If I counted the number of times I’ve made this recipe for “testing” purposes, you may start to wonder. Was it really that hard to successfully substitute maple syrup for the sugar and make a couple of other adjustments? Or did I just want an excuse to have a slice of pumpkin pie as an afternoon snack with a cup of hot tea…every day for about four weeks?
All bad habits aside, the flavor of maple syrup pairs beautifully with pumpkin and sweetens this dessert naturally. Coconut milk stands in for the cream, yet this pie doesn’t taste tropical. An assortment of warm spices lends the traditional flavor, and chances are you have them all on hand. Your favorite crust recipe may be used, although I’ve been known to cut corners and use the boxed variety. (My grandmother would consider this a transgression, but I still think she’d like the pie!)
As an option to the traditional rolled pie crust, be it store-bought or homemade, I sometimes make an almond- or hazelnut-based crust that can be pressed into the pie plate. These nuts have a natural affinity for pumpkin and create a somewhat cookie-like crust–gluten-free, too. (You can find the recipe for Almond Pie Crust here.)
As someone with a sizable sweet tooth–and who has unwittingly sold her family on the concept that dessert is an obligatory course–I have ways of justifying my sweet cravings. (Ice cream, for example, offers calcium!) I’m not going to call this particular pie a health food, but a quick peek at the ingredient list is pretty impressive. As a result, I feel better about putting this fall favorite on our regular dessert rotation.
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (or the equivalent amount of homemade pumpkin puree)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk (I use regular, not light in this recipe; may substitute cream)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (grade B or dark amber offers great flavor)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (may substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)
- 1 prepared crust
- Optional: whipped cream for serving
In blender or food processor (a stand mixer or hand-held beater works well, too), combine all of the ingredients (except the crust, of course!). Stir just enough to incorporate the spices, and then blend or process until the ingredients are thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Stir by hand a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Pour the filling into the crust that has been pre-baked according to the recipe directions. (I often use the above-linked *almond crust recipe,* pre-baking it for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. To keep the edges of a crust with nut flour from becoming too dark, I recommend a foil “crust protector.” See notes.)
Bake the pie at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until the center is set but still the slightest bit jiggly. (Precise time will depend on the oven and the type of puree used. Some purees are thicker than others, and less moisture will tend to result in a shorter cooking time.) Let cool completely, and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours to fully set. Serve cold or at room temperature, with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
I think this pie tastes even better the second day. Wrapped well and refrigerated, the pie will keep for one week.
- To fashion your own crust protector, simply fold a 12-inch square of foil into quarters. Cut a 7-inch hole out of the center. Unfold and loosely mold the foil over the edges of the pie. If the foil is too close to the filling, trim so that it will not touch. Many crust recipes will be fine without a cover. Crusts that include nut flours tend to brown more quickly than standard all-purpose flour crusts.
- All of the pie filling should fit into a standard 9-inch pie plate. If you cannot fit the entire filling into your plate, simply transfer the remaining amount to a small, lightly greased ramekin and bake until just set in the middle. This could take 20-30 minutes depending on the depth of the ramekin.
For a gluten-free option to the traditional rolled crust, this Almond Flour Crust is pressed into the pie plate. With this crust, a “pie protector” is essential (see the easy how-to in the recipe notes), as nut flours are more likely to burn with extended cooking times.
Loaded with protein and beta-carotene, this is a surprisingly healthy dessert that is incredibly easy to whip up. It’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup, which complements the pumpkin flavor beautifully. This particular photo shows a hazelnut crust. For a crustless version, the filling may be poured into individual ramekins and baked.