Pumpkin Pie of A Different Sort

Not your average pumpkin pie. No, siree.

This is my kind of pumpkin pie.

Indeed, it’s made for folks like me who don’t really feel the love when it comes to traditional pumpkin pie.

I dunno, but the time-honored one has always been a little too one dimensional for me.

But “Pumpkin Swirl Ice-Cream Pie with Chocolate-Almond Bark and Toffee Sauce” is anything but that. It’s from “Bon Appetit Desserts” (Andrews McMeel Publishing) by Barbara Fairchild.

It’s a decadent graham cracker crust filled with vanilla ice cream swirled with pumpkin puree mixed with autumn spices, then topped with a mound of whipped cream and craggy pieces of dark chocolate studded with almonds. Serve big wedges with a warm toffee sauce.

Seriously, does plain ol’ pumpkin pie even compare to that?

I think not.

Best yet, you don’t need an ice cream maker because you just take store-bought vanilla ice cream and mix in the pumpkin.

Sure, the pie has a number of components. But each one is simple and can be done up to two days ahead of time. The sauce comes together easily in a saucepan, then can be cooled and stored in the fridge until ready to serve. Just warm it before using. The bark is just melted chocolate, spread on a sheet pan, then topped with chopped slivered almonds. Once the chocolate hardens in the freezer, you can rough chop it into irregular-size pieces.

Melted chocolate and almonds spread on a parchment-lined cookie sheet before going into the freezer to harden.

The recipe calls for two quarts of vanilla ice cream, even though you will end up with a leftover 1 cup for another use. Here’s a tip: Since so-called quarts of ice cream have experienced noticeable shrinkage in the last few years, just buy what appear to be two quarts of premium ice cream such as Haagen-Dazs. Look at the package closely and you’ll see each is only 28 fluid ounces — 4 fluid ounces less than a quart. So, two of those will equal exactly what you need for this recipe with no leftovers.

I used cinnamon graham crackers for the crust, but feel free to use plain ones if you prefer.

Dig into Thanksgiving with a pumpkin pie that’s different from the rest.

A big slab of creamy, melty goodness.

Pumpkin Swirl Ice-Cream Pie with Chocolate-Almond Bark and Toffee Sauce

(Serves 8 )

For crust:

12 whole graham crackers

1/4 sugar

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Filling:

1 cup canned pure pumpkin

3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 quarts premium vanilla ice cream, divided

For bark:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped

For sauce:

1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1/4 cup dark corn syrup

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

For whipped cream:

1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely grind graham crackers in processor. Mix in sugar. Add melted butter; process to blend. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of a 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Bake crust until light brown around edges, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.

To make filling: Whisk pumpkin, sugar, cream, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt in a medium bowl. Slightly soften ice cream in microwave on low setting in 10-second intervals. Measure 1 cup ice cream; cover and freeze (reserve for another use.) Place remaining ice cream in large bowl. Working quickly, add pumpkin mixture and fold just until swirled into ice cream (do not blend completely). If ice cream begins to melt, place in freezer until almost firm again. Spoon ice cream filling into cooled crust, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.

Do ahead: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep frozen.

To make bark: Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; spray parchment with nonstick spray. Stir chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Pour onto prepared sheet. Using offset spatula, spread chocolate in even layer into 12-by-9-inch rectangle. Sprinkle chocolate with nuts. Place in freezer until hard, at least 30 minutes. Invert onto work surface. Peel off parchment. Chop coarsely. Place bark in airtight container and freeze.

Do ahead: Bark can be made 2 days ahead. Keep frozen.

To make sauce: Bring brown sugar, corn syrup, 3 tablespoons water, and butter to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and boil until mixture is dark brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Carefully stir in cream, vanilla, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Boil 1 minute longer. Cool slightly, whisking occasionally.

Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cool, cover and chill. Rewarm before serving.

To make whipped cream: Using electric mixer, beat cream and sugar in medium bowl until peaks form.

Spoon whipped cream decoratively over pie. Sprinkle chocolate-almond bark over. Cut pie into wedges and serve, passing warm sauce separately.

Cutting Tip: To cut the cleanest slice, dip a chef’s knife into hot water, wipe it dry, and then cut a piece of the pie. Continue dipping and wiping the knife between each slice.

From “Bon Appetit Desserts” by Barbara Fairchild

More Thanksgiving Desserts to Make: Parsnip Buttermilk Pie

And: Creamy Pumpkin Custard

And: Kabocha Squash Cheesecake with Walnut Crust

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