Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday Dessert: Peppermint "Ice Cream" Pie with Fudge Topping

In our house, Christmas means its time to make the Peppermint "Ice Cream" Pie with Fudge Topping recipe which is technically a frozen peppermint parfait in a chocolate wafer crust -- a very grown up version of birthday party ice cream cake. 

I've been making this holiday dessert since 1996 when the recipe first appeared in Bon Appetit magazine, the All-American Peppermint Stick Torte with Fudge Topping Recipe.

A week ago, I started shopping for ingredients. Chocolate wafer cookies. I buy them early because they are not only hard to find, but around the holidays the stores run out quickly. Good quality peppermint candy or candy canes. I'm shocked by the number of hard candies that look like peppermint but are flavored with fruit or just taste terrible. Peppermint extract. Heavy cream that has not been ultra pasturized. My favorite is Ronnybrook Farms--it's 40% cream. And local. Chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers, above, finely ground with Vermont Butter and Cheese Co. butter and a little sugar. Another option for wafer cookies is Newman's Own Chocolate Alphabet Cookies. My favorite is the Famous Chocolate Wafers for the rich chocolate flavor and crisp cookie crunch. I have also made the crust with Nabisco's Chocolate 'Nilla Wafers and Oreo Cookie Crumbs but I haven't seen either of these brands on the shelves of my small NYC grocery stores for a while.
When the cookie crumbs, sugar and butter are thoroughly mixed together, press the mixture evenly against the side and bottom of the springpan to form the crust. The recipe is just enough to cover a 9-inch pan. When I finished the crust, I put it in the freezer and started the filling.
First, I pulverized forty Brach's brand peppermint candies into a minty powder with bits and chunks with the help of my food processor. Then, I added the flavorful bits along with a teaspoon of peppermint extract to a mixture of egg yolks, sugar and water that had been heated to 170 degrees (F) -- just hot enough to remove pathogens from the eggs and melt the candies. When the egg and peppermint mixture had cooled down,  I gently folded in the whip cream. 
With the addition of the whipped cream, the filling was done and ready to add to the crust. An airy parfait, fluffy and very pink. I spooned the minty filling into the already frozen chocolate cookie crumb crust.  And, then put the springpan back into the freezer for six hours.
A frozen parfait is made with whip cream and not a creme anglais of cooked eggs and cream which is typically what's used to make ice cream. Because of the whipped cream, this   peppermint pie is technically a frozen parfait, and not ice cream, although to me it tastes and feels an awful lot like the peppermint ice cream I remember as a kid but smoother and creamier. And, easier to make.
The fudge topping, is made from heavy cream, Karo dark corn syrup,

and nearly a pound of bittersweet chocolate that has been warmed enough to just melt the chocolate into the sweetened cream. (Don't those syrup swirls look cool?)
Valrhona is the finest baking chocolate money can buy -- chefs around the world choose Valrhona.
After it has cooled to room temperature, I spooned half of the fudge topping onto the frozen peppermint cream, and returned it to the freezer. The frozen fudge topping is like having a half inch thick chocolate bar on top of the already decadent peppermint stick pie.
On Christmas day, I will decorate the top of the cake with peppermint candies and whip cream that has been beaten until stiff peaks are formed. I'll pipe the whipped cream onto the top of the cake and place candies in between the piped rosettes. I'll also heat up the remaining topping to make a hot fudge sauce and spoon it onto individual slices of peppermint ice cream cake.

Word is out already that Camille and I jumped ahead on our Christmas day menu and made the peppermint stick "ice cream" pie today. Just three weeks til Christmas and 21 days til we can tear into my family's favorite dessert....

RECIPE and INGREDIENTS
Click on over to Epicurious.com for the greatest holiday dessert recipe....


Here's what you'll need to make it...
Crust
1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies, broken
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled


Filling
1 7 1/2-ounce package hard red-and- white striped peppermint candies (about 45 pieces)
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (I always double the amount of peppermint to 1 teaspoon)


3 cups chilled whipping cream


Sauce for frozen topping and warm fudge sauce
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped


Decorating the top 
Additional peppermint candies -- several dozen pieces
1 cup whipping cream, beaten to form stiff peaks

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can I make this without the candies? I'm half-way through another similar recipe (used your biscuit base and their peppermint parfait, no egg yolks or candy) and someone moved the damn cookbook on me.

Lexi Van de Walle said...

I'm afraid the peppermint is the main ingredient in this recipe. It's like cooking a beef stew without beef if you don't use the candy.