Vegan Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a classic dessert that I admit to being pretty nervous about ‘messing’ with. Pecan pie purists will think I’m nuts for creating this staple without the obligatory sugar, butter, and white flour. My hero substitutes, Medjool dates, are the key to the ‘caramel’ and agar-agar to set the filling just so. I serve it with a soy milk custard, but if you’ve got a pie purist at your table, you may want to have a dollop of whipped cream on hand. You know, just in case.

Base Ingredients
2 cups almond flour

¼ teaspoon of sea salt

¼ teaspoon of baking soda

3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Topping Ingredients
2 cups of pecans

½ cup of dried apricots

½ cup of Medjool dates (pitted)

2 cups of apple juice

2 tablespoons of agar-agar

Pinch of sea salt

1 ½ tablespoons of arrowroot

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a tart tin or low pie dish
  2. Combine the almond flour, salt, cocoa and baking soda into a bowl
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until combined
  4. Press the base dough into the tart-tin or pie dish. Bake for 8 minutes
  5. Take out of the oven and using the back of a spoon, push the tart back down into the sides and base of the pie tart
  6. Return to the oven for a further 4 minutes
  7. Remove from the oven and let it cool while you prepare the pecan filling
  8. Toast the whole pecans in a frying pan for 5 mins and then once cooled slightly, roughly chop about ¾ of the pecans (saving the rest whole, for decoration)
  9. In a saucepan, bring the dates, apricots, juice, agar-agar and sea salt to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  10. Dissolve the arrowroot in ¼ cup of cold water with vanilla and cinnamon and add to the mixture, simmer for another 2 minutes
  11. Allow the mixture to cool before pouring into a food processor and whizzing until smooth. Stir through the chopped pecans and cinnamon
  12. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and arrange the whole pecans on top. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving

Agar-agar – A vegetarian gelatin substitute produced from a variety of seaweed vegetation. Commonly used in Asian cooking, it can be used in a variety of dairy-free and vegan recipes as a stabilizing and thickening agent…without the animal skins and bones (yip, that’s gelatin for you…not ground pig hooves as rumored, but still not particularly appetizing!)

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