This eggless pumpkin pie is not only incredibly delicious, but practically fool proof!
In fact, since this is an eggless pumpkin pie, it is not going to crack or fall like other pumpkin pies!
Believe it or not, eggs are the ingredient that causes pumpkins to fall and crack if it is overcooked.
So, while I do not recommend overcooking your pie in any case, without the eggs, it is not going to fall or crack if you do.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but even I have to admit it isn’t the easiest one… a lot of work does go into making the perfect Thanksgiving meal.
For me, it is a labor of love and I am all the more happy sitting around the table watching the family I feel so grateful for enjoying the meal my mom and I spent hours making.
Then, when the pumpkin pie is served, it is bitter sweet because I know everything is coming to an end, but my mom’s pumpkin pie is also my most beloved food – my mom makes the best pumpkin pie!
What makes my mom’s pumpkin pie so good is that it is sweeter than most recipes, which really helps bring all the other flavors out too.
In comparison, a regular pumpkin pie tastes boring and bland, and I simply will not eat it.
Pumpkin pie is actually made with pumpkin-based custard filling and custards use eggs as thickeners…
So I cannot tell you how excited I was when this eggless pumpkin pie came out perfect! It really tasted just like my mom’s pumpkin pie!
If you use coconut milk, then you can turn this eggless pumpkin pie into a heavenly vegan pumpkin pie!
If you’re looking for another eggless Thanksgiving classic, you may want to check out my eggless cornbread.
HISTORY OF PUMPKIN PIE
The pumpkin is native to North America and was served at the first Thanksgiving.
It was an early export from the New World to Europe, and pumpkin pie recipes could be found in seventeenth century English cookbooks.
Pumpkin pies made by early American colonists were very different than what we know today as pumpkin pie.
Their “pies” were actually savory soups made and served in a pumpkin rather than a sweet custard in a crust.
It was not until the early 1800s that the recipes appeared in American cookbooks and that pumpkin pie became a common addition to the Thanksgiving dinner.
At the same time in England, pumpkin “pies” were prepared by stuffing the pumpkin with apples, spices, and sugar, and then baking it whole.
WHY DO WE EAT PUMPKIN PIE ON THANKSGIVING?
This is actually due to the same incredible woman who is behind our celebrating Thanksgiving altogether: Sarah Josepha Hale.
Hale was a prominent writer and editor.
She wrote the children’s poem Mary Had a Little Lamb, helped found the American Ladies’ Magazine – which she used as a platform to promote women’s issues – and was the editor for Godey’s Ladys’ Book for more than 40 years, turning it into one of the most influential periodicals in the country.
While at Godey’s, Hale often wrote editorials and articles about the holidays, including Thanksgiving (despite it not being a holiday yet).
She believed that if Thanksgiving were passed as a federal holiday, it would help ease growing tensions and divisions between the North and South at the time.
Hale advocated for the national holiday for 17 years before it was successful. She wrote presidents Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan, who all ignored her.
However, this didn’t stop her. She published recipes for the holiday in her magazine so that women would know what to make for it. Among these recipes was pumpkin pie!
It was finally President Lincoln who listened, though he planned on declaring the holiday in April.
Hale wrote again, and within a week, Thanksgiving declared to be on the final Thursday in November.
He hoped, as Hale did, that it would help “heal the wounds of the nation.”
Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln halfway through the civil war.
However, since pumpkins were native to the North, southern states had no tradition of eating pumpkin pie, and so they saw it as a symbol of Yankee culture imposed on them.
So, they made sweet potato pie instead. This tradition still holds in the South today, just as pumpkin pie does in the North.
Blind Baking The Crust
Blind baking is a technique used to help prevent the crust from becoming soggy and has a crisp texture.
How to Blind Bake a crust
- Cover the crust in the pie pan with baking paper or tin foil
- Fill it with pie weights, sugar, beans, or pennies and bake at 375°F or 190°C for 30 minutes
- Remove the filling and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the bottom
The primary role of sugar is to be a sweetener. However, sugar also contributes to the tenderness and moistness of the baked good by absorbing and retaining moisture and helps create the golden brown color when baking as it caramelizes.
Recipes with more sugar often result in softer, moister textures. However, I learned the hard way that too much sugar leads to a sticky mess.
When it’s heated, sugar caramelizes, resulting in a rich, complex flavor and a brown color. This adds both flavor and color to baked goods and is also the process in which caramel sauce, dulce de leche, caramel candies, and regular candies are made.
When used in recipes containing yeast, the sugar is eaten by the yeast, producing carbon dioxide and causing the dough to rise.
Sugar also acts as a preservative in jams, jellies, and fruit preserves by reducing water activity and preventing microbial growth.
There are many different types of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, and demerara sugar.
When a recipe calls for “sugar” without specifying anything else, it’s referring to regular white sugar.
White sugar (sometimes called granulated sugar, table sugar, or white granulated sugar) is made of either beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process.
It is the easiest to find and most commonly used.
Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added to it.
It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.
When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.
In my recipes, you can use whatever type of brown sugar you have on hand, whether it is dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or demerara sugar – which is very common in Israel.
Just keep in mind that the flavor and color will be slightly different, depending on what you choose to use.
Turbinado sugar is better known as “raw sugar.” But, despite this name, the sugar is not really “raw.”
