Chai Pumpkin Pie Bars with a Raw Pecan Crust

Two of my favorite fall treats are pumpkin, anything pumpkin, and chai, anything chai :-) I mostly make my own pumpkin and chai treats, since the ones you get out are usually made with cow milk and tons of refined sugar. Yesterday morning I wondered why I haven’t combined pumpkin and chai. So I did. My first try turned into a kind of cake, but it wasn’t good, and totally not what I was going for. Then I tried again, and I went too far the other way—rather than too wet the crust was too dry. I gave up on the crust ingredients I was using and decided to go for a raw crust. A raw crust is simple and fail-proof for something un-baked.  At last, perfect chai pumpkin pie bars! Why didn’t I think of it in the first place? :-)

I hope you love how it turned out as much as we do.

Chai Pumpkin Pie Bars with a Raw Pecan Crust

vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo

Raw Pie Crust

Add to blender or food processor:
1 cup pecan pieces (add a handful more if your pecans are whole)
1/2 cup almond meal flour (I use Bob’s)
5 soft pitted dates (soak first if they are dry)
1 tsp cinnamon
Puree till it begins to form a ball.
Press into square dish.
Note: You don’t need to grease or line the dish first. The raw crust wont stick.

Pumpkin layer

Add to a small pot:
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree*
1/4 cup coconut sugar (which is low glycemic index)
10 drops vanilla liquid stevia
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
Simmer till coconut sugar is just dissolved.
2 tsp agar powder (Not flakes! You would need far more if you use flakes!)
(I think 4 teaspoons of gelatin would also work)
Whisk agar powder while simmering for about one minute.
Pour over crust.
Refrigerate till solid. Store in the fridge.

*I used canned pumpkin, but I was thinking today that not all canned pumpkin or home-cooked pumpkin is the same. Some cans are more watery than others, and some home-cooked pumpkins are more watery than others. So I would suggest that if your mixture looks runny after you whisked your agar powder for a minute, then add another half a teaspoon of agar powder. It should look a little thick after whisking for a minute or so.

♥, Kelly

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  1. says

    Heather, The chai flavor comes from the spices I used.

    Thanks Ali!

    Marcia, Yes, coconut oil or ghee would also be good. Or you could leave it out completely.

  2. says

    Those look SO good! I’d make them right now as I have all the ingredients on hand, but we are leaving today until the end of the weekend. I don’t know that I’ll be able to wait to make this 😉

  3. says

    This looks fabulous! I love pumpkin and chai as well, and putting them together is genius! They would complement each other so well. I can’t wait to try the recipe.

  4. says

    YUM!! I’m new to using agar powder. What kind of texture does the topping have? Is it more like pumpkin pie/cheesecake or more like jello? Look sooo good! :)

  5. Charlotte Moore says

    Can I use something in place of the agat? I do not have that and don’t know what it is. I want to make something GF for a friend at Thanksgiving.

  6. Sarah C says

    Do you have any suggestions on making the crust nut-free? It is a perfect recipe for us, except for the nuts! I am hoping to bring a dessert to Thanksgiving dinner for my little one, so he doesn’t feel left out. He is dairy, egg, soy, and nut free. Thank you! Looks delicious!

  7. Anonymous says

    I have plain powdered stevia and wondered if I could use that and add vanilla extract. If yes any suggestions on how much stevia to use? I’m totally new to stevia so I appreciate it :)

  8. says

    Lorraine, I don’t have a print option, partly because I don’t know how to do that, and partly because I’m always updating my recipes, so the best thing to do is use the most current version.

    Charlotte, If you click on the agar powder in the recipe (the one in bold) it will take you to iHerb and you can read about it and order it. You can also use my original pumpkin pie recipe, which calls for gelatin. There’s a link under my “Popular Posts” on the right side column.

    Sarah, I don’t think I have a nut-free crust. Maybe there is a gluten-free crust mix at the health food store? Also I’m sure one of my friends has one—Check out my “Link Love” on the right hand column of my site. :-)

    Anonymous, Yes you can absolutely do that. I would start with one eighth teaspoon of the powdered stevia, taste it and add more if you want.

  9. says

    Yum, I made these and they are good! I used 1 Tbsp of gelatin instead of agar agar. I whisked it in with the coconut milk, and let it sit for a minute. Then, I gently heated the mixture until the gelatin was dissolved. I also substituted 1/2 cup of walnuts for the almond flour. I also substituted 1/4 tsp of vanilla glycerine for the liquid stevia, and I substituted 1 Tbsp of coconut oil and 1 Tbsp of ghee for the 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil. I also added 1/8 tsp of nutmeg. My topping layer did not come out as thick as yours did. I used a 9″x9″ pan. I think I’ll increase the topping layer next time.

  10. Anonymous says

    I’ve done nut free crusts using soaked/sprouted/dehydrated sunflower seeds in place of nuts, it works fine.

  11. MELISSA says

    I love the grain-free ( which I am in addition to many other things!) I used to love coconut sugar but have recently been told no to that as form of sweetener works for me now. Can I leave it out without a problem? I would like these to be My desserts just for me for Thanksgiving!

