Certainly one of the most festive holiday desserts, this Candy Cane Pie starts with a crunchy chocolate cookie crust, filled with a creamy no-bake peppermint filling and finished with a salted white chocolate ganache. It's easy to make and a refreshing, sweet finish to any holiday feast.
No Bake Candy Cane Pie Recipe
Truth be told: Candy Cane Pie is somewhat of a hybrid of a Peppermint Bark Pie, as this recipe shares many of the same ingredients. With flavors such as peppermint, white chocolate, and chocolate cookies, this no-bake cheesecake-style pie tastes just like the holidays should: festive and indulgent.
This Candy Cane Pie can be assembled quickly by combining whipped cream and cream cheese along with some crushed candy canes and peppermint extract. Also, it's made in an easy peasy Oreo Cookie Crust for a truly no-bake dessert.
This pie is easily made ahead of time and stashed away in the freezer for whenever you are ready to serve it, which makes it the perfect holiday pie.
So, let's get to making it, shall we? The text below offers tons of tips and helpful notes, or you can scroll to the bottom to grab the recipe and get started!
Candy Cane Pie Ingredients
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe is listed below in greater detail.
- candy canes
- white chocolate
- cream cheese
- heavy cream
- peppermint extract
- granulated sugar
- natural red dye (optional: this is to create some color in the white pie filling)
Here is a list of some of the primary tools I used in this recipe. You won't necessarily choose to use them all, but they are exactly what I used here. Any links may contain affiliate links.
- food processor
- electric mixer
- off-set spatula
- pie plate
- kitchen essentials: measuring cups, measuring spoons, bowl, rubber spatula, etc.
How to Easily Make the Pie Crust
In general, crumb crusts are awesome because they don't require much work to put together. They are also a great option because of the contrasting textures they lend to the pie, particularly when it comes to this creamy peppermint filling.
There is a whole post dedicated to making an Oreo Cookie Crust, so check that out if you aren't familiar with making one. However, all the instructions you need are listed here in this recipe below.
You have two options for preparing this crust. You can par-bake it or freeze it.
Freezing the crust works because the melted butter becomes solidified and bonds the crust together. While freezing the crust is undoubtedly easier than having to preheat an oven and par-bake the crust, it is not as sturdy as the baked version. I only recommend freezing the crust if you will be serving your pie when very cold. Otherwise, you’ll just find your crumb crust to be very crumbly! This isn't the end of the world, but it's worth mentioning.
Baking the crust will result in a crisper bite with a slightly deeper flavor. I always par-bake my crumb crusts, even for no-bake pies such as this one. However, it does require turning on the oven for 10 minutes, so it's understandable if you want to avoid this.
A Note on Crushing the Candy Canes
This recipe calls for crushed candy canes both in the pie filling and sprinkled over the top of the white chocolate ganache.
The first time I made this pie, I crushed the candy canes by hand by placing them in a bag and smashing them with a rolling pin. I found that the candy canes didn't break down evenly or easily, and I ended up with some bigger chunks of candy cane in the pie filling. The problem with this was that some people might not want to bite into a large piece of a candy cane!
Because of this, I recommend either making sure you do a thorough job of crushing up the candy canes, to avoid large chunks ending up in the filling, or using a food processor to crush them up to save yourself the trouble of hand smashing them.
Steps to Make Candy Cane Pie
Start by making the crumb crust. You have the choice of either par-baking the pie crust for 10 minutes in the oven, or you can freeze it to firm it up.
Next, get started on the filling. This no-bake pie uses cream that has been whipped to stiff peaks to act as the stabilizer, as opposed to using gelatin or egg whites. This is my preferred method for making these types of no-bake pies because it has just the right texture and flavor.
To begin, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. "Stiff peaks" have formed when you pick up the whisk and the whipped cream holds a peak without it moving at all. Once you've whipped the cream, remove it from the bowl and set it aside. In the now-empty bowl whip the cream cheese, sugar and extract until it's completely smooth.
Next, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Then, add the remaining whipped cream to the bowl and gently fold it in, being careful not to deflate it. Lastly, fold in the crushed candy canes.
Finally, place the candy cane filling in the prepared pie crust. I opted to add a naturally dyed faux-candy cane swirl to the white filling to really make it look like a candy cane pie, but this is completely optional. See below for instructions on adding a decorative swirl of color.
The assembled pie needs to be chilled, either in the refrigerator, or the freezer to set up. It needs at least 4 hours of chilling time, but the overnight method is recommended for the perfect texture.
Making a Faux-Candy Cane Swirl
Just to make this pie a bit more festive, I swirled some natural red dye into the stark white filling. It's totally optional but lends an artistic touch to your finished product to really let people know what this pie is all about.
To do it:
- Transfer ⅓ of the candy cane filling to the oreo crust. Smooth over the top. Squeeze about 8-12 drops of liquid natural red dye over the top of the filling. Using a small offset spatula, swirl the dye.
- Transfer ⅓ more of the filling on top of the swirls, and smooth over the top. Repeat with the red dye.
- Place the remaining candy cane filling on top of the red swirls and smooth over the top.
This will give you two layers of swirls. Feel free to play around with the step to make it look the way you desire.
Decorating the Pie
The Candy Cane Pie is garnished with a salted white chocolate ganache and crushed candy canes.
A ganache is pretty easy to make: Simply heat the cream and pour it over chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips.
A typical ganache uses a 1-1 ratio of one part cream to one part chocolate. However, white chocolate is a rather soft type of chocolate, so this recipe calls for slightly less cream than usual. This ensures the final ganache isn't too soft.
Troubleshooting White Chocolate Ganache
Because the chocolate to cream ratio is rather high, depending on how warm you get the cream you might have trouble melting the chocolate. If that happens, you can either gently (10 seconds at a time) heat the ganache in the microwave until it's fully melted and smooth, or stick the ganache in a double boiler (the ganache goes in a heatproof bowl over a small pot of simmering water) and melt together until smooth.
It is worth noting that the ganache will look rather yellow when it is warm. While it won't ever be bright white, it will whiten up more once it is cooled in the refrigerator or freezer.
The pie is then topped with crushed candy canes, but you should wait to top them until just before serving. This is because the candy canes will slowly start to dissolve once they come into contact with the white chocolate.
How to Serve It
This pie should be served very chilled. It can be made up to 1 day ahead of time if stored in the refrigerator, or up to 1 month if frozen. Do not top it with the candy canes until just before serving.
If serving from the refrigerator, I recommend placing the pie in the freezer for 30 – 60 minutes before slicing it, though it’s not essential. It just makes it easier to get neat-looking slices.
To serve from the freezer, let the pie sit at room temperature until it’s easy to slice it, about 15-30 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
Do note the suggestion to slice this pie into 12 servings. It's a rather sweet pie between the cookie crust, filling, ganache, and candy canes. So start with a small slice!
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