This gluten and refined sugar free pecan pie is a super delicious take on the traditional version. It’s far less sugar-heavy, and has a rich, aromatic pecan frangipane as the filling. The gluten free pie crust is buttery and flaky, and completes what is an amazing gluten free fall dessert.
Okay, confession time. Before this recipe happened I’ve never eaten pecan pie before. It simply isn’t a thing in Slovenia (where I’m originally from). Pecans are a tricky thing to come by and nut-based pies aren’t hugely popular over there (other nut-based desserts are, but pies… not so much).
When I researched how to make this autumnal deliciousness, I’ve come across many a popular recipe – and they all have one thing in common. Humungous quantities of sugar. Now, I’m not an anti-sugar person (moderation and all that jazz), but 1 cup golden syrup AND 3/4 cup sugar? For a 9 inch pie? HOLY COW.
Even though this blog might make you think otherwise, I’m not so big on overly sweet food. It’s not so much that I find it unhealthy – because what is life without a sweet treat every now and then – it’s more that too much sugar masks other flavours.
In the case of pecan pie, I want to taste the pecans, the spices, the flaky butteriness of the pie crust… not just the overpowering sticky sweetness of the filling. So here’s my take on this highly popular dessert: gluten and refined sugar free pecan pie.
I’m sure traditionalists and hard-core recipe-followers will find fault with this recipe. It’s not traditional and… honestly, who cares. It’s delicious and leaves no doubt as to who’s the star of the show. (Pecans, if you can’t tell.)
You see, this version uses a (delicious, awesome, SO GOOD) pecan frangipane as the filling. You guys, I’m not exaggerating when I say I could eat it with a spoon (and I probably would have done it, too, if it weren’t for the raw egg inside). And it’s completely 100% refined sugar free.
Now, I know that maple syrup is sugar. No doubt about it. But the amount of it in this recipe is miniscule compared to the quantities of sugar normally used in pecan pie recipes. And here’s the thing: you really don’t need that much sugar – it still tastes like (the most amazing) dessert (ever)… it just won’t place you into a sugar coma.
And here’s another advantage to using maple syrup: THE TASTE! Holy cow, the taste. When you pair the smooth, almost caramel-like gentle sweetness of maple syrup with the earthy nuttiness of pecans… it’s like autumn has thrown a party in your mouth. (Yes, I really love this refined sugar free pecan pie.)
The caster sugar I’ve previously used in the gluten free pie crust has been replaced by coconut sugar, which doesn’t change the flaky, buttery texture of the crust at all – this just goes to show how forgiving (and amazing) this gluten free pie crust really is.
Even if you’re the biggest fan of the traditional version, I hope you’ll give this gluten and refined sugar free pecan pie a try. You won’t be disappointed, trust me. It’s rich, decadent, just sweet enough – and every bite tastes like a mouthful of autumn.
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cups (120 g) gluten free flour
- ¼ cup (25 g) coconut flour
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp (25 g) coconut sugar
- ⅞ sticks (100 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into ~1/2 inch cubes
- ¾ stick (82 g) unsalted butter, softened/room temperature
- ⅝ cup (170g) maple syrup
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups (200 g) ground pecans
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- whole pecans for decoration
- 1 egg, lightly whisked (for egg wash & pecan "wash")
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (for pecan "wash")
- 1 tbsp milk (for pecan "wash)
- 8 inch round pie baking dish
- In a cup, mix together cold water and apple cider vinegar, and place them into the freezer until needed.
- Sift together gluten free flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, salt and coconut sugar.
- Add the butter and toss it in the flour until all butter pieces are covered with it.
- Using your hands, pinch together the butter pieces and flour until you get a mix of fine pea-size pieces and larger, ~1/3 inch size pieces.
- Add the ice cold water-vinegar mixture, 2 tbsp at a time, and mix the pie dough with a fork until it comes together. You will need 7 – 8 tbsp of water. The dough at the end should be slightly more damp/wet than typical pie crust because gluten free flour tends to absorb more moisture during baking, so we want to counteract that.
- Shape the pie dough into a disc (if needed, knead it slightly – but don't overwork it!), wrap it into cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together until you get a smooth mixture.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 ºF (175 ºC).
- Remove the pie crust from the fridge, shape it roughly into a disc, and place it in between two pieces of cling film. The cling film pieces should be at least 3 - 4 inches larger than the pie dish diameter. They will stop the pie crust from sticking to the rolling pin and the surface underneath. And the pie bottom will be much easier to transfer into the pie dish!
- Roll the pie dough out into a roughly circular shape, at least 2½ - 3 inches larger than the pie dish. The dough should be about 3 mm thick.
- Peel back the top layer of cling film. Slide the pie crust with the bottom cling film layer onto a plate. Turn the pie dish upside-down onto the plate, and then turn it around (basically the same procedure as turning a bundt cake onto a plate). The bottom cling film layer should not be on top – do not remove it yet!
- Carefully shape the pasty so that it's snug against the pie dish sides. The cling film should keep it from tearing.
- Remove the cling film and cut away the excess pie dough.
- Decorate the edges with a fork (you can also crimp them – get creative!).
- Transfer the pecan frangipane filling into the pie dish and smooth out the top.
- Decorate the top with whole pecans (see video).
- Egg wash the pie crust edges (with a lightly whisked egg).
- Mix 1 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tbsp milk into the remaining egg and brush the mixture across the whole pecans on top.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven at 350 ºF (175 ºC) for 30 minutes, or until golden on top and an inserted toothpick comes out only slightly dirty.
- Allow to cool and enjoy!
- The gluten & refined sugar free pecan pie keeps well covered with cling film in a cool dry place for about 3 to 4 days (good luck not eating it in a day).1
Looking for more pie inspiration? Look no further!