So vegans, yeah....whenever you post a vegan recipe, there's that little vegan-y minority of the population that does a little vegan dance (not the funky chicken--that's against the rules). And then there's the rest of the population that snorts milk out of their noses and rolls their eyes and just wishes I would post yet another chocolate chip cookie recipe so that they could eat it while watching dancing with the stars. (Nope--no stereotyping here, people.)
I am, in case you haven't noticed from this blog, NOT a vegan. I do, in all honesty, like vegetables quite a lot, but I like butter too. And chocolate.
This recipe caught my eye not for its vegan-y-ness, but because of the 4-ingredient list. Seriously. Four ingredients for one of my favorite desserts. And because of these four ingredients (raw cashews, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup) only one of them was naughty (maple syrup). This meant I could eat this for breakfast, right? Well...I haven't yet, though I wouldn't feel too horribly guilty if I did (though there really is quite a bit of maple syrup in there, although it's probably better than the sugar levels in Yoplait yogurt).
I've had this recipe pinned for over a year now. I just didn't get to it last year before I got pumpkined out. And the thing is--it's kind of weird sounding. I mean, you take these raw cashews and then you soak them overnight. And then you puree everything in the blender and then you bake it. Weird, right? I just kept thinking to myself--how could that possibly taste like pumpkin pie--you know, real pumpkin pie--the kind that we non-vegans know.
But this year on Halloween I finally got to it. Why? Because (confession) I don't really love candy and I wanted something sweet to eat on Halloween night (okay, now I'm even starting to talk like a vegan--a weird one).
I soaked my cashews and blended it up. I was worried it'd taste weird. I was worried it'd taste all maple-syrup-y (I like maple syrup, but I don't like it when sweets that aren't supposed to taste maple-y taste maple-y--whew, now I'm sounding like a non-vegan again). In fact, I halved the recipe and made it in ramekins because I was worried I'd hate it.
And then I tasted it nice and raw. (One great thing about vegan recipes is that you can do that without worrying about salmonella.) And--oh man--I could have just eaten it straight out of that blender. It was delicious. Absolutely delicious. If I'd wanted to (and I might...) I could have added some milk and made myself a killer pumpkin smoothie. But I didn't. I faithfully cooked it--the batter was much thicker than a normal batter and didn't bake like a custardy pumpkin pie would have. The vegan pie just kind of got darker and firmer. Also, my instant read thermometer broke (the horror) so I had to figure out when to take the dern things out. I let it cool. And tasted it. And I'll be darned if the whole thing didn't taste like pumpkin pie. It didn't even taste like healthy pie. I couldn't taste nut. I couldn't taste maple. I could just taste pumpkin pie. Now, it was a little different than my staple pie, but no more different than when you go to somebody else's house and try their recipe for pumpkin pie. It was delicious. And kind of sort of, comparatively nutritious.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie that Non-Vegans Will Love
adapted from Healthy Happy Life
prep time: 7 minute (plus, um, 8-18 hours of cashew soaking)
cook time: 1 hour (plus, um, 3 hours cooling time)
Cost: $6.00 ($1/slice--not bad baby)
pumpkin: 1.00, maple syrup: 2.00, cashews: (I bought mine forever ago and froze them and can't remember--I'm going to guess 3.00 and will check next time I go to the natural foods store)
1 C RAW cashews (which should be about 1 1/4 C after it's soaked)
16 oz (or 1 small can--it's okay if it's 15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 C maple syrup (told you it was a lot: I actually used about 3/4 C and mine was still good)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
salt to taste, optional
Note on maple syrup: This isn't the corn syrup stuff you buy for a buck. It's got to be the real stuff. I'm sorry, but this is so. To cheapen this pie, you could try subbing sugar for the syrup, but I'm not sure what would happen. Let me know if you give it a go.
Note: I made mine crust-less. I just wanted a little pumpkin-y treat, not a full on pie. If you want full-on pie, make a vegan or regular crust and par-bake it for 15 minutes before adding the pumpkin filling.
Soak your cashews. This was new to me. In fact, raw cashews were new to me period and I tasted them and realized they're one of the best things I've ever eaten, but I resisted the urge to just eat them all and I soaked them. You'll soak 1 C cashews in enough water to cover with a bit of salt. Do this for 8-18 hours--just leave it on the counter. When you're ready to make your pie, DRAIN THE CASHEWS. They should be tender.
Put cashews, pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice in blender or food processor and blend away. This is going to take a few minutes. You want your mixture nice and creamy, not lumpy bumpy nutty. If you have a really nice blender you'll probably get yours to a velvety smooth stage. I confess that I got mine fairly smooth, but never perfectly smooth, and I worried about that, but all was still right with my pie. When it's smooth taste it and add a bit of salt if you wish. I added 1/4 tsp.
Put this mixture in a greased pie pan (with or without a par-baked crust--see note) and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350 and continue baking for another 30-40 minutes or until the pie has darkened and firmed up. A toothpick inserted will come out a bit wet, but the batter should have darkened up and the edges should be firm. It will continue to firm and set as it cools.
Let it cool for at least 3 hours. It's just better.