Pumpkin Pie Jars (grain-free, dairy-free, naturally-sweetened)


I know. You think all of those parenthetical modifiers should include (taste-free).

But — and this is where you can rightly point out that I am a grain- and sugar-deprived woman of sheer desperation, to be trusted about as much as a parched dessert-dweller at a bottled-water tasting — I think they actually taste good. And my kids like them, and at least one other adult person who may or may not have been saying so just to make me feel good.

Think of these as pumpkin pie, in a jar. Hence the name. Only instead of a crust, they have a crunchy, nutty, salty-sweet topping. If you’re not avoiding dairy, a lovely option would be a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top.

(sorry, I need a moment to just think about that whipped cream)

Ok, let’s just say that, even if you’re avoiding dairy, that on Thanksgiving day, you definitely decide to top your pie jar with just a dollop of whipped cream.

Why? Because you are thankful for cows. And what better way to show it.

In all seriousness, though — even if you’re not avoiding anything, these pumpkin custards are delicious, surprisingly so, considering they are only sweetened with honey. About a tablespoon per jar. Not bad, for something to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Custards bake best in a water bath — I use two bread pans since they are deep enough to hold a level of water that comes about halfway up the sides of the jelly jars. In a pinch you could try a shallower baking dish — but definitely don’t skip the water bath, or your custards will rise too high and then deflate. You can also use regular custard cups if jars aren’t available.

If you’d like to double the recipe, use 3 eggs and 3 egg yolks — double everything else. And be doubly-thankful this Thanksgiving.

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Jars

: adapted from a GAPS menu recipe by Cara at Health, Home, & Happiness

makes 4 (5-oz) servings

Ingredients: Custards

  • 1 cup pureed cooked winter squash or canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (can substitute heavy cream)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice

Ingredients: Topping

  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (raw preferred)
  • 2 Tbsp almond or coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • dash salt
  • dash ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Fill two bread pans about halfway with water, and place in oven to preheat.
  2. Puree first 10 ingredients (pumpkin through allspice) together in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  3. Pour puree evenly into (4) 8-oz (half-pint) jelly jars.
  4. In a separate small bowl, combine the last 7 ingredients (nuts through vanilla). Using a fork or your fingers, mix well, distributing the honey and coconut oil well (the mixture will be crumbly but moist). Divide topping evenly among the jars, sprinkling on top of the custard (it’s ok if the topping sinks into the custard a bit).
  5. Carefully lower the jars into the hot waterbath pans (I put two jars per bread pan).
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the custard is set and the topping is golden.
  7. Carefully remove bread pans from oven, and let jars cool in the water bath for at least 30 minutes. Then remove jars to a counter to cool completely. Can be served at room temperature or chilled.

Copyright © Katy Carter, 2011.





7 thoughts on “Pumpkin Pie Jars (grain-free, dairy-free, naturally-sweetened)

  1. “Why? Because you are thankful for cows.” Ha! Love it. (and these sound delicious. I have been pureeing winter squash like a fiend this season…why not experiment with yet another recipe?)

  2. One fabulous option as a replacement for whipped cream is coconut cream. Very tasty and just the right mouth feel. I’ve got some cooling in the fridge right now for the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow.

    1. so good to know — thanks!
      (I skipped all whipped cream on Thursday, but for my next batch of whipped-cream-needy desserts, I’m going for the coconut)

  3. I am so thankful for this recipe! As a dairy-allergic person with a huge sweet tooth – I say “thank you”. You have just made dessert way more fun because you took away the guilt.

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