Holiday season is all about baking, especially pies. I have always LOVED pecan pies, but you can never find a good pecan pie that’s also vegan AND without refined sugar. So, I decided to make one and MAN it was absolutely amazing.
Ditch the sugar - use a natural sweetener instead... DATE PASTE!!
Usually I use syrup or agave in my desserts (to replace the refined sugar),but I wanted something that would compliment the crust nicely, so I decided to make date paste. Dates are an amazing natural sweetener (probably the healthiest) and are super delicious. The paste is really easy to make and you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 months.
To make the date paste:
soak the 2 cups of pitted dates (about 20 dates) in 4 cups of water for about 15-20 minutes
Transfer the dates to a high speed blender with 1 - 1.5 cups of the soaking water.
Blend until smooth and store in an air tight jar in the fridge
What about the pie crust?
Luckily, Keebler makes a ready made Graham Pie crust that's also Vegan (but it does have a lot of refined sugar, other processed ingredients). I've just made my nuts & dates pie crust and set it in these super handy aluminum pie pans.
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1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup date paste
2 tbsp coconut sugar
3 tbsp corn starch + 1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp vegan butter (skip to make oil free)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup pecan halves
Preheat oven at 350º
In a saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water, maple syrup, sugar, and date paste to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes
Make your corn starch slurry by adding 1/4 cup water with 3 tbsp corn starch and mix thoroughly with a fork.
While stirring the syrup mixture, slowly add in the corn starch slurry and mix well until the syrup thickens
Remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla extract, and chopped pecans - mix well
Pour the filling into your prepared crust and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, cool at room temperature for 2 hours and then chill completely in the fridge