Imagine a cross between utter chaos and joyous fun. That’s what last Thanksgiving was like for us. We had yet to figure out Izzy’s Mast Cell issues so finding safe foods meant making them from scratch. My Lyme was still wreaking havoc with my stomach and my body as whole. My mom was on an AIP Paleo diet to try to manage symptoms of her autoimmune arthritis. Oh, and there were going to be 29 of us for Thanksgiving dinner! I needed a paleo holiday dessert that was going to knock everyone’s socks off! We had a crazy couple of days preparing, but it prompted me to create this delicious AIP pumpkin pie recipe to share with you!
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I’m not afraid to say that I’m pretty dang proud of this crust. I obviously needed the crust to be GF, but also vegan, grain-free, and free from refined sugar. Being safe wasn’t enough, though. It also needed to be delicious! Who wants to serve pie that ‘tastes healthy’, am I right? A lot of paleo crusts call for nuts like almonds and cashews, that wouldn’t work for an AIP Pumpkin Pie. Grain-free flours also don’t work so great individually, so I needed to figure out a great blend that balanced taste and texture.
This crust uses a blend of cassava flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, and coconut flour. The cassava and coconut flours help to provide stability and structure to your crust while the starches help keep it tender and balance the earthier flavors of the flours. *IF* you have successfully reintroduced potato products, this crust is even better by replacing half of the cassava flour with potato starch.
Obviously regular sugar is not AIP or paleo compliant. Artificial sweeteners are out as well. This crust needs a sweetener that is delicious and not refined. That is where maple sugar comes in handy! Maple sugar is a natural, crystallized form of maple syrup. It is a fantastic option for AIP baked goods because it sweetens your dishes without adding in the chemical flavors in many sugar replacements.
The Flavor Enhancers
I have a few tricks up my sleeve here that take this crust to the next level. First up are a few spices. Adding a bit of cinnamon and ground ginger to the crust really enhances the flavor of the crust and the pumpkin pie filling. Since coconut flour soaks up a lot of moisture you need a bit more liquid than normal to keep this crust pliable. Adding a bit of maple syrup helps keep your dough moist while adding flavor. Finally, vanilla extract is fabulous here. It offers up that nostalgic ‘home baked’ flavor.
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Folks, when I tell you the filling of this AIP Pumpkin Pie is DELICIOUS, I’m not exaggerating. I’m a bit of a pumpkin pie
snob expert so when I say it’s good, I mean it! It’s creamy, sweet, and has just the right level of warm holiday spices.
Traditional pumpkin pie calls for cans of evaporated milk. That’s not exactly AIP compliant, vegan, or allergy-friendly. So, what are we going to use instead? Just plain canned coconut milk. It’s really that easy. In years gone by we made our own evaporated milk. Remember what I said, though, it was an intense Thanksgiving. I just plain old didn’t have time, so I figured I’d give it a try and it worked perfectly! I used the newer coconut milk from Thai Kitchen so that our pie was even from from the gums found in most canned coconut milks!
Eggs definitely aren’t vegan, and wouldn’t be compliant for the initial elimination phase of the AIP diet. Honestly, this is the part that I was the most unsure of. Then one day I stumbled upon an old GF magazine on our shelf that suggested using arrowroot to replace the eggs in a cheesecake. Lo and behold, arrowroot mixed with water made the perfect egg replacer for pumpkin pie, too!
The pumpkin pie spice blends available in stores are great options for baking with. I try to always keep a jar in my house. They aren’t compliant for the elimination phase of the AIP diet, though. The nutmeg that is typically in these blends is not allowed. Don’t worry, though. You won’t have to concoct some complicated blend to make this pie fabulous. It really only takes three things and you probably already have two of them in your cabinet. All you’ll need is ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and a little freshly grated ginger.
Make Your Holiday Great with AIP Pumpkin Pie
You need to make this AIP Pumpkin Pie for your holidays this year. In fact, you need to make it NOW. Run to the store and grab your ingredients so you can have it for dessert tomorrow!
- 100g* cassava flour
- 100g tapioca starch
- 100g arrowroot starch
- 50g coconut flour
- 3 tbsp maple sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 8oz palm shortening
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3-4 tbsp ice water
- 1 1/2 cups maple sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 6 tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 29 oz can Libby’s pumpkin puree
- 20 oz canned coconut milk
- Put the first 6 ingredients in your food processor and pulse several times to mix it together. If you have successfully reintroduced potato products, try replacing 50g of the cassava flour for potato starch.
- Add the shortening to the food processor and pulse until you get large chunks about the size of a nickel.
- Add vinegar, maple syrup, and ice water to the food processor and pulse 6-7 times, until the dough starts to come together. It doesn’t need to be perfectly mixed, but should start to form a cohesive dough around the edges.
- Turn the contents of the food processor onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and press into two flat discs. Let it rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
- Once the dough has rested, lay a large sheet of plastic wrap out and dust it with tapioca starch. Lay one disc out on that, lightly dust the top of the dough with more tapioca starch, and begin to roll. Every few strokes of your rolling pin, rotate the dough so it doesn’t stick to the plastic wrap. Roll it until it is about 1.5-2 inches larger than the pie pan.
- Turn your pie pan upside down on the center of your dough. Slide your hand under the bottom sheet of plastic wrap. With your hand gently on the pie pan, flip it upside down so that your crust is in the pan. Gently peel off the plastic wrap and nudge the crust into the bottom edges of the pan. Fold/roll the extra crust under, then ‘flute’ the edges by gently pinching sections of dough between two fingertips on one hand and a knuckle on the other. Repeat with the second crust. Once done, put your crusts in the freezer to chill again for 45 minutes.
- After about a half hour, preheat your oven to 425*F. In a small bowl mix together your arrowroot starch and cold water for the filling and set it aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your other filling ingredients. Add your arrowroot mixture and whisk until fully combined, then divide evenly between your crusts. Put the pies on foil-lined baking sheets just in case anything bubbles over.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then drop heat to 350*F. Bake for another 45 minutes. It won’t be fully set when you pull it out. Cool for about 20 minutes on a wire rack, then transfer to the fridge. It needs to set up for a minimum of 24 hours. Any earlier and the filling will be slightly gummy and not fully set.