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?