How to Make Homemade Carrot Pie - An Alternative to a Pumpkin Pie! - Easily! With Step-by-step Directions, Photos, Ingredients, Recipe and Costs

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Yield:  8 to 10 inch pies (see the ingredients section)

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carrot pie - a great tasting fake pumpkin pieIf you are looking for an alternative to pumpkin pie, because you cannot get a pumpkin or just want a healthy change, have I got the pie for you.  This faux pumpkin pie made from carrots instead of pumpkin is amazing!  It tastes almost identical to a pumpkin pie, but actually better, I think! I've done blind taste tests on people in high end restaurants with this carrot pie and an indentical pumpkin pie, and they ALL preferred the carrot pie and even thought it was a pumpkin pie. The pecan topping reall "makes" the pie, in moy opinion! And given that the only fat in the pie comes from the eggs (and you could use egg whites / egg beaters instead), it is super healthy and very, very tasty! Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and fully illustrated. And it is much easier than you think, using my "patented" tips and tricks!  This makes a light, fluffy pumpkin-like pie with a fresher taste. I can assure you that your guests will think this carrot pie is actually the best pumpkin pie you've ever made! If you use Stevia or Splenda and nonfat evaporated milk, you can make an almost fat free (except for the crust and eggs) and sugar-free version of the pie; which still tastes GREAT!

slice of carrot pieYou can even freeze the pie after cooking it. 

And if you want a unique and special carrot or pumpkin pie, try this pumpkin pie with a pecan topping - it is (al together now) aaaawe-some!

If you're ready for some pumpkin pie humor, after making one, you might want to see this page!

If you like this recipe, you'll probably also like my easy pumpkin cheesecake recipe, pumpkin breadpumpkin butter, pumpkin soup and complete, easy directions to cook a Roast Turkey  dinner, easy, tasty, healthy turkey gravy, applesauce, easy apple butter, cranberry sauce and cran-apple sauce. And if you have never canned or made jam, applesauce, apple butter, etc, before, never fear, it is easy with my canning directions. Don't forget to use see these Christmas tree farm pages to find a cut-your-own tree farm or fresh-cut farm or lot near you!  They're loads of fun, often with Santa visits, sleigh rides or hayrides, sometimes even live reindeer and more.
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Directions for Making Carrot Pie (Faux Pumpkin Pie) from Scratch

Yield: It really depends on the size of your pie plate, which can vary a lot.  I added 2 sections, for both 8/9 inch pies and a deep 10 inch pie. 

Ingredients and Equipment

Equipment

  • a large microwaveable bowl or a large pot for the stovetop
  • 1 large (10 inch) deep-dish pie plate (my preference) and pie crust (Click here for illustrated pie crust instructions! they will open in a new window) - or smaller pie plates (8 or 9 inch) and crusts (Metric:  a 10 inch pie plate is a pie plate with a diameter of 25 cm, and a depth of almost 5 cm)

Ingredients

To make an 8" deep or standard 9" pie

  • 3 cups of raw peeled carrots (which is about 1.25 lbs or 650 gm by weight) to yield 2 cups of carrot puree. (I use the peeled organic baby carrots from Costco)
  • 1 cups sugar  (metric: 200 grams). Instead of sugar, you could use
    honey (use 0.75 cups),
    natural sugar (1 cup),
    agave (1 cup),
    brown sugar (1 cup),
    Stevia (1/3 cup) or
    Splenda (1.25 cups).
    If you are using artificial sweeteners (Splenda or Stevia) you'll find that they taste prettty good, but you'll get better results when you do a 50-50 mix with sugar or honey. And diabetics, you can use Stevia or Splenda alone, in place of sugar and get pretty decent results.
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (metric: 6 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice (metric: 2 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (metric: 2 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (metric: 1.25 grams)
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon mace (which you'll find in the very old pumpkin pie recipes)  (metric: 1.25 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional) (metric: 20 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, I don't use any)
  • 4 large eggs - to reduce fat and cholesterol, you may use egg whites (like "Egg Beaters) instead, and vegans may want to use  Ener-G (see this page for more information about egg substitutes)
  • 1 can (12oz) of evaporated milk (I use the nonfat version) for best results. (metric: each can is about .35 liter, or about a half liter total)) 

To make a 10 inch deep dish pie

  • 4.5 cups of raw peeled carrots (which is about  2 pounds (1 kg) to yield 3 cups (metric: 0.7 litre) of carrot puree. (I use the peeled organic baby carrots from Costco) 2 cups of cooked, pureed carrots
  • 1.5 cups sugar  (metric: 300 grams). Instead of sugar, you could use
    honey (use 1.25 cups),
    natural sugar (1.5 cup),
    agave (1.5 cup),
    brown sugar (1.5 cup),
    Stevia (1/2 cup) or
    Splenda (1.5 cups).
    If you are using artificial sweeteners (Splenda or Stevia) you'll find that they taste prettty good, but you'll get better results when you do a 50-50 mix with sugar or honey. And diabetics, you can use Stevia or Splenda alone, in place of sugar and get pretty decent results.
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (metric: 6 grams)
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground allspice (metric: 2 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (metric: 2 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (metric: 1.25 grams)
  • Optional: just under 1 teaspoon mace (which you'll find in the very old pumpkin pie recipes)  (metric: 1.25 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional) (metric: 20 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, I don't use any)
  • 6 large eggs - to reduce fat and cholesterol, you may use egg whites (like "Egg Beaters) instead, and vegans may want to use  Ener-G (see this page for more information about egg substitutes)
  • 1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated milk (I use the nonfat version) for best results. (metric: each can is about .35 liter, or about a half liter total)) 

 

Note for the UK and Europe: Nestle Carnation has two sizes of cans in England: 170g and 410g - the large 410g can is 14 fl. oz. and the small 170g can is 5 fl. oz. (the same as the small can in the US). Use  one of each (19 fl. oz. total) in your pie.
Other notes:
If you can't get canned evaporated milk, make your own from nonfat dried milk and make it twice as concentrated as the directions on the box call for! 
If you can't get nonfat dried milk, just use milk.
If you are lactose-intolerant, use lactose-free milk or soy milk.
One visitor tried fresh whipping cream (unwhipped) and reported  the pie "turned out wonderful! "
Another suggests using coconut milk, if you are allergic to dairy.carrots, washed and peeled

Note: if you do not have cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger, you can substitute 3 teaspoons of "pumpkin pie spice".  It's not exactly the same, but it will do.

Note: If you can't get evaporated milk, you can substitute nonfat dried milk - make it twice as concentrated as the directions on the box say to reconstitute it. It won't be the same as evaporated milk, but it ought to come close.

Recipe and Directions

Yield: One 9-inch deep dish pie or two 8-inch shallow pies

Step 1 - Peel the carrotscarrots simmering on the stove

Prettyt self-explanatory, but if you are in a hurry, as I often am, you can get the already peeled baby carrots and skip to step 2!

Step 2 - Prepare the simmer (cook) the carrots

Cook the carrots in boiling water until soft, about 20 minutes.  If you prefer, you can steam them, to retain more of the nutrients.

Step 3 - Puree the cooked carrots

puree the carrotsTo get a nice, smooth consistency, I use a food processor.  It gives the pie a smooth, satiny texture; rather than the rough graininess that is typical of cooked squashes.

A regular blender works, too (unless you made a few frozen daiquiris and drank them first..). Or even just a hand mixer with time and patience.

With the food processor, it just takes 2 or 3 minutes!

Another visitor says using a food mill, like a Foley Food Mill, with a fine screen, accomplishes the blending/pureeing very well, too!

 

Step 4 - Done preparing the carrots!

carrot pureeThe carrots are now cooked and ready for the pie recipe.  Get the frozen daiquiris out from step 7 and take a break! :)

Note: You may freeze the puree or pie filling to use it later! Just use a freezer bag or other container to exclude as much air as possible.  It should last a year or more in a deep freezer. On the other hand, you may NOT "can" it: 

Step 5 - Make the pie crust

Yes, I know there are ready-made pie crusts in the frozen section at the store, but they really are bland and doughy.  A flaky crust is easy to make! Again, note that unless you use large, deep 9 or 10 dish pie plates, you may have enough for two 8 inch pies.

It is also time to start preheating the oven.  Turn it on and set it to 425 F (210 C, for those in Europe)

Click here for illustrated pie crust instructions!
(it will open in a new window)

Step 6 - Mix the pie contents

All the hard work is behind you! Here's where it gets really easy.  Just see the ingredients section for the right amount of ingredients forsize pie you are making:

carrot puree with evaporated milkMix well using a hand blender or mixer.

Note: You may substitute 4 teaspoons of "pumpkin pie spice" instead of the cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger.  But I think you get better results with the separate spices.

Step 7 - Pour into the pie crust

Some people like to bake the pie crust in the oven for 3 minutes before filling it.  I don't and the pies turn out great!
I like a deep, full pie, so I fill it right up to about one quarter to one half inch from the very top.

Don't be surprised if the mixture is very runny!  It may start as a soupy liquid, but it will firm up nicely in the oven! Note: the pie crust is brown because I used whole wheat flour! Tastes the same, but is healthier.

TIP: If you put the empty pie crust on your oven rack, with the rack slid partially out, you can fill it there and avoid making a mess while carrying the pie to the oven!

