Paleo Pecan Pie

This Paleo Pecan Pie is perfect for Thanksgiving but it’s so good you’ll want it year-round!

Toasted pecans and a sweet, gooey filling are cradled by a flaky, sturdy crust.

Plus step-by-step photos will mean you get it right every time!

And it’s naturally gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free.

a dairy-free pecan pie in a pie dish on a white wooden table surrounded by pecans

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Paleo Pecan Pie

I don’t think I’ve ever had a Thanksgiving without pecan pie, and for good reason.

Crunchy pecans in a sweet custard inside a pie crust? How could that be bad?

But when I had to go Paleo for health reasons, it seemed like pecan pie might be off the table (no pun intended).

So I just had to create my own version that’s fully Paleo friendly, with no gluten, grains, dairy or refined sugar.

After a lot of testing, I finally got it right!

Using coconut sugar, honey and maple syrup for the filling actually tastes better than the typical sugar-and-corn-syrup version.

And a cassava flour pie crust is a great substitute for the regular kind.

I wouldn’t exactly call this a healthy pecan pie because it still has a lot of sweetener in it, but who cares? It’s the holidays! Let’s just eat what we can.

 

What you need for Paleo Pecan Pie

Ingredients:

For the crust:

For the filling:

  • 2 cup pecan halves
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons melted and slightly cooled palm shortening, ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (seems weird but you don’t taste it, it just helps balance out all the sweetness, a tip I learned from Carla Hall’s Soul Food)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Equipment:

 

How to make Paleo Pecan Pie

Don’t be intimidated by the long instructions. I’m just trying to be as detailed as possible. It takes longer to explain how to do it than to actually do it!

First, make the crust:

In a large bowl, whisk the cassava flour, arrowroot and salt.

Add the chilled palm shortening to the flours in small clumps.

a glass bowl full of paleo pie crust mixture with small blobs of palm shortening throughout

Use a pastry cutter to to grind the shortening into the flour until the mixture is made of small, damp pebbles.

(You can also use your hands, squishing the shortening and flours together between your fingertips.)

a hand holding up paleo pie crust mix over more mix in a glass bowl

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Add this to the flour mixture stir with a spatula until completely blended. Then add 1/3 cup water and stir or use your hands to incorporate the water until you have the texture of play dough (it might still be a bit crumbly but that’s fine). Form the mixture into a ball.

a hand holding up paleo pie crust over a glass bowl of more mix

Lay a piece of parchment paper on a pastry board or large cutting board. Dust it with cassava flour.

Plop (technical term) the dough onto the parchment and gently flatten it into a thick disc.

a hand patting out paleo pie dough on parchment paper over a pastry board

Then cover the dough with a big more cassava and then another sheet of parchment.

Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a large circle, roughly 12″ across in all directions and approx. 1/4″ thick. Don’t worry if the dough cracks in places. For any big cracks toward the center, rip off a piece of dough around the edges and gently press it into the crack, then keep rolling the dough to smooth it out.

Remove the top piece of parchment paper.

paleo pie dough rolled out to a flat circle on parchment paper

Place the pie dish upside down on the crust, making sure it’s centered. Then with one hand on the bottom of the pie dish, gentle slide the other hand under the bottom piece of parchment under the crust.

In one fluid motion, flip the dish and crust so the crust falls into the dish and place the dish down on the board.

Some of the crust might have fallen off around the rim but that’s okay!

Gently lift the edges of the crust and press the crust down into the dish to make sure it’s in place.

a hand patting paleo pie dough into a pie dish

Then use any extra bits of crust to fill any gaps or crust – just gently press in more dough and smooth until it blends in.

You want the dough to come up higher than the rim of the dish as it will shrink as it bakes and cools.

You might not need all the dough.

paleo pie dough in a pie dish before it's been made to look pretty

If you want, create a fluted edge by using one index finger to press the dough between the index finger and middle finger of the other hand.

raw paleo pie dough in a pie dish before it's been baked

Chill the pie dish in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

Heat the oven to 350°.

Line the crust with parchment paper. Fill the paper with pie weights, dried beans or small dry pasta noodles.

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and paper and bake for another 8-10 minutes. The crust may or may not get slightly browned. Cool completely.

For the filling:

Heat the oven to 375°.

Add the pecans to a large, dry skillet and place over medium heat. Toss and stir the pecans occasionally until they smell toasty and look darker in spots, about 7-10 minutes. Do not get distracted as the nuts can easily burn. Set aside on a plate or in a bowl to cool.

In a large bowl. mix together the eggs, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, melted and cool shortening (or ghee or coconut oil), vanilla, apple cider vinegar and salt.

Add the pecans to the cooled crust and spread out evenly.

Pour in the filling, making sure it doesn’t come up past the sides of the crust. If the pecans have clumped together, scoot them around until you get an even layer along the surface.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water, then brush this over the pie crust rim. You probably won’t need all of it.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the filling slightly wobbles in the very center but is otherwise set.

Check the pie when it has about 20 minutes of cooking left. If the crust is getting too dark, use a pie shield (or a homemade aluminum foil shield) to protect the crust while it continues to bake.

I think this pie is best when it has cooled completely, so the filling has had time to completely set. The filling will still be somewhat soft and slightly gooey but not too runny.

grain-free pie with pecans in a pie dish and a slice on a white plate with a fork

Make ahead and storage

You can make and chill the unbaked crust up to 1 day in advance.

Once the pie has completely cooled, you can chill it, covered, in the fridge up to 1 day in advance. Bring to room temperature before serving, or gently warm in a low oven if you want it served warm.

