Can You Use Almond Milk in Coconut Cream Pie?

Can You Use Almond Milk in Coconut Cream Pie?

Coconut cream pie is a classic dessert with a light and airy filling made from coconut milk, eggs, and sugar. Almond milk is growing in popularity as a plant-based milk alternative, leading some bakers to wonder if it can be substituted for coconut milk in coconut cream pie recipes. As a nutrition expert and baker, I have made this substitution many times with delicious results.

Key takeaways

Key Tips for Perfect Almond Milk Coconut Pie
Balance Fat ContentAdd plant oils or nut butters to enrich almond milk’s fat profile
Thicken with StarchCornstarch gels the filling once chilled for perfect sliceable texture
Pre-Bake CrustCreate a moisture barrier so crust stays crispy
Strain MixtureRemove any lingering starch lumps for decadently smooth mouthfeel

 

Almond Milk vs Coconut Milk: Key Differences

Almond and coconut milks have distinct nutritional profiles and properties that impact how they behave in baking applications. Here is an overview:

Almond Milk vs Coconut Milk: Key Differences

MilkFat ContentCalories per CupSugarsProtein
Coconut Milk22 g2300 g0 g
Almond Milk2.5 g608 g1 g

As shown in the table, coconut milk has significantly more fat compared to almond milk. The high saturated fat content allows coconut milk to take on a creamy texture when chilled. Almond milk’s low fat and protein content won’t produce the same creamy pie filling.

However, with a few tweaks and ingredient adjustments, almond milk can mimic the texture of coconut milk in pie filling quite well.

Substituting Almond Milk for Coconut Milk in Pie Filling

When using almond milk in place of coconut milk for the pie filling, adjustments are needed in these areas:

  • Fat content
  • Thickeners
  • Sweeteners
  • Baking temperature and time

To make up for the lower fat content in almond milk, you must add supplemental sources of vegan fat, such as:

  • Melted coconut oil or vegan butter
  • Avocado
  • Cashews

Adding a starch like cornstarch helps thicken the less creamy almond milk.

Since almond milk has inherent sugars while coconut milk has no sweetness, you can reduce the amount of additional sweetener needed in the pie filling, or eliminate it altogether depending on taste preferences.

Finally, the baking temperature must be reduced slightly, and baking time extended to allow moisture to evaporate, preventing a soggy pie.

Step-By-Step Instructions: Almond Milk Coconut Cream Pie

With the proper adjustments, almond milk can produce a pie just as creamy and delicious as the traditional coconut milk version.

Step-By-Step Instructions: Almond Milk Coconut Cream Pie

Here is my proven recipe for vegan coconut cream pie using almond milk:

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 cup (0.24 l) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil or vegan butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Filling:

  • 3 (14oz) cans almond milk
  • 1⁄3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup (0.24 l) melted coconut oil or vegan butter
  • 3 avocados, skinned and destined
  • 1⁄2 cup cashews
  • Sugar to taste (optional)

Topping:

  • Whipped coconut cream (one 14 oz can coconut milk chilled)
  • Toasted sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, pulse almonds and shredded coconut into a coarse flour. Add melted coconut oil or vegan butter and maple syrup. Process until mixture starts to stick together.
  2. Press crust mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan lined with parchment paper along the bottom and sides. Chill crust while preparing filling.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 3 cans almond milk with cornstarch until there are no lumps. Transfer mixture to a saucepan and heat on medium, whisking frequently, until thickened to a pudding consistency.
  4. Stir in remaining filling ingredients (vanilla, almond extracts, coconut oil/vegan butter, avocados, cashews). Purée mixture until completely smooth. Taste and add sugar if desired.
  5. Pour filling into prepared pie crust. Smooth top and evenly spread around crust.
  6. Bake at 325 °F (ca. 163 °C) for 60–70 minutes. Filling should still jiggle slightly in the very center when done.
  7. Allow pie to fully cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, then chill pie for 4 hours minimum before slicing. Top pie with whipped coconut cream just before serving. Garnish cream with toasted almond slices.

And there you have it! My proven method for turning almond milk into a silky vegan coconut cream pie filling that’s just as decadent as the traditional.

