Egg-less pumpkin pie suitable for vegans

Bathed in cinnamon scented steam, a flaky crusted pumpkin pie is part of any picturesque Thanksgiving feast.

Enter the egg. Despised by vegans, those who are allergic, and some taste buds alike, this bakers’ binding agent prevents some unfortunates from enjoying this seasonal delicacy. However, whatever your reason for being anti-egg, with some simple substitutions, you can treat your self and your loved ones to a scrumptious piece of pumpkin pie.

Botanically, pumpkin is a fruit (it starts as a flower, matures to a fleshy, seed-containing shell). One of this fruit’s most useful properties is that the rinds, the parts that are used to make pumpkin pie, are dense, high in fiber, and have binding proteins called pectins. In fact, pureed pumpkin rind is such an effective binding agent that a fourth of a cup of the orange stuff can be used as an egg substitute in cookies, muffins or quick breads. Pumpkin alone, however, cannot bake into traditional pumpkin pie consistency.

Eggs are used in baking because egg proteins thicken as they bake to hold all other ingredients together. In order to simulate the effect of eggs so that your pumpkin pie does not turn into crusted pumpkin soup, there are many options. Store-bought egg substitute, measured according to the instructions on the package, works just as well as the real thing. If you intend to boost your omega 3 fatty acids, 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed mixed thoroughly in 3 tablespoons of water equals one egg. A tablespoon or two of corn starch can also provide the desirable pie consistency. One tablespoon of powdered milk or soy milk also provides the required protein in lieu of the 200 mg of cholesterol in a calcium-coated shell. Using a quarter cup of high pectin fruit such as applesauce or mashed banana would have the same effect as adding more pumpkin (filling would not solidify), and would alter pie flavor.

Here is a recipe for pumpkin pie filling with the substitutions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare preferred pie crust for filling.

1 1/2 cup sugar,
1 tsp. salt,
2 tsp. cinnamon,
1 tsp. ginger,
1/2 tsp. cloves

Mix well in a small bowl

In a separate mixing bowl, combine:

Egg substitute as directed
or 8 tablespoons ground flaxseed thoroughly mixed with 12 tablespoons water.
or 8 tablespoons cornstarch 
or 8 tablespoons powdered milk or soy milk (It is important to thoroughly mix these with the other wet ingredients).
1 29 oz. can unsweetened pumpkin (or 4 cups of strained, homemade pumpkin puree)
Two 12 oz. cans of evaporated milk.

Mix wet and dry ingredients thoroughly, pour ingredients into pie shell, bake for 40-50 minutes, allow pie to cool before serving and enjoy.

About Author: