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Autumnal Ice Cream Pie

October 12, 2009


In sorting through recent posts, I notice the abundance of ice cream oriented recipes–no surprise, as ice cream is undoubtedly, one of my favorite foods. If I’m not dreaming about ice cream, I’m likely pondering an adornment for it, and although my good ol’ Joy of Cooking hot fudge often hits the spot, I’m always on the hunt for creative alternatives. Out of this desire for innovation (o.k., this is not exactly rocket science) and pure infatuation for the frosty dessert item, comes the following: Vanilla Ice Cream Pie with Caramelized Apples.

Ice cream pie is a long standing institution in my family’s dessert repertoire, and consequently, in mine. The simple formula can be adapted to suit a variety of tastes:

crumb crust + ice cream + toppings/adornment of choice = personalized ice cream pie

Over the years, I’ve tried many combinations, usually relative to the preferences of a birthday honoree. Although vanilla functions as a nice canvas, I’ve made out pretty well with pumpkin ice cream in a gingersnap crust, butter crunch in a almond-y graham cracker crust decorated with candied nuts, and the classic Christmas favorite, Peppermint Stick ice cream in a chocolate graham shell. Its pretty hard to go wrong. Although the recipe is incredibly easy to put together, you must plan ahead–it takes awhile for the pie to chill.

And with out further ado, the recipe…or more accurately, a guide for the ice cream pie of your choice.

Vanilla Ice Cream Pie with Caramelized Apples

prepare one recipe Mark Bittman’s Graham Cracker Crust (see bottom of page), spiked with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond extract

allow crust to cool completely–ideally, make a day in advance and freeze overnight

about a half hour before assembling the pie, take the ice cream (in my case, 1.5 quarts all natural vanilla) out of the freezer and allow to soften. once ice cream is soft, spoon half of it into the crust and smooth to cover the bottom.

if desired, add a layer of cookie/brownie crumbles, nuts, chocolate sauce, or other “add-in” before spooning the other half of the ice cream on top. in this case, I layered about a 1/2 cup of my favorite Pennsylvania Dutch apple butter.

After the top layer of ice cream is added to the top and sufficiently smoothed over, you may continue to embellish the surface with more toppings. Otherwise, put it directly into the freeze to firm up for several hours or overnight.

For the Caramelized Apples (quite an approximate recipe, so feel free to improvise with quantities):

thinly slice four medium to large apples (this makes quite a lot so feel free to adapt for a smaller quantity)

heat a tablespoon or so of butter in the bottom of a cast iron, or other heavy pan. add apples and saute until lightly browned and quite soft.

add about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown sugar, depending on your taste and how ‘sauce-y’ you want the apples to be.

once sugar is melted and bubbling, add a few heaping spoonfuls of apple butter, a dash of almond or vanilla extract and a generous pinch of salt

remove from heat and serve over sliced ice cream pie. if there are leftover, the apples keep well for a few days in the fridge–just reheat and serve over more ice cream. these apples are also great over oatmeal of pancakes if you’re in the mood for a breakfast treat.

ice cream


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