Pumpkin Pie Tarts
A delicious vegan & gluten-free autumnal dessert.
For the crust:
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 3/4 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons smooth sunflower seed butter (pour off oil before measuring)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons water, if needed to bind dough
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup canned full-fat coconut cream*
- 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin purée
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sunflower seed butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, to taste (a mix of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, ground cloves)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
* Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk for about 24 hours before you begin this recipe. When ready, open the can and carefully scoop out 1/2 cup of the white coconut cream making sure not to use any of the coconut water.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grab 4 (4-inch diameter) baking paper cups, or 12 standard muffin paper liners and set aside. You can also use a 7- to 9-inch springform cake pan greased and lined with a circle of parchment paper.
- Add the sunflower seeds into a skillet and toast the seeds over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. Remove from heat.
- For the crust: Add the toasted sunflower seeds, oats, and salt into a food processor and process until finely chopped, resembling a coarse flour. Now, add the melted oil, maple syrup, and sunflower seed butter, and process until the mixture comes together into a heavy dough. The dough should stick together very easily when pressed between your fingers. If it's still a tad too dry, add the optional water and process again until it comes together. I find that I always need 2 teaspoons of water, but it'll depend on your ingredients’ moisture content.
- Divide the dough equally between the liners, crumbling it all over each base. (Note: I reserved about 1/2 cup of the dough for sprinkling on the pies when serving.) Lightly wet your fingers. Starting at the centre, press the dough into the base to form a crust. If the dough starts to stick to your hands at any time, lightly wet your hands and shake off the excess water. Once the crust is all pressed in, poke the base with a fork about 2 to 3 times to allow the air to escape while baking. I place the 4 liners onto a baking sheet so it's easy to remove them from the oven.
- Bake the crusts for around 10 to 12 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Place baking sheet on a cooling rack and cool the crusts for at least 15 to 20 minutes, or longer if you have the time.
- For the filling: Open the chilled can of coconut milk. Scoop off 1/2 cup of the white coconut cream only (not the water) and place it into a blender. (You can save the remaining contents of the can for a smoothie or other use.) Add the pumpkin purée, maple syrup, melted oil, sunflower seed butter, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice (to taste; I use 2 teaspoons), and salt. Blend, starting at a low speed and increasing the speed, until smooth.
- Divide the filling equally among the cooled crusts. Carefully, transfer the baking sheet (or muffin tin, if making 12 mini tarts) into the freezer on a flat surface. Chill until firm, about 3 to 5 hours. There's no need to cover it.
- After the tarts are solid, carefully remove the paper liners. Here you can transfer the pies to the fridge for a mousse-like texture, but I prefer the texture when frozen after sitting on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- This pie filling softens a great deal at room temperature, so it's best not to leave leftovers on the counter. Return them to the fridge or freezer for best results.