Mini pumpkin pies with spelt crust + coconut whipped cream

Mini pumpkin pies

In a few days, Thom and I will be hosting our First Annual Orphan Thanksgiving Extravaganza. Which is basically a fancy way of saying we’re having all of our friends over, who don’t have families in the area, to eat, drink, and give thanks to those people who decided to celebrate their first harvest, so many moons ago. We have no big plans, but I suspect we’ll be watching too much football (I loathe football), drinking too much beer (bluh, give me sauvignon blanc – better yet, a gin rickey), and eating too much pumpkin pie (heavy on the whipped cream, please).

At the end of the day, we’ll all crowd around the table and disregard the fact that some of us are meat eaters and some of us shudder at the very thought of eating animal flesh. That some of us are crazy ass liberals, who think that women should be able to make decisions for themselves, and some of us are more conservative with our beliefs (that might be a lie, I think we’re all left-leaning hippies). We’ll ignore the fact that some of us only like whipped cream from that plastic container and some of us think you’re downright crazy if you eat anything other than whipped cream of the fresh variety. But, some of us are just happy there’s whipped cream to go with our pie. All beliefs and opinions aside, we’ll unite to give thanks for the warm food on our plates, the kind folks with whom we’re sharing it (even if they do only eat whipped cream from plastic containers), and this humble world in which we live. Happy Thanksgiving (in three days), American friends. But let’s remember to give thanks every day, k?

Spelt pie doughPumpkin filling and spelt doughMini pumpkin piesMini pumpkin pies and coconut whipped creamMini pumpkin pies

I spent all Saturday afternoon (seriously, ALL afternoon) working on this recipe. The first couple of rounds I was adamant about using tofu to give the pies that perfect pumpkin pie texture, and it just wasn’t cutting it. So I decided out with the tofu and in with the full-fat coconut milk. Tapioca starch helped to thicken it, and a tiny bit of xanthan gum aided in stabilizing it. These little pies are oh so perfect, and I really could not be more excited to share this recipe with you.

Notes: This pie dough is tougher than your typical pie dough – if you want it to be super smooth, replace the flour with unbleached flour. If you don’t have coconut milk, replace it with soy cream (almond milk may work, too). And FYI, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground ginger + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg + 1/8 tsp ground cloves = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t have xanthan gum, just omit it – I added it because, when mixed with starch, it mimics eggs and creates a really awesome texture. Speaking of starch, you could also use potato starch in place of the tapioca. I like arrowroot powder, too.

UPDATE: I no longer use vegan butter. I use this coconut oil pie crust recipe, instead.


2 cups spelt flour
1 tablespoon cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons vegan butter
, cold
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening, cold
6-8 tablespoons filtered water, ice cold

1 cup pumpkin puree
6 tablespoons sucanat
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, or two knives, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix with your fingers until a dough starts to form. It’s not going to be a perfectly smooth dough, FYI. So don’t spaz out over its unsightly cracks. Divide the dough in half, pat into discs, then wrap with plastic; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Allow the dough to reach room temperature before using.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the pumpkin, sucanat, and coconut milk; whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a light boil then remove from heat and sift in the tapioca starch, xanthan gum, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt; whisk vigirously for 20-30 seconds. Set the mixture aside to cool. This can also be made ahead and refrigerated, in an air tight container, for up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil one 12 cup non-stick muffin pan and one 6 cup non-stick muffin pan; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with spelt flour. Roll out one of the discs of dough until it is about 1/8″ thick and use a 3″ round, fluted cookie cutter to cut the dough. Transfer the dough pieces to the muffin wells, and shape them to fit. Repeat process with the second disc of dough.

Bake the mini pie shells at 350˚F for 4 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Remove from oven and spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin pie filing into each of the shells. Bake at 350˚F for 10 minutes. Allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate in an air tight container for up to three days. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Yield: 18 mini pies


1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 tbsp powdered sugar (or more, if desired)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Remove the coconut milk from the refrigerator and scoop out the thick, white layer of fat on top. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the coconut water, then store the remainder for later use (in smoothies), if desired. Using a handheld electric mixer, cream the coconut milk fat, 1 tablespoon of coconut water, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed for 1-2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Use immideately.

