I don’t think I can express enough how much I love pumpkin pie, so to finally come up with my vegan pumpkin pie recipe is what dreams are made of. Bit much? Well sorry, but that’s how I feel. There’s just something so comforting and romantic about the autumn; golden leaves on the trees, dew covered grass in the mornings, spiders cobwebs illuminated by early frosts, and puddings, lots and lots of puddings!
Originally written in 2018: Oh, hello by the way, it’s been a while. I’ve had some things to deal with in real life, the passing of my darling Grandpa at the end of September has left a void in me and I personally have some looming medical bits and bobs to hurdle. But, the show must go on mustn’t it? Besides, the end of this week I’ve been magically boosted into a happier, lighter frame of mind. As a little aside dear reader, if you suffer with mental health issues, please, please read these words and action; talk-to-someone. It really does help, I promise.
How to pick the perfect Pumpkin for Pumpkin Pie
There is no exact science to this, you never really know what your pumpkin will look like until you get it home and cut it in half. But basically you need to follow these simple key points for choosing the best pumpkin for pumpkin puree;
- Avoid huge carving pumpkins, these have been grown specifically for their size and carving quality, not excellent pumpkin flesh and lots of it! (this said, I never waste carved pumpkin shavings)
- Remember that pumpkins are a member of the vast squash/gourd family and therefore you can get similar if not identical outcomes with squashes that seem hard as bullets and the size of a bowling ball or smaller.
- Butternut squash can also be used if, like some, you find pumpkin too over-powering in flavour. You may find the creamy buttery flavour of a butternut more appealing with the traditional pumpkin spices.
Finding the right Pumpkin Puree Recipe
Back to my vegan pumpkin pie, oh, while I think of it, why do I keep seeing vibrant orange pumpkin pies across social media, what day-glo pumpkins are people using to make their purees? Is there a particular spice combination being used?
Many people opt for tinned pumpkin puree, this is absolutely fine, there are many brands on the market including Libby’s 100% Pumpkin Pie Puree. These can be found in UK stores too, if not in the tinned fruit section, head over to the foods across the world sections. for example Tesco and Sainsbury’s now have an American section where you can buy pumpkin puree, Hershey bars and lucky charm cereal!
Ways to prepare a pumpkin for baking
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Where did Pumpkin Pie Originate?
My original gluten free pumpkin pie recipe with eggs is based on the original recipe in Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery Book. Well I say Mrs Beeton, a lot of her recipes were by readers of her column in her husband’s publications, the book my mum has now was first published in 1909, 44 years after her death at only 28 years old.
Pumpkins are in fact native to America and came over to the British Isles around the 17th Century, we did have our own version but our squashes were considered smaller and less sweet and flavourful.
I mentioned Mrs Beeton but the American version is their very own Mary Randolph, in The Virginia Housewife (1824) the pie was very similar to Mrs Beeton with wine sometimes used instead of brandy and traditionally a pastry decoration was (and still is) added to the top of the pie.
How to make this Pumpkin Pie without eggs
Because this is a vegan pumpkin pie, and I’m using tofu (which has a tendency to split when baking no matter how careful you are) I needed to add something to stabilise the ‘custard’ filling and psyllium powder is perfect for the job. Psyllium has a much stickier consistency than xanthan gum when mixed with water. You can get husk or powder, both work equally as well but the husk is courser and will show up in certain baking, plus it can give your bakes a delicate purple hue. I prefer to use powder for this reason but have used both with identical results to bake srtucture.
In fact you can read more about the nutritional benefits over a Free From Fairy’s post What on earth is Xanthan Gum and why gluten free bakers like yourselves would benefit from using it in your baking.
Anyway, without further ado here’s my recipe for vegan pumpkin pie, you won’t be able to tell it’s eggless, I promise.
Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Recipes
This has to be my all time favourite pie, the delicate notes of pumpkin and autumnal warm spices are a match made in heaven. Add a splash of brandy and now you really are talking business. I adore pumpkin pie so this vegan and gluten free version is my new favourite recipe.
- 350 g pureed pumpkin
- 300 g block of silken tofu
- 115 g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp psyllium powder you can use xanthan gum
- 200 g plain flour
- 50 g margarine
- 50 g lard/trex
- 50 g caster sugar
- 1 egg or flaxseed alternative
- Measure the flour and both fats into a bowl, using a pastry handle or your fingertips rub the fat into the flour until you get breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the sugar.
- Add your egg or flaxseed egg (1tbsp flaxseed with 100ml cold water)
- Begin to bring the pastry crumbs together with a wooden spoon and then tip onto a kitchen surface.
- You’ll need to knead the dough for a while to bring it together but have faith it will come together and it’s so worth it.
- Wrap and cool in the fridge for at least 30mins before use.
- I roasted my pumpkin on this occasion but there are several ways to make pumpkin puree [see notes below]
- In a blender add your pumpkin puree, tofo and remaining ingredients, whizz until blended and no tofu lumps remain.
- That’s it!
- Set to one side and remove your pastry from the fridge and roll out to fit an 8 inch pie or flan dish.
- Once your pastry case is ready you can pour the pumpkin batter into the case.
- Pop into the oven and bake for 45 mins at 200°C/180°C for a fan oven.
- To allow the pie to set properly and to achieve the ‘custard texture’ I advise popping into the fridge, once cool, for at least 1 hour before eating.
I will always use Free From Fairy’s shortcrust pastry recipe in my pastry bakes. I’ve not found another quite as dependable as this, both gluten free and vegan versions
Roast pumpkin; cut pumpkin into ¼ and de-seed, place in a roasting tray and cover with foil, bake at 200°C for at least 60 mins (depending on size of pumpkin). Remove and cool, once cooled scoop out the cooked soft flesh and use of freeze for later.
Boiled pumpkin; peel and cut pumpkin removing all seeds. Chop and add to a big pan of water, boil until tender. Drain pumpkin and leave over the sink to ensure all excess liquids run away. Pop into a blender and puree, as above use or freeze.
Steamed pumpkin; as above really but you steam it!
Microwaved pumpkin; Not tried this but I have it on good authority that you can peel and cut the pumpkin and microwave in a glass bowl with a drop of water.
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