Instead, it’s partially refined sugar that retains some of the original molasses.
The term “raw sugar” may also give off the impression that it is somehow healthier.
In reality, turbinado sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.
Demerara sugar is very popular in Israel and is especially delicious in tea, but is also used for baking.
Unlike white sugar, demerara sugar undergoes minimal processing and retains some vitamins and minerals.
However, it is still not much healthier than white sugar.
Vanilla sugar is not very common in the States. However, it is common in Israel and parts of Europe.
This is sugar that sat for an extended period of time with vanilla beans, giving it a vanilla flavor.
This type of sugar is common in the United Kingdom.
It has a grain finer than white (granulated) sugar and larger than powdered sugar.
Caster sugar is often called for in recipes for delicate baked goods like meringues, souffles, and sponge cakes.
You can use a 1:1 conversion rate between caster sugar and white (granulated) sugar.
Powdered sugar, sometimes known as confectioners’ sugar, is a sugar with a powdered texture.
This sugar is rarely used for baking. Instead, it is used for dusting desserts and making frosting, icing, and glazes.
In some countries, you can also find powdered vanilla sugar.
It is made the exact same way regular vanilla sugar is made. However, the sugar used is powdered instead of granulated.
Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla sugar
In my recipes, I don’t specify what kind of vanilla to use.
The reason for this is that in the States, vanilla extract is exclusively used.
Meanwhile in Israel, along with many European countries, vanilla sugar is common.
In most, if not all recipes, both vanilla extract and vanilla sugar can be used.
In recipes where vanilla sugar can be used instead of extract, you can replace them 1:1.
Replacing Sugar with Honey
If you’d prefer to use honey instead of sugar, you can do so with pretty good results.
Honey can be two or even three times as sweet depending on the honey, so for every 1 cup of sugar, you can use 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey.
Since honey adds liquid, you need to remove some to balance it out. For every cup of honey, remove a 1/4 cup of liquid.
Also, it burns faster than granulated sugar, so you want to lower the baking temperature by 25 F. In addition, check it early and often to avoid burning or overbaking.
How to Store Sugar
Sugar should be stored in an airtight container to prevent clumping and moisture absorption, and kept in a cool, dry place.
Do you have to put eggs in pumpkin pie?
No, you do not have to put eggs in pumpkin pie. However, if you don’t, you’ll need to replace them with another thickener.
What happens if you don’t put egg in pumpkin pie?
Not using eggs in pumpkin pie doesn’t affect the flavor of the pie, but unless you use another thickener, you’ll end up with pumpkin pie soup in a crust bowl.
Why is pumpkin pie a pie and not a tart?
The crust of a tart sits only on the bottom and is much thicker than pie crust.
How do I substitute eggs for pumpkin?
The secret to getting the perfect pumpkin pie without eggs is using cornstarch as a thickener.
So, knowing the food science behind cornstarch, it made sense to me to use it to replace the eggs as a thickener in this pumpkin pie.
Honestly, it turned out even better than I was expecting!
To replace eggs in pumpkin pie, you need 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water per egg – it worked like a charm!
CAN YOU USE REGULAR PUMPKINS TO MAKE PIE?
Technically, you can, but regular pumpkins do not have much flavor. Even sugar pumpkins aren’t ideal for pumpkin pie.
Libby’s uses a specific type of pumpkin called the Dickinson pumpkin that is more similar to butternut squash than regular pumpkin.
HOW DO YOU SUBSTITUTE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING?
If you’re not thrilled by the idea of using filling that comes out of a tin can, or live abroad and don’t have access to pumpkin pie filling, butternut squash is a great substitute.
Also as it turns out, the Dickinson pumpkin used in making Libby’s pie filling is actually the most in taste and texture to butternut squash.
I can actually confirm this to be true.
After moving to Israel, my mom insisted on growing her own Dickinson pumpkins for pumpkin pie.
Funny thing, I was growing some pumpkins in the garden at the same time as butternut squash from seeds I had saved. Then, one day, we found a butternut squash growing on the pumpkin vine!
Anyway, we made pumpkin pie with the Dickinson pumpkins, and it was exactly like my butternut squash pie.
No surprise, they were both just like Libby’s pumpkin pie filling.
Can I make this pumpkin pie vegan?
Sure. To make a vegan pumpkin pie, just use the coconut milk option in the recipe.
If I use coconut milk in this recipe will my pie taste like coconut?
Nope. The coconut flavor is not at all detectable if you use it to make pumpkin pie.
MAKING AHEAD OF TIME
The filling can be made a day in advance. In fact, doing so allows the flavor of the spices to develop.
Freshly baked pumpkin pie will keep for about 3 to 4 days if covered and refrigerated.
CAN PUMPKIN PIE BE STORED AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?
No. It has a custard filling, so it needs to be refrigerated.
HOW TO STORE
Let cool to room temperature. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 days.
HOW TO FREEZE
Let cool to room temperature. Wrap in plastic wrap until tightly sealed. Then wrap in a layer of aluminum foil.
If you do not have plastic wrap and aluminum foil, place it in a resealable freezer bag.
Place on a level freezer shelf and freeze for up to 1 to 2 months. After this, the pie is still safe to eat, but the quality begins to degrade.
When you are ready to defrost the pie, transfer it to the refrigerator. Let thaw for at least 12 hours.