Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No Bake Pumpkin Pie??

I have a general aversion to recipes labeled as "No Bake".  I feel that if something can be baked then it probably should be.  Baking is good...No Bake is the slacker's way out.  (I realize that that is not really true, but we all have our delusions.)  But desperate times call for desperate measures.  With our oven out of commission for almost an entire month (OH the Horror!!!) I needed a dessert fix and no bake was my only option.  I decided that if I was going to go no bake I'd have to go the the authority...Cook's Illustrated.  Without too much pain I located at recipe for no bake Pumpkin Pie.  I was skeptical, but I put my faith in Christopher Kimble and plunged ahead.  I made some minor alterations.  I steamed and pureed a pumpkin from the farm instead of using canned pumpkin.

I was also forced to use a pre-made graham cracker pie crust. 

The recipe is different from anything I have made before.  Essentially, you are combining a gelatin mixture with a custard mixture.  I don't know how the folks at CI come up with this stuff, but the result was a creamy, and light, but really really tasty!  I don't know about other no bake recipes, but this one was a huge success!  I just may be inspired to branch out and try some other no bake recipes....especially if that damn oven doesn't get here soon!


Graham Cracker Crust
   5 ounces graham cracker crumbs (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
   2 tablespoons sugar
   5 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and warm

Pumpkin Filling
   3 tablespoons orange juice (cold)
   2 teaspoons vanilla extract
   2 teaspoons gelatin (from 1 package)
   1 cup heavy cream (cold)
   2/3 cup sugar (4 3/4 ounces)
   3/4 teaspoon table salt
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
   1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
   1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
   1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
   3 large egg yolks
   1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups), (plain, not pumpkie pie mix)



1.  Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

2.  Pulse crackers and sugar in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses (you should have 1 cup crumbs). Add warm butter in steady stream through feed tube while pulsing until crumbs are evenly moistened and resemble damp sand. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch pie plate and spread evenly over bottom and sides; wipe out food processor bowl and reserve. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or dry measuring cup, press and smooth crumbs into pie plate (see illustration, at left). Bake until fragrant and browned around edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.


3.  Stir orange juice and vanilla together in medium bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over orange juice mixture and set aside to thicken, about 5 minutes.

4.  Combine 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, and spices in small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbles form at edges; remove from heat. Whisk remaining 1/3 cup sugar and yolks together in medium bowl until pale and slightly thickened. Slowly pour hot cream into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with heatproof spatula, until custard is thickened and registers 175 to 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. (When properly cooked, custard should form slight ridge on tip of spatula when bottom of pan is scraped and spatula is lifted.) Immediately pour custard over gelatin mixture and stir until smooth and gelatin has completely dissolved.

5.  Puree pumpkin in food processor until smooth, 10 to 15 seconds. With machine running, add remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream through feed tube in steady stream. Scrape sides of bowl and process for additional 10 to 15 seconds. Add pumpkin mixture to custard mixture and stir until completely smooth. Transfer filling to cooled crust. Chill pie, uncovered, until filling is just set, about 3 hours. Cover pie with plastic wrap and continue to chill until fully set, at least 6 and up to 24 hours. Cut pie into wedges and serve.


  1. Still no oven!?!! Holy crap- you must be going crazy!

  2. Wow, that pie looks delicious! I generally stay away from "no bake" recipes too, but I would give that one a try. It's definitely difficult to be without an oven for that long!