Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie with Praline and Coconut-Pecan Crust

Gluten free pumpkin pie with praline and coconut pecan crust
A slice of vegan pumpkin pie heaven. Chill overnight for best texture.

Happy October! Good Goddess, I've been busy. Making a delicious mess in my tiny kitchen. Developing new gluten-free dairy-free dessert recipes for the Winter Food Issue of Allergic Living magazine. So I thought I'd dust the cocoa powder off my hands and take a quick break to share two inspirational things today. The first relates to Fall- my updated Favorite Gluten-Free Autumn Recipes index. Peruse at your leisure, ideally with a big mug of spiced hot cider close by.

The second offering had to be something pumpkin. I mean, it's October. And around here October baking means a certain voluptuous curcurbit is queen. So I did what any gluten-free goddess would do. I dug into the GFG recipe archives. And found a luxurious, creamy vegan pumpkin pie with sweet praline topping and a coconut-pecan crust. Just to keep you occupied until I return with a new gluten-free vegan muffin recipe you're going to love.

Let the pumpkin recipe frenzy begin!

I feel like I'm cheating. No, not cheating on my gluten-free diet. Cheating on my faithful Pumpkin Pie recipe. The one I've loved for years. It's so easy, after all. And reliable. And tasty. But you know how it is. You get that itch. You start to daydream. You flirt with a taste of vegan pumpkin pie at the West Hollywood Hugo's, and you start to fantasize about coconut crust. You imagine the buttery caramel taste of praline. And as always, in these matters, one thing leads to another. Next thing you know?

You've got a new love.

Now, I did a little sleuthing before I started experimenting. I discovered that Hugo's pie has a cup of orange juice. A full cup of molasses. And uses three cans of pureed pumpkin. Tablespoons of spice. Agar agar. Cornstarch. None of this appealed to me. So I started with what I what I like. Coconut milk. Cashew cream. A hint of molasses and maple syrup. And what happened next?

Heavenly vegan pumpkin pie bliss ensued.

Vegan pumpkin pie with praline and coconut pecan crust
Gluten-free pumpkin pie with praline and coconut-pecan crust.

Karina's Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie with Praline and Coconut-Pecan Crust

Originally published November 2010.

The key to this version of vegan pumpkin pie is the cashew cream. It thickens the pumpkin custard filling without eggs. I kid you not. This is one beautiful pie. You'll love it. And so will your guests.

Prepare a 9-inch Springform pan by lining the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. (Note: This recipe really needs a 9-inch pan- I mean it. Don't use a smaller pan, Babycakes. It might overflow.)

First, make the crust.

Crust ingredients:

1 cup flaked unsweetened organic coconut
1 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour blend
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place all of the dry ingredients into a food processor bowl and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add in the vegan butter and pulse several times in short bursts until the crumbs are moist and begin to fall away from the sides of the bowl.

Dump the crumbs into the cake pan and spread them evenly. Using your fingers gently press the crumbs across the bottom and up the sides- about 2/3 of the way up.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 7 minutes- to set.

Remove the pan and set aside.

Meanwhile... make your filling.


2 14-oz. cans organic pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups thick cashew cream- see below for instructions
1 1/4 cups organic light brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or orange juice
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a whisk attachment (if you have one- if not, use standard beaters) beat the ingredients on medium high until you have a smooth, creamy custard texture.

Pour the pumpkin custard into the Springform pan and smooth it out evenly. Your pan should be quite full- about 1-2 inches from the top. Place the pan into the center of the preheated 350 F degree oven. Bake for about one hour, till set, and up to 70 minutes or so, if necessary. If the cashew cream was very cold, for instance, you'll need to bake it longer. If the cashew cream was room temperature, the pie will set/bake sooner.

Check the pie at about 50 minutes, to make sure the top is not over-browning (some ovens may run hotter, etc). If the top gets too brown too soon, tent it with a piece of foil.