Top Tips for Using Almond Milk

Through extensive experimentation, I have some additional tips when using almond milk in coconut cream pie:

Top Tips for Using Almond Milk

  • For best results, use unsweetened almond milk and adjust sugar separately based on taste. Sweetened almond milk throws proportions off.
  • Do not omit avocado or cashews – they provide vital creamy fats and texture in the absence of coconut milk.
  • If you want to reduce fat content, use 1⁄2 cup less coconut oil/vegan butter. Texture will still set up nicely when chilled due to cornstarch.
  • For milk alternatives, you can use oat milk or soy milk in place of almond milk. Just ensure they are unsweetened and unflavored varieties.

Final Thoughts

While coconut milk lends an unmistakable tropical essence and body to cream pie fillings, almond milk makes an excellent substitute when you want a nutty flavor profile or need a dairy-free, vegan option.

Implementing the adjustments for fat, starch, sweeteners, and baking time in my recipe will ensure your almond milk coconut cream pie turns out just as rich and decadent as the coveted classic.

As an authority in plant-based baking, I’ve crafted the ultimate tips and tricks for getting flawless results. With the hosting of pie parties in my near future, I’m certain my almond coconut cream creation will continue being a crowd favorite.

Troubleshooting Common Issues When Baking With Almond Milk

Switching the base ingredient in a baked good can cause some issues until you get the proportions precisely right. Here are some common problems that can occur when using almond milk in coconut cream pie and my proven fixes:

Troubleshooting Common Issues When Baking With Almond Milk

Soggy Crust

An almond milk filling releases more moisture as it bakes compared to creamy coconut milk. That liquid can saturate the crust, making it wet and limp.

The Fix: Par-bake the pie crust before adding the almond milk filling. Bake at 350 °F (ca. 177 °C) for 8–10 minutes until just set. Let cool completely before pouring in pie filling and return to the oven. The pre-baked crust creates a moisture barrier.

Grainy Filling

If you don’t adequately blend the almond milk with the cornstarch, small clumps can remain that leave a gritty texture.

The Fix: Strain the mixture after cooking through a fine mesh sieve to catch any lingering grains. Use an immersion blender to fully purée.

Watery Filling

Almond milk’s thin consistency can lead to fillings that never thicken up properly with starch.

The Fix: Cook the almond milk mixture longer, up to 10 full minutes of simmering, to activate the cornstarch fully. Stir constantly to prevent scorching on the bottom.

Deflated Crust

If the crust gets saturated, it can collapse inward as it cools.

The Fix: Reinforce the crust by pre-baking for 12–15 minutes until golden. Let cool completely before filling. Bake the whole pie at a reduced temp (300 °F (ca. 149 °C)) to limit excessive moisture buildup.

Cracked Top Crust

Like traditional coconut cream pie, almond milk fillings expand slightly then sink inward as they cool after baking. Moisture evaporating through cracks dries the filling out.

The Fix: Top the pie 10 minutes before the end of baking with a sheet of foil with a vent hole poked through the center. This prevents the top from over-browning before the inside sets up fully.

Almond milk yogurt

FAQs About Making Coconut Cream Pie With Almond Milk

If it’s your first time using almond milk as the base for coconut cream pie, chances are you have some questions. Here are answers to the most frequently asked:

Is the consistency the same using almond milk?

Yes – with the right ratio of starch to liquid, adding sources of plant-based fat, and properly baking the pie, the texture comes out silky smooth and rich.

Do you really need the avocado and nuts?

They are essential for adding plant-based fat without coconut milk’s saturated fat. Omit them, and the pie would be too thin.

Can I use sweetened almond milk varieties?

Avoid sweetened/flavored almond milks because the flavors don’t complement coconut pie. The added sugar also throws off starch gelatinization, preventing the filling from setting up properly and likely burning during baking.

How long does the pie last refrigerated?

Properly stored with an airtight seal, the pie lasts 5 days refrigerated without drying out too much. Freeze for longer storage, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight before serving.

What can I serve with almond milk coconut pie?

I love complementing the nutty pie with tropical fruit like pineapple slices or mango sorbet. A side of chocolate chips or toasted coconut gives options for adding flavors on each forkful, too!

Can people with nut allergies eat this pie made with almond milk?

Unfortunately, no – with almond milk as the main ingredient, even though processed, traces of not protein still exist. I’d recommend using cashew milk instead, following the same recipe ratios.

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