Thanksgiving Vegan Pecan Pie

Pie SliceSo I’ve never made a Pecan Pie before. The last time I actually ATE Pecan Pie was in 1993. I know that sounds insane, but it is true. It was my birthday and my flatmate was a pastry chef and she made me one. It was HEAVENLY.  But, stupidly, I asked her what was in it. She listed off the butter, the sugar, the eggs, the nuts. A million calories and I was sworn off the pie forever. Until now.
I’ve only been fully Vegan for a few weeks so I wanted to have a 100% Vegan Thanksgiving. I made yummy lentil and tofu nut-loaf, roasted sweet potato and roasted brussel sprouts. It was delicious. For dessert I went for it and tried to veganise and healthify the most decadent of desserts. The Pecan pie.

First port of call was the pastry.  No store bought pastry for me thank you.  I used vegan butter, almond flour, crushed pecans, chia seeds for binding and a bit of xylitol.  So far, so good.

Then it was time for the filling.  I adapted  THIS recipe from Jessica of Desserts With Benefits.  I like Jessica because she has a degree in Nutrition (like me) and she makes yummy things that are generally better versions of sweets we love.

Anyway, her pie was chock full of eggs and Sucanat (which is basically sugar) so that had to go!  I swapped the eggs out for Aquafaba, swapped the sugar for Xylitol and halved the amount of Maple Syrup.  Believe it or not, it still turned out really really really sweet.  There has to be a way to make Pecan Pie that is not so sweet.  I’ll work on it.

Pie whole

Pastry:

100gm Almond Flour
100gm All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
150gm Vegan Butter of choice
90gm Xylitol (blended to powder)
2 Chia Eggs (2 Tbs Chia Seeds mixed in water)
60 gm ground Pecans
Pinch Salt

Put everything in your mixer using the dough hook and knead till it comes together. If you don’t have a mixer, just use your hands.
Roll out onto a clean bench using a small amount of flour so it doesn’t stick.
Grease a large 10″ pie dish (I used Pyrex) and line with parchment on the base.
Press the pastry into the pie tin and prick with a fork.  Bake at 180˚C for 10-20 min or until semi cooked but not too crisp as you are going to bake it twice.  Let cool.

Filling:

3/4 cup Aquafaba (This is the water from cans of Chick peas/Garbanzo Beans that has been reduced).
150ml Maple Syrup (use Sugar Free if you can get it but beware, some sugar free syrups can give you a tummy ache ).
60gm Coconut Sugar
60gm Xylitol
1 cup Chopped Pecans
1/2 cup Whole Pecans (for the top)
Pinch Salt
2Tbs Coconut Oil
1Tbs Brown Rice Flour
1tsp Liquid Vanilla
1 Tbs Molasses

Whisk the Aquafaba for 5-10 min in the stand mixer till it gets fluffy. You can use a hand mixer but it will take longer.  DO NOT use a blender, it will not whip.
Add all other ingredients except for the nuts and mix well (you will lose some of your fluffiness but don’t stress).
Fold in the chopped pecans.  Pour into pie crust and top with the whole pecans.
Bake at 180˚C for  45-60 min.  If your crust is higher than your filling, cover the edge with a little foil to stop it from burning.
Let cool and serve with yummy Cashew Cream.

Cashew Cream:

3/4 cup Raw Cashews
3/4 cup almond milk (or other dairy free milk)
1/4 Tsp Agar Agar
1tbs Powdered Xylitol Or less to taste.
Pinch Salt
1tsp Vanilla
In a saucepan, whisk the Agar powder with the Almond Milk over heat for 5 minutes.
Place everything in a high speed blender and blend till thick and creamy.
Refrigerate for 2 hours till cold.
This will make a very stiff cream. If you want it softer, just add some more almond milk when you want to use it and soften it up a bit.

This pie was SO DELICIOUS!!! But SO NAUGHTY. Even though I tried to make it as ‘healthy’ as possible, it still has a lot of fat, a lot of sugar and a lot of calories. But I figure, for a “once in 22 years” treat, it was well worth it.

I hope you enjoy it. Please post comments below. I’d love to see how yours turns out.

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