Pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust and cashew cream topping

Nov 14, 2018
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

Here’s your Thanksgiving dessert. What would the holiday be without pumpkin pie, which has always been my favorite part of the meal (well, maybe stuffing is slightly better). My goal was to create a pumpkin pie using a creamy cashew base, which allows the flavor of the pumpkin and the warm spices to predominate. My husband just had his first piece of it and said, “That pie is too good!”

Ingredients for pie:

1 nine-inch gingersnap crust (recipe follows)

3/4 cup whole raw cashews

1 cup plain nondairy milk

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin purée, or 1 3/4 cup roasted and mashed pumpkin

3 Tbsp. brandy or cognac (optional)

Directions for pie:

1. Prepare gingersnap crust (recipe follows).

2. Soak the cashews in plenty of water in the refrigerator for about eight hours to soften and hydrate. If you’re impatient or forget to plan ahead, you can just pour boiling water over the cashews and let them soak for 1 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

4. Drain the cashews and add them to a high-powered blender with the nondairy milk. Process for two full minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and process until completely smooth. The mixture will be quite thick, so occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula and stir the contents back down into the blades as necessary. Use a tamper tool if provided with your blender.

5. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell and smooth the surface with a spatula or large spoon.

6. Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean (do not exceed 60 minutes).

7. Remove the pie and cool completely on a wire rack (until the underside of the pie plate no longer feels warm). Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled and firm before slicing and serving. Try to avoid laying the plastic wrap in direct contact with the surface of the pie, as condensation will result. Top individual slices with a dollop of cashew cream (recipe follows).

Gingersnap crust


1 3/4 cup gingersnap crumbs

4 Tbsp. nondairy butter, such as Earth Balance, melted


Combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter and press them firmly into a deep 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for eight minutes. Let cool completely before filling.

Cashew cream


1/2 cup whole raw cashews

1 cup nondairy milk

2 Tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted

3/4 tsp. lactic acid powder (order online)


1. Place the cashews, agave nectar, vanilla, and nondairy milk in a high-powered blender and blend on high for two full minutes.

2. Gradually add the coconut oil and blend for one minute.

3. Add the lactic acid powder and blend for only a few seconds, until mixture thickens. Do not continue to blend once it has thickened.

4. Store the cashew cream in the refrigerator. It will continue to thicken as it chills.

You might want to make the cashew cream before the pie, because then you don’t have to fuss over cleaning the blender too well in between.

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