I’ve been the “cook” in my family for years now, and I love it. All the planning and preparation and trying out new recipes = right up my alley. But it wasn’t always like that. Let me tell how that came about.
When I was 18, my mother and grandmother were both sick with a cold during Thanksgiving, and I was basically told, “If you want turkey and all the trimmings, you gotta cook it yourself.” Now, in previous years, my contribution to the meal was opening up the can of cranberry sauce and slicing it and setting the table. Not a lot. But that year? Trial by fire.
The gravy was the consistency of jello. The dressing was from a box. And the turkey? Burnt to a crisp.
In fact, the only halfway edible thing was the pumpkin pie. . . and that was all thanks to Mrs. Smith. Hey, at least I did turn on the oven and put it in.
Somehow (still not sure how), my mother and grandmother both loved the meal and raved about it.
Yeah, I think it had less to do with my skills as a cook and more to do with the fact that they were getting a little vacation from cooking. And somehow (I”m even more unsure about how this happened), I became the designated family cook from there on out.
It’s been many Thanksgivings, Christmases, and Easters since then, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two. Well, hopefully more than a thing or two.
This year, though, I’m getting my own little break (no more flour everywhere or waking up before dawn to put the turkey in). No, this year we’re eating out for Thanksgiving.
But it I were cooking this year. . . this is what I’d be making for dessert.
Pumpkin icebox cake. Which has some of my favorite things in it: Pumpkin? Check. Whipped Cream? Check. Cream Cheese? Spices? Check check.
- For the crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons of butter, melted
- For the pumpkin filling:
- 1 pint of heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (add more or less depending on how sweet you want it) of confectioner's sugar
- 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (add more or less depending on how sweet you want it) of confectioner's sugar
- 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
- 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
- In a large casserole dish (mine was a 12 x 9, but any dish of a similar size should work), combine the graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter until the mixture resembles wet sand.
- Press into the bottoms and sides of the dish.
- Bake in the preheated over for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Whip the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together both packages of softened cream cheese, pumpkin puree, 1 cup of confectioner's sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract.
- Once that's completely combined, remove about a cup of the whipped cream you made earlier and fold into the cream cheese/pumpkin mixture.
- Pour on top of the now cooled crust, using a spatula to spread the mixture out evenly.
- Top with the remaining whipped cream.
- To finish it, sprinkle pumpkin pie spice on top of the whipped cream.
- Let dessert chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or until it's set, then enjoy.
Other great toppings to sprinkle on to the whipped cream besides pumpkin pie spice, are crumbled gingersnap cookies, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, grated chocolate, or graham cracker crumbs.
The amount of sugar is really just a suggestion. Feel free to use more or less depending on your tastes.
If you want, let the dessert chill overnight. To me, it was so much better the next day after the flavors had had time to meld together more and the filling had set up even more.