Grain-Free Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup (Paleo)

Pecan pie is a staple on Thanksgiving but it’s also popular all year round. Although there’s nothing more American than apple pie, the south has actually crowned the pecan variation as their signature dish. No one could be upset about this since the nutty dessert is sweet, syrupy, and somehow tastes like a comforting hug. 

Unfortunately, pecan pie is among the unhealthiest of the bunch. Refined flours and wheat intolerances aside, it’s usually stuffed with corn syrup, an ingredient found in most sodas. Although there isn’t strong evidence to prove that corn syrup is worse than regular sugar, both are unhealthy to consume in large amounts. [1] 

So Carrie Vitt reinvented the classic dessert to not only omit corn syrup, but to be diet-friendly as well! If you are vegan, avoiding gluten, or restricting your carbohydrate intake, this is the pecan pie for you. The filling isn’t overwhelmingly sweet; it’s subtle and filled with the rich, buttery flavors of the pecans. 

You don’t need to wait for Thanksgiving to sample this recipe! After all, pecan pie never goes out of style, and neither does choosing healthier ingredients to make it with. That being said, dessert is best eaten in moderation, even healthier versions. However, holidays or any special occasion could be a good excuse to whip out this recipe and indulge. Your taste buds will thank you. 

Read: BANANA BREAD RECIPE: THE BEST ONE

Healthy Pecan Pie Recipe 

Recipe by Carrie Vitt on Deliciously Organic 

Ingredients 

For the crust: 

  • 2 cups almond flour 
  • 4 tbsp coconut flour 
  • 1/2 tsp unflavored grass-fed gelatin *
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt 
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar 
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into tablespoons* 

For the filling: 

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup 
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (you can substitute with Organic whole cane sugar or sucanat ) 
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee* 
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten* 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt 
  • 1 – 1 1/4 cups whole pecan halves 

Instructions 

  1. In a food processor, add the almond flour, coconut flour, gelatin, sea salt and coconut sugar. Combine with a few pulses.  
  1. Add the butter and give it eight quick pulses. Turn on the processor until ingredients come together into a dough ball. (If mixture is too crumbly, add 1–2 tablespoons of water until it forms into a ball.)  
  1. Press the dough to the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator to chill for half an hour. 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place the rack into the lower-middle of the oven.  
  1. Heat the maple syrup over medium heat in a saucepan. Simmer until the syrup reaches 225ºF, which should take about 10–15 minutes.  
  1. Meanwhile, place the maple sugar and butter into a medium mixing bowl.  
  1. Pour the hot syrup over the sugar and butter mixture.  
  1. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute and then whisk together.  
  1. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and sea salt.  
  1. Put the prepared pie crust onto a large baking sheet. Pour the syrup mixture into your prepared pie crust and top with pecans. Cover the crust with foil to prevent it from burning.  
  1. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for another 15 minutes. The filling might be slightly less set in the center but it will firm as it cools.  
  1. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. 

*For a vegan version, substitute with vegan butter and flax eggs. Instead of gelatin, use agar agar.

Read: How to Throw a Healthy and Eco-Friendly Holiday Party Your Guests Will Love

A Brief History of Pecan Pie 

Pecans are native to North America, growing along the Mississipi River before being planted in other areas in the south. “Pecan” is actually derived from the Algonquian word for “nut”. [2] 

Pecan pie recipes showed up in Texan cookbooks in the 1870s and 1880s. However, the version that looks most like the treat we eat today was from a Texan woman who published it in a church charity cookbook in St. Louis.  

The dish, however, didn’t become popular until the 1920s. Karo syrup manufacturers distributed recipes for pecan pie on their products. Soon after, the pie became well-known in many American homes. [3] This recipe became the classic version most people are familiar with, although it has been reborn into many different variations. Some additions include bourbon, chocolate, coconut, and whiskey. Pecan pie crossed with cheesecake is another popular version.  

And now, we have a syrup-free and gluten-free pecan pie to grace our Thanksgiving tables. 

Read: White Chocolate Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies (Gluten-free & Vegan Options)

References: 
  1. Vasanti S. Malik, Barry M. Popkin, George A. Bray, Jean-Pierre Després, Walter C. Willett, Frank B. Hu. “Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis.” Diabetes Care. November 2010 
  1. Dana Hatic. “A Brief History of Pecan Pie.” Eater. November 23, 2016 
  1. Mary Allen Perry. “How the Pecan Pie Became the South’s Signature Dessert.” Southern Living. November 7, 2016 
Sarah Schafer
Founder of The Creative Palate
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.