TIP: What do you do if you end up with more filling than will fit in your pie crust(s)?  Easy!  Of course, you can make another, smaller pie crust and fill a small pie pan... or just grease any baking dish, of a size that the extra filling will fill to a depth of about 2 inches (see the photo at above right), and pour the extra filling in.. then bake it.  It will be a crustless carrot/pumpkin pie that kids especially love! You can also use it in making carrot-based pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread! (just substitute the purred carrots for pureed pumpkin)

TIP: You may want to cover the exposed edges of the crust with strips of aluminum foil to prevent them from burning! Some people make their own crust cover by cutting the rim off of a disposable aluminum pie pan!

Step 8 - Bake the pie

carrot pies in the ovenBake at 425 F (210 C ) for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F  ( 175 C ) and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Here is the finished pie, right out of the oven:

I use a blunt table knife to test the pie.  The one at left has already been stuck in the pie, and you see it comes out pretty clean, when the pie is done.

pecan topping for piesOptional pecan topping - THIS REALLY MAKES THE PIE GREAT!

I think the pecan topping really makes the pie beyond excellent! While the pie is baking, chop about 1/2 cup of pecans and add them to a sauce pan with 1/8 cup butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Over low to medium heat, let the butter sizzle and caramelize the sugar, but be careful not to let the butter burn! remove from heat and set aside until the pie has cooked for about 30 minutes , and has firmed up a bit and just looks soft or wet in the center.  Then open the oven, and sprinkle the pecan topping evenly all over the top of the pie and finish baking the pie

Step 9 - Cool the pie

And enjoy! Warm or chilled, with whipped cream , ice cream or nothing at all - it's great! Notice how the finished carrot pie is almost indistinguishable from a pumpkin pie.  The flavor is almost identical, too. Just less bland!carrot pie with a pecan topping And with the pecan topping (right photo) it is gourmet and appeals to almost everyone.

 

slice of carrot pieYou can even freeze the pie after cooking it.  I just lay a piece of plastic wrap (cling film) tight on the pie, after it cools down, then pop it in the freezer.

Later, I take the frozen pie out of the freezer, put it in the fridge for about 24 hours, and then either heat it in the oven (350 F for about 15 minutes; just to warm it up) or the microwave for a few minutes.

 

 

Tips from Visitors


Covering the edges of the crust: Comments from a visitor on November 19, 2008: "After having lost my old beloved recipe, I tried this one and have to say this one is top notch! One tip that might help to pass on (especially to new pie makers) is to cover the edges with aluminum foil to prevent the crust from burning. It really works and makes those yummy pie crusts as delicious as the rest of the pie!"

Maple syrup instead of sugar: Comments from a visitor on December 08, 2009: "Really like your site wanted to comment on the sugar alternatives , we use maple syrup 1 cup boiled down for thickness adds great flavor. Thanks "
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I would like to make your carrot pie from scratch for my family for Thanksgiving. What would be the best way to do this? Can I make a pie now and freeze it?

Yes, the cooked carrot pies freeze pretty well, but of course, everything's a little better fresh.

Q. I live in Europe, so I do not have all of the U.S. ingredients over here. I'm also not that clear on the measurement conversions for Example: 1 Cup = how many oz or grams (better for me) dry goods-flour and from oz to grams or liters for wet goods-cream? I was wondering if you would also possibly know substitutes for the following items: Allspice (cinnamon?), Evaporated milk (Lowfat Cream? But then not sweetened! Add more sugar?), Crisco Vegetable Shortening (Help - no idea!)

No problem!  I lived and worked in Europe for 7 years, so I found a lot of good substitutions.

1 cup = 1/4 liter - about 250 ml

A visitor tells me that according to New Zealand's most trusted cookbook, Edmonds:
1 cup of Flour  = 175 g  (6 oz)

1 cup of  Sugar  = 225 g  (8 oz)

Evaporated milk is unsweetened milk that has the volume reduced by removing some of the water - it is sort of like concentrated milk - about 50% reduced, still quite watery.  You could make your own by adding 100 ml (by volume) of instant dried milk to each 100 ml of regular lowfat (or skim or nonfat) milk.

Allspice is its own spice!  It is the dried, unripened fruit of a small evergreen tree, the Pimenta Dioica (typically grown in Jamaica). The fruit is a pea-sized berry which is sundried to a reddish-brown color. Pimento is called Allspice because its flavor suggests a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. So you could make a blend of equal parts of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg instead. 

I use coconut oil (my grandmother used "Crisco" - but that is a saturated, hydrogenated trans fat - terrible for heart health!) Some people use animal lard; which doctors also say is a saturated animal fat and therefore bad for heart health) You could use coconut oil, butter, margarine, or even lard.  If you are the UK, there is something called Trex vegetable fat in the refrigerated section of the supermarket near the butter. I'm told it a good substitute for Crisco.


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