A couple of years ago, when my mom, dad, and I initially started eating ‘plant strong’, Thanksgiving seemed a mystery. We have always gone out to eat for dinner, with such a small family and a chance to getaway, it gave a nice reprive from cooking, stress and the perfect timing of every side dish known to man. Tracking down a restaurant with vegan options in our getaway in Chicago was easy, there are plenty to be found, but every year, the weekend before Thanksgiving, we would cook and eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I loved when we did this because it was more like we were having an extra fancy Sunday dinner, rather than a pressure filled day of madness.
I was always in charge of desserts (obviously), my favorite part of the feast. Several years ago, I made a crazy decadent chocolate pecan pie from a cookbook called ‘Death by Chocolate’. It was one of those desserts you could really only eat a few bites of before your head started spinning from all the butter/sugar/corn syrup what have you. While it was well received, I really wanted to re-create it somehow for our newly vegan Thanksgiving dinner. This is where Laura at The First Mess came to the rescue! At this time, I was not an avid food blog reader, but searched on Taste Spotting for ‘vegan pecan pie’ and came up with her lovely recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie, bingo! I made it and it was a huge hit. I kept it in the back of my mind for a while, wanting to try it out again with a bit of tinkering. I made the crust less of a centerpiece (because I secretly don’t love crust and the work that goes along with it!) and put more chocolate in the filling. Without surprise, it was a success! Feel free to adjust the crust options to your preferences, but for me, this oat and date crust did the trick.
So thanks, Laura, for saving this girl’s hope for a vegan pecan pie not filled with all the junk, you are pretty awesome. I’ll just go have another slice, ok?
My little kitty helper in the kitchen. He loves to let us know he is right by our feet and would like pets please and thank you!
Chocolate Pecan Pie with Oat and Date Crust
- For the crust:
- 1 cup rolled or old fashioned oats
- 12 dates pitted
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- For the filling:
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch
- 1 small banana mashed finely
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate melted
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 1/4 cup pecans halves whole
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease pie plate and set aside.
To prepare the crust: In the bowl of a food processor or blender, blend the oats, dates, vanilla extract, almond milk and flaxseed. If mixture is not blending properly, add a tiny bit of almond milk until the mixture forms a dough. Press the dough into the pie plate. The mixture may not reach all the way up the sides or may only cover the bottom of the plate. That is ok! Bake the crust at 400 F for 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
To prepare the filling: In the bowl of a food processor or blender, blend together the banana, starch, and almond milk (or any non dairy milk). Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the melted dark chocolate, maple syrup, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, chopped pecans, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the mixture into the pre baked pie crust. Place the leftover pecan halves on top of the pie. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until center is set.
Remove pie from oven and let cool at room temperature for an hour. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.