One of the easiest yet impressive desserts you can make make is an ice cream pie.
In its quickest form, you buy a cookie crumb pie crust, a quart of ice cream and a jar of dessert sauce. Press the softened ice cream into the crust, freeze, garnish and serve.
Have a few extra minutes? Make your own cookie crumb crust and sauce, and create two different layers of ice cream, with a nifty filling in-between.
It’s a make-ahead dessert that you can keep in the freezer, waiting for an impromptu occasion.
(Truth to tell, that pie wouldn’t last a day in our freezer unless someone put a lock on the door. It’s iffy survival here for any ice cream, cake or cookies.)
What’s your fantasy ice cream pie?
Crust: Chocolate wafers, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, Oreos, shortbread.
Ice cream: Pick your flavor(s). You can also combine an ice cream and a sorbet (e.g., Creamsicle pie). Mango or raspberry sorbet are exquisite, combined with vanilla ice cream.
Liqueur: Blend in 3 tablespoons per quart of ice cream, 1 tablespoon per 1.5 cups of sauce.
Sauce: Butterscotch*, caramel*, chocolate, fruit purée, liqueur†.
Mix-ins: M&Ms, toffee bits, flavored chips, mix whole or halved berries, diced fresh fruit, etc.
Fillings: If you don’t mix anything into the ice cream itself, you can use candies or fruits as a layer, either between two different flavors or in the middle of a single flavor.
Garnish: Chocolate shavings, fruit, candy pieces, etc.
You can spend the summer working on recipes (one per weekend, perhaps?) and show off the “winners” over Labor Day Weekend.
*Butterscotch and caramel are similar, with a key difference: Butterscotch is made with brown sugar, caramel is made with white granulated sugar. To create a sauce, the sugar is melted over high heat and blended with butter and cream.
†You can add liqueur to the sauce; or if there’s no sauce, sprinkle it over the top of the pie. We add it to the softened ice cream as well.
RECIPE: SWEET & SALTY ICE CREAM PIE
This pie uses store-bought ice cream, but you make the crust and topping from scratch. Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.
Ingredients For 1 Pie
2 cups pretzels, finely ground
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 quarts vanilla ice cream
5 (1.4-ounce) chocolate covered toffee bars, crushed (substitute 7 ounces other toffee)
1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped Snickers bar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
For The Caramel Sauce
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. In large bowl, combine pretzels, butter and sugar. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
 Peanut butter ice cream on a brownie base. Here’s the recipe from Go Bold With Butter.  Homemade blueberry ice cream pie. You can also blend puréed blueberries into store-bought anilla ice cream (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers).  Grasshopper pie: the mint ice cream tastes even better with a few tablespoons of creme de menthe liqueur. Here’s the recipe from Taste Of Home.  Sweet and salty ice cream pie from Go Bold With Butter. The recipe is at left.