Pumpkin Pie Gets A Modern New Look

The classic American recipe gets a little lighter—without losing the flavor.

With the holiday season upon us, it’s all about entertaining with delicious, impressive dishes. We’ve partnered with Sarah Forte of Sprouted Kitchen to bring you recipes, ideas, and tips inspired by the season.

For people who have a sweet tooth but are interested in making desserts more wholesome, an easy strategy is to substitute healthier ingredients—like using nut meals instead of flour, coconut oil for butter, and dates for sugar—whenever possible. In this recipe, the base resembles a granola cookie, or broken-down granola—it’s crunchy from the nuts and just barely sweet. Add the crystallized ginger for an extra bit of spice, though the crust works perfectly fine without it.

At family holidays, many people load up with the meal and are so full by dessert that they pass on it altogether, or only want the tiniest bite—leaving plenty of leftovers. By making the classic pumpkin pie a little more virtuous, you don’t have to feel guilty about having a sliver with coffee at breakfast the next morning.

If you want to keep the entire dessert dairy-free (the crust and filling already are), then top it with the whipped coconut cream below. As an alternative, the maple whipping cream is a more standard cream, but does contain dairy. 

To help keep the whipped cream from falling, add a couple tablespoons of mascarpone, an Italian cream cheese, to help stabilize it. This way if it needs to be transported or made in advance, the topping will stay nice until after dinner if stored in the fridge. The tart can be made in a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom or in a springform pan. 



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Pumpkin Pie Tart (gluten-free, dairy-free)

“By making the classic pumpkin pie a little more virtuous, you don’t have to feel guilty about having a sliver with your coffee at breakfast the next morning.” – Sara Forte

Servings: 12




1 cup pecan pieces

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup crystallized ginger

6-7 soft Medjool dates, pitted and halved

1/4 cup coconut oil, softened

1/4 teaspoon sea salt



1 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1 cup full fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup natural cane sugar

Turbinado sugar or toasted pecan pieces, for garnish


Coconut Whipping Cream:

1 14-oz. can full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Maple Whipping Cream:

8 ounces heavy whipping cream, chilled

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons real maple syrup


For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare an 8” or 9” springform pan with the bottom lip upside down, so the tart is easy to remove. Line pan with parchment paper and grease with coconut oil.

In a food processor, pulse pecans and oats together until a coarse meal forms. Add ginger, dates, coconut oil, and salt, and pulse until it begins to stick together. You should be able to press it together between your fingertips; add one more date if needed. Press mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and chill for 10-20 minutes. Prick the bottom with a fork and bake for 10 minutes until just toasted on top. Remove to cool completely.

While the crust cools, make the cake. Bump the oven up to 350°F. Combine pumpkin puree and eggs in a bowl, and whisk well to combine. Add coconut milk, vanilla, pie spice, sea salt, both sugars, and mix well. Spread on top of the crust and smooth the top. Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes until just set. Remove to set and cool completely.

This much can be done up to two days in advance, covered with plastic wrap and kept in the fridge.

Once cooled, garnish cake with whipped cream or coconut cream, and turbinado sugar or toasted pecans, and serve.


For the coconut cream:

Scoop the firm coconut cream layer off the top of coconut milk and reserve for smoothies or another use. In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, blend the chunks of coconut cream until broken down. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat another minute or two until light and creamy. Coconut whipped cream is best served immediately. It can be stored, covered, in the fridge—but it will turn hard, so you will need to whip it again to soften.


For the maple cream:

In a stand or electric mixer, whisk cold cream until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and maple, and whip to combine.

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