It wouldn’t really seem like Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie on the table, but this delicious tradition can present a challenge for kosher folks. Most pumpkin pie recipes contain dairy– either cream or evaporated milk or half-and-half. While dairy products add a nice creaminess to the pie, you cannot serve them alongside a kosher meat meal because milk products and meat cannot be served together in a strictly kosher household. If you’re serving turkey or any other meat at your Thanksgiving meal, you’ll need a yummy dairy free pumpkin pie recipe (eggs are considered neutral in kosher law, so they’re allowed).
My pareve pumpkin pie is a delicious solution to this problem. It also happens to be a great recipe for people who are watching their fat and cholesterol; non-dairy milk substitutes are a healthier alternative to cream. And if you’re watching your gluten intake, I’ve included a special crust just for you!
People often ask me why I have a gluten free category on my website– after all, gluten free food is not particularly “Jewish.” I pay attention to the gluten issue because a rapidly growing number of people have recently been diagnosed with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance (including some of my blog readers!). A good friend of mine was diagnosed with Celiac last year, and she’s had a tough time transitioning to a gluten-free diet. While talking with her about the issue, I realized that many Sephardic Jewish dishes are naturally gluten-free; they often include rice, legumes, and healthy oils without any grains. I also discovered there are very few resources for people who want to cook kosher and gluten free. It can be a tough combination.
Today’s recipe can easily be made gluten-free. Make sure your cornstarch and vegan butter substitute are certified GF. The gingersnap crust is also gluten free if you use GF gingersnaps. Mary’s Gone Crackers Gingersnaps are organic, gluten free and very tasty. If you’re keeping kosher, make sure you double check the hechsher. The Mary’s Gone Crackers gingersnaps available in The Shiksa Market are dairy free and the OU website database lists them as Pareve. If you want to make your own crust that is both gluten free AND pareve, check out Gluten Free Girl’s recipe for homemade ginger snaps– just substitute margarine for butter and you’ll have a pareve GF cookie.
Of course, if you’re not concerned about the gluten you can make the crust with regular pareve gingersnaps. You can also skip the gingersnap crust and use your favorite pie crust recipe instead… or use a pareve pre-made shell like this one:
I am totally willing to admit that I use pre-made crusts once in a while. When making a big meal for lots of hungry guests, a Shiksa must choose her shortcuts wisely! This filling will work great with any bakeable crust, so just pick your favorite and go with it.
And of course, if you’re kosher-vegetarian you can always substitute real butter and cream for the margarine and almond/rice/soy milk. Blog reader Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill recommended coconut milk as another dairy-free milk alternative, and I think it would work great in this recipe. Enjoy!
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PAREVE PUMPKIN PIE WITH GINGERSNAP CRUST
10 oz. pareve gingersnaps (use GF gingersnaps for a gluten free crust)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp melted margarine/vegan butter substitute
Pareve Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 1/2 cup pareve unsweetened almond, rice, or soy milk (divided)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp melted margarine/vegan butter substitute
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of cloves
You will also need: Food processor, deep pie dish (9 inch diameter) or two shallow 7-8 inch pie plates, blender or immersion blender (optional)
Kosher Key: Pareve
To make crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Pulse gingersnaps together in the food processor until they crumble. Add brown sugar, salt, and melted margarine. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides. Process again for 15-30 seconds longer until the crumbs are evenly moistened and clumping together.
Pour mixture into a deep 9 inch pie plate or dish, then pat the mixture firmly and evenly onto the bottom and sides.
Bake pie shell for 10 minutes till partially baked. Remove from oven and re-seal any cracks that have formed by pressing the crust together gently with your fingertips. Cool to room temperature before filling.
To make pie filling:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
The easiest way I’ve found to make a smooth, well-blended pie filling is to blend it. First, prep your thickener. Mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of the almond, rice, or soy milk till the cornstarch is completely dissolved in the liquid.
Pour all of your filling ingredients, including the dissolved cornstarch, into a blender. Blend all ingredients together until creamy smooth (about 60 seconds). Alternatively, you can pour the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and blend with an immersion blender or a whisk… just make sure all ingredients are very well blended.
Pour mixture into a saucepan. Heat over medium for 9-10 minutes until the mixture is heated through and just starting to thicken and bubble around the edges.
Pour the mixture into into your choice of crust. Smooth it across the top with a spatula. This recipe is written for a deep 9 inch pie dish, but you can use it to fill two shallow 7 or 8 inch pie dishes if you prefer. Fill the dishes almost to the top, leaving a little crust peeking over the edges.
Tent the pie with foil, making sure to leave plenty of space between the surface of the pie and the foil. If you put the foil too close, it will make the top of the pie messy when you peel it off.
Place pie carefully onto the middle rack of your oven (don’t let the filling splash out!). Let it bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and let it continue to bake for 10-15 minutes longer until it sets and only jiggles slightly when you wiggle it. Crack the oven door (I stick a wooden spoon in the crack to keep the door from closing all the way). Turn off the oven and let the pie cool slowly in the oven for 45 minutes—this will help prevent the top from cracking.
Remove pie from the oven and let it cool completely to room temperature (this will take 2-3 hours) or chill in the refrigerator before cutting and serving.