Growing up in New Hampshire far from relatives in the Midwest, we would occasionally join church friends at their home in Woodstock, Vermont, for Thanksgiving.
Safely tucked in my childhood memories is the image of their classic, white colonial house with black shutters and a thin blanket of snow covering the lawn. After crunching up the gravel driveway we entered the house through the back door that led straight into the kitchen. Inside the room was warmed by a wood burning stove and a braided rag-rug on the polished floor. A copper lantern chandelier hung over the oval kitchen table. It was a quintessential New England scene.
The guests filled the first floor scattered with tables and chairs of all sizes in various rooms, each set with painted china and miscellaneous polished sliver ware. We’d file past the buffet table several times filling our plates with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yams, and stuffing over and over again making small talk with people we barely knew. Then the buffet was cleared to make room for dessert.
Molds of jello, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, some kind of cookies made the spread. One year, someone brought a frosty pumpkin pie. It was a revelation to me. I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. I think at the time someone said it was made with pumpkin filling mixed with Cool Whip and set in the freezer.
In the years since, I have often thought of that pie, never really encountering it again, thus leaving it to the realm of confectionary dreams.
But then I came across this recipe in the online archives of The Christian Science Monitor. My first thought when I read it was, “Yes.” I’m glad I had the sense to send myself a copy of the recipe when I found it. I have since tried to find it again but it has disappeared into the recesses of the web.
So I sent a text to my sister-in-law, revising my offerings at our Thanksgiving gathering in another New England town where classic colonial homes line Main Street.
I will be bringing this pumpkin ice cream pie. I hope it makes all my dreams come true.
Pumpkin ice cream pie
20 gingersnaps, crushed (1-1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 pint eggnog or vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup cooked pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup whipping cream
Whipped cream, optional
1.In food processor, combine gingersnaps and butter or margarine. Press over bottom and up side of 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.
2. Spoon ice cream evenly over chilled crust. The trick here is to make sure your ice cream is soft enough. If it is too solid, it will “grab” up the crust as you try to smooth it out. Smooth surface with back of spoon or a rubber spatula. Cover with foil or plastic wrap. Place in freezer; freeze about 3 hours or until firm.
3. In medium bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.
4. In small bowl, whip 1 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form.
5. Fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread evenly over ice cream.
6. Return to freezer; freeze about 4 hours or until firm. Garnish with additional whipped cream, if desired.