Party-Pleaser Pumpkin Pie (vegan with gluten-free filling)

IMGP1808a.jpg

A little party never killed nobody.  Thanks, Fergie, for reminding me… I almost forgot.

Sometimes, especially after a hectic week – or a series of hectic weeks – I realize I need to loosen up a bit.  Not everything in life must go according to plan, not everything I do must be “work.”  It is actually okay to watch a sitcom.  It is not a crime to have a glass of wine on a Tuesday night.  And, no I do not have to keep avoiding a good book because I feel guilty for not reading something more educational.  (Gracias, nerdy old college habits.)

Thankfully, we have weekends.  And even better, we have entire holidays dedicated to “loosening up” our white-knuckled grip on everyday issues and focusing on the important things in life.  One of them is coming up this week. 

We are NOT talking about Black Friday.  In case anyone was wondering.

IMGP1795a.jpg

Yes, Thanksgiving is almost here!  I can hardly contain my excitement.  A whole day dedicated to spending with those we care about and simply taking the time out of our insane lives to think about what we are grateful for.  There is even a parade.  And Santa is at the end.  Even more to be excited about.

IMGP1784a.jpg

Of course, part of Thanksgiving – remember, it’s just a part… not the whole reason for the holiday – is the food.  And oh, the food.  I must say though, I think may as well skip the turkey and head straight for the pie.  I am in love with pumpkin pie. 

IMGP1801a.jpg

This is the loosen-up-and-have-fun pumpkin pie, which means that this is a delicious pie you can enjoy with no belly ache (or overly guilty conscience!)  This vegan pie with a gluten-free filling – without tofu or tons of fat and sugar – certainly tastes as good as the original.  I kinda want to throw my hands in the air and do a little dance.

IMGP1793a.jpg

So - What are you extra thankful for this year?  

I’m always thankful for my great friends and family, but this year, I’m also thankful for the ability to feel safe where I live and for Arizona sunsets.  Thanksgiving is a good time to think about those things we tend to take for granted!

IMGP1807a.jpg

Party-Pleaser Pumpkin Pie

Crust:*

9 graham crackers

2 T. room temperature coconut oil

3-4 T. almond milk or water

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the graham crackers in a food process until only fine crumbs remain.  Add coconut oil and 3 T. almond milk.  Process to get a crumbly crust that sticks together when pressed between your fingers.  If it needs more moisture, add one more T. of liquid.

Press the crust into the bottom of a greased spring form or pie pan to make an even layer that extends about ¾” or so up the sides.

*For a great gluten-free alternative to a graham cracker crust, see this recipe!

Filling:

2 cups pumpkin puree*

1 cup regular or vanilla almond milk, unsweetened

¾ c. brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground allspice

About 1/16 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg (or ¼ tsp regular ground nutmeg)

3 T. cornstarch or arrowroot powder**

 

*If you decide to make your own pumpkin puree – which is great if you do! – be sure to drain some of the extra liquid out by scooping the puree into two layers of cheesecloth and hanging it like a bag over a bowl.  It should drain for up to an hour or so to get to the consistency of canned pumpkin.  Save the juice to use in another recipe!

**I tried this with tapioca flour, which worked wonders in my Lemon-Raspberry Cheesecake, but it resulted in a stickier consistency and a bit of a crust on top.  I have always gotten great results with cornstarch and arrowroot, though!

Combine all ingredients with a whisk and pour into the pie crust.  Spread the filling out evenly. 

Bake about 60 minutes, until only slightly jiggly and the center is no longer liquidy.