Despite our warm weather the leaves are beginning to turn and the pro-and-anti Pumpkin Spice Latte factions are creating almost as much controversy as the election. In other words it feels like fall, and it is time to eat all the winter squash! Pumpkin is great (I am in the pro-PSL camp) but butternut squash is my personal favorite. I came up with this recipe idea because I wanted to eat pie without turning on the oven, and I was really surprised at how wonderful they are–crunchy crust, creamy filling, and easy to cut and serve. Bonus points for being vegan, Paleo, and much lower in sugar than the traditional pie I was craving.
The secret to having a filling that sets up like a pie, but with no eggs and no baking, is one of my go-to ingredients for Paleo desserts: coconut butter. Coconut butter is simply coconut that is ground into a paste and it is solid at room temperature, so I thought it might add just enough stability to the butternut squash puree to give it that pie filling texture. I was right! I love it when that happens.
I used a can of Farmer’s Market brand organic butternut puree, which I like because they have cans with no BPA. If you are not a fan of butternut you can use pumpkin puree instead and it should work well. Pumpkin puree is usually made from other types of winter squash (including butternut), not from pumpkins, but it is slightly sweeter and thinner in texture. I also made these with a relatively small amount of coconut sugar but you can use brown sugar if you like, and you can increase the amounts if you want a sweeter dessert.
- 1 1/2 cup pecan pieces
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbls coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- pinch of salt
- 15 ounces of butternut squash puree (about two cups)
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup coconut butter, warmed to liquid
- Put the pecan pieces in a food processor along with the coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbls coconut sugar, and a tiny pinch of salt. Pulse until you have a slightly chunky mix. Firmly press the pecan mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.
- In a medium saucepan, warm the butternut squash puree with the coconut sugar and cinnamon. When it is just at a simmer, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and coconut butter. Whisk until the coconut butter is completely incorporated.
- Spread the butternut mixture over the pecan crust. Refrigerate for at least two hours, then cut into squares and serve. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
Thanks for reading,