Simone Appetit: Not-so-scary layered pumpkin cream pie
October 8, 2014
Here we are, firmly in October, and I am ready to join the masses who have jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon. We've got Starbucks with the Pumpkin Spice Latte, there's pumpkin Oreos, McDonald's pumpkin milkshake is back, and I heard a rumor (do tell) my beloved Shake-n-Bake is introducing a pumpkin Parmesan miracle crusty product this month.
Oh yes, Great Pumpkin has been very good to me this year and I am returning the favor by dedicating my four October Simone Appetit columns to this versatile vegetable. (Actually, it is technically a fruit. Really a huge berry.)
This seems fair given the fact that the pumpkin only gets any face time (Boy, does it ever. We massacre them) when the Halloween candy hits the shelves. What a gyp!
I mean the Snickers and mini Kit-Kats endure year-long popularity, but the pumpkin? It's out with its plastic counterparts come November 1st.
I am starting my annual ode to the pumpkin with a killer dessert that is a very easy take on one of my favorites: pumpkin cheesecake. There are a lot of great pumpkin cheesecakes out there and right now they are coming at me from every direction, so I was not in the mood to go to all the fuss of re-creating that wheel.
I did, however, want to keep up the tradition of a creamy pumpkin dessert served with the new season of Law and Order. This layered pumpkin cream pie is a no fuss, no bake affair, which combines elements from three of my favorite recipes.
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Very worthy of note: the graham cracker crust. I would strongly recommend you fore-go your mother's and grandmother's flaky flour crust on all your pumpkin pies and go with the graham cracker. You may be haunted (A little, it is almost Halloween.) but you'll get over it after the first bite.
1 8-oz. package cream cheese
1 cup plus 1 tbls. (the tablespoon is for the cream cheese bottom layer)
1 tbls. sugar
1/2 (4 oz.) of one 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip topping
1 read-to-use graham cracker crumb crust (Make sure it is not broken.)
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin purée
2 pkg. (3. 4 oz. each) Jell-O vanilla instant pudding
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbls. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Beat cream cheese, 1 tbls. milk and sugar in large bowl until blended. Stir in half of the Cool Whip and spread onto bottom of crust. Whisk together remaining milk, pumpkin, dry pudding mixes and spices for two minutes. Spread this over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate at least four hours or until firm.
Now for the brown sugar whipped cream topping. In a chilled bowl, beat the cream with a hand mixer until beginning to thicken. Add the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Spread the whipped cream over the pie and serve immediately.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen "must-haves" and food news at email@example.com.