Yield: about 1 cup


  • Reply Rachel ( 19 November 2012 at 3:48 PM

    These are so cute! Perfect size for when you just need a little bite of dessert. Love the cut outs on top too =)

  • Reply Ashley 19 November 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Adorable. Send all of the pumpkin pie filling my way. When it comes to whipped cream…I’ll take any kind I’m presented with. ;) Enjoy hosting! We’ll be in Denver with a couple dozen of our closest friends as well!

  • Reply Abby 19 November 2012 at 4:14 PM

    I LOVE these. I’ve been doing research on how to mimic vegan pumpkin pie, and this is the answer!

  • Reply Richa 19 November 2012 at 7:02 PM

    those are the cutest and i bet the tastiest ever mini pies!! and i envy all the peeps who will get to eat them at your first annual orphan TG extravaganza! that just sounds like one big fun event!:)
    Happy thanksgiving Ashlae.

  • Reply Shannon 19 November 2012 at 8:59 PM

    These are adorable! I went the agar/cornstarch route in my pumpkin pies this year, but I think xanthan gum is a really great solution.

  • Reply lifehandsyoulimes 19 November 2012 at 11:19 PM

    this was absolutely exactly what I needed today! My mom is putting on a demonstration for surviving thanksgiving on a vegan diet with samples of vegan goodies -the crust is chilling, the filling is cooling, and your recipe is being printed off (with your website being credited) as I type all ready for tonight! Thank you for the perfect little pies!

    • Reply lifehandsyoulimes 20 November 2012 at 3:29 AM

      they were an absolute hit!! Amazing amazing amazing! You are a genius!

  • Reply Deepshikha D. 19 November 2012 at 11:39 PM

    These pies look too perfect, and so delicious! Your thanksgiving sounds pretty wild, and fun! Haha, the name you gave it was pretty funny too :)

  • Reply Colleen / Inspired to Share 20 November 2012 at 1:14 AM

    These look amazing and I loved how you described Thanksgiving with the left-leaning hippies. ;) So happy to discover your blog!

  • Reply thelittleloaf 20 November 2012 at 7:24 AM

    Amazing pies and it sounds like you’re going to have a wonderful Thanksgivig. I adore coconut whipped cream – these pies are the perfect excuse to eat a ton of it :-)

  • Reply Chef Amber Shea 20 November 2012 at 5:31 PM

    These look unreal. Bookmarking!
    Have a fantastic T-Day!

  • Reply Suzanne @ Roll With It 20 November 2012 at 11:10 PM

    I loathe football too. Let’s face it, I’m a football widow once the season starts. These look amazing and I love the maple leaf top. Have a great American Thanksgiving!

  • Reply Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack! 21 November 2012 at 8:17 AM

    Why are mini things so damn cute?!?! I would (probably) have a hard time eating just one of these, especially since I’m the type of person that will substitute an entire meal with dessert. Although, I really don’t see a problem with that! ;) Great job on the recipe, Ashlae!

  • Reply Kimberley 21 November 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Weirdly, when I began to read this I got an intense whiff of pumpkin pie spice. If only my computer were capable of such magic. Anyway, these are adorable and I’m right there with ya – no football, pretty please, more wine, and cheers to coming together around the table despite differences! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply moderngirlnutrition 27 November 2012 at 2:17 AM

    Love this post- and your blog! These little pies are too cute:)

  • Reply Vanessa 27 November 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Looks delicious!

  • Reply vanilla bean blog 30 November 2012 at 4:40 AM

    Love! I have been using spelt flour so much – it’s so great. These are lovely little beauties.

  • Reply Kathryne 5 December 2012 at 8:07 PM

    These are so pretty, Ashley. Hope you’re doing well.

  • Reply Mary @ Fit and Fed 6 December 2012 at 5:52 AM

    Nice! Love the gorgeous fall-themed cutouts on the top crust. I’ve made a number of tofu-containing pumpkin pies in my day, never quite got that recipe right either. In later attempts I used soy or almond milk. But that was before the trend to coconut milk, I’m sure that it would be a very worthy alternative.

  • Reply The Weekly Round-Up: 11/10/2013 21 April 2014 at 3:13 PM

    […] you’re looking for healthier dessert options, try a crustless pumpkin pie or serve mini pumpkin pies (just a few bites […]

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