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Eat Like a Freshman: Frozen Pumpkin Pie

A ginger-snap crust and vanilla ice cream add a twist to this traditional holiday favorite. But watch the sugar.


  • Crust
    • 2 cups of gingersnap crumbles
    • 1/3 cup of sugar
    • ½ cup of butter
  • Filling
    • 1 pint of vanilla ice cream
    • 7/8 cup of sugar
    • 1-1/6 cup pumpkin
    • ½ tsp. ginger
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • ½ tsp. nutmeg
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1-1/6 cup whipping cream


Into pie crust put 1 pint soft vanilla ice cream. Spread over crumb crust. Put in freezer to freeze until firm. Mix sugar, salt, spices, and pumpkin. Whip cream until stiff and fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread over the top of the firm ice cream and return to the freezer until ready to serve.


  • Used 2-1/3 cup of gingersnap crumbles and did not use any extra sugar in the crust.

Is it truly fall if we don’t have some pumpkin-flavored sweet treat? This recipe comes from the 1965 Elizabeth Waters Hall cookbook, and it had me breaking out my third-grade math skills after I realized that they wanted me to add seven-eighths of a cup of sugar — not seven or eight cups — in the pie filling.

This recipe is super simple to follow, even though it doesn’t really provide much direction. For the crust I grabbed gingersnap cookies — the only pre-crushed crumbs in my bakery aisle were graham crackers. I pulled out my rolling pin to smash them up to a crumble. A food processor or blender would work faster but be less fun. Using softened butter, I made my crust and then flattened it into the pie plate using the bottom of a measuring cup. I did not add sugar to the crust as the recipe called for; in my opinion, the cookies had plenty on their own, and the filling would add more sugar later.

Next was the layer of ice cream; Edy’s is my favorite. I overestimated how long to leave out ice cream to soften, and it was bordering on soup by the time I got it in the crust. Leaving it out for 15 to 20 minutes should do. After that, the pie went in the freezer for about two hours to set. At this point, I recommend cleaning up any spare crumbs if you went with the hammering method.

Now for the long-forgotten and neglected math skills: 7/8 cup is ¾ cup plus two tablespoons (and I guess the last two tablespoons really make the difference). For the pumpkin, I filled up one cup then grabbed my ¼ cup measure and eyeballed it to get as close to 1/6 as I could, but in reality, I probably added more. Thankfully, this doesn’t involve true baking, so the baking overlords will not be displeased at improper measurements and give you something deflated. To whip the cream, I used a KitchenAid stand mixer, as I do not have the strength, will, or determination to whip by hand. I ran the mixer for about three or four minutes on medium speed until I got stiff peaks. Channel your inner Moira and David Rose and fold in the pumpkin mixture until you have a light-orange, fluffy blend. Spread it on top of the ice cream layer and pop it back in the freezer for another two hours or until it’s set.

When you want to take a slice, I recommend leaving the pie out on a counter for five to 10 minutes before cutting — the gingersnap crust did not want break neatly, leaving me to piece it together.


The crust was difficult — some pieces did not want to leave the pie plate, and others didn’t want to break apart. I wonder if the butter had something to do with cementing it or if crusts don’t want to cooperate when frozen. I can relate.

This frozen pie definitely reminded me of its traditional, baked counterpart that is often served during a November holiday. It’s very sweet, and I think I would cut down on the sugar even more, but you could balance out the sugar if you paired a slice of pie with some strong coffee. This frozen dish could be the next hit at your party.

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