We’ve all been there: the moment where your illustrious cooking plans during the holidays turn into an exasperating game of oven Tetris. Which is likely when you, hands full with all the largest, heaviest kitchenware you own, begin the negotiations. Maybe the stuffing can come out early? What if the potatoes and the roasted vegetables were squished into the same pan? Does the whole meal really need to be served warm, and at the same time, anyway? …Is it too late to just order pizza instead?
That’s why incorporating a recipe (or a few) that doesn’t need a space in the oven can really save the day when making a multi-course meal. And we like to think dessert is a particularly great dish become one of these heroes. Even if you’re accustomed to baking a day or two early before a celebratory dinner, it’s still incredibly helpful to have a couple favorite recipes at your disposal that look/taste great but don’t take all day to make! Case in point: our beautiful No-Bake Pumpkin Pie.
While you will need to make (or simply just buy) a blind-baked pie crust for this recipe—and we have an excellent video on how to make a super wholesome vegan pie crust in case you’re in need—the all-important filling for this beloved dessert couldn’t be simpler: It sets up in the refrigerator … not the oven! And while it tastes just like the exquisitely traditional pumpkin pie you’re craving, you’ll find that the superfood secrets behind the scenes work wonders to make this version better than ever.
To begin, we like to use … seaweed. Yes, you read that right! Our best-kept secret for a great pumpkin pie is agar agar—a totally taste-free seaweed—which helps firm up the filling while adding almost zero additional calories or fat. We also replace the white sugar with a mixture of natural maple syrup and coconut sugar or monkfruit, and lean on cholesterol-free coconut milk in place of heavy cream or sweetened condensed milk. And, in addition to using the classic warming spices like cinnamon and ginger, we like to add some highly nutritious maca root to our pumpkin pie, which adds a slightly earthy butterscotch note to the medley. (You can also omit maca from this recipe for a more traditionally flavored pumpkin pie, too.) Indeed: a homemade pumpkin pie with the perfect texture, beautifully spiced, smartly sweetened, superfood-improved and (secretly!) prepped in mere minutes … how’s that for a little culinary magic at your holiday table?
WATCH HOW WE MAKE OUR NO-BAKE PUMPKIN PIE:
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NO-BAKE PUMPKIN PIE PREP TIPS:
This may be the easiest pie filling you’ve ever made, but it does use some unique techniques you’ll want to review ahead of time.
Don’t stress about the pumpkin. Yes, freshly roasting a sugar pumpkin for this recipe (baked at 400° F for 45-60 minutes until soft) will offer slightly more flavorful results, but the truth is a canned pumpkin puree will work just fine here too. Most people can barely tell the difference, so use your form of preference.
Reduce the sugar. If you’d like to cut the down on the natural sugars in this recipe, we love using the sugar-free 1:1 monkfruit sugar substitute in place of the coconut sugar. We do not recommend replacing the maple syrup with a sugar-free substitute as it will impair the flavor.
Work quickly with agar agar. Agar agar may offer little in the taste department (it’s flavorless), but it sets up FAST. Be sure to work quickly in step 3—especially when pouring the blended filling into the pie crust and smoothing out with a silicone spatula and toothpick—as the mixture will begin to set very quickly.
Pick n’ prep your pie crust. Since the filling sets in the refrigerator, this recipe calls for a blind-baked (aka pre-baked) pie crust. For maximum healthy benefits—and a little pastry-making satisfaction—we love using our own Perfect Vegan Pie Crust recipe. Short on time? Purchase a pre-made pie crust at the store and pop it in the oven ahead of time at your leisure, instead.
MORE HOLIDAY TREATS:
No-Bake Pumpkin Pie
Natural ingredients and generous spices serve as the base of this holiday classic.
Prep Time: 15 mins | Chill Time: 2 hrs | Total Time: 2 hrs 15mins Servings: 8 (1 pie) Author: Julie Morris
4 tablespoons agar agar flakes*
2/3 cup water
2 cups pureed cooked pumpkin (or 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree) 1 can coconut milk 1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut sugar or 1:1 monkfruit sugar substitute
2 teaspoons maca powder 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 1½ teaspoons ground ginger ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole fully blind-baked 9-inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought), cooled or at room temperature
Dairy-free whipped cream, for serving (optional)
1. In a small pot, mix together the agar agar flakes with the ½ cup of water, and let soak for a minimum of 10 minutes.
2. While the agar is soaking, prepare the remainder of the filling. To a blender, add the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, maple syrup, maca powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and vanilla. Blend until fully combined.
3. Bring the water and the soaked agar to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5-6 minutes, until agar has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and, working quickly, pour the agar into the blender with the pumpkin mixture, using a silicone spatula to transfer all of the agar liquid. Immediately begin blending, and process until completely combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust, and use a toothpick to pop any bubbles and even-out the top surface.
4. Refrigerate the pie for a minimum of or 2 hours to allow the filling to cool and set.
5. To serve, cut into slices and top with whipped cream, if desired. Refrigerated, Pumpkin-Maca Pie will last for up to 5 days.
*Be sure to use agar flakes, and not agar powder for this recipe. Powder is much more potent and will change the consistency!