For some crazy reason, I didn’t think I was busy enough this holiday season and so I decided to make two pies for my small family Thanksgiving get together. There are four of us and two pies. It’s a bit indulgent, but hey, why the heck not? Like I said, I like pie and I like custard type pies especially. So, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be an experience to remember without a proper pumpkin pie, right? Right.
Here’s a recipe I came up with for two reasons. First, after making the pumpkin cheesecake with the gingersnap oreo cookie crust, I couldn’t wait to try a full-on gingersnap crust. It only seemed fitting to hold the crust together with delicious dried fruit like you would a raw crust, and dried apricots caught my eye so, dried apricots it was! The second reason for constructing this pie was an attempt to make a vegan pumpkin pie that was creamy, but didn’t involve using silken tofu (or any soy for that matter) in the place of heavy cream. One of my family members is sensitive to soy and since we celebrate our holidays vegan, I wanted to make sure that I had a traditional pie option that would please everyone. Naturally, I sought solice in cashew cream and as per usual, cashew cream saved the day!
What came of this creation was an incredibly creamy, rich pumpkin pie with a crust that you won’t be able to stop yourself from eating. I’m really pleased with how “rustic” and homemade in appearance the pie came out as well since I’m not a fan of heavily manicured food (think: cupcakes). Some of the edges of the crust burned a little during baking because I “flash baked” the pie for a few minutes at first. I’ve removed that step to (hopefully) prevent that from happening again, but even if it does, the pie is still delicious and it actually adds a nice color contrast to the crust. The taste will hardly be affected.
I’m excited to present it to my family. I hope you will consider sharing this with yours as well!
Remember folks, imperialism and cultural imperialism (a.k.a how the first Thanksgiving came to be) is super awful, but in the spirit of forgiveness, peace, and justice for all creatures — have a happy vegan harvest!
(makes one 9 inch pie)
2 cups gingersnaps, crumbled (I used organic gingersnaps made by Mi-Del)
1 stick (1/2 cup) vegan butter, melted
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 and 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in about 2 cups of water overnight, and then drained
2 cups (1 can) pumpkin
1/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I used almond)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup organic/vegan light brown sugar
2 to 3 tsp spiced rum, optional (use Barnivore to find vegan brands)
1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp allspice
First soak the cashews in about 2 cups of water and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight. This will soften them and make the creamy base.
To make the crust, place the gingersnaps in a ziploc bag, seal it and mash them with the back of a pan. I like to use a meat tenderizer. You will have some big pieces, but that’s okay. In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbles, the apricots, and melted butter. Spoon this mixture into the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about 1 minute to crumble the cookies more finely and blend everything together. Pour the crust into a 9 inch pie pan and with your hands, press it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
When you’re ready to make the filling, drain the cashews and place them in the food processor. Blend them, on the highest speed, until a thick cream starts to form. If there are still small pieces of cashews, you can run the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove them. If you have a high speed blender, like a VitaMix, you can skip the sieving step. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender/food processor and blend for about 2 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and pour the filling into it. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. The pie will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out moist, but still warm. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then to complete cooling, refrigerate for another 2 hours.
On the day you’re going to serve it, remove the pie from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Serve with vegan whipped cream if you like!