Return of the Ice Cream Cake
It’s been far too long since we’ve seen an ice cream cake on this blog, hasn’t it? The raspberry chocolate and the chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream cakes were posted months ago…so a new one was long overdue. Well, last week happened to be B’s birthday. In other words, it was the perfect occasion to make one!
I’ve made an ice cream cake for his birthday for the past few years. His (current) favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip, so I knew that was going to be the ice cream flavor in the cake this year. I went with my favorite chocolate cookie crust, made with Newman’s Own Organic chocolate wafer cookies, and spread a dark chocolate ganache on top. The crowning detail on this cake are the corkscrew-like white chocolate curls…I found a new technique for making them here, and had great success!
(Oh, and of course, it was back to my ever-so-reliable source for the ice cream recipe idea…I used his basic vanilla ice cream recipe, omitting the vanilla bean in favor of some peppermint extract. Chopped up dark chocolate chunks created the “chips”.)
I’m a bit embarrassed to say that we ate this over the course of two nights. As in, we polished off a 7-inch springform pan’s worth of ice cream cake in two nights. What can I say: it’s hot here, I didn’t feel much like cooking anything too elaborate, and this cold ice cream cake was just so good.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake
Ingredients (crust and ganache ingredients listed for 7-inch / 10-inch pan)
For the cookie crust:
4 oz / 6 oz chocolate wafer cookies — I like Newman’s Organic Tops & Bottoms
3 tbsp / 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the mint chocolate chip ice cream (or, use 1 quart storebought ice cream)
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
For the chocolate ganache:
4 oz / 6 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate (I usually use Ghirardelli 60% chips or bar chocolate), cut into pieces
4 oz / 6 oz heavy cream
For the garnish:
white chocolate curls (I used a 4oz Ghirardelli white chocolate bar) and mint leaves
Make the chocolate cookie crust:
Process the cookies in a food processor until they’re fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse it in until the cookie crumbs are moistened thoroughly. Pour the crumbs out into the bottom of your springform pan and firmly pat them down to make an even layer for the crust. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and place in the freezer to set, about 1 hour.
Make the ice cream layer — two ways:
If you’re using ice cream that’s already made, you can just soften it a bit at room temperature and then beat it in an electric mixer until it’s more the consistency of soft serve. Spread it evenly over the cookie crust, gently pressing down with a spatula to fill in any holes. You want to use enough ice cream to come almost all the way to the top of the springform pan; leave about 1/2 inch room at the top (where the ganache will go. Place the plastic wrap back on over the ice cream layer, smoothing it down directly on the ice cream’s surface so there are no air bubbles. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
If you’re making the mint chocolate chip ice cream, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and the pinch of salt in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. In a third separate bowl, place the other 1 cup of cream and set a mesh strainer over that bowl. When the cream/milk/sugar mixture is warm, slowly pour it, little by little, into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return this mixture to the saucepan.
Heat this mixture over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon, until it thickens enough to coat the spatula (when you draw a finger across the back of the spatula, it should leave a mark without the liquid filling it in.) Pour the custard through the strainer into the bowl with the heavy cream, and stir to combine. Mix in the peppermint and vanilla extracts. Cover and chill this mixture thoroughly.
Once cool, churn the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add the chopped dark chocolate when the ice cream is just about finished churning. When it’s finished churning, spread enough ice cream over the cookie crust in the springform pan so there’s about 1/2-inch of room at the top of the pan. Place plastic wrap over the ice cream, pressing it gently down all over the surface of the ice cream so there are no air bubbles. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
To make the chocolate ganache:
Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. While it’s heating, chop up the chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl or pyrex measuring cup. When the cream comes to a simmer, pour it over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Stir until smooth, then let it cool to lukewarm.
Take the ice cream cake out of the freezer and remove the plastic wrap. Spread the chocolate ganache over the top, smoothing with a spatula. It should just about come to the top of the springform pan.
Replace the plastic wrap over the cake, smoothing it directly onto the layer of ganache, and place it back in the freezer for another 2 hours.
Garnish the cake with chocolate curls and fresh mint leaves.