For all those inclined to mix pie dough in the food processor, there’s someone else who would rather skip the resting and rolling and just grind up some graham crackers or cookies for a quick crust.
If that’s you, or if you’re just looking for a twist on pumpkin pie, here are two recipes to try, courtesy of Tribune News Service. Apart from the crust, both fall into the no-bake genre and would be ideal make-ahead Thanksgiving desserts.
The first is described as a light, fluffy pie, which relies on gelatin to set the filling. Beating the egg whites separately ensures airiness, lacking in the standard pumpkin-pie chaser to Thursday’s feast.
Consider using the chiffon pie’s cookie-crust instructions to make the second recipe, an unconventional ode to pumpkin pie a la mode. I personally love the season’s pumpkin ice cream and imagine it would be only more enticing essentially mixed by hand from good-quality vanilla ice cream and pumpkin puree. The frozen pie recipe yields two desserts but may be halved for one.
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
2 cups crumbled ginger snaps
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
3 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups fresh cooked or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 whole nutmeg, grated, or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly whipped cream, for serving
For crust, preheat oven to 350 F. In a food processor, finely grind the ginger snaps. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Drizzle the melted butter over crumbs and pulse to combine. Pat mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie pan and bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
For filling, soak the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. In a saucepan, combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, the pumpkin, milk, remaining cinnamon, the nutmeg and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened, for about 10 minutes. Stir in softened gelatin, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
Beat reserved egg whites in a large mixing bowl on medium speed until foamy. Continue beating, gradually adding remaining 1/2 cup sugar until egg whites are thick, glossy and hold soft peaks. Fold whites into filling, taking care not to deflate whites.
Pour into baked pie crust and smooth filling with a spatula. Chill until set, for about 2 hours. Pie may be made a day in advance, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve with dollops of whipped cream.
Recipe adapted by Tribune News Service from “Canal House Cooks Every Day” by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton ($45, Andrews McMeel Publishing).
Easy Frozen Pumpkin Pie
2 quarts vanilla ice cream
1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for optional garnish
2 (9-inch) graham cracker or gingersnap crumb crusts
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
Take the ice cream out of freezer and let sit just long enough to soften. With a mixer, beat the pumpkin with the brown sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir softened ice cream, then quickly stir in pumpkin mixture until no white streaks remain.
Spoon evenly into the prepared pie crusts and divide the pecans over top. Freeze for at least 4 hours, until firm; cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer until needed (for up to 1 month).
Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving. If desired, top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with additional nutmeg.
Makes two 9-inch pies, about 16 servings.