The pie should look set and slightly firm- though it will still shimmy a little if you shake the pan slightly. You want the center firmness to match the firmness near the outer edges. I baked mine for a full 67 minutes. Every oven is slightly different. Start with an hour in mind- and be willing to bake up to 70 minutes, if it the pie looks "loose".

That said- know that this pie firms up when chilled. It is the chilling of the cashew cream that replaces the eggs in this recipe.

Cool the pie on a wire rack until it is cool enough to handle. Place a piece of parchment paper across the top, and a dinner plate to keep it in place. Chill in the fridge for at least six hours- but preferably, overnight. It will slice best when thoroughly chilled.

Before serving, remove the outer ring of the Springform pan. Top the pie with Pecan-Pumpkin Seed Praline (recipe follows).

Vegan praline topping adds crunch and sweetness to this gluten free dairy free pumpkin pie
The pumpkin seed and pecan praline adds a delicious crunch.

Pumpkin-Pecan Praline


2 tablespoons vegan butter
A couple of shakes of cinnamon
A pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons organic light brown sugar
2 tablespoons gluten-free brown rice syrup or maple syrup


Grease a baking sheet and set aside. Heat a well seasoned, lightly oiled iron skillet over medium heat and add the vegan butter, cinnamon, sea salt, pecans, pumpkin seeds and brown sugar. Stir for a minute or a two to toast the seeds and pecans. Add the brown rice syrup and stir till bubbling and sticky.

Remove from heat; spoon and spread the praline onto a greased baking sheet to cool. Break the praline into pieces for garnishing the top of the pie. I added the praline as a garnish to slices just before serving, but if you need to make this entirely ahead of time, you could top the whole chilled pie with cooled praline pieces.

Serves 16.

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GFG Notes:

Folks are sure to ask me if you could make this pie with eggs. But it's not that kind of pie. The cashew cream is a star in this recipe. If you add eggs, I suspect it would create quite a mess.

If you would like to use real butter instead of vegan butter, that would work.

If you must avoid coconut milk, you could use your usual non-dairy substitution- if the milk is rich- like a vanilla almond milk or soy milk. I wouldn't use rice milk. Too thin. If I had to use rice milk as the only alternative, I would choose a vanilla rice yogurt instead.

Soaking raw cashews to make cashew cream.

How to Make Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is super easy to make, and keeps for several days in the fridge, stored in an airtight container, covered.

You'll need:

2 cups organic raw cashews
Fresh filtered water

Rinse the cashews in a colander and place them in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover them with fresh filtered water. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let them soak for two hours.

Drain the cashews and pour them into a Vita-Mix or blender.
or macho blender.


A small pinch of sea salt

A small splash of coconut milk- maybe 2 tablespoons

Process the cashews for a minute or two until they form a paste, adding a tiny bit of coconut milk, if necessary, to create a thick, rich cream. Don't thin it too much- you want it really thick for the pie filling.

Use immediately or store, covered, in the fridge until using.

Yields roughly two cups of cashew cream.

Recipe Source:

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    Trying this out for Thanksgiving, possibly using whiskey in place of orange juice. Do you think that would be okay in this recipe?

  2. Sounds lovely! The praline topping is such a great idea. I think I will make it to top my vegan pumpkin cheesecake this year. I'll try it with coconut oil and coconut sugar...though it won't be as "buttery" I'm sure. :)

  3. Oh my! Thank you!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Karina!

  4. Thanks, Beauties! xox

    As for subbing the citrus juice with whiskey- personally, I don't think I'd like it- too strong a taste for the subtly of this creamy pie.

    xox Karina

  5. Just found you today. Thank you. I have hope I might be able to provide and prepare wonderful food for my family of crazy allergies and intolerances.

  6. Also, I really like the linen (napkin?) in the picture. Where did you find it? I've been looking for something mixing those colors for a few weeks now.

  7. I can't eat cashews. Do you think coconut yogurt (plain) would work well in place of cashew cream?

  8. Amazing. I've got to try this. Thanks, Karina!

  9. YUM!! This sounds heavenly...I love pumpkin pie ; ) And slowly started to become a fan of pecans. I do love cashews though!

