The Best Paleo Pumpkin Pie

October 20, 2012 in Categories: by

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Pumpkin Pie-085Pumpkin 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, 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).  I also 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.

Pumpkin Pie-172

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 20-22 minutes

Serves: 6-8

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).Pumpkin Pie-045
  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. Pumpkin Pie-055
  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!!!



Oh yum!! That looks so delicious. Thank you for all your hard work :)

I need to test myself with eggs again and I was waiting for a recipe to try that was really “worth it” – I think this is the one! I’ll definitely be making this sometime very soon.

You do not know how happy this makes me. I developed an intolerance to cinnamon in my 20’s and love pumpkin pie so much I would just eat it anyway (once a year) and then suffer with sores in my mouth for a week or two. I’ve googled for YEARS trying to find a replacement for cinnamon and never could find an acceptable flavor combination. I’m buying the stuff to make this TODAY.

My father was allergic to soooo many things, including cinnamon and honey. We used dark brown sugar and vanilla to flavor the pumpkin pie for him…it was actually quite tasty!

Wow. Looks fabulous! Much nicer than the recipe I made for Thanskgiving. Luckily, I am not one to only have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving – but next year don’t forget about your fellow Canadians! 😉

• YUM!!! Do you think this will freeze and transport well? Since there is no dairy I may have to ask my mom to make this and send it to me here in Afghanistan so I can have some pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving that’s not only delicious but Paleo as well! Thank you Sarah!

It’s a pretty soft custard. I’m think it joule probably freeze well and ship okay as long as it stayed frozen, but if it thawed in transport, bad things would probably happen.

Yay for no coconut as so many paleo things have coconut and I am allergic….but I can’t have eggs either…boo! Looks amazing though. May still have to make it for the rest of the family. Dang eggs! :/

Made this pumpkin pie this afternoon and just finished my piece. Hubby is having his 2nd piece. He told me I better go ahead and practice a few more times before Thanksgiving :)

This pie looks drool-worthy! I can’t wait to try it out on my family in November. Sarah, I just also want to let you know that the PrintFriendly widget didn’t work well for me. It did not print the ingredients for the pie crust and pie filling. Also happened with the paleo mayo and ranch dressing recipes. I just printed them the old fashioned way, but I thought you would want to know about the PrintFriendly issue. Thanks for the recipes!!

I have come across lots of recipes in the paleo world that require raw nuts. Can non raw nuts be used also so long as they are not roasted? I live in rural southwest Virginia and cannot find these at a grocery store and the expense is also a deterrent for my grocery budget.

Is there a substitute for the almond flour? I unfortunately am allergic to almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts, but can eat cashews and walnuts. I usually look for coconut flour desserts, but love my pumpkin pie!

And thank you sooooooo much for your hard work. This is one dessert that I love and miss so much. You are awesome!!! Such a blessing to us!

I ended up with a very liquid custard mixture (about the consistency of cream). At 40 minutes a knife inserted halfway between the edge and the center came out coated with runny custard. So I kept baking and testing until I got to 1 hour 10 minutes, at which time there was merely custardy custard on the knife. The cooled custard has a great texture and flavor, but sadly the crust got very overlooked in the process. I’m wondering if the bake time would be shortened if I leave out the water from the filling-but will the custard still cook up properly?

I’m wondering if your pumpkin puree was very watery (I definitely get very random thickness with homemade pumpkin puree)? If it is, you could increase the pumpkin puree to 2 1/2 cups and leave out the water completely. Then, the cooking times in the recipe should work. I hope this helps!

Yeah, I wondered about the water — mine was plenty liquid before adding it, and I had way more than would fit in the pie crust! Also had to cook a long time (I put foil over the cust to protect it) and still had a very soft custard. I guess I’ll try it with little or no water the next time…

I used the Farmers Market canned pumpkin. It seemed very firm (almost crumbly) to me. I’ll try it without water and see what happens. Thanks for such a prompt reply!

the result is delicious, but definitely spicy — will have to tone down the ginger next year or my kindergartener won’t eat it. still, I love love love the result! :)

This looks amazing! I have a work halloween potluck and was worried I won’t be able to eat any desserts. now to go attempt this prior to the party! :)

Made this today and it is delicious. I’m just wondering why you chose to use water instead of full fat coconut cream/milk. For allergy reasons? It seemed like the coconut milk would’ve offset the spices a bit since there are alot. The consistency did work out well. I have also tried hazelnut crust which I think I preferred but overall, thank you!

The idea was that water plus nuts equals pulpy nut milk. I don’t like the flavor that coconut milk contributes, but there’s no reason why that wouldn’t work in this recipe if that’s what you prefer.

Ah.. I see… I too was curious why not the coconut milk.. because of the imparting flavor makes sense.. just wasn’t sure what the results would be as I’m brand new to Paleo… just weeks! 😉

I do SOooo appreciate your perfecting these recipes… I feel kindred spirit with you about this stuff….. I can relate to the things you say, and the desire for it “to turn out like MY recipe”. I know!! I’ve perfected SOooo many recipes over the year, and to have to go paleo hurts my “cook’s pride”!! 😉

Also, love the paleo pancake idea…. and that it’s NOT like all the other recipes that promised to be “just like real pancakes”!!! NOT!!! Man, do they lie!! Makes me wonder if we’re all living on the same planet. 😉 Look fwd to trying yours!!

Thanks for all your hard work & determination & persistance PaleoMom!

