Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie With Gingersnap Crust
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning, or 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, ginger and allspice
1 cup canned pumpkin, unsweetened and without spices
1 quart good-quality French vanilla ice cream, softened in the refrigerator
16 pecan halves
1 caramel sauce
FOR THE CRUST: Mix pecans and gingersnap crumbs together in a 9-inch glass pie plate with 2-inch sides. Pour on the butter and toss the crumbs to coat them. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate, using the back of a spoon or your fingers. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the crust for 6 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool.
FOR THE FILLING: Combine brown sugar and the pumpkin pie seasoning in a large bowl. Stir in the pumpkin with a large spoon, making sure it is smooth. Add the softened ice cream by big spoonfuls, beating in each addition until there are no lumps. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the ice cream/pumpkin mixture into the prepared crust. Place in the freezer and freeze for 1 hour. Remove from the freezer and arrange the pecan halves around the outside edge of the pie in a circle, pushing them down so that they are embedded in the ice cream mixture. Return to the freezer and freeze a few more hours. When frozen, cover tightly.
To serve, thaw slightly in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and cut into slices. You will need a metal spatula to ease the pie slices out of the pan. Serve with the warm caramel sauce. Serves 8 to 10.
Can be prepared up to 2 weeks ahead, well covered and frozen. Thaw slightly in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
(Recipe from "American Bistro: Great Recipes in the New Cooking Tradition" by Diane Rossen Worthington -- Chronicle Books.)
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