Vegan Mini Pecan Pies
Pecan pie was always my Mother and Grandmother's favorite dessert when it came to Thanksgiving desserts. My Grandma would always serve apple, pumpkin and pecan, and the pecan was always the pie that had some left over because most people in my family are not huge nut fans and prefer the apple and pumpkin. I always had to have a slice of each type of pie. It was Thanksgiving after all, and that was what I had really been looking forward to all day, the desserts. I enjoyed the pecan. I mean what is not to love about caramelly pie filled with delicious rich pecans in a buttery crust?! I guess I am biased though because I love pecans and other types of nuts.
I have never actually baked a vegan pecan pie, and I am in Thanksgiving recipes mode so I decided I had to this year. But I didn't want a giant one at the time, so I went for mini pecan pies using a muffin pan as my pie pan. I was crossing my fingers that they would come out of the pan intact since I secretly always worry when I make pies in a not removable bottom pan but they came out beautifully! Instead of the usual corn syrup and brown sugar that go into the crust, I used a date caramel laced with pecan butter. Pretty much what I make my caramel out of but thicker. OMG was it ever good. I mixed the pecans into this, and it made the perfect filling.
I used my gluten free coconut oil pie crust recipe, because it is my favorite lately and the flaky crust was perfect with the sweet filling. These were even better than I remember pecan pie. The best part is you don't have to cut pieces of pie with these, you get your own cute little pie! These can be made ahead, so I think they would be perfect for Thanksgiving.
Vegan Mini Pecan Pies
2 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup coconut oil in its solid state
about 6-7 Tbsp cold water
2 cups soft pitted medjool dates (if they are not soft, soak them in filtered water for 30 minutes and drain well before using)
1/2 cup pecan butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup filtered water
2 Tbsp coconut butter or oil
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, plus more for pie tops
To make the crust, in a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and sea salt. Cut in coconut oil with a pastry blender or 2 knives until it is in pea sized pieces. Mix in just enough water to create a smooth dough that holds together but isn't too sticky. Add more water if needed, and knead slightly until a smooth dough is created. Roll out into a rectangle using floured parchment underneath and floured rolling pin. Cut into 16 circles. Oil a muffin pan well with coconut oil and fit the circles into the holes. Shape the edges that stick out if desired (I fluted mine). Preheat oven to 375F degrees. To make filling, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor except the pecans. Process until smooth, then scrape into a bowl and stir in the pecans. Spoon the filling into the crusts in the pie tin, and top with more pecans to make the tops look pretty. Place in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes until the crusts are starting to brown lightly. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack until warm.