This week marked our wedding anniversary. I asked my six-year-old grandson George if he’d like to help me make an “Anniversary Pie” for his Poppy.
“Is it your secret recipe?” he asked. (He saw a cooking show where some chef talked about a secret recipe and has been curious about any “secret recipes” I might have lurking in my brain.)
“Yes!” I said. “It will be OUR secret recipe because I’m making it up right now, with you.”
“How long have you and Poppy been married?” Georgie asked.
“For nine years now!”
“And you and Poppy never fight and you never died! You did good!”
Indeed, that might be the hallmark of a great marriage: you don’t fight and you don’t die. In fact, in a great marriage, you thrive, you blossom, you grow.
Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook Status about Greg, my husband, the Love of My Life:
“Nine years ago today, I married Greg Johnson, and each day of those nine years have been the happiest and most peaceful, fulfilling and giving, romantic and stable of my entire life. When you live with someone whose eyes always mirror love, delight, acceptance… when you know you are cherished every moment of every day, it changes you into the best possible version of yourself. And you have so much more to give to the world, because your brain is no longer working so hard to simply try to survive or make sense of your life. Being well loved expands your capacity to love and be more present to others. I love and adore you, Mr. Johnson for who you are and who you have helped me become when I am with you. Who knew marriage could really be like this, ‘after all these years’?
A wonderful marriage is definitely worth celebrating. One of my husband’s favorite treats is mint chocolate chip ice cream. One of my favorite treats is warm chocolate sauce. This ice cream pie, like us, is the perfect marriage of both.
Now that I’ve shared our secret to a happy marriage (choose to cherish each other daily), I’ll go ahead share my “secret recipe” (shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone) for this absolutely mouth-watering, silly-easy, pie. It’s wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer day, and you’ll spend just a few minutes in the kitchen putting it together.
Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Pie with Warm Fudge Sauce
One pre-made chocolate graham cracker or chocolate cookie pie shell
1 quart of your favorite chocolate chip ice cream (I’m from Texas and partial to Blue Bell “the best ice cream in the country”)
One recipe chocolate sauce (below)
About 10 Andes Mint Candies
1 c. half n’ half
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ t. vanilla
Let ice cream soften just enough so that you can scoop and pack it into pre-made chocolate pie shell. Decorate the top of the ice cream pie with Andes Chocolate Mints, by cutting them at a diagonal and placing around the pie in a pretty design.
Cover with plastic wrap and let harden in freezer.
Simmer half n’ half in a small saucepan, add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is melted and well mixed. Add vanilla and salt. Remove from stove and let cool until warm but not piping hot. (Leftover sauce will keep in fridge for a week or more. Just microwave a few seconds to reheat and liquefy.)
Cut and serve the ice cream pie, drizzling some of the warm sauce over the top and serve immediately.
(Becky, the Mama.)
I went to visit my daughter Rachel in September, just as the days began to cool with the promise of Fall. Though, in Texas where she lives, this means the temperatures were in the low 90’s rather than over 100. .
Still, every Starbucks on our route from Denver to Oklahoma to Texas was advertising their famous Pumpkin Spice Lattes which always puts me in the mood anything made of pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon. I know that by January 1, I’ll be declaring, “I never want to see another pumpkin as long as I live,” because I will have overdone the nonstop parade of pumpkin lattes, breads, muffins, waffles, cookies and pies through the holidays.
But for now, I can’t seem to get enough of the plump orange gourds. I created this vegan pumpkin mousse pie for the Two Texas Rachels in my life (My daughter and my sister) with a crust of crushed gingersnaps and salted roasted almonds, a filling of whipped coconut cream, canned pumpkin and spices.
May I just say, ever so humbly, this may be my favorite of all pumpkin desserts? Ever.
I make an amazing traditional pumpkin pie, which I thought was the best pumpkin dessert in the universe, and I promise to share that recipe on this blog before Thanksgiving. But I like this pie even better. It needs to be served very cold, and when you do that, it slices like a dream – like chiffon mousse, like a cloud made of pumpkin.
I love it when a plan comes together. And I love it even more when I can create a recipe that people with special dietary needs can enjoy alongside everyone else. This recipe has no eggs or milk. If you use gluten-free cookies, your gluten-free guests can also dig in without worry.
Update from Thanksgiving 2013: Served this pie to a big family gathering. Off all the desserts on the table, this one disappeared first and was voted the best — and most of those in attendance were not vegan or on special diets.
Luscious Pumpkin Mousse Pie (Vegan)
1 16 oz. can chilled can of coconut milk, cream only (Thai Kitchen full fat ORGANIC brand always separates and works well for whipping. When I see it, usually at Whole Foods, I buy a few cans and keep them in the fridge. If in a hurry you can pop a can in the freezer for a couple of hours.) You want to have at least 2/3 cup of the cream (which will look like Crisco shortening when you remove it from the can), and more if there’s more in the can.
1 1/2 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin (canned or fresh)
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. ginger
¾ t. salt
¼ c. brown sugar (or coconut sugar) (more if you prefer it a bit sweeter, do a taste test)
2 T. maple syrup
16 Gingersnap cookies (or crumbs to equal 1 c.)
1 T. sugar
1/3 c. roasted whole almonds
3 T. Earth Balance butter (or regular butter if you aren’t vegan)
Whip the coconut cream in a mixer until light and smooth.
Add pumpkin, spices, brown sugar and maple syrup.
Microwave butter until melted in an 8 inch glass pie pan. (You can use a 9 inch pan but the pie will not be as thick.)
Put cookies, almonds and sugar in a blender or food processor and blend until they approximately as fine as graham cracker crumbs. Reserve 2 T. for garnish. Add cookie/almond mixture to melted butter in the pan, mixing with a fork until the crumb mixture is evenly moistened with butter. Using the back of a spoon, create a pie crust shell in the pan. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes or until firm. Let cool completely before filling.
Using a large spoon, gently spoon pumpkin-coconut mixture into the shell. Smooth the top. Sprinkle with bit more cinnamon. Swirl gently with a knife. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least two hours before cutting and serving.
Hint: This is best served the same day as it is made, as the crust is crunchiest then.
Optional Additional Garnish: ¼ c candied ginger, ground in blender to texture of course salt; 3 T. toasted pumpkin seeds
Variations: Rather than make a pie, you can make individual mousse desserts by alternating layers of pumpkin filling with crumbs and candied ginger bits.
Use chocolate or lemon cookies instead of gingersnap cookies if you prefer.
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