With the holiday quickly approaching, I wanted nothing more than my traditional pumpkin pie. I am a pumpkin pie aficionado. Pumpkin anything really. So this one was near and dear to my heart 🙂
If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I realllllly don’t like using too many alternate ingredients in my cooking/baking. Rather, I prefer to take a non-vegan recipe and find ways to get the same result without the offending ingredient(s).
That being said, I decided to attempt the impossible using Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe as my test recipe. This, in and of itself, presents a few challenges. The first being evaporated milk. Evaporated milk is nothing more than milk with 60% of its liquid evaporated. Condensed milk is evaporated milk with sugar added. Libby’s recipe calls for evaporated milk, but I chose to make the condensed version. I feel like the added sugar aided in the thickening process.
So my experiment began here. I used almond milk for it’s thicker consistency and overall complementary flavor. Not a huge coconut fan, but you could use coconut milk (or really any non-dairy alternative) if you prefer. I would stay away from rice milk as it is rather thin and watery to begin with. If you try it and it works, let me know!
To that, I add sugar and salt. Over a medium-high heat, whisking frequently, I reduced the mixture by 60%. This is the time consuming part, but I was already working around in the kitchen and just had to tend to it occasionally. The best part is that the now condensed milk can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. And it should be refrigerated for at least two hours prior to using to be sure it reaches the correct consistency. I was skeptical, but the end result? Pretty much identical to canned sweetened condensed milk!
Click here to view the complete Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipe tutorial.
The rest of the recipe (aside from the eggs) remains exactly the same. I prepared the entire recipe up to this point and equally distributed the filling between four bowls.
I chose to try this pie using four popular methods of egg-replacers.
1. 1/2 C Silken Tofu, pureed until very smooth. The only way I ever really eat tofu, is as an ingredient and rarely on it’s own. If you can’t find the silken tofu, use soft tofu and blend, blend, blend until smooth. If you puree it enough, it should look like yogurt!
2. 1/2 C Silken Tofu, pureed until very smooth COMBINED with 2 Tbl Cornstarch.
3. 2 Tbl Ground Flax Seeds plus 6 Tbl Cold Water, allowed to sit in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes. It will be gelatinous similar to the consistency of an egg.
4. A Starch Mixture consisting of: 3 tsp Tapioca Starch, 3 tsp Potato Starch, 1/2 tsp Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum and 6 Tbl Water. Let rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to thicken and then whisk it until it appears lighter in color. It will also slightly increase in volume. The idea is to take advantage of the trapped air bubbles to aid in leavening in the same manner that eggs do.
While this one does require a few specialty ingredients, they can easily be found in most grocery stores these days. Any Whole Foods, Trader, Joes, etc. and of course, my go to…Amazon.com
Each of these work in very different ways and I was unsure how they would work in this custard-like dessert. I was not only looking for consistency that resembled the original, but also taste.
So how did they perform? Let’s take a look.
Here they all are before baking. Top Left = 1, Top Right = 2, Bottom Left = 3, Bottom Right = 4
You can see that 3 and 4 begin slightly thicker and darker, but all in all – pretty much the same.
Now here they are after baking and refrigerated overnight (sorry for the camera flash glare). Again, pretty consistent.
I cut a wedge out of each pie. If you had rearranged them, you would not have been able to discern which was which.
Then, a bite from each. Again, very similar but here is where you could taste the texture variances. To me, there was a clear winner. It was number 2. The Silken Tofu plus Cornstarch blend. It was the closest to the original as I could determine.
I do want to mention the runner up. That was number 4. This was the multiple starch mixture. During baking, this one showed the most potential as it had the correct rise, it just looked beautiful. But it was missing something in the end. I am going to do this one in the near future using this starch blend with tofu. I can’t give up on this one based on the appearance during baking. Wish I had snapped a pic…