In previous decades, the holidays were a time of gluttony. Serious baking episodes with my grandmother and great-grandmother that started on Thanksgiving weekend and didn’t stop until the week before Christmas. Though I helped make the cookies, I was the queen of quality control which required lots of taste testing. Even in my 20’s and 30’s, there was little thought to the amount of sugar, butter and cream used for these holiday recipes combined with mindless consumption and imbibing. Today, the opposite is true.
As I continue to evolve into my fifth decade, health and feeling great are my top priorities. Glutton is out the window and I have zero desire to feel stuffed. Instead, I focus on ways I can replace dairy with non-dairy in a dessert, use maple syrup instead of cane sugar and avoid gluten at all cost.
Holiday Sweets that are Good + Good for You
For Thanksgiving, I experimented with a traditional pumpkin pie. Since 2009, pumpkin chiffon pie is my choice for a lighter version of the season’s beloved pie, but I decided to stretch myself and see if I could fall in love with the real deal. I admit to being a bit shy with this exercise, but I put my faith in this paleo pumpkin pie recipe from Elana’s Pantry gluten-free blog.
I’ve been trusting Elana for nearly 15 years and she has yet to let me down. Luckily, this recipe is so on point, so utterly simple and so damn delicious, this blog post represents the third time I have made this pie. Yes, I made two pumpkin pies over the holidays because we needed more. Thankfully, I feel no guilt for what would typically be a guilty pleasure–dense and heavy pumpkin pie. This version is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and has minimal sweetener to keep it good + good for you and something you can enjoy whenever you want.
After roasting a sugar pie pumpkin, you will have three to four cups of pumpkin puree, which could be more than what you’ll need for two pies, yes, two pies–you can thank me later. The crust is made with almond flour, so its also paleo, and the pie filling uses coconut milk, eggs and maple syrup and comes together in a food processor, as does the crust.
You’ll barely dirty any dishes making this pie and your guests will thank you gratuitously. And isn’t that what the holidays are about? My love language is food and this pie is as good a gift as I can give this year. And receive.
From my kitchen to yours, Merry Everything!
Gluten-Free and Paleo Pumpkin Pie
This pie comes together swiftly and seamlessly and involves zero guilt. The crust is made with almond flour, so it's paleo, and the pie filling calls for coconut milk, eggs and maple syrup for sweetener. Make it once and I bet you'll be making this pie a lot more frequently. It's simple, sensational and so good.
For the pie
- 1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin puree
- 3 large farm-fresh, free-range eggs
- 1/2 cup full-fat organic coconut milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 paleo pie crust unbaked
For the crust
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter Earth Balance or Miyoko's
- 1 large farm-fresh, free-range egg
To make the crust
To a food processor, add the almond flour and salt and pulse a few times to combine.
Add the egg and butter and pulse until it forms a ball--or begins to form a ball.
You may need to scrape the mixture off the sides of the bowl to completely form a ball.
Press the crust into a 9" glass pie pan. If you want to dress up the edges, press the fork tines along the edge.
To make the pie
In the food processor, combine pumpkin puree and eggs.
Add the coconut milk, maple syrup, pumpkin spice and salt.
Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is cooked and the crust is golden.
Allow the pie to cool and then refrigerate for two hours to chill.
Slice, serve and refrigerate any leftovers.