 

Substitutions and variations

  • I think this pie has the perfect balance of sweetness as is. But if you want a darker, more intense, more maple-forward filling, omit the honey and use 1 cup maple syrup. If you want a sweeter filling, omit the maple syrup and use 1 cup honey.
  • While most people keep the flavor of a pecan pie pretty traditional, I bet you could substitute walnut halves for the pecans.
  • If you want to spice things up even more, try adding any of the following to the filling mixture:
    • the zest of a small orange
    • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
    • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • Cassava flour is a very unique flour so I don’t recommend substituting it with anything else.
  • You can use tapioca starch/flour in place of the arrowroot.

 

Other recipes you might like:

  1. Paleo Pumpkin Pie
  2. Mini Salted Rum Pecan Pies (grain-free, dairy-free)
  3. Paleo Pecan Molasses Bread
  4. Paleo Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
  5. Paleo Pumpkin Bread
  6. Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
a dairy-free pecan pie in a pie dish on a white wooden table surrounded by pecans
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Paleo Pecan Pie

This Paleo Pecan Pie tastes just like the regular version but maybe even better! Toasted pecans and a gooey filling are cradled by a flaky, sturdy crust. Plus it's gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time50 mins
chilling time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, grain free, healthy dessert, healthy recipes, healthy Thanksgiving, paleo, pecan pie, refined sugar free
Servings: 8 slices
Author: Don Baiocchi

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cassava flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
  • ½ cup arrowroot
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup chilled palm shortening
  • 2 eggs, divided (one is for the egg wash)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • cup water, plus more if necessary + 1 tablespoon for the egg wash

For the filling:

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons melted and cooled palm shortening, ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

For the crust:

  • In a large bowl, whisk the cassava flour, arrowroot and salt.
  • Add the chilled palm shortening to the flours in small clumps. Use a pastry cutter to to grind the shortening into the flour until the mixture is made of small, damp pebbles.
    (You can also use your hands, squishing the shortening and flours together between your fingertips.)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Add this to the flour mixture stir with a spatula until completely blended.
  • Then add 1/3 cup water and stir or use your hands to incorporate the water until you have the texture of play dough. If it's still a bit dry/crumbly, add a bit more water at a time until it comes together. Form the mixture into a ball.
  • Lay a piece of parchment paper on a pastry board or large cutting board. Dust it with cassava flour. Plop (technical term) the dough onto the parchment and gently flatten it into a thick disc. Then cover the dough with a big more cassava and then another sheet of parchment.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a large circle, roughly 12" across in all directions and approx. 1/4" thick. Don't worry if the dough cracks in places - it's very easy to fix.
  • Remove the top piece of parchment paper.
    Place the pie dish upside down on the crust, making sure it's centered. Then with one hand on the bottom of the pie dish, gentle slide the other hand under the bottom piece of parchment under the crust.
    In one fluid motion, flip the dish and crust so the crust falls into the dish and place the dish down on the board.
    Some of the crust might have fallen off around the rim but that's okay!
  • Gently lift the edges of the crust and press the crust down into the dish to make sure it's in place. Then use any extra bits of crust to fill any gaps or crust - just gently press in more dough and smooth until it blends in.
    You want the dough to come up higher than the rim of the dish as it will shrink as it bakes and cools. You might not need all the dough.
    If you want, create a fluted edge by using one index finger to press the dough between the index finger and thumb of the other hand.
  • Chill the pie dish in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
  • Heat the oven to 350°.
  • Line the crust with parchment paper. Fill the paper with pie weights, dried beans or small dry pasta noodles. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and paper and bake for another 8-10 minutes. The crust may or may not get slightly browned. Cool completely. 

For the filling:

  • Add the pecans to a large, dry skillet and place over medium heat. Toss and stir the pecans occasionally until they smell toasty and look darker in spots, about 7-10 minutes. Do not get distracted as the nuts can easily burn. Set aside on a plate or in a bowl to cool.
  • In a large bowl. mix together the eggs, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, melted and cool shortening (or ghee or coconut oil), vanilla, apple cider vinegar and salt.
  • Add the pecans to the cooled crust and spread out evenly.
  • Pour in the filling, making sure it doesn't come up past the sides of the crust. If the pecans have clumped together, scoot them around until you get an even layer along the surface.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water, then brush this over the pie crust rim. You probably won't need all of it.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the filling slightly wobbles in the very center but is otherwise set.
    Check the pie when it has about 20 minutes of cooking left .If the crust is getting too dark, use a pie shield (or a homemade aluminum foil shield) to protect the crust while it continues to bake.
    I think this pie is best when it has cooled completely, so the filling has had time to completely set.

Notes

Make ahead and storage
You can make and chill the unbaked crust up to 1 day in advance.
Once the pie has completely cooled, you can chill it, covered, in the fridge up to 1 day in advance. Bring to room temperature before serving, or gently warm in a low oven if you want it served warm.
 
Substitutions and variations
  • I think this pie has the perfect balance of sweetness as is. But if you want a darker, more maple-forward filling, omit the honey and use 1 cup maple syrup. If you want a sweeter filling, omit the maple syrup and use 1 cup honey.
  • While most people keep the flavor of a pecan pie pretty traditional, I bet you could substitute walnut halves for the pecans.
  • If you want to spice things up even more, try adding any of the following to the filling mixture
    • the zest of a small orange
    • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
    • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • Cassava flour is a very unique flour so I don't recommend substituting it with anything else.
  • You can use tapioca starch/flour in place of the arrowroot.

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