Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ice Cream Pumpkin Pie with Hard Sauce

I have a confession to make.  I don't like pumpkin very much.  Not pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins.  Not even pumpkin spice coffee at Starbucks.  I always feel out of place this time of year when everyone is all about pumpkin baking.  For me, the fall season is about apples.  However, there is one exception to my disdain for pumpkin pie.  It is a pie recipe my Mother used to make for us while growing up.  It is one of the most delicious Thanksgiving desserts we had and I feel it's a perfect compromise for the requisite pumpkin items on a Thanksgiving table.  My people from Buffalo will be well familiar with the John's Flaming  Hearth Ice Cream Pumpkin Pie with Hard Sauce.  John's Flaming Hearth was a Buffalo area restaurant, which has since closed.  But it's legacy is this pie and I'm forever grateful!

It's pretty easy to prepare and put together.  Here are the ingredients:

John's Flaming Hearth Ice Cream Pumpkin Pie with Hard Sauce

1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 pie shell, baked and cooled completely
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
additional whipped cream, for garnish

Spread slightly melted ice cream in pie shell.  If you are using a pie plate that is not very deep, you may want to use less than 1 quart of ice cream).  

Place pie shell with ice cream in the freezer until it is completely hardened.  In a mixing bowl, blend the pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices together.  

In a separate bowl, whip 1 cup of heavy cream until stiff.  Fold whipped cream into pumpkin mixture.  

Smooth the mixture over the ice cream layer of the pie.  

Place pie in the freezer and remove it 15 minutes before you are ready to serve it.  

To Make the Hard Sauce:

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4  hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and hot water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and continue to boil until it starts to thicken.  Don't let it become too thick.  

Let cool and add vanilla.  Drizzle on top of whipped cream garnish.

Oh, just looking at the pictures makes me want a slice!  I want to give a quick word about the syrup.  My Mother did not add it to the pie so this was my first time making and working with it.  It becomes HARD pretty QUICKLY!  I kind of almost broke a tooth biting into a piece.  I think, rather than drizzling it, it would be better to make some kind of artsy shapes on waxed paper, peel them off, and place them decoratively around the plate and on the pie....more of a hard candy garnish instead of something that looks warm and syrupy.  I could not even get the pooled bit of sauce off of the plate!  

Cleanup can be a challenge, also.  I filled the saucepan I made the syrup in with HOT water, put everything that came into contact with the sauce (spoon, bowl, etc.) into the pan and let it steam with the lid on it.  After three rotations of this my kitchen tools were finally free of hard sauce!  I think the pie is just as tasty without it, so you can make your own choice whether the serve it that way or not.  Some cinnamon sprinkled on top of whipped cream could give the pie some extra flourish without the hassle.

Regardless, I love this pie and look forward to it every year!  When I host Thanksgiving for my Husband's family it is always on our dessert table.  I hope you give it try and enjoy it, too.  Happy Holiday!!


  1. I am from Buffalo too and love this pie. We only went to John's Flaming Hearth for special occasions but just reading your recipe brought back such good memories. I think I will add it to our dessert table on Thursday. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  2. I'm so glad you were reminded of this amazing pie and hope it made it to your Thanksgiving celebration!! It was on our table and my family loved it! :)

  3. look so good i love pumpkin with icecream very much this is interesting me to make follow you thanksss for good dessert..

    1. Thank you very much for your sweet comments! If you make this I promise you will not be disappointed!! Thank you for following my blog. :)

  4. this pie is not from Buffalo but from an old restaurant famous steakhouse in Niagara Falls.

  5. Yes! John's was in Niagara Falls on Military Road in LaSalle. Please give credit where it is due~

  6. Yes, John's Flaming Hearth was located on Military Road in Niagara Falls, NY (Town of Niagara). The former owner of the restaurant is now part of another long-standing restaurant in Niagara Falls, NY - the Polish Nook. :)