    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


  10. Is it going to be hard to find *raw* cashews, or is this how they usually come (not blanched)?

    Any chance I could use my sweetened coconut and omit the brown sugar in the crust?

    This is my first G-free thanksgiving--thanks so much for all the great recipes and tips!

  11. This would be too much work for me for one pie, but it sure looks delicious!

  12. This is honestly one of the best pumpkin pies I've seen this season. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

  13. My version of your pie is coming out of the oven shortly. I used the pecan/coconut crust. I added coconut milk and organic powdered sugar to the rest of the cashew cream and have that chilling for a cream topping.

  14. Nate: You can find raw cashews in most whole food grocery stores and food coops. They can usually be found in the bulk food section.

  15. I know that Trader Joes has raw cashews. You could probably also find them at whole foods, etc.

  16. Karin22:33

    Thank you for the great recipes. I just started GF baking and wanted to double check if the coconut milk used was the Thai Kitchen kind or the So Delicious kind.

  17. Anonymous23:07

    This website is my new found love. I share it will all my friends and now they have no problems preparing GF/ Dairy-free meals when we have dinner parties.

    Thank you sooo much and the recipes I have tried are fantastic.


  18. Last weekend I had the blueberry cheesecake at Hugo's in Studio City and I almost asked you how they made it. Here's my answer. I'm sure the pumpkin pie is just as delicious. I can't wait to try it!

  19. This looks fabulous and I love the sound of that crust!

  20. Mmmmm, cashew cream, what a great idea. I was going to try a thick rice milk I made, but the richness of the cashews sounds even better. And the protein in the nuts would help offset the lack of eggs. I guess to be truly decadent I might try some whipped cashew cream on top too!

    Thanks Karina! and Happy Thanksgiving!


  21. Karri, another work of art here! Can't wait to make this. Thanks for all the detective work to get it just perfect. :)


  22. As always, your recipes look great and your photographs wonderful... (What camera do you use? type of lighting? lens?)

    I've made a plethora of your baking dishes, and my girls just love them...
    And since my daughter has egg allergies, the fact that you always suggest an egg alternative is a huge plus!

    Question: Can I use something else besides cashew cream in the pie and pecans in the crust? My daughter is allergic to peanuts, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds... even flax...

    She does eat sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds... Do you think I make a "sunflower cream" instead? And pumpkin seeds instead of pecans?

  23. This is perfection. I want to make this for Christmas. Thanks a bunch!

  24. Wow, what a truly beautiful dessert! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Steve!

  25. Thanks, Everyone, for your kind comments. The napkins- I found at World Market. As for the cashews- I find bags of raw or unroasted cashews at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Replacing the cashew cream is tough- it thickens the pie and gives it a creamy custard texture. I think using all yogurt would make a thinner custard that will not gel as well.

    As for a seed based cream... I have no idea on that one- seems like a risk. I suggest playing with my other pumpkin pie recipe for those allergic to cashews. That recipe is nut- free. As for the crust- can you use almonds? Or use part GF cookie crumbs.

    As for the coconut milk- either will work.

    And yes- use the extra cashew cream to make a sweet vanilla cream for topping Thanksgiving desserts! xox Karina

  26. That looks incredibly tasty! Just looking at the pictures makes me feel hungry ;-)

  27. Anonymous15:11

    Will this work if I substitute sorghum flour for the all purpose gluten free flour in the pie crust? If I did, would I have to add a certain amount of xanthan gum?

  28. Thanks, Marinka- xox

    Anon- I imagine it will work. A tiny pinch of xanthan gum won't hurt.


  29. I love the addition of molassass, but it always makes me think of Christmas.

  30. Nate- Sorry I missed your question about the brown sugar in the crust. It helps bind the crumbs. I've never done it with the sweetened coconut, so. Your call.

    As for the camera I use- I use a Canon Rebel XT in natural light with a supplemental tabletop photo light by Lowell. I use either a 50 mm macro lens (as I did here) or a 50mm F 1.8.

