Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? I’m still blaming daylight saving time for screwing with my groove. But that’s alright! I welcome the guilt-free, gluttonous day with my professional sweatpants. A statement only a true fatass can proudly admit.
I’ll also admit that I’m a control freak, when it comes to planning and executing the perfect Thanksgiving meal. Leo pokes fun at me every year, too, because as much of a kick-ass cook that I think I am, the dessert portion terrifies me. The idea of cooking a successful meal AND baking incredible pies makes me laugh. Hard.
Luckily, our friend Cecily taught me how to make Pumpkin Sundae Pie a.k.a Stupid Easy Pie! It’s really stupid easy. Prepare yourself for her genius reinvention of the traditional pumpkin pie: pumpkin and ice cream filling, inside of a graham cracker crust, topped with whipped cream, salted peanuts, popcorn, and bourbon caramel sauce. Yes, there’s bourbon involved. Baked pumpkin pie, you can go home now (jk, you’ll always have a special place in my heart).
The best part about this dessert, besides the fact that it’s boozed up, is that it can be made a week in advance. Sign me up for stress-free pies like this every year!
- For the pie:
- 1 ½ qt. vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
- ½ cup canned pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 9-inch graham cracker or shortbread crust
- For the bourbon-caramel sauce:
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. bourbon, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream, warmed
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- For finishing the pie:
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream
- Roasted, salted peanuts (not dry-roasted)
- Popped, salted popcorn
- Make the pie: Place the ice cream, pumpkin and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-low until fully combined. (You can do this by hand with a sturdy spatula, but it’ll take some arm strength.) Scrape into pie crust; cover (inverted, the plastic lid that comes with the pie crust works perfectly) and freeze. You can make this up to a week in advance.
- Make the bourbon-caramel sauce: Place sugar and ¼ cup each bourbon and water in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture just until the sugar dissolves; don’t stir the caramel after this point (dipping a spoon in can cause the mixture to crystallize; bad news).
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, swirling the pan occasionally. As the caramel cooks, periodically brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. (Again, the sugar crystals on the side of the pan can cause the caramel to crystallize.) Once the caramel turns deep golden—check the color by tilting the pan—about 20 to 25 minutes, remove the pan from the heat.
- Taking care, because the caramel going to spit and bubble, whisk in the cream. Whisking constantly, add the butter one cube at a time, waiting until one cube is mostly melted before adding the next. Whisk in the remaining tablespoon of bourbon and the salt. (You’re going to want to taste it, but do not—I repeat, DO NOT lick a spoon straight out of the pan, unless you want to forever associate caramel with pain. Seriously, that stuff is hot!)
- Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate to store. You can make this up to two weeks in advance. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, or in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, until warm. (Yield: about 1 ¾ cups)
- Serve the pie: Take the pie out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Reheat the caramel sauce. Slice the pie into wedges, and add a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkling of peanuts, and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Top with a small handful of popcorn.
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for meeting wonderful people like Cecily. She’s one of the awesome food editors at Rachael Ray Every Day, and is one of the funniest people ever. A lot of bloopers didn’t make it into the video, but trust me, I was always on the verge of peeing myself. We met this past August in Ohio, at Nestlé’s Baking Hackathon, and I’m so glad that we did. She’s just as sweet as this pumpkin sundae pie.