Paleo Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This has become my all time favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Not only does the flavor and texture absolutely rock, but it meets my high nutritional standards. It is grain-, cow’s milk-, egg-, and legume-free, lower in sugar-content than other pumpkin pie recipes, and is utterly creamy and delicious. It’s robustness and depth of flavor is reminiscent of a cheese cake.

I believe my first rendition of this recipe came from Gluten-Free Goddess (thank you!) and I have embellished and improved upon it each time I’ve made it.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie With Coconut Cream and Praline Topping

Planning Ahead

•Start the cashew cream used for the pie filling the day before you plan to bake the pie.

•This pie should be made the day before you plan to serve as refrigeration is key to its texture and flavor.

•This pie will freeze very nicely so can be made ahead and pulled out the morning of your feast.

Cashew Cream for Filling

You will need 2 cups raw cashews and fresh filtered water. After rinsing and draining cashews in a colander, place them in a bowl and completely immerse them in the water. Cover bowl and soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

  • For those with intolerance to cashews, choose another nut for this cream: walnuts, pecans, and almonds work well. They will lend a different flavor to the pie, so consider this an experiment.
  • For those with coconut milk intolerance, choose another nut milk–the thicker the better for this recipe.

Drain the cashews in a colander and place them in a food processor.

Add: 1) pinch of sea salt, 2) 2-4 Tablespoons of full-fatted, organic canned coconut milk (well blended).

Blend cashews into a thick paste, adding as much coconut milk as necessary to make it creamy and smooth. The thicker the better for the pie filling, but use as much of the coconut milk as you need to get it to blend well. Use immediately in the pie, or store in fridge until you need it.

Pie Crust

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

You will need: 1) 1 cup unsweetened organic coconut, lightly toasted, 2) 1 cup pecan pieces, 3)1/2 cup ground pecans, 4)1/2 cup brown sugar, 5) 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 6) 5 Tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance) or same quantity of ghee or grass-fed butter (if you are allowing cow’s milk).

Place all dry ingredients in food processor and pulse together until the texture of coarse sand. Add the butter and pulse until mixture is well blended, moist, and falls away from the side of the bowl. Spread crumbs evenly on the bottom of pan and pat down with fingers. They will come up the sides of the pan about 2/3 of the way.

Bake for about 8 minutes or until well set. Remove pan from oven and cool on rack.

Pie Filling

You will need: 1) two 14-ounce cans organic pumpkin puree, 2) 1-1/4 cups thick cashew cream (room temperature), 3) 1-1/4 cups dark brown sugar, 4) 1/2 cup full-fatted canned coconut milk, well blended, 5) 2 Tablespoons molasses, 6) 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup, 7) 1 Tablespoon fresh lime or orange juice, 8) 2 teaspoons vanilla, 9) 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch, 10) 2 teaspoons xanthan gum, 11) 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 12) 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 13) 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 14) 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and beat at medium-to-high speed until the mixture is smooth.

Pour batter over prepared crust in springform pan and smooth it out evenly. Place into 350-degree oven and bake for at least one hour or until set (can test with long tooth pick or knife). Check it at 50 minutes and tent with piece of foil if necessary to prevent excessive browning.

The pie should look set and slightly firm. It may shimmy just a bit when you shake the pan but should be uniformly firm–center to edges. The pie will firm up even more once it’s chilled.

Cool pie on a wire rack. Once it is cool enough to touch, cover with parchment and a plate across the top and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight. It will slice the best if you chill it thoroughly.

When you are ready to serve, remove the outer ring of the springform pan and top with coconut cream and pecan-pumpkin seed praline (below).

Pecan-Pumpkin Seed Praline

You will need: 1) 2 Tablespoons vegan butter, ghee, or grass fed butter, 2) 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 3) pinch of salt, 4) 1/3 cup chopped pecans, 5) 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds, 6) 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar, 7) 2 Tablespoons maple syrup.

Add all ingredients except syrup to lightly oiled iron skillet over medium heat. Stir for a few minutes to toast the seeds and pecans. Add the maple syrup and stir until bubbling and sticky. Remove from heat. Spread the praline onto a greased baking sheet to cool. Break into pieces for garnishing the top of the pie.

Coconut Cream

Open a fresh can of full-fatted coconut milk. Scoop the cream off the top and place in mixing bowl. Discard all of the coconut water. Whip the coconut cream at high speed until well whipped. Since it’s Thanksgiving, add a teaspoon or coconut sugar or a fine organic sugar of your choice.

Put a big dollop of coconut cream on top of each piece of pie. Sprinkle with praline or toasted pecans and seeds.

•For those of you strictly avoiding sugars: toast just the pecans and pumpkin seeds lightly, add cinnamon and salt, and garnish top of the pie.

Serves 10ish


Thanks to Karina Allrich, the source of the original version of this delicious pie:

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *