My mother is an incredible self-taught cook. Mostly I think because she has no fear in the kitchen. She has made fondant, and then found reasons to make the cake. She has made numerous types of pasta, and is almost through the 50lb bad of semolina flour that has been sitting in the pantry for the past several months. A deciding factor when order at restaurants was always whether Mom could make it better at home. (Tiramisu, although probably one of my favorite desserts, was never ordered out.)
One dessert that she has mastered above everyone else's is pumpkin pie. Seriously, her pumpkin pie cannot be beaten. The recipe she uses is written on a 3x5 card that is probably older than me, and is so worn that the blue ink is starting to fade. Last year, I attempted my own vegan pumpkin pie, using silken tofu. I generally don't mind the taste of tofu, and sometimes like it. But it just did not work in this situation. Pumpkin + Tofu = strangely creamy unappealing flavor. And Mom's awesome not vegan pumpkin pie was sitting right next to it. Guess who cheated?...
So this year I tried veganizing her recipe. Some recipes you just need the cream and eggs for, but this one managed to survive without. When she gave her seal of approval, I knew it was good. So, if you're craving some pumpkin pie a little bit post-season, here you go.
Vegan Pecan Pumpkin Pie
makes 2 9" pies
2 9" pie shells, unbaked *I used Wholly Wholesome Organic Spelt Crusts
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tbls soft margarine *I used EarthBalance
Combine pecans, sugar, and margarine in a small bowl and mix. Press into bottom of pie shells and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Equivalent of 4 eggs *I would suggest Ener-G Egg Replacer, as opposed to flax or applesauce, because you want to get the right texture
2 tbls cornstarch
1 1/4 cup sugar (preferably organic)
1-2 tbls molasses
2 1/2 tbls flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups pumpkin
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk *I used So Delicious Coconut Milk, because this milk is being used in place of cream.
Heat milk in saucepan, do not boil. Combine ingredients in mixer and pour into pies. Bake at 350 degrees for 75-95 minutes or until center is set. Cool.
Notes: To prevent the crust from burning while cooking the entire pie, wrap foil around the edges. Also, it takes longer for the pie to settle because we're not using eggs. The center will not entirely set while it is in the oven, it will solidify a bit once you take it out.