Hello dear readers! Are you still out there? I apologize for my absence. I’ve really wanted to put some more focus back into this site, & it’s not for lack of inspiration, but rather lack of time that has kept me from posting over the past several months. While I love & am grateful for the new job I started in the spring, working full time again has been an adjustment. My hours are always changing, so with lack of consistency it has been hard to find balance. Now with the holidays upon us, I’m feeling overwhelmed. I am hoping to share some of my latest creations soon, but in the meantime I have a delicious recipe for “Baby No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pies” just in time for Thanksgiving! A little late to the game, but better late than never, right?
I wish I could say I dreamed up these delightful & festive treats, but I cannot lie…I did not! They were created by a dear & talented friend, Erlinde, who has a budding local dessert business on the horizon. Fortunately for me, She just so happens to live just a few blocks away, & when she sends out the message that her fridge & freezer are stocked with her delicious creations, I can beat the crowd & be there in mere seconds!
A few weeks ago, we collaborated on a fun little project. I snapped some photos & in return reaped sweet rewards – lots of scrumptious leftovers! Here is just a snippet of what she will have to offer when her business gets up & running…chocolate mousse, chocolate cake, mixed berry cheesecake, salty snickers pie, key lime mini pies, & the baby no-bake pumpkin pies I am sharing today!
All of these desserts are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free & absolutely out of this world. Every time we have a potluck or party we can count on Erlinde to deliver a beautiful & creative dessert creations. We’ve been bugging her forever for recipes, but she is the kind of genius lady who just creates on the fly, & doesn’t write things down. But now with the hopes of turning her passion for sweet treats into a business, she’s began to put pen to paper to document her most beloved recipes, & lucky for us, she’s willing to share!
What’s Thanksgiving without the classic & quintessential pumpkin pie? The traditional recipe calls for eggs, cream, white sugar, but none of those ingredients are very kind – for the planet, the animals, or the waistline. So why not trump tradition a little bit, & recreate a classic with all the flavor & comfort of our holiday favorite, but with ingredients that we can all feel good about? That is exactly what Erlinde has done here, & for all of you So-Cal bunnies, like us who often enjoy 80 degree days even in late fall, these don’t even require baking!
- 2 cups pitted dates (I use fancy/premium medjool)
- 3 cups raw nuts of choice (I mixed pecans & almonds)
- Optional: cacao powder if you want to turn it into a cacao crust, or a dash of pumpkin pie spice if you want to make it more pumpkin-y.
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 can pumpkin puree, preferably organic
- 4 Tbsp cornstarch, preferably organic
- Stevia or agave syrup to taste (don’t over-sweeten it)
- Pumpkin pie spice (I added about 2 Tbsp, which is a lot!)
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 can of full fat coconut cream, preferably organic (refrigerated overnight)
- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp of Stevia or powdered sugar (don’t use agave here, as it will weigh your cream down)
- If cacao is used in the crust, it’s nice to have cacao powder dusted on top as well. I dusted some extra pumpkin pie spice on top for an even stronger Thanksgiving feel!
- To Make the Crust: throw the nuts in a food processor or blender, until they form a chunky flour. It should not be too powdery, it’s definitely good to leave some texture. Remove from blender, & put in a bowl. Next, throw the dates in the machine. Blend them until they form a sticky paste, & then add to the bowl. Then add your pumpkin pie spice or cacao powder, plus a dash of salt, & start kneading it with your hands until everything is well combined into a sticky chunky dough.
- Cut narrow, but long strips of parchment paper, & place them on the bottom of small baking tins. Spread the dough on the bottom of baking tins (on top of the parchment strips) & press it hard to the bottom, so that it forms an even crust. Place in the freezer.
- To Make the Filling: put the cold milk in a pot. Whisk in the cornstarch until well combined. Add can of pumpkin puree & mix well. Bring this mixture slowly to a boil, stirring quasi nonstop (it can suddenly thicken fast, & then it burns). If it starts thickening, reduce the heat and keep stirring until it has the desired thickness. Add sweetener, salt, vanilla extract, & pumpkin spice. Stir well until well absorbed by the thick pumpkin-y mass.
- Take the baking tins out of the freezer, & pour the pumpkin filling the tin, on top of the little crusts. You can fill all the way to the top, or leave a space, that’s up to you.
- Put the baking tins back in the freezer & let them sit overnight. You can keep the baby pumpkin pies in the freezer for days or weeks (I have never tested it for weeks, cause they’re usually eaten after a few days).
- Before serving, take the pumpkin pies out of the freezer 5 minutes ahead of time. They should be easy to remove if you pull both sides of the parchment strip that peeps out from underneath each baby pie.
- For the Topping: mix the (refrigerated) coconut cream, plus the vanilla extract & stevia/powdered sugar, until it has strong whipped cream texture. Put the cream in a squeeze bag for cake decoration (or –if you don’t have one- use a little zip lock bag with a tiny hole cut on the tip). Squeeze a bit of coconut whipped cream onto each baby pumpkin pie. Optionally, dust some cacao powder or pumpkin spice on top of it. Bon Appetit!
Aren’t these just so darling? And super duper delicious to boot! Please let us know if you try them & tell us how they turned out. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on all the details of Erlinde’s dessert business as she reveals them. Believe me, if you’re local, you’ll want in!
So, with that my friends, I wish you a beautiful holiday filled with love, gratitude, compassion & grace.
“For each new morning
with its light,
For rest & shelter
of the night,
For health & food
for love & friends
Thy goodness sends.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happy Thanksgiving! xo