Vegan Pumpkin Custard

Who doesn’t look forward to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving?  If you’re like me, it’s the creamy pumpkin filling of the pie that keeps you excited for dessert, despite already being stuffed to your tummy’s content.  With the following recipe, I decided to skip the pie crust (who cares about crust when you’ve got pumpkin? Oh, and coconut too!) and create an even creamier version of the holiday treat.  The pumpkin custard creates a cross between pie and crème brûlée, with a smooth, heavenly texture and all those beloved flavors of pumpkin pie.  It’s probably one of the best desserts I’ve eaten in a long time.  Nope.  Not lying.  Did I mention it was vegan too?

Vegan Pumpkin Custard

( Serves 8 )

Prep. time: 20 minutes,  Chill time: 2 hours

-2-14 oz cans coconut milk
-2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-2 tsp. agar
-1/4 cup agave syrup
-2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. brown sugar
-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
-Dash of salt
-Vegan whipped cream, optional

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium-sized pan, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes.  Divide mixture between 8 ramekins.  Cool in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.  Serve, adding a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

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55 Comments

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    November 23, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Ohhhh this sounds great! I got excited until I saw the agave nectar. Cant’ eat it. Too bad 🙁 Maybe I could sub honey?? One day I’ll have to experiment!

    • Reply
      Mary-An
      November 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      If you sub honey, you may have to add a bit of water to it to thin it down slightly. Maple syrup (the real kind, not the stuff they sell for pancakes) can also be subbed for agave (or corn syrup, for that matter)

      • Reply
        Grace Dickinson
        November 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        Great to know. Thanks Mary-An! In terms of flavor, have you tried any of these substitutes in this recipe? My bet is that it’d only be a subtle difference, but just curious.

    • Reply
      Stacy Key
      September 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      If you can’t use agave nectar, I would highly recommend using liquid stevia. It’s an all natural plant derivative, has virtually no taste and will drastically cut down on the carbs and calories in this dish. Use sparingly, though, it’s extremely sweet!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Kelly Phillips
    November 23, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Luscious. My favorite part of pumpkin pie is the filling of course. The crust is fine, but I could take it or leave it. Coconut milk is probably my ingredient of the year.

  • Reply
    Ellen @ I Am Gluten Free
    November 23, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Divine. This looks divine. I can’t wait to try it. And I bet it’ll be a great filling, should I decide to make a crust! It’d be great with a ginger cookie crust. Yum!!! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      November 23, 2010 at 5:15 pm

      I think some kind of crust crumbled on top would be great. That’s what I plan to experiment with for Thanksgiving! And who knows, maybe even try adding some chocolate?

  • Reply
    Sara
    November 23, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Oh that sounds so good… I was just going to skip TG desert this year but maybe….

  • Reply
    Steven Rice Fitness
    November 23, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Happy Thanksgiving Grace. This sounds delish- coconut would pair really well with the pumpkin and spice.

    I make a sweet potato pie with silken tofu, the other analog for the traditional holiday pie.

    -Steven

  • Reply
    Andrea@WellnessNotes
    November 23, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I may have to add these to my Thanksgiving menu! 🙂 Love portion-controlled desserts… 🙂

  • Reply
    Allyson Dezii
    November 23, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    I can personally attest that this is DELICIOUS! I didn’t miss the crust either, to be honest.

    Way to go Grace, your blog is awesome! 🙂

  • Reply
    Angela (the diet book junkie)
    November 25, 2010 at 4:18 am

    this is genius. i don’t even like the crust, so this is absolutely perfect! still looking for agave though. (sigh… :))

    • Reply
      Ruth Inman
      October 3, 2012 at 1:06 am

      Most grocery stores have it now by the honey…Kroger does, if they are in your area?

  • Reply
    Kristi Rimkus
    November 27, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Wonderful pumpkin dessert. I so agree with you – I can pass up the crust. What good is crust if the pumpkin custard isn’t delicious?

  • Reply
    erica @ fashionmeetsfood
    November 29, 2010 at 9:14 am

    This sounds fabulous! I absolutely love the recipe!

    xo

  • Reply
    Jes @ Becoming Less of Jes
    November 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Any substitute for coconut milk? I’m not a fan.

    • Reply
      Grace@ FoodFitnessFreshAir
      November 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      I don’t think so. Coconut milk gives this vegan custard the creaminess of a heavy cream-filled one.

    • Reply
      Kat @ LivingFoodBliss
      November 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      I can’t do coconut milk either, but made this today by substituting. I used equal parts almond milk + vegan “almond and cashew creme,” plus a small dollop of coconut manna (a little coconut oil would work too but I had the manna on hand, which is a blend of the meat and the oil). It turned out very creamy, silky and delicious.

