The Best Paleo Pumpkin Pie

October 20, 2012 in Categories: , , by

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Pumpkin pie has always been my all-time favorite dessert (and breakfast, for that matter).  And, I have to admit that I am a bit of a pumpkin pie snob.  In my pre-paleo days, I was well-known among my friends and family for making The Best pumpkin pie.  It was a pie that converted many non-pumpkin pie lovers.  Many people would say that the only pumpkin pie they liked was mine.  My recipe was a secret, but it was based on my mother’s recipe, which was a family recipe modified to accommodate my brother’s extensive food allergies.

I can give you the secrets to my old pumpkin pie recipe now, since I won’t be making it that way ever again.  Because my brother was allergic to cinnamon, the spices were modified to replace it.  As chance would have it, leaving the cinnamon out actually enhances the flavor of the pumpkin rather than hide it (you could of course, substitute my spices in this recipe with your favorite combination for pumpkin pie).  Because my brother was allergic to dairy, the standard evaporated milk was replaced with soy-based baby formula, which added a wonderful richness and slight nuttiness to the pie.  These modifications made the tastiest, creamiest, most awesome pie ever.  And it was always our tradition to have pumpkin pie for breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving.  Yum!

So, when I embarked on my adventure to paleofy pumpkin pie, I didn’t want to create just another pumpkin pie recipe.  Plenty of people have paloefied pumpkin pie simply by replacing the evaporated milk with full fat coconut milk and throwing it into an almond flour crust.  No, I wanted to recreate MY pumpkin pie.  The Best Pumpkin Pie.  I wanted to make a pie that you can serve your non-paleo friends and family and they would never know!  A pie that can convert non-pumpkin pie lovers!

This pie is a very creamy-style custard pumpkin pie, which has always been my preference (think thick mousse).   If you prefer a more solid pumpkin pie, simply reduce the water (you can add more pumpkin to replace the volume if you wish, but it is not necessary).

Because the goal was a pie so good that you can serve it to non-paleo company, this is a bit sweeter than I would normally make for a paleo dessert (not that it’s super sweet, it’s actually the same amount of sweeteners as other paleo pumpkin pie recipes out there– but you will definitely feel like you’re having a treat).  You could cut the honey and maple syrup down to 1/3 cup total if you wanted and just add a couple extra tablespoons of water.

I actually got the custard the way I wanted it on the third try with this pie.  The biggest trick was the crust.  I tried a few different paleo pie crust recipes (anyone who follows me on Pinterest knows I was collecting different versions of paleo pie crusts to use as a foundation to build from).  And tried several tweaks of a shortening-based version, which tasted great but remained too soft and crumbly.  In the end, I came up with a crust that tasted great (especially in combination with the pumpkin custard), had the right texture, and held together beautifully.  I hope you enjoy my version of pumpkin pie as much as my family and I do!

Note:  If you want to just make the pumpkin custard, you don’t need the extra yolk leftover from making the crust.  It will work just fine with 3 whole eggs.

Makes one 9” pie.

Ingredients (Pie Crust):

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Grind walnuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground and almost starting to turn into walnut butter (i.e., just starting to clump together).
  3. Mix walnuts, almond flour, egg white, and salt together (you can pulse in your food processor or do this by hand).
  4. Press/pinch into a 9” pie plate (an 8” deep dish pie plate will work too).
  5. Pierce the crust with a fork every ¼” or so to stop the shell from bubbling up while it bakes.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until starting to turn golden brown.
  7. Let cool at least 10 minutes before pouring the custard in.


Ingredients (Pumpkin Pie):

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (if you’re making your pie right after making the crust, just reduce the temperature).
  2. Place cashews and walnuts in your food processor or blender and pulse until finely ground.  Add eggs, honey and maple syrup and blend for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth (you could also add some of the water if it’s too thick for your food processor or blender to puree well).  It is very important to blend until completely smooth, otherwise your custard will be watery.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until combined.
  4. Pour into cooled pie shell (doesn’t need to be room temperature, just cool enough to touch).  Spread the top out evenly with a spatula.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes.  Allow pie to cool completely before serving.
  6. Enjoy!!!



Ground pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds all should be able to be used as a direct replacement for the almonds.

My Dad’s allergic to cashews, so I always use macademias instead. it works perfectly, though they are slightly more expensive.

Although I haven’t tried it with this recipe, I’d replace the ground-up-until-creamy walnuts and cashews with a cup of almond butter. If you don’t eat almonds either you could try sunflower seed butter. In the past this has made many a nut-filled recipe deliciously soft and edible at my house. Hope this helps :)

I was so looking forward to this recipe – it looks so yummy!. Unfortunately, those of us on the AIP protocol can’t eat this dessert – no nuts, no eggs, no allspice, nutmeg or cardamom. Instead, I plan to make a variation of the “Parsnip Vanilla Custard” with pumpkin instead of parsnips (see The Paleo Approach Cookbook” p. 351). Pumpkin custard sounds really good to me!

When I was on AIP, I was determined to have pumpkin pie! I made a lard crust with coconut flour and tapioca as the flours and for the custard I used gelatin to replace the eggs. It was great! I wish I could find the recipe!

Thanks to all for the AIP replacement suggestions. Now a pie that I can eat. Maybe Sarah should have had 2 recipes – one for those who are “healed” to the point that they could eat her Paleo pie and one for her AIP followers too. Just saying…

Any suggestions for how to make this egg-free AND well textured and tasty? Thank you! I have been making room for food allergies and some day I am gonna tell them to make room for me! Enough already. However, until that time, I am enjoying the creative alternatives. Thank you!

Made this for a Halloween Party. Pumpkin Custard was fantastic, but I need to work out how to sweeten the pastry up (I have a wicked sweet tooth and miss baked stuff like nobody’s business). Thanks for the recipe!

I’m going to try this recipe for Thanksgiving (i’m so excited), but I was wondering, since I dont’ want to buy all the different spices, could I just use the Pumpkin Pie Spices (found at Trader Joe’s) ??? if so, how much do you think I should use ????
thANK YOU SO much !!!!

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