Have you ever tried to make your own pumpkin puree ? It's so easy ! You only have to cut your pumpkin in half (go for the small/medium size sugar pumpkins), scoop out the seeds and cook the two halves in the oven at 350F until they soften (about 40-50 minutes or so). Scrape the flesh out and blend it until smooth. I store this lovely bright puree in the fridge and use it in the morning in my pumpkin pie chia pudding and in my pumpkin pie hot oatmeal (recipe coming soon!). I also like to use it in other autumn desserts, like my pumpkin double chocolate brownies or in these entirely sugar-free pumpkin pie squares. Look at that color ! It's Autumn in a jar !
These pumpkin pie squares are the BEST. My son and I ate the whole pan in 2 days. I just couldn't stop ! But it's not a problem since the number one thing I had in mind when I created these squares was that I wanted to make a pumpkin pie that would be healthy enough to be eaten as a dessert as well as a snack or breakfast. And I am proud to say that they are ! The crust is made from pecans and oats and the pumpkin pie puree is sweetened with dates instead of sugar like the traditional version. I would describe this recipe as a mix between a date square and a pumpkin pie. To make this dessert even more perfect, I served it with coconut whipped cream and topped with chopped pecans.
These little guys are vegan, gluten-free and so easy to do ! Like almost every dessert I create :p ! They only require a food processor and a blender and not too much bakery and pastry knowledges. They also make a perfect grab-n-go snack (since they don't fall apart easily) or a comforting afternoon tea-break snack with a cup of chai tea.
Gooey sugar-free pumpkin pie squares
Adapted from Oh she glows
Ingredients for the crust :
1 cup rolled oats (you may use gluten-free certified oats if you want)
2 cups raw pecans
7-8 pitted dates
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Ingredients for the pumpkin pie puree :
2,5 cups pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
10 pitted dates
1/4 cup full-fat coconut cream (the cream is only the fat part of the can - Oh yeah! ... or almond milk for a lighter version !) - see note
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoon organic cornstarch (or tapioca starch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a food processor, ground your oat into a very fine flour. Add the other ingredients for the crust and process until it starts to clump (if the dough crumbles too much, you may have to add a little more coconut oil). Don't process the ingredients too much, you still want to see pieces of pecans in the mixture.
- Press the mixture (don't be afraid to use your hands, they're your best kitchen tools for nutty crusts!) over a parchment paper covered 8-inch pan.
- Pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- In a high speed food processor, blend all the pumpkin pie ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the puree into the crust. Bake for 50 minutes at 350F. Cool for at least 1 hour. Store in the fridge. They are the best (and easier to cut!) after few hours of cooling.
Note - How to make fluffy coconut whipped cream
- To make coconut whipped cream, you need to place a full-fat coconut milk can overnight in the fridge (try to buy the brands without "guar gum" in the ingredients list). Don't skip that part (note that the freezer doesn't work and won't make this step faster.... )! A full night in the fridge is really the key to a fluffy whipped cream as it allows the fat part and the liquid part of the coconut milk to separate!
- Open the can, scoop out the cream part and pour into a mixing bowl (for even better results : you can freeze the bowl for a few minutes beforehand - it might help!). Pour the liquid part in another bowl (I like to use it in smoothies!) - you won't be using that part. Whip the cream until fluffy enough (3-4 minutes at high speed). You can add a bit of maple syrup (about 2 tablespoons) and vanilla extract (1-2 teaspoons) if you like.
- Warning : sometimes, it just doesn't come out great. You have to find the right brand and even when you think you've found it, the results may vary within different cans. My favorite brand so far is the 365 (Whole Foods) or the Trader Joe's coconut cream. Try this tip : while choosing the cans at the grocery, shake them. If you can hear a lot of liquid, you should probably leave that one on the shelf and find another one (that sounds more "solid").
- For this specific pumpkin pie squares recipe, you can whip the rest of the coconut cream (the fat part of the coconut milk) used for the puree (see recipe above). It will make enough whipped cream to top all the squares. Sprinkle with chopped pecans if you want and cinnamon. Enjoy !