Despite meticulous menu planning and marathon days of shopping and preparation, the actual event of Thanksgiving always manages to catch me off-guard. Between the mountains of mashed potatoes, valleys of crispy roasted Brussels sprouts, and oceans of mushroom gravy, something is almost guaranteed to get lost in the shuffle. Heaven forbid that it happens to be dessert left on the chopping block. When there’s no oven space left to squeeze in the smallest of baking sheets and no time left to make a tender fruit pie, fear not, for there is still at least one delicious, easy option within reach… Apple Ice Cream Pie.
Making the most of a few common components that can be bought ready-made or, should your planning allow a bit more time to dote on the dessert, created from scratch, this sweet grand finale is stunningly simple to assemble. Ice cream elevates the humble apple pie to new culinary heights, and takes baking time out of the equation. A cool, creamy end to one of the heaviest meals of the year, this no bake apple ice cream pie may even be a bigger hit than any traditional custard- or nut-based affair.
Special Diet Notes & Options: Apple Ice Cream Pie
With the proper graham cracker crust and dairy-free ice cream, this recipe can be dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Here are some suggestions:
Graham Cracker Crust Options: Though not always healthy, and often containing additives, many premade graham cracker crusts are dairy-free, by ingredients (contact the company where severe milk allergies are a concern or consider homemade with “safe” graham crackers). Two that are also vegan (no honey) are Arrowhead Mills Graham Cracker Crust and Keebler Graham Ready Crusts.
For gluten-free, other special dietary needs, or if you have time, a homemade crust is a great option for this apple ice cream pie. Kinnikinnick makes some delicious gluten-free S’moreables Graham Crackers and gluten-free Graham-Style Crumbs – both of which are also dairy-free. Here are some recipes to put it all together:
- Katie’s Easy Graham Cracker Crust
- Traditional Graham Cracker Crust (use non-hydrogenated, dairy-free margarine in place of the butter)
- Grain-Free Honey Graham Crust
Dairy-Free Ice Cream Options: What would an apple ice cream pie be without a suitable cool and creamy base? Fortunately, there are many casein-free, lactose-free AND vegan ice cream brands on the market – from soy- to coconut-based.
The most readily available brands include So Delicious Dairy Free (they offer soy-based, almond-based and allergy-friendly coconut-based varieties), Dream brand (with soy-based, almond-based and allergy-friendly rice-based varieties), and Coconut Bliss, a soy-free, coconut-based brand. There are many other brands out there, including some that may be regional to your area (like allergy-friendly Wink in the Northeast), so check grocers and natural food stores for your local selection.
For more holiday pie options, see our BIG Dairy-Free Pie Round-up.
- 1 graham cracker crust, store-bought or homemade (see notes in post above for vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free suggestions)
- ½ cup chopped dried apples
- 2 tablespoons bourbon or dark rum
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 pint dairy-free vanilla ice cream, store-bought or homemade (see notes in post above for suggestions)
- 1⅓ Cups Apple Butter, Store-bought or Homemade, Divided
- Once you’ve secured or prepared your crust, set it aside and turn your attention to the dried apples. Place them in a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish along with the spirits of your choice, water, and brown sugar and heat for about 2 to 5 minutes, stirring and checking periodically until the apples have absorbed all of the liquid. Place them in the fridge or freezer to cool down quickly, and wait until they’re thoroughly chilled before proceeding.
- Soften the ice cream by letting it sit out at room temperature for about 10 minutes before transferring it into a large bowl. Introduce 1 cup of the apple butter and use a wide spatula to thoroughly combine the two. Add the remaining ⅓ cup of apple butter and the rehydrated apple mixture and mix lightly, swirling it throughout the ice cream mixture without blending it in completely.
- Quickly transfer the filling into your prepared graham cracker crust, smooth out the top with your spatula, and move the whole pie into your freezer. Let it set up for at least 2 to 3 hours, until it reaches a sliceable consistency.