No-Bake Pumpkin-Spice Latte Pie, or, Java Pumpkin Pie, 1970s-style

Well, I've done it. I've definitively proven that Eleanor was 100% ahead of her time when it comes to baked goods. While the rest of us would only discover the joys of the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003 when Starbucks brought it to us at an unprecedented scale, Eleanor knew the secret wonder of pumpkin + coffee + spices ever since the 1970s, and now you can too!

There's a family legend around here that goes like this: one time when I was a toddler, I demanded to call my grandmother before we visited her later that week. We got on the phone, and I told her I was excited to come see her.

'What are we going to do when you come visit, Blair?' asked my grandmother innocently.
'WE WILL MAKE A PUNKIN PIE.' I stated vociferously.
'But it's August...' said my grandmother, already trying to talk me out of it.
'WE WILL MAKE A PUNKIN PIE.' I said again.
'Ok,' said my grandmother, 'how will we make this pumpkin pie?'
'FIRST we go to Publix and get the vipping cream!' I exclaimed, ever clear on my priorities.*

And that was how I learned, as a very small toddler, that you can talk your grandparents into making a pumpkin pie in the off season if you just explain to them in a step-by-step manner exactly what you require.

But back to the pie at hand: We all know the PSL is a little played out-- even the most diehard addicts would have to admit that when Pringles started making pumpkin spice crisps, the novelty of PSLs may have started to wane. So this year, instead of thinking up the most random dessert/breakfast/meal/drink that you can pumpkin-spice-ify, why don't you take it back to the OG pumpkin-spice product and make this pie. It's warming, it's comforting, you make the whole thing in one bowl and you don't even have to bake it!

Plus, if you bring this to your Friendsgiving celebration on Thursday, I can guarantee you'll be the hit of the party. I mean, who DOESN'T love pie and coffee? Bonus points if you serve it with homemade, vanilla-scented whipped cream, but seriously, no one is going to turn down a slice of this even if you serve it plain.

*It's important to recognise that, as a toddler, I didn't care at all about pumpkin pie, but I loved whipped cream. I had learned that my parents wouldn't generally give me a squirt of whipped cream straight from the can if I asked without pumpkin pie, but with pie present, I could, at the very least, lick all of the whipped cream off of my slice before I ate it.

The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. There's pie and then there's pie when it comes to Thanksgiving, and even though I recognise that there is nothing the world needs less than another pumpkin pie recipe this time of year, the fact that this one is no-bake (NO CROWDING OUT YOUR OVEN!) and infused with strong coffee (CAFFEINE TO COMBAT YOUR TURKEY COMA!) really set it apart. No matter whether you're the type who likes to stick with the classics on Thanksgiving (like me!) or the type who likes to experiment with new and unusual dishes each year, this riff on the classic is the perfect dish for you... and your friends, if you decide to share!

The recipe:

No-Bake Pumpkin-Spice Latte Pie

the directions:

Put cold milk and gelatin into blender or food processor container.
Add hot coffee, cover and process on low until gelatin dissolves (be sure to scrape the bottom every now and then, where the blades don't scrape!).
Add brown sugar, pumpkin, salt, spices, and cream, then cover and blend until smooth.
Add crushed ice or ice water gradually and process until ice is liquefied.
Pour into prepared crust and chill until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

the ingredients:

½ c cold milk
5 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
½ c coffee, heated to boiling
¾ c brown sugar, firmly packed
2 c canned pumpkin
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger
½ c cream
1 c crushed ice or very cold water
1 graham cracker crust or pre-baked pie crust (I used this one)