Ice cream cake was my birthday “cake” of choice growing up, and still it’s funny how people get excited over an ice cream cake or pie – I made a few last summer for my latest cookbook, and each time, everyone was thrilled. And yet they’re as easy as it gets – I enlisted my five year old grand-niece to help assemble one, scooping soft ice cream in alternating flavours into a cookie crust, and sprinkling chopped chocolate bars and mini peanut butter cups in between. As it firmed up in the freezer we made a batch of ganache – warmed cream and chocolate that tastes like a smooth melted truffle – to pour overtop. It was a blast, everyone was thrilled, and we didn’t even need to turn on the oven.
Chapman’s asked if I’d share a recipe using their ice cream, and this was my first thought – because mud pies are the most fun, and can be custom made with any variety of ice cream, paired with any number of cookie crumb crusts – chocolate, ginger, Oreo, Digestive – bash them into crumbs in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin, or blitz them in the food processor, adding enough melted butter to make them hold together like wet send. Press into a pie tin and refrigerate while you soften the ice cream a bit by letting it sit out on the counter. There are so many possibilities! Raspberry sorbet with chocolate crust, Maple Walnut with bashed maple sandwich cookie crust! Caramel Prailine with gingersnap crust. Coffee Toffee with a Hobnob crust. This was Vanilla and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup with chocolate wafer cookie crust! Or… no crust at all: just make a massive pile of ice cream scoops and mix-ins to freeze and serve in wedges with sauce and other toppings.
This is a high payback for minimal effort sort of dessert, one that requires no elaborate decorating (bonus!) and can sit in the freezer until you’re ready for it. Buy two kinds of ice cream and rummage through snack drawers to find chocolate (or chocolate bars) to chop, pretzels to bash, cookies or brownies to crumble, and sprinkle it all on top or between layers, along with some chocolate or caramel sauce. (Small hands get very much into this action, too.) Pop it back into the freezer for an hour or so to firm up before you serve it, or bring it straight to the table.
Feel free to get completely carried away. Make a mess.
Thanks Chapman’s – a Canadian company since 1973! – for supporting what I do by just letting me do my thing.