13 July 2013

Cookies & Coffee Ice Cream Pie

I am fortunate to have some terrific in-laws.  Not everyone can easily say that.  Think about it - you have all your growing-up years to get use to the odd little quirks of your own family while developing a few of your own.  It can be a challenge to find another family who's eccentricities mesh well with yours.  But I struck the jackpot with a wise-cracking, card-sending, ski-sloping group of intellectuals who love to drink wine and eat.  Score! 

My mother-in-law also happens to be an excellent cook.  She bakes one mean popover and her coconut shrimp are absolutely to die for.  Anything that is a Peggy Classic is an automatic Hubs Favorite.  Take for example her ice cream pie.  Whenever she pulls one of those out after dinner, we all know to take a piece while you can because any leftovers will be eaten by my father-in-law for breakfast the following morning.  Naturally they are a particular hit during the summer months.  Last week I told the hubs I wanted to give ice cream pie a whirl.  With a smile on his face that was reminiscent of our wedding day, he heartily encouraged me to give it a go.

My mother-in-law's version has a deliciously crispy chocolate crust.  She mixes crushed chocolate wafers with butter and sugar, then bakes it in the oven to toasty chocolate perfection.  I decided to mix things up and turn this into a completely no-bake dessert by substituting the easy no-bake crust from my peanut butter pie.  Riddled with almonds, I love the chunky richness of this crust.  It doesn't have the same crispy lightness as her version, but it was very good in the pie and saved us a few bucks on our air conditioning bill.  

Now any proper ice cream pie has to have two different types of ice cream.  My mother-in-law always uses toffee and vanilla since those are her husband's favorites.  I decided to carry on her tradition and ask my hubs what type of ice cream would float his pie-crust boat.  Since he's half Canadian, half cookie-monster, he picked cookie dough. What better way could there be to top off a chocolate cookie crust?  Since we were having company for dinner that evening, I texted our guests to ask what their favorite type of ice cream was to use as the second layer.  When they responded with coffee, I could've jumped for joy.  Coffee ice cream is absolutely FABU with this chocolate and almond no-bake crust.  It tastes like a slice of chocolate frappuccino....holy yum.  

This pie was a huge hit.  The combination of vanilla filled with cookie dough, coffee and chocolate was glorious.  It may not be the same traditional combo as my mother-in-law, but it was fantastic and unique.  Now you could make this pie with any ice cream you happy to favor - toffee, mint chocolate chip, strawberry...the possibilities are endless.  Switch out the insides however you see fit, but please-please-PLEASE don't leave off the toppings!  They absolutely tie everything together.  The sprinkling of cookie crumbles and chopped almonds echo the flavors of the crust perfectly and bring great texture to the dessert.  And who can't resist a drizzling of chocolate?  I like my sundae's triangle-shaped, thank you very much.

This recipe is insanely easy to make.  You chop, mix, press and freeze.  The patience required while waiting while the ice cream sets is the hardest part.  That and finding a level surface on which to place the pie in your freezer.  But a flat surface is really essential.  Since you have to let the ice cream warm a bit before filling the crust, it's a bit runny.  If you place the pie in the freezer at an angle, you will have a delicious but slanted pie.  So take a few minutes to rearrange a bit and pop a frozen pizza box or something on top of the food pile.  Consider it a good excuse to rearrange your freezer.  

Cookies & Coffee Ice Cream Pie (serves 8-10)

Chocolate Cookie Crust
  • 1 1/2 c crushed chocolate cream-filled cookies
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp mace (or a pinch extra cinnamon & nutmeg)
  • 1/4 c coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 1 tbs dark rum or whiskey
Ice Cream Pie
  • 1 Chocolate Cookie Crust (mine or your favorite)
  • 1 pint cookie dough ice cream
  • 1 pint coffee ice cream
  • 1/4 c crushed chocolate cream-filled cookies
  • 1/3 c almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c chocolate sauce (the bottled stuff works just fine)
Start by making your crust.  Combine cookies, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and almonds in a small bowl.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the vanilla and rum/whiskey.  Pour into the cookie mixture and mix together well.  Spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick and press in crust evenly around sides and bottom.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

To make the filling, remove the ice cream from the refrigerator and let sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften.  Remove the crust from the refrigerator.  Scoop the cookie dough ice cream into the crust and spread with your hands or a large spoon, pressing into the crust.  Top with small dollops of the coffee ice cream, about 3-4 tbs in size each.  Once the coffee ice cream is dotted over the cookie dough, spread with your hands or the spoon to smooth and press down into the cookie dough ice cream.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and transfer to a level surface in the freezer (you don't want your ice cream to dribble out!)  Chill for at least one hour.

When ready to serve, remove the pie from the freezer and take off the plastic wrap.  Sprinkle the top with the chocolate cookie crumbs, chopped almonds and drizzle with the chocolate sauce.  

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