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What Is Vegan Pumpkin Pie?

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  • Written By: C. K. Lanz
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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A vegan pumpkin pie is a version of this dessert made without any animal-derived products or other ingredients that many vegans eschew, like honey and refined sugar. A vegan diet does not include any animal products or byproducts like eggs or dairy milk. Honey and refined sugar are also not traditionally considered to be vegan, although some vegans do consume them as a matter of personal choice. Therefore, a pumpkin pie made with refined sugar, honey, or an animal byproduct like butter will likely not be appropriate for vegans to eat.

Traditionally, pumpkin pie consists of pumpkin pulp blended with sugar and spices and baked in a pie crust or shell. Common spices include nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Some recipes sweeten the filling with honey rather than sugar. Pumpkin pie is often served with whipped cream.

Pie crust ingredients can vary depending on how sweet the baker wants the pie to taste. Typical ingredients include flour, butter, and salt. Sugar is added for a sweeter crust, while shortening can be used in addition to or instead of butter. Vegan pumpkin pie crust will not contain dairy butter.

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Vegans follow a diet that avoids animal products and byproducts. For many vegans, this includes honey as well as refined sugar. As honey is a bee product and bees are living creatures, honey is not traditionally considered to be vegan. Some refined sugars are filtered with bone char, a product made of charred animal bones. As a result, some vegans will not eat refined sugar filtered through an animal byproduct.

As some vegans do not eat honey or refined sugar, a pumpkin pie that contains these or animal-derived ingredients will not be a vegan pumpkin pie acceptable to all vegans. Making minor substitutions can ensure that the vegan pumpkin pie is suitable for all vegans. For example, instead of honey, vegans often use agave nectar. This sweet syrup is derived from the agave plant.

There are many substitutes for refined sugar, including beet, date, and turbinado, or raw sugar. Molasses, sucanat, and raw sugar are common as well. Vegetable shortening or vegan butter can be used to make the crust rather than a dairy ingredient. Vegan butter is typical available at health food stores and increasingly in supermarkets.

Pumpkin pie is typically served during the fall and winter when pumpkins are traditionally harvested. This dessert is common in the United States and Canada at holiday meals like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Canned pumpkin pie filling is available throughout the year in most supermarkets. Vegan pumpkin pie can be served just like the traditional version without a noticeable difference in taste or texture. A vegan whipped cream should be used instead of the dairy version, however, because vegans do not eat dairy products.

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