Cranberry Ice Cream Pie

I’ll be the first to admit that when I start making my Thanksgiving menu, without thinking, I always pencil in pumpkin pie and pecan pie for dessert. Sometimes I’ll throw in a third pie (Dutch apple is usually my 3rd go-to) or another non-pie dessert like carrot cake, for good measure. However, I tend to go completely traditional when it comes to pies, without giving it a second thought. A few weeks ago, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I were talking about Thanksgiving desserts when he started looking for some different ideas, and happened upon a cranberry ice cream pie. He had just enjoyed an amazing cranberry sherbet cone a few days earlier, and asked if I’d give the pie a go. Of course I said yes!

The wonderful thing about this pie is that you can make it as involved or simple as you’d like. The recipe is written using all homemade components; however, if you’re crunched for time this week and need to throw together a quick, yet impressive dessert, you can easily adapt this to fit your needs. You can use a ready-made graham cracker pie shell, your favorite vanilla ice cream, canned whole-berry cranberry sauce, and an 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip. As much as I love baking the old-fashioned way, sometimes life gets hectic and it’s not always possible. For those times, it’s great to have a quick alternative as a backup plan! Whichever way you decide to make this pie, I guarantee it will garner the same results – impressed ooh’s and aah’s, and full, happy bellies!

If you’re looking for a non-traditional pie to break up the parade of pumpkin, pecan and apple, look no further!

One year ago: Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans
Two years ago: Cranberry-Walnut Rolls
Three years ago: Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti

Cranberry Ice Cream Pie

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

A festive cranberry ice cream pie; a great alternative to all of the pumpkin on Thanksgiving!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
42 gingersnap cookies (about 9 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Ice Cream Filling:
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup cranberry sauce (or canned whole-berry sauce)
1 tablespoon orange juice

For the Whipped Cream:
1½ cups heavy cream
4½ teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Sliced almonds, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Make the Crust: In a food processor, pulse together the gingersnaps and sugar until they become fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few more times to incorporate. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

3. Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the ice cream, cranberry sauce and orange juice until completely combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust and smooth the top into an even layer. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

4. Make the Whipped Cream Topping: When ready to serve, beat the cream and sugar in a chilled bowl at medium speed to soft peaks; add the vanilla. Continue to beat to barely stiff peaks. Spread or pipe the whipped cream over the chilled filling and garnish with sliced almonds, if desired. Serve immediately.

Note: You can make this ahead of time, just cover the pie with plastic wrap if you are going to leave it in the freezer for a few days. I would make the whipped cream the same day you plan to serve, but you can whip it in the morning, refrigerate it, and then top the pie just before serving.

(Recipe adapted from Spoonful)