Growing up, we always had pecan pie at every major holiday. My older sister made it from scratch and it became something of a signature dish for her. While she still makes it, she now lives a few hundred miles away from me so I usually only get it when we spend Thanksgiving together.
One night while I was telling my boyfriend about how much I loved pecan pie (we often discuss how awesome pie is), he pointed out that he’d never had it because of his nut allergy. Sad that he couldn’t eat it, I made it my mission to find a delicious nut-free alternative to pecan pie. Sunflower seeds were the obvious choice.
From the moment I tasted my first Sunflower Seed Pie, I knew I’d found something special. The sunflower seeds lack the faint bitterness of pecans while the salt on the kernels beautifully compliment the sweet, gooey filling.
Please note that if someone in your family has a nut allergy, check the sunflower seed packaging carefully. Some of them are cooked in peanut oil.
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup roasted, shelled salted sunflower seeds
1 unbaked 9 inch pie crust (I prefer a shortbread crust, but any pie crust will do)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line your pie pan with the crust and pour the sunflower seeds into it.
In a small bowl, melt the butter and then set it aside to cool almost to room temperature. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl until the white and yolk are combined well. While still beating, add sugars, syrups, melted butter, and vanilla.
Pour the filling over your sunflower seeds in the unbaked crust and bake for 50 minutes. When done, the center of the pie will be slightly jiggly and otherwise well set. Allow to cool thoroughly before serving.