I’ve got your summer dinner party dessert right here

I know I said we’d be all crazy-go-nuts cookie recipes for a while but I had to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this Ina Garten inspired frozen key lime pie.  It is the perfect summer dessert.  I would know.  I’ve served it at three different dinners this summer to unequivocal (if not redundant) success.

I’m guessing many of you subscribe to Ina Garten which means you also got her recipe for frozen key lime pie earlier this summer.  The recipe arrived in my in-box just days before a small dinner party we were throwing and I stopped the presses on whatever dessert I had planned to make this baby.

With some changes.  First, I swapped-in spicy gingersnaps for the graham crackers.  Everyone knows citrus (especially limes) and ginger are summer besties.  I also added a layer of raspberry jam.  I’m glad I did this because the citrus filling is deliciously zingy and the sweet of the raspberry is a nice note.

Ina’s original recipe calls for fresh lime juice.  BUT the recipe is called frozen key lime pie.  As written, the recipe has no key to the key lime.  And I get it–‘aint nobody got time to juice 100 key limes for 3/4 C of liquid.  Luckily, many moons ago I read, or heard or osmotically gained the knowledge of Nellie and Joes key lime juice.  You can find it in most grocery stores and I always try to have some on hand.  Trust me, it’s good stuff.

I’ve played with the whipped cream topping decorations quite a bit.  I was fairly restrained for the above pie.  However I did another (and got no photographic evidence) where I covered the entire surface in whipped cream roses.

If you need a refreshing but decadent dessert for the next few hot summer months, look no further.  Major bonus?  It can be made a few days in advance.

Next week we’re back at Via Corona where I will attempt to show you show you Tom’s eight foot shower and the master bath.  Temper your expectations.  I’ve tried to photograph the damn room three times now to middling results.  This latest effort is mostly so that I can put the room to bed.

Frozen Key Lime Pie.  With a Twist.

see what I did there?  Because Ina always says ‘blah blah blah, with a twist..

adapted from Ina Garten



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour into the baked pie shell and freeze.

For the decoration, beat the heavy cream on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until firm. Spoon or pipe decoratively onto the pie and decorate with lime. Freeze for several hours or overnight.

There is always room for ice cream!

Psssst.  Hey you!  Yes…you.

Need a great dinner party dessert?  Something elegant and impressive but criminally easy to put together?  Something that might make you feel like you are dialing-it-in while outward appearances argue ooh-la-la?

I’ve got what you need.  It’s a little something I call the ice cream torte.  Oh sure, it exists under a variety of names and circumstances.  In fact, the possibilities are nearly endless.  Just mix and match your favorite ice cream flavors and toppings.

For instance, I took some of this.

And some of this.

Added some of this.

And topped it with this (well, really, the brownie formed the base once the whole treat was dished-out).

Even the necessary tools are simple: a vessel (I like to use a loaf pan), plastic wrap and something to spread it all with.

Line your container with cling wrap so that you can easily “un-mold” your creation.

Allow your first layer of ice cream to melt to the point of malleability and evenly spread to desired thickness.  Then, into the freezer until solid (30 minutes or so).  Follow-up with desired layers until you reach the top of the pan.

Then, cover with cling-wrap and let it chill-out until dessert time. This could be hours or days.  Nice huh? About 10 minutes before serving, pop the whole thing out of the mold, slice and sit back and listen to the ooohs and ahhhs.

For those of you playing along at home, here are the layers (bottom to top) from an ice cream torte I made for a little dinner last weekend: brownie, ganache, coffee ice cream, ganache, chocolate ice cream (you can’t really see the ganache layers because they’ve blended with the brownie and chocolate ice cream.  But…they are there).

I know the presentation here is pretty sloppy, but I like to reserve some of the ganache, heat it gently in a water bath and serve against the cold dessert.

There really isn’t a recipe for this one, folks.  The sky is the limit when it comes to what goes into your torte.  I’ve made my own chocolate sauce and brownies here but who says you can’t go store-bought?  My only word of advice is to use ingredients that have about the same consistency when frozen.  If you want some crunch, my suggestion is to  break-up whatever it is (candy, nuts) into smaller bits so that the overall texture similar.