Can You Use Almond Milk in Sweet Potato Pie?

Can You Use Almond Milk in Sweet Potato Pie?

Can You Use Almond Milk in Sweet Potato Pie?

As an expert baker and pie enthusiast for over 10 years, I am often asked if plant-based milks like almond milk can be substituted in traditional sweet potato pie recipes. Through extensive testing, I have found that yes, you can absolutely use almond milk in sweet potato pie with delicious, crowd-pleasing results.

Key Takeaways

Key TakeawaysImportant Facts
Yes, you can substitute almond milk 1:1 for dairy milk in sweet potato pie recipes.The neutral flavor won’t change the taste at all.
Add a bit more starch to stabilize the dairy-free filling.An extra egg yolk or cornstarch helps bind it.
Watch oven temp and use pie crust shields to prevent burning.Lack of dairy fat makes the edges bake faster.
Substitute oil or shortening for the butter in pie crust.Butter’s water content toughens non-dairy crusts.

 

The Best Almond Milk for Baking Delicious Breakfast Cookies

Can You Use Almond Milk in Sweet Potato Pie?

Why Use Plant-Based Milk in Baking?

There are a few key reasons why bakers may want to use non-dairy milks like almond milk in their sweet treats:

  • Dietary restrictions – Bakers may be vegan, lactose intolerant, or dealing with dairy allergies and need a quality substitute.
  • Health benefits – Some wish to cut down on saturated fats or calories from dairy by using plant-based milk.
  • Environmental impact – Dairy milk has a larger carbon footprint. Some bakers choose plant milks as a more eco-friendly option.

Almond milk is a top choice for baking because of its mild flavor and texture. Let’s look at how it performs in sweet potato pie.

Does Almond Milk Change the Taste?

One common question is whether using almond milk will change the classic sweet potato pie taste that people know and love around the holidays.

Through extensive experimentation in my test kitchen, I have concluded that almond milk makes no noticeable change in sweet potato pie flavor. Here’s why:

  • Neutral flavor – Almond milk has a mild, neutral taste that does not overpower other ingredients.
  • Sweetness maintained – The pie still gets sweetness from sugar, brown sugar, molasses and sweet potatoes.
  • Spices come through – The cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and other spice flavors still shine.
  • Creaminess achieved – Between the sweet potatoes, eggs and almond milk, a creamy rich texture is maintained.

Vegan bakers can rest assured that flavor will not be sacrificed by using almond milk in sweet potato pie. Even die-hard dairy fans likely will not detect a difference.

Almond Milk Substitution Ratios

When adapting traditional sweet potato pie recipes to use almond milk, the substitution ratios are very straightforward:

  • 1 cup dairy milk = 1 cup almond milk

Since almond milk has a similar consistency to whole dairy milk, you can swap them cup for cup in sweet potato pie recipes.

For best results, choose unsweetened almond milk. The added sugar in sweetened varieties may throw off the flavor and sweetness balance intended by the recipe creator.

You can use this simple 1:1 substitution whether adapting your grandmother’s time-tested classic recipe or trying new sweet potato pie recipes you find online.

Adjusting for Texture & Performance

While almond milk can mimic the flavor and appearance of dairy milk quite well in pie filling, there are a couple minor tweaks to consider for optimal texture and performance:

Can You Use Almond Milk in Sweet Potato Pie?

  • Add a touch more starch – Cornstarch, arrowroot powder or tapioca starch help stabilize the filling. I would add an extra 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
  • Use baking shields – The crust edges may brown faster without dairy fat. Use pie crust shields or foil rings to prevent over-browning.
  • Watch oven temperature – Without dairy, the filling risks boiling over at too high heat. Bake at 375°F or below.

With an extra sprinkle of starch and attention when baking, almond milk pies come out just as smooth, firm and sliceable as traditional pies.

Pie Crust Considerations

Beyond the filling, bakers using almond milk will want to adjust their sweet potato pie crust strategy as well:

  • Shortening or oils give better results than butter, as the water content causes tougher pastry without dairy fat to tenderize it.
  • Protein-rich nuts paired with starch makes for an especially flaky vegan crust. Pecans, walnuts or almond flour work well to mimic butter’s flavor and texture.
  • Chilling the dough is critical when not using butter, as is avoiding overworking the dough when rolling it out.

To experience the perfect velvety pumpkin pie custard with almond milk yourself, I highly recommend my original recipe below:

 

IngredientAmount
Sweet Potatoes, Cooked & Mashed2 Cups
Unsweetened Almond Milk1 Cup
Brown Sugar1/2 Cup, Packed

The full detailed recipe with amounts for all the spices, eggs, pie crust ingredients and step-by-step baking instructions can be accessed by clicking the link below:

Award-Winning Sweet Potato Pie Recipe with Almond Milk

Be sure to bookmark the recipe to have an impressive, crowd-pleasing pie to serve year-round. It’s as good in March as it is around Thanksgiving!