    Cheers! Karina

  31. Ok, it's in the oven!! If the filling was any indication when I went to lick the bowl... it's going to be so phenomenally delicious. I can't wait!

  32. Anonymous20:18

    This looks mighty delicious, but I'll have to put the recipe aside for later ... I've already made your original GF pumpkin pie for tomorrow, and it's cooling on a wire rack in the kitchen at this very moment.

    Your wonderful recipes, mouthwatering photos and graceful writing are among the things for which I give thanks, Karina. You make my new life as a gluten-intolerant person a little easier and happier!

  33. Karina, Oh! I'm so tempted but I just put both my GF pumpkin pies in the oven last hour. Maybe for Christmas.

  34. Karina to the rescue-- AGAIN! I made the crustless pumpkin with great success last year. But now my sister is "grain free" (and low carb) so I may try this new recipe of yours using a tried and true nut crust from Bette Hagman... (worked great when my kids made me a birthday pie this year!) I'm just a bit scared to be starting so late...AND TO BE TRYING THIS WITH BLANCHED SLIVERED ALMONDS instead of cashews, as my son is allergic to cashews. I wish I could pick your brain as to what you think might be a good add in as insurance to firm it up, outside of the buckwheat from the crustless (psuedo grain- not sure if my sister would partake) in case my almond cream does not lend the integrity needed.(cornstarch, tapioca, eggreplacer? fiddling with proportions in baking last minute can be disatrous!) Espec with so little time to chill it... Still, I'm hopeful! Thank you for these wonderful recipes and have A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING.


  35. Anonymous02:48

    I tried your pie and it was amazing! I divided the batter between a 6" and 7" springform pans b/c I wanted to give one to my neighbor who is gluten-intolerant. The praline topping was to die for! I love the idea of using cashew cream, it will be my new replacement for cream cheese. I'm not gluten intolerant but I'm in the process of giving up dairy. The cashew cream is a much better alternative. Thank you for offering us this lovely, delicious holiday dessert!

  36. Karina, that sounds delicious! And the crust with coconut, yum!! This would be great even if you weren't on a gluten-free diet. Happy Holidays Karina!!

  37. Hi there. I just wanted to say thanks for this recipe. I've been vegan for quite awhile and recently decided to try Kathy Freston's 21day cleanse. I realized from that experiment that I feel *much* better when I don't eat gluten. I can feel a little depressed if I think about it, but the thing is physically I feel SO much better so it hardly seems like something I'm giving. Anyway, our family dinner was postponed until tomorrow and I've been trying to figure out what to take and your pie recipe has just made my day! I can't wait to take it - they expect vegan recipes from me (I love to bake), but I'm quite certain they won't be expecting gluten free and vegan. Thanks again!

  38. Karina-

    My pie turned out AMAZING. My topping... may have gotten scorched because I was trying to make it with the 11 month old around. Next year... no babies!


  39. Karina, this was FABULOUS!! I made it for my family of which I am the only gluten free member. Everyone loved it! I did not make my own cashew cream but rather used MimicCreme and it worked wonderfully. The praline topping was delicious but I also added vegan whipped "cream" (Healthy topping also by MimicCreme and available on Amazon). So good!! Thank you!

  40. wonderful recipe - makes me wish we had thanksgiving celebrations here in Australia just so I could have an excuse to make such a pie - it also yet again makes me wish I had the equipment to try cashew cream - when I have tried with my food processor it just doesn't work

    hope you had a great thanksgiving - all your food looks so good that it must have been some spread

  41. By the way, I will try the cashew cream next time (although the Mimic Creme worked very well). I only found the recipe the night before Thanksgiving and so did not have any cashews on hand to make the cream. But it sounds easy and delicious!

  42. Karina this was good. No excuses for being gluten free, just damn good. Thank you. You rock. Of course you know that, but sometimes it is nice to hear that sentiment from other people. I burnt out my blender making the cashew cream but one suffers for this sort of thing with gladness in their heart.

