Cook's Corner: Cool off with ice cream pie

Published 11:52 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell
Well, folks, even though the calendar hasn't quite ushered in summer, it's here. Yep, temperatures over the last few days have gotten pretty sweltering. I'm the kind of person that likes the temperatures in the 70s, or at least a cool spot in the shade.
At any rate, I was thinking that with warm weather and thoughts turning to ways to keep cool, ice cream was one of the first things that came to mind. The recipes in this week's column will give you a taste of that wonderful goodness without ever having to turn a crank. These recipes are for pies that actually contain ice cream as one of the main ingredients.
This first recipe calls for a graham cracker crust; complete the ingredients and methods for making your own. However, if you're in a hurry, you can use one of those store-bought graham cracker crusts and I promise not to tell.
Southern Comfort Ice Cream Pie
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
One-fourth cup finely chopped peanuts
One-fourth cup white sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
Three-fourths cup coarsely chopped cashews
One-fourth cup coarsely chopped peanuts
6 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
Two-thirds cup creamy peanut butter
Two-thirds cup hot fudge topping
One-fourth cup chocolate shell topping
For a homemade crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, one-fourth cup finely chopped peanuts, sugar and melted butter until well blended. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow crust to cool completely. For the pie, combine chopped cashews and one-fourth cup coarsely chopped peanuts; set aside. In a large bowl, mix ice cream with peanut butter; set aside. Spread half of hot fudge topping in bottom of crust. Sprinkle with a third of nut mixture. Spread half of ice cream in an even layer. Repeat layers. Drizzle with shell topping and sprinkle with remaining nuts. Freeze for at least 5 hours before serving.
If you're looking for something with a little more flavor to it, this next recipe is sure to fill the bill.
Ice Cream Sundae Pie
1 cup finely crushed chocolate wafers
One-half cup finely chopped walnuts
One-fourth cup butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1 (10 ounce) package frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed
One-fourth cup walnut halves
For crust, preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together chocolate wafer crumbs, chopped walnuts, and softened butter until thoroughly combined. Press mixture firmly into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake in preheated oven for 7 minutes. Refrigerate until well chilled.
For pie filling, in a medium bowl, whip together whipping cream and confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Spread half of ice cream into bottom of crust.
Cover with strawberries, then cover strawberries with remaining ice cream. Spread whipped cream over ice cream, and garnish with walnut halves. Freeze for 2 hours before serving. Allow pie to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing.
For anyone that knows me, they know how I am about coffee. And if my day isn't going too well, then chocolate is a great pick-me-up. This next recipe is one that sounds wonderful because it combines coffee, chocolate and ice cream. Now, honestly, what could be better?
Coffee Ice Cream Pie
1 and one-eighth cups chocolate wafer cookies, crushed
One-half cup unsalted butter, melted
6 tbsp. coffee-flavored liqueur
1 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
2 tbsp. coffee-flavored liqueur
1 pint chocolate ice cream, softened
2 tbsp. coffee-flavored liqueur
Whipped cream/topping
For crust, preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake crust in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. For filling, in a small saucepan, heat 6 tablespoons of liqueur and espresso powder over low heat. Heat until warm and powder is dissolved. Stir in chocolate and 1 tablespoon of butter until mixture is melted and smooth. Allow to cool completely. Place vanilla ice cream into mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of coffee liqueur. Using an electric mixer, blend together on low speed. Spread over bottom of cooled crust and freeze until firm. Then spread cooled chocolate mixture over frozen ice cream. Freeze pie until firm. Blend together chocolate ice cream and 2 tablespoons liqueur. Spread chocolate ice cream mixture over frozen chocolate sauce in pie. Freeze until firm. Serve pie with a decorative piped border of whipped cream around the inside edge of the pie.
If you have any trouble finding instant espresso coffee powder, you can take regular instant coffee and pulse it in your blender or food processor (or coffee grinder) until it is very, very finely ground. And if you are just dead set against using a liqueur in any recipe, you can substitute very, very, very strong brewed coffee for that. It won't be the same, but it will come close.
Here's hoping you find the best way to beat the heat in the coming hot weeks. Until next week, Happy Cooking!

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