right than just sweeteners.” Maple and date sugars give pies a deep, caramelized flavor. Always taste test during preparation,

recommends Alissa Saenz, of Phoenix- ville, Pennsylvania, who blogs at She loves a big dose of chai spices and little dose of sweet- ener in her Vegan Chai-Spiced Sweet Po- tato Pie. But pie is personal. “I recommend tasting your batter to decide if you’d prefer

a little more or less of each,” she says.

Finishing Touches An ethereal cloud of coconut whipped

cream can taste just as delicious as the dairy version, says vegan baker and cookbook author Fran Costigan, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She refrigerates a 14-ounce can of unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk for at least 24 hours. Aſter opening it, she

spoons out only the solid coconut cream into a chilled bowl, saving the remaining liquid coconut milk for another use. She whips the coconut cream with an electric mixer until fluffy, adding a natural sweeten- er and vanilla extract if desired. It all makes for a perfectly healthy plant pie. Judith Fertig writes award-winning cook-

books plus foodie fiction from Overland Park, KS (


Yields: Filling for one nine-inch vegan pecan-date pie crust • 18 oz vegan or dairy-free chocolate chips

• 1 (14-oz) can unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk

• ½ cup almond or cashew butter

Place the chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl. Spoon the almond butter on top of the chocolate chips. Set aside.

Spoon the entire can of coconut milk into a saucepan. Over medium heat, stir and bring to a simmer until small bubbles form around the perimeter of the pan.

Vegan Pecan-Date Pie Crust

Te crust takes minutes to make and then press into a pie pan. Yields: One nine-inch pie crust

• 1½ cups pitted dates, preferably Medjool, coarsely chopped

• 1½ cups chopped pecans • ¼ tsp sea salt • 2 tsp coconut oil

Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes. Remove the dates from the water and pat dry.

Place the dates, pecans and salt in the bowl of a food processor and blend until the mixture sticks together.

Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a nine- inch pie or springform pan.

Press the date mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Adapted from a recipe by Nava Atlas, of

Hudson Valley, NY, vegan cookbook author of Vegan Express: 160 Fast, Easy, & Tasty Plant- Based Recipes.

Pour the hot coconut milk over the choco- late chips and almond butter. Make sure all the chocolate is covered with the hot milk. Let it sit for three to five minutes to melt the chocolate.

Pecan Pumpkin Custard Pie

With no flour, this pie has a soſter, more velvety texture. For a thicker filling, sim- ply refrigerate before serving.

Yields: Filling for one nine-inch vegan pecan-date pie crust

• 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin purée

• 1½ cups unsweetened plant milk such as soy or coconut for the creamiest texture

• ¼ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch • 1 tsp vanilla extract • ½ Tbsp pumpkin pie spice • ½ tsp sea salt • ⅔ cup Medjool dates, pitted Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Add all ingredients, except for the starch and dates, into a large pot. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Whisk by hand until the mixture becomes smooth, shiny and dark. Pour into the prepared crust.

Refrigerate the completed pie until it is firm and ready to serve.

Inspired by and adapted from recipes by

Nava Atlas, at, Fran Costigan at and Ashley Adams, who blogs at

While the pumpkin mixture is heating, prepare a “slurry” by adding two to three tablespoons of water to the starch in a small bowl. Gently mix together until a thick liquid has formed; avoid clumps.

Add the slurry to the simmering pump- kin mixture and cook over medium heat for five to six minutes, stirring continu- ously.

Transfer this mixture to a blender or food processor, add in the pitted (unsoaked) Medjool dates and blend until smooth.

Pour the filling into a prepared crust, then bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Adapted recipe courtesy of Caitlin Shoe-

maker, of Miami, FL; pecan-pumpkin-custard-pie.

November 2018 33

photo by Stephen Blancett

photo by Stephen Blancett

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