pumpkin pie à la mode

Pie is the best.

When we were children, our mother would ask me and my siblings what kind of cake we wanted to have on our birthday. Of course, my choice one year was apple pie. My loving mother made a fresh apple pie from apples that we gathered from our trees in our backyard, and timed it to coincide with the beginning of the party. She pulled the pie out of the oven, stuck a candle in it, and tried to light it. Unfortunately, piping hot pie can make quick work of a tiny birthday candle, and it melted in a waxy pool all over the carefully-made lattice crust. I didn’t get to blow out a candle that year, but I still got my birthday wish, which was to eat some pie.

Pie squared!
Pie squared!

This pie is served chilled, so you won’t have to worry about melted candles if someone asked for it for their birthday. Even better – this pie is served with creamy, spiced coconut cream. The ice cream is flavored with Celestial Seasonings’ Roastaroma tea, which is made with roasted chicory and barley. As a tea it’s not bad if a little strange, but it adds a malty depth to the already rich, vanilla scented coconut cream that pairs elegantly with this straightforward and super simple pie.

I made my pie in a 12 inch springform pan to make pumpkin pie bars, but this recipe will work in a standard pie pan. This dish is rounded out with pecan brittle and drizzled with reduced apple cider syrup. The brittle recipe is from Fern Newsom via Taste of Home, swapping plant margarine for butter. Cider syrup is simply fresh apple cider reduced four times: boil 2 cups cider down to 1/2 cup and store in the fridge. It lasts forever and is amazing over pancakes, in drinks, or of course on pumpkin pie à la mode.

Pumpkin and pecans!
Pumpkin and pecans!

Pumpkin Pie
makes one pie. filling adapted from isa chandra, pie crust technique borrowed from kenji

3 cups cooked pumpkin, either from a fresh one or from cans
1/2 c maple syrup (pancake syrup works just as well)
1/2 c plant milk
4 tsp coconut oil, softened
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
Pinch cloves (about 2 cloves, ground)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbl cornstarch (or tapioca starch)
1 tsp agar powder

1 1/4 c flour (6.25 ounces)
1 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbl margarine
6 tbl coconut oil, cold
3 tbl cold water, or so


  • Put everything in a food processor or blender and blend until totally smooth.


  • Combine one cup of the flour, the sugar, and salt in a dry food processor. Pulse to combine.
  • Cube the cold fats and arrange over the dry mixture. Pulse the mixture about 15-20 times or until the mix is crumbly and pasty.
  • Add the remaining 1/4 c flour and blitz another 5 times until everything is crumbly.
  • Drizzle the cold water over the mix and pulse until a ball forms. If extra water is needed, add some a teaspoon at a time.
  • Dump from the processor and knead briefly to form into one ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and put into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes or so.


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Remove the crust from the fridge and let warm until just pliable.
  • Roll out the dough and place in your favorite pie pan.
  • Fill with pumpkin mixture. Tap the pan lightly on the counter top to release air bubbles. Smooth the top of the filling.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until completely set.
  • Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate it for 2 hours or until completely cool. If it doesn’t get totally cool, it will get weepy and run.
  • Slice and eat, with ice cream if so desired.


Roastaroma Coconut Cream
adapted from max falkowitz’s formula

2 cans full-fat coconut milk
1/4 c light corn syrup
3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 Roastaroma tea bags
heavy pinch salt

  • Combine the milk, corn syrup and sugar in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  • Add the vanilla and salt and blend using an immersion blender or carefully transfer to a traditional blender for 30 seconds or until velvety smooth.
  • Transfer to an airtight container, add the tea bags, and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Remove the teabags and churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Transfer to another airtight container and freeze until hard, about another 4 hours.

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