Can you believe that I have never had pecan pie before? I’m assuming for some Americans that is shocking as it’s an American Thanksgiving staple, but my family never ate it. So when Brittany of Real Sustenance announced that the themed for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free was Thanksgiving, I thought why not try a Thanksgiving staple that I’ve never made before? I guess I could have made an actual pie, but bars are smaller, less fussy and easier to photograph!
From the recipes I first found, I was shocked at the amount and kind of sugar that goes into many of them – 1 c. of corn syrup and at least 1/2 a cup of sugar for one cup of pecans? No thank you! So obviously, I wanted to make my attempt at pecan pie much, much less sweet so I didn’t end up with a headache. This version uses about 1/2 c. of sweetener in total and they are still sweet, but not sickeningly so. I was first inspired by these Vegan Pecan Pie Bars by The Almond Flower – they look so simple and delicious! However, when I asked Mr. Bean about the consistency of the filling and he said “soft” – most likely due to the eggs – and I wasn’t sure if that recipe would give me the texture I wanted. Further searching came up with this Sugar Free Pecan Pie Recipe that uses flax meal and arrowroot powder instead of eggs. It seemed to have worked as Mr. Bean said that the texture of the filling was almost spot on! Hurrah!
Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Pecan Pie Bars
2 c. blanched almond flour
4 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
dash of salt
1 3/4 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 – 2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar, if desired
1/4 c. coconut oil
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp. tapioca starch (could use arrowroot to make grain free)
2 tbsp. nut milk (or whatever kind of milk you want)
Salt for pecans
- To make crust, turn oven to 350F and line with parchment paper or grease an 8×8″ pan.
- Mix ingredients in a medium sized bowl until combined.
- Press into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust starts to turn brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- For the filling: In a small-medium sized pot, mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla extract.
- Bring pot up to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking it frequently. (The coconut oil and sweeteners will not mix very much as one is polar and the other is not. Don’t worry as the nut milk slurry will act as an emulsifier.)
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. (I stuck mine in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes, giving it the occasional stir to prevent any coconut oil from hardening.)
- Meanwhile, toast the pecans in a pan on medium heat for about 5 – 8 minutes or until they smell like roasted pecans, stirring frequently. Once toasted, remove from heat and sprinkle with salt.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed meal, tapioca starch and nut milk. Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Once the sugar-oil mixture is cooler, whisk in the nut milk mixture until combined and smooth.
- Mix in the chopped pecans and mix until combined. Pour onto the cooled shortbread and distribute evenly.
- Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the filling begins to set and loses its shine. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.
- Before serving, chill in the fridge for at least an hour – the colder they are, the easier they are to cut and serve!
What is your favourite Thanksgiving Staple?