It would feel so wrong to omit pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving but this item remains a challenge for the home baker that wishes to avoid the 8 common allergens. What do you do when you have no idea how to create this illustrious pie without animal products or allergens? You do a lot of research and get extremely creative and go through a very expensive trial and error process. We hope we have saved you at least some time and money by providing some information (and a bit of trial and error to avoid) for you. You see, pumpkin pie needs something to set it up in order for it to be pumpkin pie and not warm pumpkin sauce, but it is extremely challenging to find a solid structure option that does not hit on one of the 8 common allergens.
That said, we offer a list of things that you can use for the custard structure with the appropriate amount to be added to the recipe below. Choose your structure based on your allergy, or one of your guests’ dietary restrictions.
It is extremely important that you tell your guests what ingredients you used in your baking.
If you are having anyone over and you do not know if they have a shellfish, nut, soy, or other allergy, and you decided to use silken tofu or cashews or agar flakes, you could send someone into anaphylaxis reaction. Most people know that dairy and eggs are in the pie but a person that is allergic to iodine may not suspect that you used agar flakes for a pumpkin pie. So…
DISCLOSE! DISCLOSE! DISCLOSE!
Follow the recipe below for the pumpkin pie and use the standard 4 eggs that is typically used (2 eggs per pie). If you cannot source your eggs from a humane farm, or you are allergic to eggs, choose one of these 7 structure options to replace the eggs:
1. 8 Tbsp Agar Agar flakes (Vegan but very high in iodine, may not be good for those with shellfish or fish allergy. Sold near the sushi nori at Whole Foods). Dissolve according to package directions before adding to the pie filling.
2. 4 Tbsp of tapioca starch. This is a great vegan option that avoids all of the allergens but it is a somewhat softer and smoother set. Note that this pie will not set until it has had time to cool down and put in the refrigerator overnight. (This is the method we used and depicted in the picture above).
3. Flax seeds: mix 4 Tbsp of ground flax seeds with 3/4 cup of water (equal to 4 eggs). (Vegan and avoids the 8 common allergens)
4. Chia seeds: use the same ratio of 4 Tbsp of ground chia seeds with 3/4 cup of water (equal to 4 eggs). (Vegan and avoids the 8 common allergens)
(Formula is derived via: 1 Tbsp of seeds to 3 Tbsp of water = 1 egg)
5. Two packets of unflavored gelatin (Not vegan. Not for those with a beef, pork or poultry allergy). Dissolve according to package directions.
6. Two 16-ounce packages of silken tofu (not for those with soy allergy). Use a blender to incorporate into the pie filling.
7. 1.5 cups of unsalted cashews blended into the pumpkin pie filling recipe using a food processor or blender (not for those with nut allergy)
Once you have decided on your structure option, and you have made your crust (click here for crust recipe), follow this pie filling recipe (or your favorite pumpkin pie recipe that is enough for two pies):
Pumpkin Pie Filling – Add Your Chosen Structure Option
1 28-ounce can of pureed pumpkin
1.5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups of unsweetened hemp milk (hemp milk is creamier than rice milk and is allergen-free. If it is safe to do so, you could use coconut milk, soy milk/creamer, or almond milk. If you use these alternatives, make sure they are safe for all of your guests. Rice milk is allergen-free but it is thin like skim milk and I would only recommend it if you have a very strong structure option such as gelatin or eggs.)
Make your pie crusts but do not pre-bake. (Click Here for Easy Allergen-Free Pie Crust Recipe)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray or lightly coat your pie dishes with vegetable oil and press your crusts into the dishes.
Combine the pie filling ingredients and add one of the 7 structure options (see above). Stir until smooth and well-mixed. Pour the filling into the pie crusts and bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until filling is firm.
Cool to room temperature and then transfer pies to refrigerator until ready to serve.