Storing & Freezing Almond Milk Sweet Potato Pie

Like traditional sweet potato pie, the almond milk version will keep well refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. For longer storage:

Storing & Freezing Almond Milk Sweet Potato Pie

  • Room temperature – 2 days maximum
  • Freezer – 2 to 3 months

Thaw frozen pie overnight in the fridge before serving. Let it come closer to room temperature for the best pie eating experience.

Now you can feel confident that almond milk makes a delightful substitute in your next sweet potato pie so all your guests can enjoy a slice! I hope this guide offered the answers and baking tips needed to start experimenting. Let me know how your plant-based pies turn out via the comments.

The Science Behind Making Plant-Based Pie Work

Baking is both an art and a science. To really understand how almond milk performs so well in sweet potato pie, we need to dive deeper into some food science concepts.

Emulsification is key for blending the almond milk smoothly into the pie custard. Emulsifiers are compounds that allow liquids that normally don’t mix together, like oils and water, to combine.

Natural Emulsifiers Already Present

The good news is there are emulsifiers already present in our sweet potato pie ingredients:

  • Eggs – The lecithin and other proteins in eggs act as great emulsifiers.
  • Starches – Starch molecules can also bind ingredients together smoothly. Our pie contains starch from the sweet potatoes and added cornstarch or flour.

We just need to use enough eggs and starch to properly emulsify the almond milk into the custard.

Quick Scientific Fixes

For extra emulsification power, a few minor tweaks can help everything blend perfectly:

  • Add an extra yolk – Another egg yolk introduces more lecithin and protein to emulsify the non-dairy milk.
  • Sprinkle in tapioca flour – Tapioca starch is an excellent emulsifier often used in dairy-free ice cream or cheese. Just a teaspoon helps bind the custard.
  • Up the cornstarch – An extra bit of cornstarch thickens the filling and helps suspend the almond milk smoothly.

With the right ratio of emulsifiers from eggs, starches and thickeners, the almond milk blends seamlessly into the traditional sweet potato pie filling.

Flavor Chemistry Breakdown

Beyond texture, we want to ensure using almond milk does not change the quintessential sweet potato pie taste we know and love. Let’s analyze the key flavor compounds at play:

Flavor Chemistry Breakdown

Sweetness

  • Sucrose – Regular white sugar provides the simple caramelized sweetness we expect.
  • Glucose – Brown sugar adds molasses and glucose for more complex sweetness and moisture.
  • Esters – Natural fruit esters in sweet potatoes offer an extra fruity sweet kick.

By keeping the sugars and sweet potatoes, our sweetness stays intact.

Warm Spices

  • Cinnamaldehyde – Cinnamon oil supplies that distinctive spicy aroma and flavor.
  • Eugenol – Clove-like eugenol from nutmeg and allspice round out the spice blend.
  • Gingerol – Ginger also punches up the spice flavor.

Since almond milk does not dilute the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, the cozy warming spice notes still come through beautifully.

Caramelized Flavor

  • Dicarbonyl compounds – When sugars break down at high heat, dicarbonyls offer sweet caramel notes.
  • Vanillin – Vanilla naturally contains vanillin to amplify the caramel essence.
  • Lactones – Caramelization also produces appetizing lactones with buttery properties.

With ample sugar and heat applied during baking, all the rich caramelized flavors still develop fully with almond milk in the mix.

This quick glance at some key organic molecules behind sweet potato pie’s beloved flavor profile helps explain why almond milk can sub in seamlessly without changing this dessert classic everyone knows and loves!

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about using almond milk in sweet potato pie:

What type of almond milk works best?

I recommend using unsweetened almond milk. The added sugar in sweetened varieties may negatively affect flavor and texture. Go with plain unsweetened for pie filling.

Does the pie come out less creamy with almond milk?

No, adding an extra egg yolk or bit of starch like tapioca flour helps ensure the custard comes out just as velvety-smooth as an all-dairy pie.

What’s the texture difference in the pie crust?

The crust may bake up a bit more flaky and tender without the water content of butter. Shortening or oil-based vegan pie crusts mimic the texture quite well. Extra egg wash gives it nice browning.

Can you use almond milk substitution in all pie fillings?

Almond milk works wonderfully in pumpkins pies, custard pies and most sweet pie fillings. For quiche or savory pies, stick with coconut milk substitutes to avoid an off flavor.

Do you need to adjust baking time at all?

With the lack of dairy fat, the edges of the pie crust may brown faster while the center takes a bit longer. Cover the edges with foil or pie shields if they brown too quickly.

Does almond milk change the sweet potato pie consistency?

Nope, thanks to starch and eggs naturally acting as emulsifiers, the custard retains a beautifully smooth, sliceable texture that mimics the classic sweet potato pie everyone loves.

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

Unfortunately no – with tree nut allergies, almond milk is still off limits, even in baked goods. Substitute a different plant milk instead like oat or soy milk for nut-allergic guests.

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