As with most years, the holiday season always seems to sneak up on me. We get so busy with day to day tasks, that I always seem to have unaccomplished projects or loose ends to tie up when the new year finally comes around. This year however, instead of rushing through, I want to make the most of every moment. There will never be enough time to do everything or see everyone, so the only thing I can do is be present in all the activities I do find time for. I have so much to be thankful for in my life, that when I sit down to think about it I become overwhelmed with happy thoughts and a very full feeling. Taking it all in, one day at a time, will remind me of all the positive things in my life and to celebrate each of them.
Pumpkin pie was always my favorite dessert on Thanksgiving and still is. Then I realized I don’t even have a recipe for pumpkin pie on my blog yet. I think the reason for this was because I’ve been waiting until inspiration struck. There are already so many great version of pumpkin pie out there, I wanted something different to share. So even though I posted about a pumpkin hazelnut bread recently, I just couldn’t help myself to combine the two together again.
This pie however, is something amazing! And will probably end up being made every year. The best part (besides how tasty it is), it’s vegan, gluten free, and low in sugar. I know how hard it can be to accommodate everyone at the table, so this might be a good option if you’re looking to make only one or two desserts for the table this year, but still have dietary restrictions to maintain. The filling is smooth and creamy and full of pumpkin flavor with slight hints of cinnamon and spice. For those of you who fear pie dough, this is a pat in the pan style crust, which means no rolling or chilling! It’s super easy and stays together nicely.
Pumpkin Pie with Hazelnut Crust / makes one 9-inch pie
The most important part in making this pie is to allow it to cool completely before cutting into it. The filling needs time to rest to hold its shape. You can make it the night before and you’ll already be on top of your Thanksgiving game, just add any garnish right before serving. Also, using fresh spices and grinding them yourself will lead to a better spice flavor. At the very least, make sure the spices you use are fresh and haven’t been sitting on your shelf since last year.
1 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
pinch of salt
2 cups pumpkin puree
2/3 cup pure maple syrup or brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350F.
For the crust
Place the 1 3/4 cups hazelnuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times, then grind the nuts up to a coarse meal. Should take about 3-4 minutes. You don’t want to blend too far or you’ll end up with hazelnut butter.
Place the hazelnut meal into a medium bowl, add to it the almond flour, coconut butter, and a pinch of salt, blend until everything is well incorporated.
Dump the nut mixture out into a 9-inch pie pan and start pressing, from the center out, with your fingers, until you have an even crust all the way around, set aside.
For the filling
In a large bowl combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, and spices. Stir in the coconut milk until no white streaks are left behind. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie crust.
Bake the pie in the center of the oven for about 1 hour (check after 50 minutes) or until the sides are completely set and the center jiggles only slightly when shaken lightly. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting into. Pie can be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator. Right before serving coarsely chop the remaining hazelnuts and use for garnish. You can also top with whipped cream or creme fraiche, unless of coarse you’re vegan.