I think we can all agree that no Thanksgiving dessert table is complete without pie. Pumpkin, pecan, apple; no matter what your preference, it’s not Thanksgiving without a decadent slice to complete the day’s feast. But between the turkey, stuffing, and array of homemade casseroles and side dishes that grace our table every year, it can often feel nearly impossible to find the time or space in the oven for dessert. And while there’s almost nothing I enjoy more than cooking for loved ones, too much time spent in the kitchen means less face-to-face time with the people who matter most, so this year I’m working on a little pie shortcut.
The challenge: a pumpkin pie that requires little to no time in the oven while still featuring the most-loved elements of a classic version, and with just a touch of something special to make up for breaking tradition.
The solution: this No-Bake Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie.
Pumpkin pie traditionalists fret not, the filling stays almost true to the original — comforting pumpkin and warm, fall spices are front and center — however to make this pie just slightly more deserving of its perch on the dessert table, I included rich, creamy mascarpone cheese. One of my guilty pleasures, and a favorite substitute for cream cheese in almost any recipe, the mascarpone adds a layer of complexity and decadence to the filling while still being subtle enough to please a crowd (even the kiddos). And since we add a little gelatin to the whipped cream, the pie sets lightly firm, allowing you to dish out impressive slices when the dessert cravings set in.
I admit, the version pictured here does require the oven, as I chose to make my pie crust from scratch and bake it in advance. You can do the same, as far out as two weeks, and freeze the fully baked crust until ready to use. Alternately, you can ditch the oven altogether and purchase a prepared crust from the store — a graham cracker crust would work beautifully here as well.
Wishing you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings!
**For lots more Thanksgiving menu inspiration, check out our full Thanksgiving hub here!**
- 3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 3 tablespoons water, cold
- 1 cup heavy cream, cold
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
- 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground allspice
- pinch of ground clove
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 prepared pie crust
- In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let stand until thick. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, but do not let thicken.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar until slightly thick. With the mixer on low, stream in the gelatin, then turn the mixer to high and whip until stiff. Transfer to another bowl and keep in refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the filling.
- In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add the mascarpone and pumpkin and beat until smooth. Add the honey, spices and salt and mix until well combined.
- With a large spatula, carefully fold in the whipped cream, taking care not to deflate the cream. Once completely incorporated, pour the filling into a prepared pie crust; cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, up to overnight. Serve with crème fraîche or whipped cream and candied nuts (optional).