This recipe uses agar-agar for both the coconut whipped cream, as well as the pie filling. While the agar-agar is not completely necessary for the filling, it does help to solidify the consistency, since no eggs or other binders are being used. The agar-agar however, is an integral part of the whipped cream recipe, and the ingredient that allows it to be solid at room temperature.
Agar-agar is a gelatinous substance obtained from seaweed, and is often used as a vegetarian substitute for gelatin, or as a binding agent in baking. It is usually seen abbreviated as agar. It can often be found in Asian grocery stores, health food stores, bulk food stores, or purchased online. One place I never find it, is at traditional baking supply stores. From my experience in trying to hunt it down, you are best to start with health food stores, or buy it online.
Agar comes in either powdered form or flakes. If you are using the agar flakes in the whipped cream, you will want to strain the mixture at step #6, to remove any gritty pieces that might not have dissolved. The powdered agar will dissolve completely, therefore, you do not need to strain the mixture if using the agar powder. If you are using the agar flakes in the filling, it does not need to be strained. The agar flakes will dissolve completely when the pie is baked.
* Please note, the whipped cream needs time to set in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours. I usually let mine sit overnight. It is perfectly alright to make the whipped cream the day before. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days with the same texture and consistency. The recipe for the whipped cream is listed at the bottom of this post.
The measurements for the agar are slightly different depending on whether you use the agar powder or flakes. Follow the recipe accordingly.
Maple Pecan Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream
*makes one large pie
Step #1 for the filling (only if using agar)
If you are not using agar in the filling, skip this step and add the pumpkin puree and coconut cream at step #2 of the filling directions.
Begin by combining the agar, coconut cream and pumpkin puree, and letting it sit for 30 minutes while you make the crust and prepare the other filling ingredients. Follow the instructions below.
2 ¼ cups pumpkin puree
1/4 coconut cream. I use Wilderness Family Naturals: http://ow.ly/EbSjs
2 Tbsp. agar flakes (or 1 tsp. agar powder)
1. Pour the coconut cream into a small pot, add the agar and whisk well.
2. Slowly warm the mixture over medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches the boiling point.
3. Remove from heat, stir in the (unspiced)pumpkin puree and allow it to sit, uncovered for 30 minutes, or until cool. In the meantime, prepare the pie crust and measure out the remaining filling ingredients.
Maple Pecan Crust
2 cups raw pecans
1 cup rolled oats, processed into flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
3 Tbsp. ground flax meal
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Add the pecans to a food processor and grind. If the mixture becomes too dry, scrape down the sides of the food processor and add a bit of coconut oil.
3. Next, grind the oats into a fine powder.
4. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
5. Grease a pie pan and press the pecan crumble into the pan.
6. Bake for 10 minutes, then allow to cool before continuing.
Remaining Filling Ingredients:
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1. In a bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and corn starch.
2. Add the remaining spices and combine with the pumpkin puree and agar mixture. Blend well with electric beaters.
3. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth over.
4. In your preheated oven, bake at 350° F. for 35-45 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for one hour before transferring to the refrigerator to set for another 3 hours.
Make sure the pie has cooled and set before adding the whipped cream.
Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe
This whipped cream can be added to the pie any way you like. It remains solid at room temperature so it can be piped into a variety of shapes or simply dolloped on top. It will not melt at room temperature and will completely hold its form.
389 ml (14 fl oz)can full fat coconut milk (room temperature)
1 ½ Tbsp. agar flakes or 1 ½ tsp. agar powder
2 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
2-3 Tbsp. raw cane sugar, or powdered sweetener of your choice (stevia, coconut sugar etc.)
1/2 cup almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened, your choice. I used unsweetened)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Begin by combining the coconut milk, almond milk and agar in a small pot. Whisk well, then allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Stir in 1 Tbsp. of the cornstarch along with the sugar and blend until smooth.
3. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches boiling point.
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Be careful not to overheat or burn the mixture.
5. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
6. If you are using the agar flakes, strain the mixture into a glass bowl to remove any bits that haven’t fully dissolved.
7. Let the mixture cool at room temperature for 30-45 minutes then place in the refrigerator overnight (or for a minimum of 4 hours).
8. When the mixture has chilled, place in a food processor with 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch and process until smooth. You may adjust the sweetness at this point, if desired.
The whipped cream is ready to added to the pie at this stage. You can either add it to a piping bag and make rosettes or other designs, or simply dollop it on top.