October in July “Ice Cream” Pie

coconut milk "ice cream" pie with peanut butter cups, caramel, pretzel, and pumpkin

Do you have an ice cream maker? If your answer is no, then most likely either you are not interested in making your own ice cream, or you are interested but since you don’t have the means you have spent countless simmering summer days tearing out your hair over the trials and tribulations that result from not being able to make your own ice cream. It is a problem that inflicts a certain amount of drama yearly in every ice-cream-maker-challenged household. If you are one of these individuals without an ice cream maker, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about: you or a loved one has frantically googled “ice cream recipe no ice cream maker” and come up with some seemingly trustworthy website that tells you you can just freeze your own yogurt in a paper cup with a popsicle stick in it and make your own frozen yogurt pops. Said frantic individual has gotten busy in the kitchen, sweating and whipping and pouring ingredients into empty coffee cups with little popsicle sticks stuck inside. A specific number of hours later, the pops are removed from the freezer by some ravenous, hot, and foolishly optimistic hands. The pop goes in the mouth. The hand quakes violently. The failed “frozen yogurt pop” falls to the floor. Needless to say, it was either too frozen to even bite, it had a bad texture, or it tasted like nothing. The next day, probably grocery store ice cream was purchased, the afflicted individual wearing a glum look of defeat.

I have several times over experienced this disappointment. It is so annoying that all these websites claim you can make your own frozen desserts without any fancy equipment…when really it never turns out. I do love to make my own food, but usually try to steer clear of ice cream and frozen desserts because the ice-cream-maker-free tactics found on the internet tend to flop. Until I discovered this soft serve recipe on Blogging Over Thyme. The pictures looked so good, I decided to try it…and it turned out great! But, of course, I didn’t just make the recipe for the soft serve; if you know me you know I always have to change things up.

I made an “ice cream” pie! I’m calling it “October in July” because it’s pumpkin flavored, and I added caramel and candy which reminds me of Halloween. This is not really ice cream since there’s no cream in it; it’s made with Greek yogurt and coconut milk, but I didn’t want to call it a “coconut yogurt pie” because that sounds weird. I assure you, however, that this frozen dessert does not taste weird! I added a lot of different ingredients, but they all harmonize on a perfect chord: salty pretzels and sweet caramel are a classic, I’ve noticed before that pumpkin and peanut butter are a great combination, and the chocolate peanut butter cups just work magically with everything else! I think the coconut milk really gave it a creamy, rich texture and taste. Out of all the phony “ice cream” recipes on the internet, this one really works. And there is no bankrupting machine required! Just a blender (which you already have to make smoothies🙂 ) and a regular old pie pan. And the desire for ice cream that actually tastes good.

peanut butter caramel pumpkin pretzel peanut butter cup "ice cream" pie with coconut milk

Is this healthy? Well, it does contain Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, which aren’t the epitome of health food, but hey! They do have some protein. At any rate, I think that is balanced out by the good things it contains. The coconut milk and yogurt provide calcium, protein, and many vitamins. The pumpkin is very high in fiber and vitamin A, with some protein as well. The pretzels also provide good old fiber. Not to mention the peanut butter, of course, with – you guessed it – more fiber and protein! I used mostly all natural ingredients here, with the exception of the pretzels and peanut butter cups because I didn’t have any natural alternatives available at the time. But if you like, try this with all natural pretzels and candies and see what you think! Overall, this pie is a healthy alternative to real, store-bought ice cream (with an emphasis on the cream) which is often loaded with fat and ingredients you can’t pronounce. The only pronouncement I have to make here is one of triumph – from now on there will be no more failed “ice cream” attempts crowding my freezer and making me miserable. And you too, can be liberated from the annual drama, by making your own pumpkin soft serve pie.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Soft Serve Pie with Caramel, Pretzels and Peanut Butter Cups

makes one pie (about 8 servings)

pumpkin caramel pretzel peanut butter cup "ice cream" pie


for crust

  • 34 Rold Gold brand Tiny Twists pretzels
  • 4 tsps creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbls organic raw agave syrup

for soft serve

  • 2/3 cup Silk brand original coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Chobani brand plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup organic raw agave
  • 1 tbl brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger


  • 2 tbls King’s Cupboard Cream Caramel Sauce (I found this at Whole Food’s market)
  • about 12 mini Reece’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (the miniature kind that are already unwrapped)

Directions: First of all, line a pie pan with two large pieces of plastic wrap, ensuring that there is some hanging over the edges of the pan.

To make the crust: crush pretzels. I just wrapped them in a paper towel on top of a plate and used my hands to crush them. There can still be some pretzel pieces.

Now pour crushed pretzels into a medium bowl. Add 4 tsps peanut butter and 2 tbls agave, and mix. Pour this mixture into the pie pan on top of the plastic wrap. Use a spoon to spread it around until most of the bottom of the pan is covered, especially around the edges.

To make the soft serve: Place all soft-serve ingredients in the blender, not including the mix-ins. Blend for a couple minutes, or until thoroughly mixed. Slowly pour soft serve into pie pan on top of the pretzel crust. If some little pieces of pretzel pop up, do your best to push them down with a spoon.

Place pie in the freezer for 40 minutes. After that, remove so you can add the all-important…

Mix-Ins! First, measure two tablespoons of the caramel sauce into a small bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds or until it is liquid-y. Drizzle onto soft-serve, using a spoon to swirl it across the surface of the soft serve. Now distribute the peanut butter cups evenly across the pie’s surface, pressing them down slightly into the soft serve.

Freeze again for another hour and a half. (It could probably be less, that’s just how long I happened to leave it in the freezer. I’d say it could be as little as 45 minutes.)

When ready to serve, remove from freezer. Carefully lift pie out of pie pan using the plastic wrap, and set on a large plate. Wait about 5 minutes for it to thaw, then use a sharp knife to cut it into slices.

Chill out with a delicious, creamy slice of frozen goodness! You don’t need to wait until fall to enjoy pumpkin and caramel, and you certainly don’t need to wait until you win the lottery and buy an ice cream maker to make your own really wonderful frozen treat. Go ahead and make this recipe. Spare yourself the  merciless heat, the drama, and the defeat. This recipe actually works and will make your day!

peanut butter pumpkin caramel pretzel "ice cream" pie with peanut butter cups

Here are the different sources I used to help me develop this recipe:



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2 responses

  1. Sounds good! I also like the story about the “afflicted individual”.

  2. Very dramatic, all right!

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