Everyone has that one thing… that one Thanksgiving tradition that you just can’t do without. No matter where you are or who you are celebrating with, Thanksgiving is not the same without [INSERT YOUR’S HERE]. What is your one thing??
For my mom, it’s a pumpkin pie. Or is it her famous cranberry mold? Or mashed potatoes? (I think my mom has several “must haves!” ?). For a good friend of ours, it’s pecan pie- and for another, it’s a broccoli and Velveeta cheese casserole, just like her mom used to make.
For me, the best part of Thanksgiving isn’t the turkey and the gravy. And although I love a good stuffing, that’s not it either. Mashed potatoes? Meh. Sweet potatoes? So sweet and creamy… you’re getting warmer!
It’s DESSERT… and not just one ?! The highlight of my Thanksgiving- the creme de la creme, if you will- is Thanksgiving sweets. I am a firm believer that there should be SEVERAL options on the Thanksgiving table, and I always make sure that the FOUR BASIC FOOD GROUPS OF THANKSGIVING DESSERT are represented… Apples. Gingerbread. Pumpkin. Chocolate.
While I have a few tried and true favorites, I like to mix it up each year. I make at least one pie, one cake, something frozen, and something warm. I rotate the flavors through, and have done everything from hot apple crisp to a frozen apple custard pie, gingerbread cake with chocolate frosting, and gingerbread cookies. Pumpkin has shown in the form of bread pudding, a tart with chocolate ganache, and as souffle! When it comes to Thanksgiving, there’s no messing around.
With the gluttony of the feast, one thing I always appreciate is having one “light-ER” option as part of the spread. This year it is going to be this knock-out frozen pumpkin pie. There’s something magical about it’s cool, creamy filling, which is so refreshing after a heavy meal.
But people- besides being nice and light, cool and fresh- this dessert is INSANE! I mean, it’s to-die-for. And with the earthy pumpkin and autumn spices, despite it’s frosty temp, it still manages to be cozy comfort food, putting an explanation point on the biggest eating (and cooking!!) holiday of the year.
Is there anything else? Why, yes!!! You HAVE to make this ahead- one or even two days is optimal, but 6 hours is fine too.
So, quoting a good friend, your dessert is “DONE. AND. DONE.” Another check mark complete. You can lazily baste the turkey while football is on in the background, and your Spiked Apple Cider is full and in hand.
HAPPY TURKEY DAY, y’all! Hope it’s a great one.
Are there any substitutions?
- Gluten free gingersnaps are readily available, and can be used to make this dessert entirely gluten free.
- Store-bought caramel can be used instead of the homemade butterscotch (but then you won’t get the bourbon in there ?).
- If you like a little crunch, try some toasted pecans on top, or add them to the butterscotch sauce for a pecan praline sauce.
- Whipped cream would be a nice, decadent addition when serving, but not necessary.
Chef Tip – On Using a Double-Boiler
- Have you used a double-boiler? It’s an easy and great method to ensure the eggs in this recipe don’t scramble. See my Chef Tip video below.
Watch me make this recipe
Frozen Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust
For the Crust
- 2 cups gingersnap cookies crumbled, about 5 ounces (once ground it will give you a little over a cup)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the Filling
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup heavy cream
For the Sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum optional, or use 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Make the crust. Preheat the oven to 325. In a food processor, grind the gingersnap cookies until fine crumbs. Next brown the butter by placing it in a small saucepan and cooking it over medium high heat until the milk solids just begin to turn brown (see my Know How section for more details on browning butter). Remove from the heat and pour into the gingersnap crumbs. Pulse until moistened, then pour into a deep pie plate, pressing evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then let cool completely.
- Place the pumpkin puree in a medium bowl, add the spices and honey and mix well with a whisk. Set aside.
- Prepare a double boiler by setting a pot of simmering water on the stove. Have ready a large, heat-proof bowl that can sit on top of the pot, and be sure that it is not resting in the water. It should hover just above it. Place the egg whites, water, corn syrup, cream of tartar, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl. Beat over simmering water for 4 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and using hand held electric beaters, beat the egg whites for 5 more minutes until they are fluffy white, thick, and cooled off. (You can also transfer the mixture to a kitchenaid and beat for 5 minutes in the stand mixer).
- In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream until you have whipped cream.
- Add the pumpkin to the egg whites and mix to combine. Next fold in the whipped cream using a rubber spatula. Scrape the filling into the cooled pie crust, smooth the top, then place in the freezer. Freeze for at least 6 hours, and up 2 days.
- Make the sauce while the pie chills. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and ¼ cup of the cream. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved and it is smooth. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes at a low simmer without stirring, then remove from the heat. Stir in the bourbon or vanilla. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop, stirring, before using.
- To serve, cut a slice of the pie and drizzle it with the butterscotch sauce, or a store bought caramel if you prefer.
Would Friends be Interested in this Recipe?
This looks amazing Lex!!! Love reading your recipes and little stories each week. Happy thanksgiving to all 5 of you ??
I just finished making the pie and put it in the freezer. It was easy to prepare and it looks amazing! I look forward to serving it tomorrow with our Thanksgiving dinner!
Before I made the pie, I watched your video and noticed in your video you added brown sugar to the ginger snaps. The crust recipe does not list brown sugar, and I opted not to add it as it seems the ginger snaps are sweet enough. Your thoughts?
Also, although I haven’t made the sauce yet, I noticed in the video you combine cream, brown sugar and butter, then you add more cream when you add the bourbon and vanilla. The recipe calls for 1/4 C cream; should I split the 1/4 C between the first mixing and when the bourbon is added, or add more cream?
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!
Hi! Thanks for the questions! You are right – in the video I do add brown sugar to the crust, but after I made that one I realized the cookies were sweet enough and adding the extra sugar to the crust made it just too sweet, so I omitted it from the recipe. As for the sauce, I originally had double the ingredients, and split the cream adding half in the beginning and half at the end. It made SO much sauce though that I ended up halving the recipe for it (since even I, with my huge sweet tooth and kids to help couldn’t make it through the extra sauce!!). To keep it simple, and with the smaller amounts, I adjusted the recipe to put all the cream in at the beginning, but the sauce will turn out well with both methods if you’ve already made it. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the pie!! If you have any more questions let me know!
Thanks so much for getting back to me. I’m going to make the sauce this morning, so I’ll just follow your recipe. We’re looking forward to enjoying the pie after dinner; I’m sure it’ll be delicious!
Thanks again and enjoy your day!