.

although this isn’t a good photo, you can now see how firm the pie got after 12 hours of refrigeration.

-For the Coconut Cream

-Take a can of full fat coconut milk and place in the refrigerator overnight.  DO NOT SHAKE THE CAN BEFORE OR AFTER!
-Open the can and scoop out the thick part at the top, leaving the water at the bottom of the can.  Place the scooped out coconut ‘cream’ into a bowl and add a splash of vanilla extract.  Whisk until thickened slightly and taste to see if you wish to sweeten it.  I like mine just as it is.

(*the kind of coconut in the regular grocery stores is sweetened with corn syrup, but if you go to a specialty store you can find all-natural sweetened flakes or unsweetened flakes…you decide which ones to use depending on how sweet you want your crust to be.  If you use the unsweetened, just taste your crust mixture to see if you think it needs a handful of dates (or sugar) to sweeten it.)

(**Soak your cashews for at least 4 hours, but preferably about 8, in water that just covers them in a bowl.  They may turn a purple-grey color after about 6 hours, but don’t worry about that.  Drain your cashews well and this is what you will use in this pie.)

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