A rather frequent culinary dilemma that I face is the shop-dessert-or-homemade-dessert dinner guest offering. My preference would, of course, lie in the direction of homemade, but time doesn't always comply. Of course, people always appreciate whatever you bring, I find (though, in general, I like to think that I have particularly nice friends). Also, when you're the hostess it's always nice when someone texts to let you know that you have one less course to think about, whether that was slaved over at home or grabbed from a shop on the way. But I think that if your host or hostess is going to the trouble of cooking dinner, then it's nice to reciprocate with a homemade offering of your own. The lovely Fiona, she of much neighbourousness, had invited me over for dinner last Thursday evening, and, in between getting home from work and completing some essential household tasks, I figured there was just enough time to conjure up a sweet concoction for dessert. This was a job for Ravinder, and wowsers did she come up trumps with her chocolate ice-cream pie.
This pretty much has it all: pie, ice-cream, biscuits, chocolateyness...yes, it may very well be the dessert of your dreams. It has a cheesecake-meets-mud pie vibe. And: it would take a bit of an eejit to mess it up, frankly. The only way this could be messed up would be if you unwittingly changed recipes halfway and got it mixed up with mackerel and beetroot salad, maybe, like that time Rachel from Friends tried to make trifle.
The biscuit base is a cheesecake-style biscuit and butter concoction, made with 60g melted unsalted butter and 200g custard creams - leaving me with 100g custard creams to scoff when sugar cravings come a-calling.
I think that when you're chopping/crunching/smashing up things in the kitchen at home, it's nice to leave them quite chunky and texture-ful, as they can be a little bland when blitzed to perfection. I put my pesto in a processor, and it comes out super-smooth, whereas I think that if I took the time to do it by hand it would be a more delicious sauce.
The lovely chunky crushed custard creams and the butter are combined, pressed into a springform and go into the oven at 170 degrees for 15 minutes, then sit out to cool.
Malteasers - just you WAIT until you see what happens to these, you'll hyperventilate. Well, I pretty much did when I read the recipe. Can I just say that I think that there may actually be more here than the recipe says there ought to be, but I selflessly sacrificed the surplus mini packets of Malteasers for the common good and smashed them all up together. This is one large bag of funsize bags.
Now all the smashing has been done, it's time for a slightly more gentle coming together of ingredients.
Scoop out one litre of chocolate ice-cream into the bowl with the smashed Malteasers and bring them together nice and gently. You don't want to beat the ice cream about the place too much, since meltyness is not a desired state for it to be in - bacteria and all that. It makes a huge difference here if you go for the fancy, expensive stuff. I opted for Haagen Daas Belgian chocolate and it upped the taste factor of the pie without me having to do anything more than spend a couple of extra euro.
This is the most difficult part: summoning up the strength and self-discipline to stay away from this round, chocolately, springformed-up pie of amazingness. It needs to go into the freezer until the very last nanosecond before you leg it out the door to your lovely dinner.
Ravinder suggests popping walnuts around the pie and then serving it with hot chocolate sauce. That just didn't quite work for me, so after a good old think (yes, it actually took my teeny brain some time to figure this one out) I decided that raspberries would make a more fitting complement. I did the honours chez Fifi, with some lemon juice, caster sugar and frozen raspberries.
Sublime. I must hastily add that I don't mean in any way to take any particular credit for this wondrous creation, as it really did involve minimal effort on my part. The people at Malteasers, Haagen Daas and the custard creams factory should all be taking a bow right now. And I will retract my earlier statement - I would guess that you'll score considerably more brownie points with this than if you turn up clutching something in a plastic package.