This pumpkin pie is a change from the ordinary. If you are a fan of cheesecake you’ll really like it. The pear in the top layer is a real treat, and helps you sneak a little more fruit into your kids’ (or your husband’s) diet over the holidays!
There are different versions of this recipe. This particular one is a time-saver, but it doesn’t sacrifice any of the taste or the extravagance. It’s a great make-ahead recipe that will save you time to focus on the turkey and other fixings.
The pie is made in three layers, but don’t let that scare you off. It’s easier to make than you might think. You can use a store-bought crumb crust if you like, to save some work. The rest is mostly stirring and chilling.
Prepare the night before your meal, or the morning of, and forget about it until dessert time! Serve the pie with a good cup of strong coffee, or maybe a warm vanilla flavoured milk for the kids.
Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie: Layer 1
1/4 cup (50 mL) almonds or pecans
1/2 cup (125 mL) melted butter
1/4 cup (50 mL) sugar
Toast almonds in a hot skillet, or 8 minutes on a cookie sheet at 350°F (180°C). Let cool a bit, then grind finely with gingersnaps. Add in sugar and butter; blend together well and press into the bottom of a 9″ (23cm) pie plate or spring-form pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350°F (180°C).
Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie: Layer 2
4 oz (125 mL) cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp (15 mL) milk
1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) frozen whipped topping, thawed
In a large bowl, whisk together cream cheese, milk and sugar until smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spread into the bottom of a thoroughly cooled crust.
Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie: Layer 3
1-15 oz (500 mL) can pear slices, drained
1 cup (250 mL) cold milk
2 packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1-15 oz (500 mL) can solid pack pumpkin puree
2 tsp (10 mL) pumpkin spice
Spread pear slices evenly over the cream cheese layer. Mix the other ingredients thoroughly & let thicken, then spread over pears. Chill 4 hours.
Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie: Tips
I normally make crumbs for my pie crusts by hand with a rolling pin, but this is one time you might want to use the food processor. It will take less time and effort to grind the nuts. If you are going to go with mixing by hand, you can buy ground nuts & just skip the toasting stage. Walnuts will work in this recipe too.
Bake several pie shells in advance, and refrigerate or freeze until needed. Never fill a warm crumb crust, as the pie will come out soggy.
It’s fairly easy to make this pie wheat- or gluten-free. Just use commercial or homemade gingersnaps made to suit your needs.
You can add in a touch of rum or brandy with your canned pumpkin. Keep in mind this is not a baked dish, so the alcohol will not burn off. You might want to reserve an addition like this for just the grown-ups!
You can also use your own canned pear slices. Fresh pears are not recommended for this recipe because the filling is not baked, although you can use them if they are very soft.
When you drain the pears reserve the syrup. It can be added to other recipes in place of fruit juice, or you can pour it over a homemade salad of bite-sized fruit chunks.
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