Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Pie with Speculoos Crust

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This recipe is adapted from Hummingbird High. I didn’t use to be a pumpkin person, but that all changed after I found Hummingbird High’s blog! I love all her recipes and especially enjoy the Asian twists she puts in desserts like her overnight ube cinnamon rolls. I find that a lot of recipes are too vague and often result in desserts that are too sweet (especially true for western desserts), but her recipes have yet to fail me. Her pumpkin pie recipe was the first pumpkin pie I’ve ever made so it holds a special place in my heart. As I slowly began to phase out dairy, I became really interested in vegan baking (which is not only cruelty-free but also dairy-farts-free!) Naturally I thought it’d be a great chance to veganize this awesome pumpkin pie recipe!

One of the best things about this recipe is that it uses a cookie crust, instead of a typical dough crust. I think it’s a great contrast to the custardy filling and it’s honestly so much easier to make than dough crusts. There’s not much I changed from her recipe, except that I added more spices to it. If you like pumpkin pies that are on the spicier side, you’ll love this recipe. Otherwise, I recommend halving the spices.

If you’ve seen Hummingbird High’s pie, then you’ve probably seen the gorgeous marbling she did with Crème Fraiche. I tried to replicate it with vegan cream cheese, but it didn’t work out so well. It’s purely decorative though, so I left it out of this recipe version. I think at my next attempt, I’ll dilute the cream cheese a bit with some almond milk so it’s less clumpy! I’ll update this recipe if I do. If you try it out, let me know what happens 😊 I decorated the pie with coconut whipped cream to make up for the less than appealing marbling (hah!).

This recipe makes a 9-inch pie. You should use a pie tin with a removable base. I bought the Speculoos cookies from Trader Joe’s (they’re SO good… and vegan!). It was about 1 1/3 boxes of TJ’s speculoos cookies for the crust. I found the coconut condensed milk at Mom’s Organic Market but it’s pretty simple to make at home if your grocery store doesn’t have it! I also made the pumpkin puree from scratch (baked a pumpkin, blended it, strained it) but you can replace it with canned puree.

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Ingredients:

Speculoos Cookie Crust:

  • 10 ounces speculoos cookies
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup vegan butter, melted and cooled

Pumpkin Custard Filling:

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (or 1 can ~15 oz of pumpkin puree)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract­
  • 1 ¾ cup (14 ounces) coconut condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or other plant-based alternatives)

Steps:

Speculoos Crust:

  1. Center rack in the oven and preheat to 350F
  2. Using a food processor, ground speculoos cookies, dark brown sugar, and salt until course and combined. (Alternatively, use a rolling pin and a zip loc bag to ground the cookies until course)
  3. Stream in melted butter in the processor and pulse until evenly combined and crumbs are slightly clumpy.
  4. Transfer the crumbs to your 9-inch pie pan and press them tightly and evenly to the bottom and sides of the pan using your fingers. The crust should be ¼ inch thick
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the filling.

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Pumpkin Custard Filling:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, and all spices. Cook for 5 minutes using a heatproof rubber spatula to scrape puree from the pot frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. It will sputter around 2-3 minutes in and become glossy around 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine your cornstarch with almond milk to make a thick paste.
  3. Remove the pot from heat, stream in the coconut condensed milk while stirring the mixture. Once combined, stream in your cornstarch paste in the mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into your pre-baked speculoos crust.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes in the oven or until edges have set. If you tap the sides of the pie, you should see that the center still wobbles but that the edges are still. Don’t overcook because the filling will continue to cook as it cools out of the oven.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Serve and decorate with coconut whipped cream.

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