Oh! Thanks also for the coversion tips to use to convert old reg recipes to paleo!! THAT is how I found you today in the 1st place!! Ooohoo!!! I’m SOOO relieved you posted that!! Man- am I so grateful, grateful!! Thank you dahling! THank you!! 😉

I made this pie crust and tweaked the custard to my own liking. The crust is absolutely excellent, but my roommate is allergic to honey. As an alternate sweetener I took twelve large medjool dates and boiled them in hot water for five minutes. Then I de-pitted the dates, and processed them into a sweet mush. Then I mixed them into the custard. The dates were a fantastic alternate to honey and maple syrup. Also, since I am too poor to buy a million different spices I used plain old pumpkin pie spice instead. I used a lot, and when I originally tasted the custard I thought it would be too much, but when it was baked the flavors balanced out perfectly. In addition to the roomie who is allergic to honey, I have a roomie with lupus, a gluten free rooomie, and one who doesn’t like dates. I told the one who didn’t like dates that she could skip if she wanted. Once she tried it and realized that you couldn’t even taste the dates, she loved the pie…. Overall everyone here was thoroughly satisfied with the pie.
Thank you for this amazing idea PaleoMom! I will be making a second pie soon.

I made this tonight without the crust. I used walnuts and almonds. No maple syrup so I just omitted it and added a little extra water like you said. It turned out so yummy! Thanks for a great recipe that allows me to stick to the paleo diet.

we don’t use maple syrup and I was curious how much water you added in place of the maple syrup? Could you double the honey and omit the maple syrup?

Just made it last night without the “crust” – was delicious and filling. I cut back a bit on the honey and syrup and increased the spices a notch.

This sounds great! I can’t do eggs or almonds, so I am going to try coconut flour and coconut milk for the custard. I’ll let you know how it works.

Made this pie for the second time hubby loved the first one but wanted to know is I could make it denser like a “real” pie. So I gave it a go and I accomplished it! Thanks for giving me the courage to “play” around with recipes.
Modifications I made: replaced the ground nuts and water with I cup of puréed green plantains, used only 3 eggs. I also used a standard almond flour pie crust because I didn’t want to go to the store again!

Any substitutions for the cashews. My boyfriend is allergic and he misses my baking. This sounds like a paleo alt he’d love.

I already have hazelnut meal… much should I use to replace the walnuts?? Mmmm I know I am still gonna enjoy this immensely without the whipped cream =)

Both my parents are diabetic and my dad goes a little crazy eating at Thanksgiving. I’d like to make this with the fewest carbs possible. How far do you think I could cut the honey and maple syrup and it still taste good? My dad has always liked his pumpkin pie heavier on the spice side and less on the sweet side, if that helps at all. I was thinking cutting both the honey and maple syrup in half, replacing with water and adding a bit more of each spice. Wish I had the time to do a test run of the pie.

I made a version with half the honey and maple sugar and we all liked it, but we are used to baking that isn’t very sweet. If that already sounds like it fits with your Father’s taste buds, then I say go for it!

Just made a different recipes from a much-touted Paleo-recipe-developer that was a big disappointment :( I think I’ll have to give yours a try too. Nothing wrong with a little extra pumpkin pie, right?

Hello, this looks simply delicious! This year is my first gluten free Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie is my favorite dish of the holiday and this will be my first try at gf PP. I have looked at A LOT of recipes and this one looks the most appealing…I was wondering why you don´t use coconut milk? I ask because in almost every other recipe I have seen they add the coco milk…do you think the flavor would change with the use of coco milk, I am looking for the most authentic tasting pie and I loved your story! thank you so much!

I just made the crust using ground up raw pecans and 1 C coconut flour along with the salt and the egg white. The crust is very very dry and crumbly. I nevertheless pressed it into a pie pan, but its dry. What can I add to make it more moist? Suggestions? Thanks!

i am going to make this pie tonight – I can’t wait! I’d like it to be dense like a traditional pumpkin pie. Could a little arrowroot make this pie slightly denser?

Great recipe! I just made this, but I couldn’t use cashews (food allergy) and I was out of maple syrup, so I used a bit less than 1/2 cup honey, plus 1 tablespoon molasses. For the cashews I subbed 1.3 ounces (by weight) of almond meal.

I also had the too-liquid problem (homemade puree), so I baked it my mom’s way of 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then 350 for 30 minutes (40 in my case) and it came out perfectly. Thank you SO much!

I also buy my spices whole and ground them when I use them, so I want to share a note for anyone else who does that: the cardamom in here is approximately 2 medium BLACK pods, or 1 pretty large one.

Keep on doing your thing PaleoMom, I for one will be back :)

Excellent! This is a spicy pie, and I adore the addition of cardamom. I had a bit of extra filling, so I used 2 ramekins for the extra and had some crustless, which was great! I used almond milk instead of water, no reason, just thought it might be nice. It did make it sweeter, which it didn’t need. This is a treat, which I’ll need to share or I’ll end up eating the entire thing!

This was really good. I used macadamia instead of cashews and regular brown sugar because one of my family members has a fructose sensitivity and can’t eat honey and maple syrup. This was my first time eating cardamom, I think. I really liked the spices in this pie. I think better than the traditional spice mixture.

I made this today as the recipe was written except that I used all of my walnuts on the crust, so I just used cashews in the filling. I absolutely love the filling. However, not a fan of the crust at all. I think I would like it more made with something other than walnuts. I’ve had a bag of walnut that I needed to use up so this recipe was a welcome find, but after having this, I’ve realized the reason the bag wasn’t getting used is because walnuts just aren’t my thing. The crust is kind of overwhelming with walnut taste. We have been scraping the filling off and leaving the crust. I’ll try this again with another nut because it was a good texture and it held together beautifully.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Aargh… made this last night for today and it came out AWFUL. I had to bake it extra-long because it was so wet, I shouldn’t have used the 1 c water … also used this crust to make peach tarts and again, it came out very hard and not tasty at all… bummer man, bad ending to a good TG dinner.

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