  12. Nicole says

    Hi. I had trouble with the filling getting firm in the center. It thickened around the edge but the center is loose-watery. What went wrong? I’m son confused. I really want this to turn out like yours!

  13. Anonymous says

    Hi! Can you tell me if you used canned pumpkin or pumpkin you cooked yourself from fresh? I think this will make a difference as to how much agar I should use. Thanks!

  14. says

    I used canned pumpkin, but I was thinking today that not all canned pumpkin or home-cooked pumpkin is the same. Some cans are more watery than others, and some home-cooked pumpkins are more watery than others. So I would suggest that if your mixture looks runny after you whisked your agar powder for a minute, then add another teaspoon. It should look a little thick.

    I will add this note to the recipe now.

  15. Anonymous says

    These were so yummy! I used 1 T gelatin instead of the agar powder but did everything else the same and they turned out great!

  16. Anonymous says

    I think this recipe might require fresh pumpkin. I used canned and it never set up properly, and was, in fact, a runny mess.

  17. Abbey says

    Oh my Kelly, you have outdone yourself with this recipe. Just made a batch this afternoon and will definitely make another for Christmas pudding. Thank you!

  18. DottieO says

    Thanks SO much for this yumminess!! I made this last night for my family and followed your recipe exactly… except I put it in a pie pan and made it a pumpkin pie. I had to double the filling, and I also baked the crust for about 10 minutes to give it a drier, toastier flavor. But it was a hit (even with my son who claims to not like pumpkin pie!)I loved the cardamom-chai-spiciness of it.

  19. says

    Kelly, thank you so much. These were incredible, just like all of the other recipes I’ve tried from your blog :) My Dad is not the most health-sensitive person in the world, and I’m really worried about his health lately. He loves pumpkin pie so I was determined to find a gluten free vegan one that would blow his mind. I’m 16 and school just started (junior year- eek!) so it needed to be a relatively fast recipe as well. I used butternut squash and 1/2 tsp more agar agar powder, but the rest of the recipe was the same (except for one thing… I was shocked at how much oil came out of the pecan crust (there was at least a 3 cm pool covering it!) so I dabbed up some of it with paper towels. I don’t think it affected the taste at all!)My Dad loves them. Thank you so much, your blog is one of my favorites (and I follow a LOT of them, haha) :)

  20. Liese says

    I made these for a friend who loves Chai. I used a different crust, but it has similar ingredients. I used 1.5 cups toasted pecans, 1/2 c. almond meal, 1/2 c. u/s shredded coconut, 2oz. pitted daes, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, 1/8 tsp. salt and 2 T. coconut oil, all in the food processor. B/4 I added the oil, it was too loose, and I was worried that it would be the same way when I took it out of the pan, so I added just a bit of oil. I used a 8-inch square pan, and it was the perfect size. But, maybe next time I would try your crust, b/c it’s nice and simple.

    The pumpkin chai topping came out very nice for me, with the addition of the agar agar powder. I omitted the coconut sugar and liquid vanilla stevia and instead used 1/8 tsp. regular liquid stevia, 1/4 c. granular erythritol and 1/2 tsp. honey (spoon dipped in coconut oil_ first to facilitate such a small measurement. It started setting up even before I put it in the fridge and it was a dream to cut. I cut it in really small pieces, so friends could just take a taste, but I really liked the coconut in the crust, I think it balances out the chai flavor very nicely. Thank you for a great recipe Kelly, your recipes are such fun to make and to take in different directions as the desire/need arises! Incidentally, your picture closesly resembles my own. Deliciousness!

  21. Ruth says

    I just decided to cut out gluten and sugar (to help with neck problems, of all things), and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I’m a huge pumpkin pie junkie, so this is a life-saver! I’m loving all the modifications listed in the comments–I’ll probably make some too. But this is a brilliant idea. My mouth is watering thinking about them! Thanks!!

  22. Tammy L. says

    as regards the pumpkin that scanned or made it home it may make a difference if it is cooked in oven or if you boil it in a pan the preferred method would be too roasted in the oven and then it won’t be too watery. I will make these after I go shopping I need to buy some coconut sugar but they sound wonderful. I love the idea of the raw crust.

  23. nancy says

    When preparing mine, I used an 8×8 sq pan and they are no way as thick as your picture. Did u double the batch? Hopefully they will come out think but fine. Will keep u posted.

  24. Joyce Pfaffle says

    Just made these bars. To replace the agar powder which is costly I used two teaspoons of Sure-Jell (the PINK BOX, for no or little sugar. It’s different from the one to make jams which is in a yellow box). Worked perfectly. America’s Test Kitchen often uses pectin (SureJell) in recipes that need thickener and a box of it goes a long ways. I’ve made four different things so far and still have almost half left. Also I wonder if some people are having problems getting the bars to set properly because they use coconut milk in a quart container rather than the thicker canned type. It’d sure be helpful, Kelly, if you’d add “canned” to the coconut milk ingredient for your wonderfully delicious recipes. (And maybe say “not light”) Thanks!

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