Figuring out how to make a pumpkin pie dairy-free is not hard, given the possibility of using soymilk or unsweetened coconut milk as a substitute for cream or half-and-half. Figuring out a compatible crust is harder. The piecrust that I made last Thanksgiving emulated a whole-wheat crust but was crumbly to the point where I felt it belonged on the beach. It tasted like that too. I was about to repeat the mistake this year when, in the midst of baking the apple pie that was to precede Mr. Pumpkin in the oven, E reminded me that I had had aspirations to make a gluten-free gingersnap crust. So she ran out to the only open grocery store and picked up a bag of gluten-free cookies. We tossed together the new crust and pre-baked it, not losing much oven time on a busy day. It wasn’t the prettiest of pies, but it was good, and a good start for future experiments. Next time, I will think ahead and make my own gingersnaps.
As for the pumpkin, I used a good quality organic canned pumpkin puree. The sugar pumpkin that I had on hand would have been watery despite roasting it to concentrate the flavors. The other alternative would have been to roast a cheese pumpkin or sweet potatoes, both of which have more body. That too will wait until next time. The cheese pumpkin on our counter is just too gorgeous to give up.
Gluten-free Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree (1 15 oz can)
½ cup brown sugar or ¾ cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
Fresh grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (not light)
3 large eggs
1 pre-baked gingersnap piecrust (see below)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir the sugar, spices and salt into the pumpkin puree. Stir the coconut milk thoroughly to eliminate any lumps and combine with the pumpkin. Slightly beat the eggs and add to the puree, until just combined. Pour into the pre-baked and cooled piecrust and bake for approximately 50 minutes. The edges should be set and the center somewhat jiggly. It will set up as it cools.
Gingersnap Pie Crust
8 oz gingersnaps, or about 30 small cookies, 2 cups when pulverized
2 tbsp white sugar
1/3 cup dairy-free shortening (I used Earth Balance)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulverize the gingersnaps in a food processor, to yield 2 cups. Add sugar and shortening and process until the mixture holds together and is clumpy. Pat the mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8-10 minutes until set but not overly brown. Set aside to cool before filling and baking.