(A Good Urge for food)
There are few two-ingredient desserts as transcendent as an icebox cake.
When the unassuming mixture of whipped cream and crisp wafer cookies are layered collectively and chilled in a single day, they’re each reborn. The brittle, dry cookies take up the moisture of the cream, softening into cake, whereas the whipped cream stiffens up into an opulent snowdrift of frosting simply barely agency sufficient to slice. It’s an on a regular basis miracle that’s at all times a thrill.
Traditional recipes name for whipped cream studded with chocolate wafers. However variations abound. Some add fruit and different flavorings to the cream; others change up the cookies. Then there are people who play with the shape, plopping the entire thing right into a crunchy cookie crust and calling it icebox pie.
This deluxe strawberry iteration, from Morgenstern’s Best Ice Cream in Manhattan, does all of this and extra.
It begins with a crisp vanilla wafer pie shell that’s brimming with pink strawberry mousse and extra wafers beneath a mosaic of recent berries. Then, the highest is gilded with a shimmering selfmade strawberry gelatin that’s wobbly and springy subsequent to the billowing fluff beneath. It has an interaction of textures like one thing you’d get at a flowery restaurant, however nonetheless retains the retro enchantment of a slice of diner pie.
Given the recipe’s inspiration, this makes excellent sense. It got here from one thing Nicholas Morgenstern’s grandmother used to make with whipped topping and a field of pink gelatin. Then he and Priyaporn Pichitpongchai, Morgenstern’s pastry chef, gave it a makeover.
“Jell-O and Cool Whip had been the pillars of Grandma Morgenstern’s desserts,” Morgenstern stated. “I nonetheless love them.”
This up to date model, nevertheless, has a brisker, extra vibrant taste that’s price the additional work it takes to make.
The one fussy half is the selfmade strawberry gelatin, which requires macerating sliced berries in sugar in a single day, then gently heating them to carry out their juices. However this elixir is the soul of the pie, giving it an intense style and ruby coloration.
You’ll want to begin this not less than in the future earlier than you wish to serve it, nevertheless it retains properly for as much as three days. The wafer cookies get softer and extra cakelike as they sit.
Which is strictly what occurred with Grandma Morgenstern’s authentic recipe, too.
“She was no pastry chef,” Morgenstern stated. “However she at all times served dessert.”
Strawberry Icebox Pie
Recipe from Nicholas Morgenstern and Priyaporn Pichitpongchai
Tailored by Melissa Clark
Yield: 8 servings
Whole time: 1 hour, plus not less than 18 hours’ macerating and 5 hours’ chilling
For the Strawberry Gelatin:
1 pound thinly sliced strawberries (about 3 cups)
3 tablespoons (38 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (6 grams) powdered gelatin
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Pie Crust:
3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
3 1/2 cups (200 grams) vanilla wafers (akin to Nilla wafers) or about 1 3/4 cups crumbs
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
For the Filling:
10 ounces strawberries (about 2 cups)
1 cup (240 milliliters) chilly heavy cream
2 tablespoons (15 grams) powdered sugar
13 vanilla wafers (45 grams), lower into halves
For the Topping:
Whipped cream, sweetened or unsweetened
1. For the strawberry gelatin: mix sliced strawberries and sugar in a medium warmth proof (ideally steel) bowl, cowl the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 18 to 24 hours.
2. To make the crust: Warmth oven to 325 levels and evenly grease a 9- or 10-inch pie dish (don’t use something smaller). In a meals processor, mix wafers, sugar and melted butter. Course of till combination is properly blended. Switch to ready pie dish and, utilizing the underside of a flat-bottomed measuring cup, press crumb combination into a fair layer on the underside and up the perimeters, urgent up about 1/4-inch previous the rim of the pie pan. Bake till the crust darkens barely on the edges, 8 to 12 minutes. Switch to a wire rack to chill.
3. To make the filling: Puree 3 ounces strawberries in a meals processor, blender or immersion blender till easy. It’s best to have about 1/4 to 1/3 cup strawberry purée. Put aside. Quarter one other 2 ounces of strawberries to yield about 1/3 cup, and put aside.
4. With a whisk or an electrical mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat heavy cream and sugar till gentle peaks type, 2 to three minutes. Whisk in strawberry puree till simply mixed, ensuring to not over beat. Utilizing a rubber spatula, fold in quartered strawberries. Scrape strawberry cream into the cooled pie crust and easy the highest. Press the halved vanilla wafers vertically into the filling in order that it’s studded all through with wafers. Cowl pie with plastic wrap or parchment paper, place on rimmed sheet pan and chill in fridge for not less than 3 hours (and as much as 3 days). The longer the pie sits, the extra cakelike the cookies get.
5. As soon as the pie has chilled, thinly slice the remaining 5 ounces of strawberries. Take away pie from fridge and place sliced strawberries over the filling to cowl it, overlapping barely if crucial. Place again into the fridge, lined, as you make the strawberry gelatin.
6. Put 1 inch or 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan and produce water to a simmer. Place the still-covered bowl of strawberries on high of the saucepan. Make certain the water isn’t touching the underside of the bowl; in that case, pour some water out. Warmth strawberries to launch extra juice, swirling the bowl often (use oven mitts), for quarter-hour; they need to look very juicy. Utilizing a effective sieve, pressure strawberries till there may be about 2/3 cup juice. You possibly can press gently on the berries to launch extra juice, however don’t press too exhausting or the gelatin will get cloudy. Save the strawberry solids for one thing else, like smoothies.
7. Switch about 2 tablespoons of the recent strawberry juice right into a bowl and sprinkle gelatin excessive; let it sit for a couple of minutes to melt. Add remaining strawberry juice to gelatin combination and whisk till utterly dissolved. Whisk in lemon juice.
8. With the pie nonetheless within the fridge on a sheet pan, pour the gelatin over the sliced strawberries (pouring the gelatin over the again over a spoon suspended over the pie might be useful to get a fair layer of gelatin excessive and doing this work whereas the pie is within the fridge ensures the glossiest topping and retains every thing from spilling). Let pie chill within the fridge, uncovered, till the gelatin units, not less than 2 hours or in a single day. Serve with whipped cream dolloped on high.
This text initially appeared in The New York Occasions.