    Thank you,
    ~Jenn Scott in Forest Grove

  43. Anonymous22:29

    I've been visiting your blog for years, but after making this pie for thanksgiving I just had to write in and tell you how amazing your recipes are! This pie was delicious! The best pumpkin pie I've ever had in my life! Thank you so much!

  44. This pie recipe is absolutely amazing. It is BETTER than regular pumpkin pie- so much flavor and the crust is incredible. My family, none of them are GF, also really loved it!
    I put raw cranberries on top to mix with the praline as well. I also didn't have raw cashews so I made almond cream instead- still worked out really well.

    Thank you for posting such amazing recipes. I've been attempting GF baking for a while- and until now it has failed miserably. Thank you so much!

  45. Anonymous13:09

    Hi Karina,

    I just wanted to say thank you!! You have been such a lifesaver to me. I have mitochondrial disease and many other issues and was recently put on a very strict diet (vegan, gluten-free, and alkalyne). I had NO CLUE where to begin, after 33 yrs of eating a certain way. The most difficult part is cooking something that my husband and 4 boys will eat, also, but I have found many delicious recipes on your blog.

    I made this pie for Thanksgiving and my husband and boys carried on and on about it. They thought it was the best pumpkin pie they'd ever eaten and had no clue it was gluten-free and vegan! Awesome!! :) Thank you, thank you, thank you!!


  46. I think I might be in love too! Yum.

  47. OMG this was sooo good. I made it fresh from a couple of 10" pumpkins and brought it to Trader Joe's where I work...a few people asked for the recipe...I don't think there was a crumb left...the only down side of this recipe, is between having to puree the pumpkin and make the cashew paste, and the bake times I spent about 4 hours baking. I highly recommend this recipe though!

  48. Christine22:13

    THANK YOU!!! Especially just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving... I am the only gf and mostly vegan person in my family so I need to make stuff just for me - and I LOVE pumpkin pie. I made the crustless one last year and ate pretty much the whole thing (not because the others didn't like it but because I liked it that much). I will be taking this new one to my mom's next weekend. Thank you for all that you do for us - and know that you are much appreciated in all of our hearts.

  49. Pumpkin time again!

  50. Wow - that looks fabulous. My youngest most likely has a gluten allergy and I'm so thrilled to have found your website. Cannot wait to try this out.

  51. Oh my! All of my favorite flavors rolled into one sweet treat! Yum! This looks, and obviously sounds, amazing!!

  52. I can't wait to try this with the cashew cream - what an ingenious way to substitute for eggs in pumpkin pie.

  53. Exactly what I needed for the holidays: a hybrid between pumpkin and pecan pie, and gluten-free to boot. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  54. Anonymous21:26

    You are an inspiration. We have been "wheat-free" for only one week now, but we're not missing out on a thing. I made this pie for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner, and we cannot wait to try it! Thank you for all the info and ideas!

  55. I have just discovered this beautiful blog (I seem to be waaaay behind the times) and would just like to say, "Yay!". This is a fantastic resource for gluten/dairy free people such as myself, and to top it off you do an exquisite job of writing, photographing and creating. Thank you.

  56. I don't know how I missed this when you originally posted it, but . . . wow. This is definitely going on my Thanksgiving list.

    (I miss Hugo's . . . a lot, even though I didn't go there that often. But we do have a Cafe Gratitude in the Whole Foods here, so that helps a bit. :))

  57. Thanksgiving dessert? Done!

  58. This is some kind of intense Pumkpkin pie! I think especially using Cashew Cream in it is super creative...I love it!

  59. Karina, Even after 2 hrs, my pie filling remained as loose as It was when I had initially filled the pan. The top did over brown and I put the foil, but below the top, it remained smooth creamy as it was in the start. Where did I go wrong?

  60. hey thanks for this...and i've been wondering about the cashew cream because it is soooo super-expensive ready-made. i've got the vita-mix so i'm psyched to try it...

  61. Lookss delicious. Gluten free eating can be great.

  62. The texture of this pie looks amazing! I'm totally adding it to my pumpkin blog hop this month!

    Truly beautiful!

