pumpkin desserts, pumpkin pie with coffee and pumpkin donut

In October, we lug home golden pumpkins and red-skinned apples from the markets and transform them into a sideboard of sweets for a Canadian Thanksgiving celebration.

The correlation between Thanksgiving baking and cooler fall temperatures is no coincidence. My kitchen begins heating up with crimped pies and tender cakes right around the time our evening walks begin requiring scarves and sweaters. It’s a good balance.

A handful of people in my extended family have a lactose intolerance, and often have to sit out the dessert course. Well, this year is different; I’ve developed a few recipes that leave out the butter and the cream but still taste fantastic, and it’s all thanks to mayonnaise. They are too good not to share with all of you.

Tender baked chocolate doughnuts are by far my children’s favorite treat – and that was even after they learned that they contained pumpkin. My eldest is pretty handy in the kitchen and begged to be shown the method for the doughnuts. Fortunately they are simple enough for a novice to make with great success.

We adults tend to gravitate towards the pie, though – a rich, spiced pumpkin pie, to be precise. It’s traditional Thanksgiving fare and as far as I’m concerned it’s the ultimate fall comfort food.

I knew that if I had a dairy-free pie as my end goal, I was going to have to get creative with my crust. Amazingly, mayonnaise yielded a fork-tender, flavorful crust that I was thrilled to serve my guests. I always add vinegar and egg yolk to my pie-crusts, so mayonnaise seemed a clever, creamy alternative.

Either of these dairy-free desserts would be a hit at any Thanksgiving gathering, but if you bring both, you’ll be sure to please young and old alike.

Dark chocolate pumpkin dairy-free baked doughnuts

sweet pumpkin recipes

Yields: 12 baked doughnuts

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup quality mayonnaise
  • ½ cup pumpkin purée
  • ½ cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon water


Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F, then lightly grease two 6-cavity doughnut-baking pans.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and baking soda. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and pumpkin purée until smooth, add the cane sugar and vanilla, and beat well. Add half of the flour mixture to the medium bowl and mix together. Next, pour in half of the water and stir to combine. Add the remaining flour to the batter, then the rest of the water. Use a whisk and beat the batter for 30 seconds to ensure a smooth, lump-free mixture.

Spoon the batter into the doughnut pans, dividing it evenly between all 12 cavities. Bake for around 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a doughnut comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave the pans to sit for a few minutes, before tipping them on to a cooling rack to let doughnuts fall out. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Rich spiced dairy-free pumpkin pie

sweet pumpkin recipes

For the crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • dash of cinnamon
  • ½ cup quality mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 medium egg yolks
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 2/3 cup quality mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


For the pie crust:

Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon, then add the mayonnaise and mix together with a fork. Sprinkle in the ice water and bring it together with the fork. Gather the dough with your hands and roll into a large ball.

Place the ball of the pie dough on a 9-inch pie pan. Flatten with your palm, then press the dough evenly up the sides of the pan. Crimp the edges or press with the tines of a fork. Place the pie crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour and spices until there are no lumps. In another small bowl, whisk the yolks until runny. Add the pumpkin purée, mayonnaise, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk to combine well. Pour in the sugar and spices and mix together with a spatula.

Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Place on the center rack in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the pie set.

Leave to cool completely, and then chill for several hours before serving.

About the author

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque is a former chef, food writer and Montreal urban homesteader. She writes the award-winning food blog Simple Bites, named “Best Kids’ Cooking Blog” by Saveur Magazine, where she chronicles her kitchen adventures with simple recipes, savvy cooking tips, vibrant photography and lively stories. She is also the author of the new cookbook "Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family recipes from the kitchen of Simple Bites" (Penguin, 2015). Aimée is wife to Danny, mama to Noah, Mateo & Clara, boss of two cats, and farmer of six brown hens. For more whole foods inspiration and everyday delicious chit-chat, follow Aimée on Twitter and Instagram.

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque