I LOVE pecan pie, but traditional recipes are loaded with cholesterol from all the butter and eggs, so this Thanksgiving I decided to give it a bit of a makeover. The result is this super quick and easy vegan pecan pie recipe. I’ve included a vegan pie dough recipe, but if you want to make it even quicker you can use a store bought frozen pie crust instead.
Vegan Pie Dough
Making a pie dough vegan is pretty simple since you can use shortening. This is a pretty standard pie crust recipe, but I like to use Spectrum organic shortening. It’s expeller pressed instead of being chemically treated/produced and it’s much less greasy.
The trick to making a shortening based pie crust is to first measure out the shortening in small chunks and put it in the freezer for at least an hour to get it nice and cold. Next put the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse to combine.
Next add your partially frozen shortening to the processor and pulse until it has been broken down into small pea sized bits. Don’t over processes, having little bits of shortening interspersed in the dough is what will give it a nice flaky texture.
Finally add the water and pulse until the dough starts to come together.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disk. Wrap in wax paper and put into an air tight container. Place the dough in the fridge for about and hour (overnight is even better) so that it gets nice and cold. Even though you used almost frozen shortening the blades of the processor may have warmed it up. Making sure the dough is very cold will make it much easier to handle.
Once your dough is well chilled you are ready to roll it out on a lightly floured surface. I like to use a granite slab to roll out all my pie and cookie doughs because it helps keep it cool. I also highly recommended getting a set of rolling pin guide rings to help roll out the dough evenly to 1/8 inch thick. I then use a 12 inch cake cardboard to cut out a perfectly shaped circle of dough.
This recipe is for a 9 inch pie. I’ve used both aluminum and glass pie dishes and it works well in both. Lay the circle of dough into the dish and trim any excess (if there is a lot) with a knife or scissors. If you cut out your circle well you can probably just fold any excess under the the edge. To decorate the edge I usually create a fluted edge by pinching the dough between my fingers and thumb, but there are many ways to decorate the edge. Here are some great ideas for decorative pie crust edges.
When making your own pie crust it’s also best to put the formed crust back in the fridge for a while before adding your filling. So stick it in the fridge and on to the filling!
Vegan Pecan Pie Filling
This vegan pecan pie filling comes together really quickly so be sure to preheat your oven even before you start getting your ingredients out. I usually start with placing my pecans in my pie crust and then sticking it back in the fridge while prepping the filling. I’m not usually able to fit all the pecans into the crust at this point, but I just put the remaining pecans on top after the filling has been added.
I should mention I’ve also made the pie by first putting the filling in and then laying all the pecans on top. The latter gets you a slightly more uniform looking pie, but I prefer to put them in first then pour the filling in.
If you are using flax, and not the powdered egg replacer, then you want to mix the flax with water first so that it has time to thicken.
Next melt your vegan butter in a the microwave, I always do this on half power for 30 second intervals stirring in between. This helps prevent a butter volcano from erupting in your microwave. Add rice milk (or other non-dairy milk) and vanilla to the melted butter. If the milk is very cold it could firm up the butter too much. If it does just pop it back in the microwave for a bit.
Finally mix in the sugars and flour. Followed by either the premixed flax “egg” or your powdered egg replacer that has been mixed with water.
Gently pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and top with any remaining pecans that didn’t fit. Bake at 350F for about 45-55 minutes. When using an aluminum pie plate I bake the pie on a cookie sheet, but for glass I usually just bake it as is.
About half way through baking you will probably need to put a pie shield on your crust to keep it from over browning. I often use aluminum foil cut into a circle with the center removed, but you can also buy and adjustable pie shield.
Vegan Pecan Pie Recipe
9 INCH PIE CRUST:
- 8 Tbsp (4 oz) Organic Shortening
- 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (dip and sweep method
- 1/2 teas salt
- 5 1/2 Tbsp (2.8 oz) cold water
PECAN PIE FILLING:
- 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) pecan halves
- 2 Tbsp ground flax seed or 1 Tbsp egg replacer powder
- 6 Tbsp water
- 8 Tbsp (4 oz) vegan butter (like Earth Balance)
- 4 Tbsp rice milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 teas pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (3.6 oz) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (3.8 oz) lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
MAKE THE PIE CRUST
Measure out the shortening into about 1 tablespoon chunks and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Put flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds to combine.
Add frozen shortening chunks and pulse 5-10 times until the pieces are small. Do not over mix!
Add ice water and pulse until the dough starts to come together.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a disk.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
When you are ready to bake the pie remove dough from the refrigerator and begin to roll out on a lightly floured surface (you may need to let it sit out for 5-10 minutes depending on how long you chilled it). Roll the dough into a just over a 12 inch diameter circle that is 1/4 inch thick, then use a 12 inch cake circle as a guide to cut out a circle of dough.
Transfer the dough to a 9 inch pie plate (glass or aluminum). It will overhang the sides a bit. Use your fingers to fold the dough under and crimp the edges.
Cover the pie shell in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until you are ready to make the filling.
PREPARE PECAN PIE FILLING:
Preheat the oven to 350F
If you are using flax mix the flax seed and water well then set aside to allow to thicken. If you don't have flax seed you can use 1 Tbsp of homemade egg replacer instead, but wait to mix it with water until just before adding to the remaining ingredients
Arrange pecan halves in the bottom of a 9 inch pie crust (either homemade or a frozen store bought one). If you can't fit all of the pecans in a single layer you can double up or add the remaining pecans after you have added the filling. Put the crust back in fridge until filling is ready.
Put the vegan butter in a glass bowl and microwave at half power for 30 second intervals until melted. Alternatively you can melt the butter on the stove top using low heat and stirring until melted.
Add non-dairy milk and vanilla to the melted butter. If the butter starts to firm up you can re-microwave to get it melted again.
Add sugar, brown sugar, and flour. Mix well then add in the flax (or powdered egg replacer that has been mixed with water). Whisk until smooth.
Gently pour filling mixture over the pecans in the pie crust as to not disturb them too much. Top with any remaining pecans then bake (on a cookie sheet if using an aluminum pan) for 45-55 minutes @ 350F.
If the crust starts to brown put an aluminum foil ring around it about half way through baking.