  • Reply
    Nally
    November 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    can anyone tell me what agar is? I’m a start up cook ^^;

    • Reply
      Grace@ FoodFitnessFreshAir
      November 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      Agar is a vegan thickener. It’s made from seaweed (although doesn’t resemble this in it’s concrete form) and can be picked up at places like Whole Foods or health food stores.

  • Reply
    Hayley
    November 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

    What exactly does pumpkin pie spice consist of? I’m from Australia and it’s not a dessert we really have so no where sells a pumpkin pie spice as such….. Can’t wait to try it, I’ve never had any type of pumpkin dessert!

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      November 19, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Oh no worries. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice handy, you can do a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. Just do a little pinch of each, going slightly heavier on the cinnamon side. Enjoy!

      • Reply
        Hayley
        November 20, 2011 at 10:28 pm

        Thanks! Also im going to have to make my own pumpkin puree >.< we dont have the tinned variety over here.

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  • Reply
    Pamela sch
    September 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Looks delicious but am concerned about the higher fat content of the recipe given the coconut milk. I am vegetarian and appreciate the need for a milk alternative, but agree with substituting almond milk and skimming some of the fat off the coconut milk. Generally healthy with the agave. From a fellow RD:)

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  • Reply
    Lisa
    October 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I buy coconut milk by the half gallon, can I use it from there or is the canned one in the recipe a thicker consistency? Also, what is the equivalent amount in terms of cups?

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      October 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      If it’s full-fat coconut milk, it should work just as well. A typical can has 14 fluid ounces.

  • Reply
    Amber D
    October 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Just made and it’s PUMPKINLISIOUS!!!!!!

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  • Reply
    redcordelia
    October 29, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Hi! I’m wondering if the agar you used was the powdered variety, and if I should change the measurement with my agar flakes that I have.

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      October 30, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      I used the powdered, but 1 Tbsp. of flakes = 1 tsp. of powdered, so you could try to make those adjustments. If so, let me know how it turns out for you!

  • Reply
    Eva
    October 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    This looks fantastic, but I’m not a fan of agave. Do you think 1/4 c. of any other sweetener would work (ie. honey, maple syrup, etc.)? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      October 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      You really won’t taste the agave in here, but if you’re trying to avoid it for sake of having leftovers, I don’t see why you couldn’t try a different liquid sweetener. Honey and maple syrup are a little stronger in flavor, but I think they’d be fine. If you have both on hand, consider using half and half, for a consistency as close to agave as possible.

      • Reply
        Eva
        August 8, 2015 at 4:57 pm

        BTW, since my last post, I am now an avid agave user!! I love the stuff and it’s really helped wean me off of sugar. Thank you!

        • Reply
          Grace @FoodFitnessFreshAir
          August 11, 2015 at 4:39 pm

          That’s awesome Eva! It definitely goes a long way, so is a great way to cut back on suga’.

  • Reply
    Jen
    November 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Anyone know about how many calories one serving would be?

  • Reply
    Jareen Imam
    November 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Looks incredible – I love cooking with agar

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  • Reply
    Olivia
    September 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I am curious, what size ramekins did you use?

    Thanks,
    Olivia

    • Reply
      grace
      September 21, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Hi Olivia,

      I used ramekins that were 3-inch in diameter at the bottom, and approximately 1.5 inches high. So on the small size. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    September 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I love Pumpkin and cant wait to try this but am curious if i dont have ramekins is there I way to make this in a bigger mold?

  • Reply
    Grace @FoodFitnessFreshAir
    September 24, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Hi Jessica! While I haven’t tried this outside of ramekins, I’m fairly certain you could mold it in a bowl, or ideally, a rectangular dish. You’ll want something large enough so that when you pour the pumpkin into it, it will reach about 1 1/2 inches high. Cheers!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Cecily
    September 25, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Hello!

    This looks great! Do you think I could trade canned coconut milk for the kind in a carton? I abhor coconut taste (and can ALWAYS taste it), but my carton milk has zero coconut taste.

    • Reply
      Grace @FoodFitnessFreshAir
      September 28, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Hi Cecily,

      It should work as long as it is full fat coconut milk. Double check to see if you are using full fat, and it’s not coconut water in your carton. Let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Lauren Jaggers
    November 2, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Any ideas for replacing the sugar and agave with low glycemic sweeteners like stevia? I have diabetes. I can find conversion charts on the “sweetness”, but have no idea how to replace the consistency. Thanks.

  • Reply
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