Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Getting High-Pontchartrain Mile-High Ice Cream Pie

I wanted to make something special for New Year's Eve that appealed to people with a range of dessert tastes- and something rich before all the New Year's resolutions kicked in.  Most people like ice cream and I played around with the flavors so there was a little something for the vanilla and the chocolate sides.  This dessert is easy to put together, looks impressive and serves many.  The one change I would make is to use a cookie crust rather than a standard pie crust. Because it is a frozen dessert, the buttery flakiness of a regular pie crust gets lost- something a little crunchier would make a better contrast.

Pontchartrain Mile-High Ice Cream Pie
from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts

Crust
9 inch fully baked pie shell, baked in glass pie plate

Filling
3-4 pints ice cream- traditional flavors for this pie are peppermint, vanilla and chocolate, but you
can use your favorite flavors or any other combination. (I always like coffee and chocolate together)

Pontchartrain Meringue
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12)
1/1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Pontchartrain Chocolate Sauce
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces best quality milk chocolate, broken up
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

To make the pie: Spread the ice cream in the pie shell. If you use more than one flavor of ice cream, place them in layers.  Mound the ice cream in the middle. Cover airtight and place in the freezer, making sure it is frozen solid.

To make the meringue: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place the egg whites in large bowl of an electric mixer and add the salt. Beat at high speed until foamy. Add the lemon juice and beat only until they hold a soft shape. Reduce speed to moderate and add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, pausing 10-15 seconds between additions. When all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high, add the vanilla and beat 4-5 minutes longer until the meringue is quite stiff.

Remove the pie from the freezer and quickly cover with the meringue. Using a long, narrow metal spatula, form the meringue into a dome and then flatten the top. The meringue should be about 4 inches high.  IMMEDIATELY place the pie in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.  The meringue will become golden.  Put the pie right into the freezer and freeze for 2-8 hours.

To make the sauce: Place the cream in a 6-8 cup heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Stir occasionally until it barely begins to simmer. Add the sugar and stir over heat until completely dissolved.  Reduce heat to low, add the chocolates and stir until melted.  Whisk until smooth. Let cool until warm.
Serve pie with sauce. (I made this sauce and a caramel sauce- both equally good)((post by Susan))

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