vanilla bean chai spice pumpkin pudding

I’m keeping things short today for the following reasons:

  1. It’s dessert.  Why not just get right to it?
  2. My gluten free baked doughnut book manuscript is due on December 1st!  All 101 of the recipes, 55 photos, and everything else that makes a cookbook a cookbook.  If you’re thinking I have my time mapped out practically by the hour up until December 1st, you are correct.
  3. It’s Thanksgiving week, and I know you’re busy prepping, traveling, or maybe just taking a load off.

This recipe is the perfect little addition to your Thanksgiving brunch or dessert menu.

Unless that is your hand mixer decides to die, so you end up whisking whipped cream by hand.  Then it may take a little longer…

I always try to do something a little different with pumpkin pie each year.  Not that this is actually pumpkin pie, but pretty similar.  Last year I used coconut milk and infused it with vanilla beans, and this year I loaded it up with chai spices and vanilla beans.

I also added a walnut, oat, and date-sweetened crust that adds a delicious chew with each bite.

Don’t let the though of homemade pudding scare you.  It’s incredibly easy, taking about 15 minutes to whip up and then a few hours in the fridge to firm.

I used a combination of eggs and arrowroot starch for this pudding but also made an egg-free version in case you’re out of eggs, don’t eat eggs, or are vegan. [far right side in the photo below]

The vegan option is on the healthier side, using chia seeds to thicken the mixture into pudding.  If you’re looking for a vegan option with a bit more decadence, check out my cashew pumpkin cream.  I think making a half and half mixture of the chia pudding and cashew pumpkin cream would be perfect. 

Print this!

Vanilla Bean Chai Spice Pudding

gluten-free // yields about 6, 1/2 cup servings

  • 1 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons half & half
  • 6-8 tablespoons coconut sugar [sucanat or pure cane sugar]
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod, sliced + scraped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Prepare dessert cups with crust before starting the pudding. 
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until fully combined and smooth. 
  3. Place the 1/2 scraped vanilla bean pod in the mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture in a large pot over medium heat stirring constantly until it starts to simmer.  About 5-8 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for 1 minute to finish cooking the egg.  Stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.
  7. Portion into serving cups as desired and place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to avoid a skin from forming.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours until fully set.
  9. Top with whipped cream and crust crumbles.

notes: Cornstarch can be substituted for arrowroot.  If you don’t have a vanilla bean, stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract after removing the pudding from the heat and before pouring through the strainer.

Vegan Pumpkin Chia Pudding

vegan, gluten-free // yields about 6, 1/2 cup servings // updated from an older version of pumpkin chia pudding

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 10-14 medjool dates, pitted
  • 6 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender, starting with 2 cups milk and 10 dates.
  2. Blend on medium working up to high until fully smooth.
  3. Add a bit more milk if needed to keep the mixture moving, but you’re looking for a thick, pudding-like consistency. 
  4. Taste and add more dates [for sweetness] if desired and blend until smooth.  Or, add a tablespoon or 2 of maple syrup.
  5. Scoop into serving dishes and place plastic wrap over top. 
  6. Mixture will thicken a bit as it chills in the fridge.  Serve once chilled.
  7. Top with coconut whipped cream and crust crumbles.

Oat Walnut Date Crust

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon unrefined coconut oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 300*.
  2. Place the oats and nuts on a baking sheet and toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons melted coconut oil.
  3. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, stirring 1-2 times until light golden brown.
  4. Let cool completely. This can be sped up in the fridge or freezer.
  5. Place the pitted dates in your food processor and turn on until completely broken down and a ball of dough forms.
  6. Place the nut and oat mixture into the food processor and turn on until small crumbs form.  About 15-20 seconds.
  7. Add in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and pulse around until fully combined.
  8. Mixture should look crumbly but should easily press together between your fingers.  If it’s not holding together process in 1-2 more dates.
  9. Fill the bottom of the serving cups with as much crust as you like.
  10. Crumble on top of the pudding if desired.

We are incredibly lucky to have such a great group of friends here in Colorado that we’ll be spending our 4th Thanksgiving with.  I’m very much looking forward to a day with amazing food and even better company, but my Ohio family will be missed!

Hope you all have a thankful, relaxing, and delicious Thanksgiving.

See you next week!