October 3, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Icebox Cake

Despite the fact that this is the time of year for pumpkin flavored everything, I've never actually been the hugest fan of pumpkin anything. Pumpkin bread is okay, but I'd much rather some banana. Pumpkin pie never appealed, and pumpkin cheesecake... ick (although to be fair, that's the reaction any cheesecake gets from me).

But Kim, you're saying, I am a diligent reader and I read the title of your post. The words pumpkin and pie are very clearly there and meant to be said together.

That is very true, diligent reader. And there is not only pumpkin, but cream cheese in the recipe.

So, you say confused, it's like a pumpkin cheesecake? But you just said...

I know what I just said. I wrote it after all. This isn't the final week of NaNoWriMo where I'm writing so much so fast that I don't remember writing half of it. This is October which means holycrapNaNoWriMoislessthenamonthawayandIdon'thaveaplotandIhavetodotheblogtooandmakeChristmaspresentsand....

*Deep breath*
Phew, okay. Sorry about that. Minor freak out, nothing to be worried about. (they'll be a lot worse in November).

Anyway, I was in a no-bake mood, and decided to go with my newest favorite dessert in the entire world, the icebox cake. Now, I waxed eloquent about how much I love these suckers the last time I made one, and I had a Costco box of graham crackers left over from Sunday S'mores, so this was a bit of a no-brainer. The only question was the flavor. Pumpkin was the next logical step because, well, 'tis the season and all.

The next question was how to make it pumpkin. Pumpkin whipped cream, maybe, but I wanted something a little more stable than just pumpkin whipped into whipping cream. No-bake pumpkin cheesecake filling might work, but I didn't have enough cream cheese, and a lot of recipes called for instant pudding and cool whip. I don't have cool whip or instant pudding. I have heavy cream and unflavored gelatin. I realize that's the exact opposite problem that normal people have, but I'm not a normal person. I'm a foodie. This is a problem.

In the end, I solved my problem by doing a little bit of both. I took a little inspiration from a (plain) no-bake cheesecake recipe and a little from my chiffon pie. I subbed the pumpkin for the missing cream cheese, used the unflavored gelatin to stiffen it up, and folded in some whipped cream. In the end it was more like a cheesecake mousse, but super light in both texture and flavor.

I did end up liking it, much to my surprise. It's not my favorite, because it still uses flavors that I'm not the hugest fan of, but my mother assures me that she would have no trouble eating the entire cake. By herself. In one sitting.

This would also make an awesome pie filling. Just slap it into a graham cracker or cookie crumb crust, and call it a day. (Gingersnap anyone? Or maybe Biscoff?). There might even be enough for two. I don't know; I haven't tried it.
Here, try a bite.
I also made some dulce de leche to drizzle on top, but while being super yummy, it was too thick to drizzle. So I decided to be fancy and swirl it on top, but it wouldn't stick to the filling and ended up being a hot mess. So I covered the top of the cake with five million chocolate sprinkles. Sprinkles fix everything, don't you think?

Pumpkin Pie Icebox Cake {Printable Version}

Yield: 8-10 servings

1 cup boiling water
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. (1 packet) unflavored gelatin
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
Approx. 1 box graham crackers*

Prepare the filling: whisk the boiling water, ½ cup sugar, and gelatin together until the sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved. Set aside. With an electric beater, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla and spices together at medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and carefully stream in the gelatin mixture. Beat until completely mixed, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until thickened. Meanwhile, whip the cream and remaining tbsp. sugar at high speed until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the thickened pumpkin mixture.

Assemble the cake: line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Spread the filling evenly in the bottom of the loaf pan, about ¼ inch thick. Place a row of graham crackers on top, filling as much space as possible. Top with another layer of graham crackers and spread with filling. Repeat until the top of the loaf pan is reached, ending with the filling. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

To serve: invert the loaf pan over a serving dish to release the cake (it should pop right out). Frost the sides with the remaining filling. Serve chilled.

Tip: You can also make a freeform cake. Just line the serving dish with graham crackers and layer from there.

*Gingersnaps, Biscoff cookies, or chocolate wafers would also work well

Recipe by Kim

This recipe is featured on Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party.
Foodie Friends Friday