Healthier (best ever, life-changing, OMG) Pecan Pie
What DO you call a Pecan Pie that eschews the classic refined sugar and dairy ingredients for (slightly) healthier alternatives? Don’t get me wrong, this is still a sweet pie, but enough has been changed that there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get through one slice only to decide you may have another small bite or two… or perhaps three, or maybe just another half a slice now, and a bit for breakfast. And you should know by now how I feel about pie for breakfast.
- 3 cups pecans, divided (375 g)
- 1 cup medjool dates pitted, (200 g; approx 12 large)
- 1 cup rice syrup (250 ml)
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil (60 ml)
- ½ tsp flakey sea salt
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (7g)
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 unbaked, refrigerated Vegan Whole Spelt Crust (link in Notes section), or other pie crust of your choosing
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Pick out a scant 1 cup (120g) of the nicest whole pecan halves and set aside in a small bowl. Spread remaining pecans on a baking tray and bake 8 minutes until toasted. Cool and chop, or crumble, the toasted pecans into smaller pieces.
To a blender or food processor add the pitted dates, rice syrup, coconut oil, salt, nutritional yeast and vanilla. Pulse until well pureed. Add the eggs and blend again until just combined and smooth.
Drizzle three spoonfuls of filling onto the whole pecan halves and stir to coat. Pour the remaining filling into a bowl with the toasted pecan pieces and stir well.
Pour filling into the unbaked pie shell and place on a tray to catch any drips. Arrange whole pecans in a flower shape, working from the centre out.
Bake 30 minutes, then cover loosely with foil to prevent over-browning and bake a further 15 minutes until firm on top with a tiny wobble in the centre.
Cool completely – overnight if possible – to allow filling to set. Cut into small slices (significantly smaller than in the photos…) to serve.
COOK’S NOTES & SUBSTITUTIONS
- I cut the pie in the pics and the video on the same day it was baked, after a night in the fridge it was nicely firmed up. If you do refrigerate it let it come to room temp to serve, unless of course you’re eating it straight from the fridge the morning after the night before, in which case it’s an entirely moot point.
- Nutritional yeast adds an umami, buttery undertone that makes all the difference, it’s worth seeking out if it doesn’t live in your pantry already. If you simply can’t get it you could use a non-dairy butter substitute for the coconut oil (equal quantity) and leave the nutritional yeast out all together.
- If you don’t eat much sugar at all feel free to reduce the dates to 10 or even 8, then taste before baking and blend in more if necessary. I use fresh dates because they’re larger, don’t need to be soaked and I prefer the flavour to packaged dried dates. You can always use the packaged ones if it’s all you can get, but soak 15 mins in hot water before measuring (by cup or weight) to rehydrate them a bit, I don’t know how many you’ll need though.
- I highly recommend using the Vegan Whole Spelt Pie Crust seen here, but any un-baked (but bakeable) crust will suffice.
- NATURALLY: vegetarian // dairy free // soy free // gluten free with a gf crust // refined sugar free