Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Pie for Sarah :)

So this year I am experimenting with a different kind of pumpkin pie.  Clearly you already know that if you read the blog title.  And actually it's custard not pie.

Custard typically has both milk and eggs.  We don't keep either of those in the house for allergy and health reasons.  But oh how I love me some pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin anything really, will do.

When I started to throw together my custard this morning for tomorrow's Thanksgiving meal, I suddenly got struck with the hair-brained idea of using coconut milk instead of my typical almond milk.  I thought perhaps it would make the pie a bit richer since there is a marked difference between almond milk and sweetened condensed death...er...milk in taste, texture, thickness and richness.  While I am fine with plain almond milk I thought that experimenting with the slightly richer milk option was a good idea.  Enter 1 cup of reduced fat coconut milk.  Not the full fat, although I'm sure you could do that and it would be AMAZING.  I just didn't feel like adding THAT many extra calories.

I also had been tossing around the idea of adding some cashews to my custard to help thicken it up and add some richness.  I googled both these combinations and found I wasn't totally off the wall in my scheming, but the recipes were very different from what I was thinking for reasons involving dairy and a non-bake, fridge option.

So I started dumping and came out with something pretty tasty.  I won't say it's amazing, cause I don't think it is yet.  I'd have to do more experimenting.  But is it tasty?  Oh yea.  Very good.  A little bit coconutty and pumpkiny.  Very yummy.

And while I wouldn't necessarily post a recipe I wasn't fully done with, a friend asked for the recipe for her little girls for Thanksgiving who I believe have some dairy intolerances, so I'm sharing early.  So if you are looking to change up your typical punkin pie/custard this year, you might give this a whirl and give me some feedback. :)

The picture is nothing fab since it was taken amidst lots of kitchen chaos.  Then again I don't ever pretend to have fabulous pictures since I am not a photographer and haven't spent any time increasing my knowledge in that area.  Lame me.  But really, how fabulous can custard look?

Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Custard

1 15oz can pumpkin
1 cup lower fat coconut milk*
1/2 cup almond milk (needed it to balance out the cashews and get it to blend)*
1/4c cashews**
1/4c cornstarch***
1 3/4 pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp molasses
1/2c agave  (I could have been happy with 4-6 Tbsp, but since this was for others too, I went with 1/2c)
1 tsp vanilla

Everything gets combined in a blender, poured into a lightly greased pie plate (or pie crust), and baked at 350 for 45-1 hour.  Simple as that.  Now for notes.

*If you are hesitant about the coconut flavor and want to start out with half of the coconut milk and start tasting, do so.  Don't add the cornstarch until you are satisfied with your coconut/almond milk ratio.
**Cashews were added for richness and can be left out if you have allergies.  If you omit them, start out using only 1 cup of milk and add the rest only if you need it to blend.  The extra almond milk was really just to balance out the thickness from the cashews.  ALSO, if you are not sure your blender will blend them sufficiently, either try adding them first with the milk and half the pumpkin to see if they will thoroughly blend, OR try adding cashew butter instead of cashew pieces.
***The cornstarch helps it set since it doesn't have eggs.

If you feel like playing up the coconut a bit more, I'd try adding some unsweetened shredded coconut to your custard or sprinkling some on top towards the end of baking for some toasted coconut topping.  If you feel like ignoring the coconut milk, just use all almond milk instead. :)

So, here is a recipe in the rough.  If you are brave enough to try it at this point, tell me what you think!! :-)

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