Paleo Pecan Pie with a Secret Ingredient (Low Sugar, Gluten-Free)

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Before I wax poetic about Thanksgiving, let’s all take a moment to watch the greatest Thanksgiving commercial of all time, starring the two salt shakers pictured above. My life as a Florida resident was enriched every holiday season by the sentimental holiday ads from Publix grocery store. 

I am thankful for family: The people who have always loved me, who taught me right from wrong, and who inspired in me the confidence to pursue my dreams.

I am thankful for a home: A place to lay my bones and be sheltered from the elements of life. A space in which to celebrate, commiserate, and simply exist. A place with a kitchen! 

I am thankful for friends: New and old, near and far, virtual and in the flesh. From the soul mates who weathered storms with me to the friendly acquaintances who have brightened my days with a smile, a text, or a Tweet

I am thankful for food: Whole foods and wholesome treats born from a creative spark and a labor of love. Food that fills the belly, nourishes the body, and delights the senses!

Speaking of which…low-sugar-carb-pecan-pie-slice-paleo-dessert--no-corn-syrup-gluten-free-almond-flour-crust-recipe-diet-10

I am thankful for Paleo Pecan Pie. So thankful!

Low Carb Pecan Pie

Yes, I made pie pictured in the photos. No, you do not have to painstakingly place the pecans atop the filling in overlapping concentric rings, cursing the day you spotted the glamorous Southern Living magazine photo that inspired your decorating scheme! Coarsely chopped pecans sprinkled atop the pie would also look lovely.

With half the sugar and a gluten-free almond meal crust, this nourishing pecan pie will be pleasing to both primal eaters and junk food junkies. The sweet, slightly gooey filling has a caramel flavor due to the addition of browned butter.

To make this pie paleo, use coconut palm sugar in place of the erythritol listed. I found the brand I use (Madhava) in the baking aisle at Wal-Mart.

If you’d like to make this pie totally sugar-free, you can use Swerve. It’s a sweetener that has risen in popularity over the past couple of years, and it performs much more like sugar than any another sugar-free sweetener on the market.  Swerve is made from a natural soluble fiber and erythritol, so it contains virtually zero grams of carbohydrates. 

You can certainly make a great pecan pie using 100% “natural” sweeteners like dates, honey, coconut sugar, and maple syrup. Please bear in mind that these sweeteners contain nearly the same amount of carbohydrates and calories as white sugar.

From WebMD:

“Honey, brown sugar, and cane juice may sound healthy. In truth, they’re about as bad for you as white table sugar. Sugar is sugar. Whether it comes from bees or sugar cane, it can cause your blood sugar to rise. Honey and unrefined sugars are slightly higher in nutrients. They still contain calories, which will go straight to your hips if you eat too much.”

In my experience, the aforementioned natural sweeteners can also trigger cravings for more sugary foods.  

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 Recipe Notes:

  • You can use any crust recipe you like for this pie. The grain-free pie crust recipe below is neutral in taste, reminiscent of a traditional pie shell. It can be rolled out and easily shaped due to the presence of xanthan gum. If you are avoiding starches, check out my almond flour Key Lime Pie crust recipe.
  • This pecan pie contains a secret ingredient in the filling: Mashed sweet potato! Just 1/3 of a cup is blended into the filling to replace the bulk of some of the missing sugar. I pinky promise that you cannot detect the taste of sweet potato in the finished pie.
  • If you are unfamiliar with the process of browning butter, check out Jessica’s tutorial over at How Sweet Eats. It’s worth taking the time to complete this extra step, as it greatly enhances the flavor of the pie. Browning butter will also fill your kitchen with the most delicious aroma!
  • You can replace the erythritol with an equal amount of coconut sugar if you wish. If you make this change, please consider that the pie will not be particularly low in carbohydrates. For information concerning the carbohydrate content of coconut sugar, check out Laura Dolson’s informative article over at the About.com Low Carb Diets section. 
Nourishing Pecan Pie (Gluten-Free, Low Sugar)

Serves 8
A gluten-free pecan pie with half the sugar and all of the taste of the classic corn syrup-filled version. This pie contains half the carbohydrates of a typical pecan pie when made with erythritol, a non caloric natural sweetener.

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Ingredients
  1. 1 perfect paleo crust recipe (see below)
  2. 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, browned**
  3. 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato
  4. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch
  6. ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons (3.25 ounces) coconut sugarOR brown sugar, packed
  7. 1/2 cup erythritol OR Truvia
  8. 1 Tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  9. 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia powder (no fillers)
  10. 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  11. 1 Tablespoon water
  12. 3 large eggs, room temperature
  13. 2 cups (7.6 ounces) pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Brown the butter**. Set aside to cool.
  3. Chop 3/4 cup pecans, and scatter them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.Toast for 6 minutes (or until fragrant) in your fully heated oven. Set aside to cool.
For Filling
  1. Turn oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a food processor or blender, add browned butter, sweet potato puree, sea salt, arrowroot starch, coconut sugar, blackstrap molasses, stevia powder, vanilla, and water. Process until smooth.
  3. Pulse in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
  4. Stir in 3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans.
  5. Arrange remaining 1 and 1/4 cup pecans on top of pie in overlapping, concentric circles. For an easier method, chop the pecans and sprinkle them over the top of the filling. Press pecans down gently until filling seeps up around the edges.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake 20 minutes, or until filling has just set and no longer jiggles on to the top.
  7. Allow pie to cool completely before serving.
Notes
  1. *You can substitute GMO-free cornstarch or tapioca starch for the arrowroot.
  2. **Follow this wonderful tutorial over at How Sweet It Is if you’re unfamiliar with the process of browning butter. Don’t be afraid to try something new. It makes a big difference in the flavor of this pie!
Nutrition Facts (entire recipe, made with erythritol)
  1. 3,053 calories, 140g net carbohydrates (fiber subtracted), 263g fat, 41g protein
Nutrition Facts (entire recipe, made with 100% coconut sugar)
  1. 3,330 calories, 213g net carbohydrates (fiber subtracted), 263g fat, 41g protein
Adapted from Bakerita.com
Adapted from Bakerita.com
Healthy Indulgences http://healthyindulgences.net/

