Sour Cream-Swirled Pumpkin Pie for Vegan Thanksgiving.

Meet my Cream-Swirled Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Velvety maple-pumpkin-cashew filling accented by a light swirl of tangy-sweet cream. Light meets rich as swirls of cream blend with dense fall pumpkin.

I promised this recipe as a spin-off to my 4-Ingredient Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Only one added ingredient needed to make the "cream-swirled" upgrade. Both recipes are holiday-approved.

Plus I want to share a short story about my little old houseplant. Oh, the things we can learn from plants..

First, a story.

I have a few houseplants. Those shiny green, thick-leaved types that can go weeks without watering (trust me I know). I guess you can say I don't have a green thumb. But I do love my plants.

A few months ago I moved one plant to a new spot. The top of the fridge.

Today as I was watering this plant I noticed something strange. He (yes, my plants are "he's"), he was drooping. This wasn't a slight droop, but a full tilt lean to the left. I inspected the root area and it looked as though the dirt in the pot had become too dry and the plant too top-heavy with its sprawling, fluffy leaves. I thought that sadly, the plant pulled its roots out of the ground - thus the sudden lean.

Shoot. I really liked this plant! I hoped I could repair the roots. But after closer inspection I found that my hypothesis was very wrong. The roots were sturdy into the dirt - not budging a bit. The lower stalk strong as well. The explanation?..

The plant was half-bathed in sunlight everyday. That spot of morning light that hits the top of the fridge and glows a bright golden orange was just a few inches out of its reach. So slowly but surely this plant, this living yet brainless organism began moving. Changing. Reaching. Actually leaning towards that speckled ray of sunlight on the other side of the fridge. My plant was on a journey towards his happy, warm sunbeam. Why? Because he knew what made him happy. And more sunlight was it.

Smart plant.

Cool little story with a nice metaphor for life. If my houseplant has the will to change direction and move towards the sun, maybe, just maybe we should too.

So ask yourself: Are you fully bathed in sunlight each day? Or are there directions you can turn and changes you can make to move towards your full-body sunbeam? Sometimes the "easy" thing to do isn't what really makes us happiest. Sometimes we have to get up and grab that darn sunbeam.

And yes, I moved him to a sunnier spot.

And when busy chasing sunlight, you'll need a few easy holiday recipes like my Cream-Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake is a spin-off of my 4-Ingredient Pumpkin Pie. Add in only two more ingredients for a tangy sweet cream swirl accent. But this isn't a "cheesecake" pie. For that recipe, you can see my Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe posted over at Family Kitchen.

The "cream" in this pie is vegan sour cream. No vegan cream cheese in this swirled pie. I love the silkiness of the sour cream. And when blended with the maple it creates a nice sour-sweet cream flavor. Very unique and worth a try if you are up for something new.

Sour Cream-Swirled Pumpkin Pie
vegan, makes one pie

1 1/4 cups raw soaked cashews
1 cup maple syrup
1 can organic pumpkin puree (16 ounces) (or use fresh puree)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt

Sour Creamy-Top Swirl:
1 1/4 cups vegan sour cream (try Tofutti brand, in blue tub)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt (to taste)

ingredients notes: using high quality spice is helpful. Also, I prefer grade B maple syrup for its rich amber tones and caramelized flavor - but grade A works too.

One standard vegan pie crust - or make your own crust - recipe. Vegan Pie Crust How-to video.

Coconut Whip on top:
*recipe one (with dispenser)
*recipe two (hand beater)

To Make:

1. Soak about one cup of raw cashews in about 2 1/2 cups of water in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 - 1 tsp of salt to the bowl - mix to dissolve. The salt allows the water to absorb more efficiently into the cashews and also adds some salt for your recipe. Note: you may want to soak more cashews than needed and make two pies - or use in other recipes like my vegan pumpkin spice cashew cheese!

2. Soak this cashew bowl overnight in the fridge. You want well-soaked cashews so that your pie mix blends up perfectly creamy. I soaked my cashews for about 18 hours. At least 8 is optimal. Don't soak for more than two days or the cashews can get grimy in my opinion.

3. The day of your actual pie making allow at least 3 hours from the time you start to the time you wish to serve the pie. I like a cool time of at least 2 hours.

4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

5. Add your vegan sour cream and maple syrup to blender. Blend until smooth. Pour out and set aside. You do not need to rinse the blender.

6. Next, drain the water from your cashews. They should be very soft to bite and a slight purplish dark hue. This is normal. Add 1 1/4 cups of cashews to your food processor - or even better, a Vitamix or high speed blender. Get your own Vitamix here with free shipping!

7. Add pumpkin to blender. Next, add in the maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice. Blend on low -> high for about 3-5 minutes until the mixture is completely creamy. If your mixture is a bit thick for some reason - you can add in a few teaspoons of either water, maple syrup or even non-dairy milk. After blending, do a taste test and add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt if needed. I added in about 1/3 tsp extra salt. But taste before adding.

8. Pour your mix into a par-baked vegan pie shell. Then spoon the sour cream mixture over top the pie. Swirl it roughly down deep towards the pie crust. Then use a toothpick to create fine swirls. Try not to over-swirl or the colors will become muddled.

9. Bake pie at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduce to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes - or until the edges look fluffy and a darker caramel orange tone. Use a toothpick in center if unsure. The tooth-picked filling should come out slightly wet - but very thick and dark. It is important to remember that your pie will firm up significantly upon cooling and chilling in the fridge.

10. Remove pie from oven. Cool on counter for at least 30 minutes. Then place in fridge until ready to serve. At least 2 hours cooling and/or chilling time is my preference. A warm pie will be tasty, but still a bit "wet" to slice.

11. I serve chilled with a swirl of my vegan coconut whip on top..

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