Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

With a buttery shortbread crust, creamy pumpkin pudding, and billows of whipped cream, this gluten free pumpkin cream pie is sure to be a win at any holiday gathering. 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

Checking In

It’s been a rough week here in the golden state between a mass shooting and some of the worst wildfires in history. My heart is breaking for all those affected. It is my hope that we can use our ingenuity to halt climate change and create sane gun laws, and that starts with our elected officials.

This year, desperate for change, I set aside my social anxiety and tried phonebanking and canvassing at the encouragement of activist friends. Action is indeed the antidote to despair, and canvassing is one of the best ways to win elections, so it was a win-win. Not only did I feel like I was making a difference, I also bonded with fellow canvassers. Though exhausting, it felt mentally like better self-care than any spa day or yoga class. If you’re interested in getting involved, this website has good info on efforts all around the country.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

One canvassing trip took us out to Manteca to knock doors for Josh Harder for congress. After 3 hours of walking around in the heat of the central valley, we were ready for a snack. I’d packed slices of this gluten free pumpkin cream pie into a cooler – a sublime post-activism treat.

The race for congress in CA-10 is currently too close to call, but Harder is in the lead. Whether or not he wins, I feel like I made an impact. Now that I know the power of canvassing, I plan to go door to door registering voters in 2019, and I’ll start volunteering for candidates early in 2020. I can’t do anything to stop the current fires or heal victims, but I can use my voice to inspire others to vote and hopefully slowly chip away at creating big changes in the way we do things here in the US.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

Pumpkin Cream Pie for everyone

Fall has always been my favorite season and I look forward to chilly temperatures and hopefully a lot of rain in this dry state of California in the coming months. For now I’m getting my fall vibes from this gluten free pumpkin cream pie, which is cold enough to eat on a warm day, but filled with the cozy flavors of roasted squash, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.

This gluten free pumpkin cream pie is adapted from one of my own recipes, a favorite tart from a few years back. I wanted to see if it would work in a pie pan rather than a tart pan, so I planned to give it some fresh photos. I ended up making a few other tweaks along the way, testing the recipe 5 times to get it just right.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

Press-in gluten-free cookie crust

My original crust used just oats, nuts, brown sugar, salt, and a little cornstarch and butter to hold the crust together. This worked well in a tart pan, but the crumbly mixture proved more finicky to remove from a pie tin. This crust was a precursor to my now favorite gluten free shortbread crust, which gets sweet rice flour and tapioca starch to help it hold together. I added in those sticky ingredients and changed up the ratios, all of which made for a sturdier crust that holds together better.

The crust comes together in minutes with the help of a food processor, and there’s no chilling or rolling. Just press the streusel-like crumbs into a buttered pan, freeze and bake. The hot, baked crust needs to be pressed down with the back of a spoon to help it hold together when cut. It tastes like delicate pecan shortbread cookies, with the flavors of butter, oats, and brown sugar adding earthy flavor.

If you prefer, you could absolutely use a graham cracker or gingersnap crust here made with store bought cookies (or try my homemade gluten free graham crackers or the mesquite flour gingersnaps from Alternative Baker!)

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

Pumpkin Butterscotch Pudding

The baked cookie-like of this gluten free pumpkin cream pie gets filled with a stovetop pudding, a riff on this pumpkin butterscotch pudding recipe. You just need a single saucepan and a whisk to make it. Whisk together the ingredients, cook it until it boils for 2 minutes, then strain and pour it into the baked crust. The filling is foolproof, and you don’t have to worry about overbaking the filling or having it crack or bubble in the oven. It’s also egg-free – the cornstarch does all the thickening work – so the flavors come through in a bright, clean way. After a few hours of chilling, the pudding will be softly sliceable, more smooth and creamy than a traditional baked pumpkin pie.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

Pumpkin puree: canned vs. homemade

I tested this pumpkin cream pie with both organic canned pumpkin puree and homemade butternut squash puree and vastly preferred the butternut version, shown here. Butternut puree is thicker, brighter, and it has a more clean, pure taste that really makes a difference. So if you have the time, make some squash puree ahead of time – up to a week in advance if you store it in the fridge, or up to several months if you freeze it. But if canned pumpkin is what you’ve got, don’t worry – the pie will still be divine.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

The finishing touch

Top your pumpkin cream pie with billows of whipped cream and decorate it with chopped nuts, grated nutmeg, and a drizzle of maple syrup if you like. The crust stays crisp for about 2 days in the fridge, so you can feel free to make this the day before you plan to serve it. I’ve given more do-ahead options in the recipe notes below.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

Stick a fork in a piece of  this pie and you’re met with delicate buttery crust against creamy pudding bursting with spice, whipped cream rounding out the flavors. If there are any pumpkin pie haters in your life, shove a piece of this pie into their mouths and dare them to say they don’t like it.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream PieGluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

Looking for more easy gluten free pumpkin recipes? Try these:

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram,  Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make these no-bake desserts, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps  @The_Bojon_Gourmet  and  #bojongourmet.*

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Yields: 9-inch pie, 10 servings
 
