Last year, a friend told me that the best way to make a pumpkin pie was by using butternut squash. It’s supposed to have a smoother texture, not grainy like some pumpkins can be, and it’s a little bit sweeter, to boot.
For the second year in a row, I’ve made a vegan pumpkin pie using butternut squash, and I love the results. Coconut milk works perfectly to make it creamy, and the pie crust recipe couldn’t be easier.
I’ve been using a recipe from Compassionate Eating and follow it just about to the letter. Recently, a commenter told me the site no longer links to the recipe, so here it is in full, with my modifications and tips below (updated 9.8.15):
- You’re going to halve what you use for the Apple Pie recipe – cinnamon optional.
- 2 1/2 cups cooked pureed butternut squash
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg; or substitute all 4 for about 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 cup cane sugar
- 8 oz coconut milk
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
First tip: I always go a little easy on the sugar depending on how sweet the butternut squash comes out. Think of ¾ cup as a guideline.
Start by getting your pie crust and butternut squash ready. My favorite way to cook the butternut squash is to put it in the oven. It’s really easy and you can have it going while you’re getting everything else ready. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place face down on a sprayed jelly roll pan or some kind of cookie sheet with a lip and add a cup of water to it before placing in the oven. Depending on the size of the squash, cook time could take up to an hour but check after 45 minutes. The skin will be a little brown and start to be peeling away from the squash and it should be easy to pierce the squash with a fork.
Use my Apple Pie recipe for the pie crust but make a half portion – so only use 1 cup of flour, 1/4 tsp salt, etc. The key to a great pie crust is cold butter in small chunks. Cut the butter into the flour and salt. Add the water last. I have more detailed instructions on my Apple Pie recipe post. Remember, you need to let the dough chill in the fridge but you’re also waiting on your butternut squash to come out of the oven, so it should time out well. This pie crust recipe is easy and far and away my favorite one. If you’re using Earth Balance Buttery Sticks with salt, skip the salt in the crust recipe.
Once the butternut squash is roasted, puree chunks of it in a food processor. Hopefully you have about 2 1/2 cups from your butternut squash. Every time I do this recipe, I get a fairly average-sized squash from the store and it ends up being plenty. Add the separate spices (or pumpkin pie spice), salt, oil, sugar, and coconut milk to the butternut squash all in one big bowl. Mix around until well combined.
Another tip – When using coconut milk, buy one of the cans of the original stuff (high fat = perfect creaminess) and use all of the solid part of it and only a small amount of liquid. You don’t want the pie filling to be too runny.
By this point, the dough should have chilled for at least an hour. Take it out and roll it. The best advice I have for you when rolling out pie dough is not to go too overboard with flour. I have a tendency to worry that the dough will stick, but keep that out of your mind. Resist adding any more flour to it than the recipe entails, and the crust will come out perfectly. Take your rolled out dough and place it in a sprayed pie pan. Tuck any of the edges or cut a bit off if you need. You can use a fork or scallop the edges by pinching with your fingers. Whatever you want to do to make it look pretty.
Take your awesome filling and pour it into the crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 and cook for 45 for minutes. When the pie is done, put it in the fridge for at least a couple hours. This is definitely not the kind of recipe you want to make just before a big holiday dinner.