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Perfect Paleo Crust (Grain-Free)

A grain-free crust made from almond meal that you can easily roll out. The key ingredient in xanthan gum, a natural thickener that binds the dough together, imitating the presence of gluten. This pie crust is even suitable for lattice work!

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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) blanched almond flour
  2. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  3. 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  5. 2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch*
  6. 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into chunks, OR coconut oil
  7. 1 egg white
Instructions
  1. Whisk together almond flour, sea salt, baking powder, arrowroot starch, and xanthan gum, if using.
  2. Use a fork to cut chunks of butter into the dry mixture until pea-sized grains of dough appear.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring dish, whisk egg white until frothy.
  4. Add egg white to dough mixure, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you can press the dough into a ball that holds together. With homemade almond flour, I needed 2-3 teaspoons of egg white. Storebought almond flour required 4-5 teaspoons. Add just enough to form a dough that doesn’t crumble. Too much egg white will make the dough too sticky to roll out. In that case, just press the dough into your pie plate instead.
  5. If you used xanthan gum, you should be able to roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Start by making a parchment-dough-parchment sandwich. Roll the dough a couple of strokes, peel off the top sheet, replace it on the dough, and flip over the sandwich. Peel off the new top sheet, and replace it. Then, a few more strokes. Roll, peel, flip, peel, roll… repeat the process until the dough is wide enough to cover your pie plate. The idea is to keep unsticking the parchment paper from the dough so that you can cleanly lift it off the parchment and onto your pie plate.
  6. When dough has been rolled out to the right size, transfer it gently to a 9-inch glass pie dish. Set aside.
Notes
  1. If you’re looking find a starch-free recipe, here’s my Easy Nut Crust.
Nutrition Facts (Entire Crust)
  1. 1,186 calories, 31g net carbs, 95g fat, 37g protein
Adapted from Healthy Indulgences Simple Nut Crust
Healthy Indulgences http://healthyindulgences.net/

Nutrition Facts for Healthy Indulgences Pecan Pie (made with erythritol and coconut sugar):

3,671 calories, 154g net carbohydrates (fiber subtracted), 316g fat, 70g protein

Nutrition Facts for a typical pecan pie:

4,767 calories, 423g net carbohydrates, 323g fat, 55g protein 

Here are my other gluten-free, low carbohydrate recipes fit for your Thanksgiving table:

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
A Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Version of Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Healthier Peanut Butter Pie (Sugar-Free, Low Carb)

Coconut Cream Pie, version 1
Healthy Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie, version 2
Healthy Coconut Cream Pie - Low Carb and Gluten-Free!

Sugar-Free Key Lime Pie
Sugar-Free Key Lime Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (Dairy-Free)
chocolate pb pie 009

Simple Honey Nut Cookies
Honey Nut Cookies (Low Carb, Paleo)

Perfect Paleo Biscuits
Grain-Free, Low Carb Drop Biscuits (the BEST healthier biscuits!)

Sweet Chili Green Beans with Bacon
Sweet Chili Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

Craving more low carb, gluten-free Thanksgiving sides and desserts? Check out the dishes my blogger friends have brought over my virtual Potluck. 

  • http://buttoni.wordpress.com/ Buttoni

    Your pecan pie is a thing of beauty. I’ll have to TRY it!

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren Benning

      Thank you for the nice comment! It tastes as good as it looks. Let me know how it goes for you!

  • Diana Valle

    we made this tonight. it was a) relatively easy, b) delicious. and the crust was just amazing. it behaved like a “regular” crust. THANK YOU!

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren Benning

      Diana, I’m so glad that the pie worked out well for you. Thanks for sharing your feedback with us. What sweeteners did you use in it?

      • Diana Valle

        hi Lauren, i used brown sugar, swerve, molasses and pure stevia powder. the only change i made was using Mexican corn starch instead of arrowroot in both the filling and the crust (on the assumption that, at least for now, GMO corn is illegal in Mexico).

  • http://www.powerloveandselfdiscipline.blogspot.com/ Ashley @ Power, Love, and Self

    Thanks so much for taking the time to figure out different substitutions, so helpful! I assume I can substitute coconut oil for the browned butter.

    And your pie is a showpiece!!

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren Benning

      Ashley, thanks for the kind words about the pie!

      You most certainly can. Sub 5 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoons of coconut oil for the butter. Coconut oil contains a little bit more fat than butter.

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