With a buttery shortbread crust, creamy pumpkin pudding, and billows of whipped cream, this gluten free pumpkin cream pie is sure to be a win at any holiday gathering.
Ingredients
Crust:
  • 4 tablespoons (60 g) cold, unsalted butter, in 1⁄2-inch cubes, plus a little for buttering the pan
  • ½ cup (60 g) raw pecan halves
  • ½ cup (50 g) GF old fashioned rolled oats (such as Bob's Red Mill) (or use ½ cup / 45 g GF oat flour)
  • 1⁄2 cup (80 g) sweet white rice flour (such as Koda Farms Mochiko)
  • 2 tablespoons (13 g) tapioca flour
  • 1⁄4 cup (50 g) light brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 plus 1⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling:
  • ½ cup (110 g) light brown sugar (preferably organic)
  • 3 tablespoons (25 g) cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric (optional, mostly for color)
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups (355 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • ¾ cup (170 g/ml) unsweetened pumpkin or winter squash puree (preferably homemade butternut squash puree, see notes below)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons packed peeled finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream (ultra-pasteurized works best, such as Organic Valley)
  • 1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar or maple syrup (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • freshly grated nutmeg, toasted pecans, and maple syrup, for garnish
Instructions
Make the crust:
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter a 9-inch pie pan (preferably metal) or use a 9-inch loose-bottom tart pan.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pecans, oats, and sweet rice flour with the tapioca starch, brown sugar and salt. Process until the pecans are finely ground, 30-60 seconds; the mixture will begin to clump together slightly. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and drizzle with the vanilla extract. Process until the mixture comes together in large, streusel-like clumps and the butter is incorporated, 20-30 seconds or so, pulsing near the end so that the mixture doesn’t get overworked. If the mixture fails to come together, add a teaspoon or two more butter until it does.
  3. Dump about half of the crumbs into the buttered pie pan and press the dough evenly into the sides of the pan. Add the remaining crumbs and press them evenly into the bottom of the pan, keeping the edges square. (It usually takes me about 5 minutes to make it look pretty.) Freeze the crust until firm, 15–30 minutes (or refrigerate if using a glass pie pan).
  4. Place the pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until puffed and golden, 18-25 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and, while it’s still hot, press the sides and bottom firmly with the back of a spoon; this will help it hold together when cool. Set aside while you make the filling.
Make the filling:
  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, allspice, and salt until combined. Whisk in the milk, cream, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and ginger.
  2. Place the pot over medium heat and gradually bring to a boil, whisking constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pans with the whisk. Occasionally switch to a flexible heatproof silicone spatula and scrape the corners of the pan well. If the mixture starts to look curdled, don’t worry – it’s just the acidic ingredients (brown sugar and ginger) going to work on the proteins in the dairy. Whisk like mad and the pudding will come back together, no problem.
  3. Once the mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking and whisking for 2 minutes (set a timer). You’ll have to stop whisking for a few seconds to verify that the pudding is boiling, which you’ll know by the big, slow bubbles that pop gloopily. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. The pudding should be the consistency of creamy yogurt.
  4. Strain the hot pudding through a mesh strainer and into a large bowl or measuring pitcher, working the pudding through with the spatula. Pour the pudding into the baked crust and refrigerate the pie until very firm, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. You can cover the pudding with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the pudding if you like; personally this grosses me out, so I just chill it uncovered.
Whip the cream:
  1. Combine the cream, sugar or maple, and vanilla in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or use a large bowl and an electric beater or balloon whisk). Whip the cream on high speed until it just holds firm peaks. If you accidentally overwhip the cream and it starts to curdle, you can fold a big splash of cream into it until it smooths out again. We want the cream firm enough to hold its shape over the pie. Spread the whipped cream over the chilled pie. Optionally chill for 30 minutes to firm the cream or up to several hours.
  2. Just before serving, decorate the pie with pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup if you like. Slice into wedges and serve. A small offset spatula is a great tool for getting slices of pie out of the pan. The pie is best within the first 2 days of baking but extra pie will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.
Notes
Ultra-pasteurized milk and cream will make the smoothest custard and cream that doesn’t weep; I prefer Organic Valley brand.

I vastly prefer the taste of homemade winter squash puree here rather than canned. To make your own, halve a medium-sized butternut squash and leave the seeds in for now (they’re easier to remove after baking). Place the squash cut-side down on a lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400ºF until very tender, 30-45 minutes. Let cool, remove and discard the seeds, and puree smooth in a food processor. You’ll have enough for 2 or 3 pies. The puree can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Make ahead: The crust can be wrapped well and frozen, baked or unbaked, for up to several weeks. The pie can be assembled and refrigerated 1 day ahead. The whipped cream can be made up to 1 day ahead; store it separately in a container and rewhip if needed before garnishing the pie. Just before serving, sprinkle with the pecans, nutmeg, and maple, if using.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie

8 thoughts on “Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Pie”

  1. I applaud your efforts in getting involved directly. This is all one can do, really… it is the antidote. Thank you for mobilize America and for your nudge (I’ve done a bit of volunteering, but I can do more). Although much was accomplished this election cycle, we’ve still a very long road ahead to 2020. Now, about this pie… I just want to faceplant!

    1. Aw thanks! You might try a seed such as pumpkin or sunflower, ground as finely as possible. Or you could use a cookie crust instead. :) No Feastly events on the horizon as I’ve got my hands full with other projects, but they were such fun. Thank you for asking and for the sweet note!

    1. I wondered whether this would work! If you try it, please let me know how it turns out. To test, you might try a half batch of just the pudding and see if you like it. :) If you’re looking for a dairy free filling, you might also try this cashew-based one.

  2. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it yesterday for a Thanksgiving guest who has recently developed an egg allergy. She was so happy to have a pumpkin pie she could eat! I also made a conventional pumpkin pie, and actually those who tried both preferred the egg-free version. It was a big hit!!!

    1. Love this recipe synergy Allegra! Eggs have a muting effect on flavors, so I agree that the egg-free pudding tastes lighter and brighter. So glad it was a hit! <3

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