  63. A good friend of mine recently discovered she is allergic to eggs but used to love pumpkin pie so I thought I'd impress her with this pie that we could both eat (I am allergic to dairy). Unfortunately, I just spent the entire evening making this pie and I have to say it pales in comparison to the gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin pie that I usually make with eggs. Maybe 2 Tbsp of tapioca starch is too much??

  64. Jill, did you chill it overnight? Chilling helps. It's different than an egg custard, yes. It's vegan.

  65. I made this pie last night and I am eating it for breakfast this morning! It turned out great. I am making the topping for it this afternoon. The only problem was that it didn't set as much as I would have liked on the inside, and I'm not sure why because the cashew cream was really thick and it was in the fridge all night, but it will be back in the fridge while I'm at work so we'll see. Thanks for the recipe :)

  66. Karina--
    Any way to make this sugar free? I am working with gluten-, egg-, and dairy-free and now also have a friend who does not eat refined sugars. She does go for agave nectar, small amounts of maple syrup, and splenda/stevia.

  67. What might I substitute for the coconut in the crust? Or could I just increase the amount of nuts and flour?

  68. I made this crust the other day...WOW!! So amazing! i was thinking of just using a regular egg-pumpkin pie you see any reason that won't work? I think I would still pre-bake it a bit...

  69. Becky- Sugar helps structure, but you could try something else- I'd experiment though before the big day, because it might not set up as well.

    For the crust sub- in place of coconut use more nuts and brown rice flour.

    Tessa- Yay. Absolutely. That's what I'm planning to do, too.

  70. This is beautiful and so amazingly tasty sounding. We would love it if you could submit it to Healthy Aperture to share with our fans.

  71. Hi Karina,

    I am considering substituting some of the brown sugar in the filling with Agave nectar to lower the calories. Would this be an unwise move and make the filling too lose? If not, is it safe to substitute all of the brown sugar in the filling or to play it more conservatively by not substituting at all?

  72. I can't have cashews, but can have eggs... would that substitution work? :)

  73. For subbing- agave may work but make it more loose. I don't really know.

    As for eggs- eggs will work but you'll also need to replace the cashew cream- though not the full amount. I don't know exact measurements, without experimenting. This a large pie- thicker than a shallow pie plate, so you're going to need more eggs than a single can sized pie. And, again, you'll need some cream or evaporated milk.

  74. How many ounces are in one cup of pecans? I know this sounds like a question with an obvious answer, (8oz) but I'm confused because I'm not sure if the rules are different when measuring nuts.

  75. A cup of pecan pieces by volume... just fill a cup with pieces, all the way to the top. Slightly rounded. Cheers- Karina

  76. Yep! Made this recipe for Thanksgiving today!!!! Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to try it!

  77. This is delicious! Mine did not get completely cooked in the center, though, even after a full 70 minutes of baking. Might just be my oven.... Still very tasty and edible though, even if the texture is a bit off... The praline topping is exquisite! I plan to use it on other things as well. Thanks!

  78. Hi Karina. I would just like to say this pie made my Thanksgiving absolutely phenomenal, not to mention full of compliments! Thank you for this (yet again) delicious recipe! I have featured it on my blog and would love for you to take a look,

  79. Delicious. Made this for my Thanksgiving and I am the only one avoiding dairy, eggs, and gluten...while breastfeeding a tender tummy. Everyone loved it. I can't wait to try more of your recipes!

  80. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a show stopper! With the brittle on top it was very festive looking and it's soooo tall! Looks more like a giant cheesecake! Mmmmmmmm soooo delicious! Everyone loved it! Has anyone tried freezing slices of it? It makes so much that I'd like to freeze some for later next time I make it.

  81. Made your pie for Christmas but unfortunately it was a disaster. The taste and texture of the filling had a bizzare glue-like texture with little flavour. We had to throw the whole thing in the bin. I wonder what went wrong?? I believe there is too much tapioca and xantham gum?? It never cooked through even after 1 3/4 hours in the oven. The praline was delicious though...we ate it with our Christmas pud! And so are your lovely little ginger snap stars!! Yummo!