We all have traditional holiday dishes that family and friends request every year. It is calming and comforting to be able to put these favorites on the Thanksgiving table. Yet it’s also fun to start new traditions with updates on classic dishes. For me, the change began when my daughter rejected an old standby, pumpkin praline pie. She just wouldn’t eat it, and it drove me crazy, so I thought about different ways to keep the flavors alive in a new guise. That’s how I came up with an ice cream dessert that has become as popular as my original pumpkin pie.
Among the many variations I have made on this pie, the one I like the most is embellishing the top with a caramel swirl. I’ve made the pie easy to serve by unmolding the pie shell before it is filled, allowing the slices to be cut easily and come right out of the pan. After a big holiday dinner, a slice of this pie is a refreshing finale. Pumpkin-caramel ice cream pie is now required for our Thanksgiving dessert table, much the same as the turkey is for the main course.
Another nice thing about this pie is that it can be made weeks ahead and frozen. This frees up time for you to concentrate on the other dishes on your menu. Make sure to remove the pie from the freezer 30 minutes before serving and leave it in the refrigerator to soften slowly. You can find excellent pumpkin ice cream varieties at your supermarket. If you don’t have time to make the caramel sauce, markets such as Trader Joe’s offer good prepared ones.
Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking and the author of “Seriously Simple Parties.” www.seriouslysimple.com