If you’re looking for a Shavuot cake that’s as delicious as the traditional
holiday cheesecake and more refreshing, consider an ice-cream
Ice-cream cakes are not just tempting; they are convenience
desserts, easy to make and ready when you need them. In fact, many are almost
foolproof. Just alternate thin layers of cake with ice cream in a mold and
freeze your dessert until it’s firm enough to be sliced.
advantage of ice-cream cakes is that they are flexible in their
You can use any ice cream or sorbet, although not any cake or
cookie. Your favorite dense, chewy brownie can be too firm to cut when frozen,
and not pleasant to eat. This is also the case with many kinds of cookies and
rich chocolate cakes, as the butter and chocolate cause them to become very hard
when frozen. Therefore many cookies are best chopped or crumbled for use in
The best cakes to choose are light ones, especially
wafers, sponge cakes and meringues, either white or flavored with cocoa or nuts.
The luscious element in your dessert should be the ice cream. For extra flavor
and contrasting texture, you can sprinkle the layers of ice cream with nuts,
grated or finely chopped chocolate or liqueur-soaked dried
Jean-Michel Rousseau, author of Le Guide du Glacier (the ice-cream
maker’s guide), recommends that pastry chefs assemble ice-cream cakes in
stainless steel rings; at home, I find a springform pan is a good substitute. He
presents dozens of desserts made of light cakes, ice cream and frozen mousses.
When adding sponge cake, he often uses the classic French technique of brushing
it with syrup to keep it moist. His frozen cherry cake is composed of baked
almond meringue, pistachio ice cream, sponge cake brushed with cherry liqueur
syrup and poached cherries. Chocolate orange cake has almond sponge cake
moistened with orange liqueur syrup, layers of orange ice cream and chocolate
ice cream and a garnish of grated chocolate. Coconut sponge cake is the base of
a dessert he calls the Jamaican, with hazelnut milk chocolate ice cream
sprinkled with rum-macerated raisins, topped with rum ice cream and grated
coconut. A simpler but equally enticing ice-cream cake features a meringue base,
coffee ice cream and walnuts.
Some ice-cream cakes can be made without
any baking, using store-bought cakes or cookies. Matthew Klein, author of The
Joy of Ice Cream, makes an easy icecream charlotte by lining the bottom and
sides of a charlotte mold with ladyfingers and filling the center with
fruit-studded ice cream. After unmolding the frozen dessert, he tops it with
canned cherries and cherry sauce, and then decorates it with whipped cream
Making an ice-cream pie is faster because it’s not as high as
an ice-cream cake and takes less time to freeze. All you need is a cookie crumb
pie shell, an icecream filling and a simple decoration.
Still, it can be
festive enough for Shavuot.
Abigail Johnson Dodge, author of Desserts 4
Today: Flavorful Desserts with Just Four Ingredients, makes a triple
chocolate-raspberry ice-cream pie from a chocolate cookie crumb crust with a
filling of raspberries mixed into softened chocolate ice cream; when it’s
frozen, she spreads chocolate fudge sauce on top and sprinkles it with
raspberries. Dodge notes that you could use graham crackers, shortbread cookies
or gingersnaps for the crust and that instead of the fudge sauce, you could
sprinkle the pie with toasted slivered almonds or other toasted nuts.
recipe begins with a useful reminder: First, make room for your dessert in the
freezer.PISTACHIO MERINGUE ICE CREAM CAKE
Makes 8 servings
You can make
an astonishing variety of ice-cream cakes using crisp nut meringues and either
one or several flavors of ice cream.
They can be made in different shapes
and sizes. Try almond meringues with chocolate and vanilla ice creams; or walnut
meringues with caramel or coffee ice cream. You can prepare this ice-cream cake
up to 5 days ahead; if kept for longer, the meringues soften.
20-cm. pistachio meringues (see recipe below)
✔ 2 cups pistachio, chocolate or
strawberry ice cream
✔ 2 cups vanilla ice cream
✔ 2 Tbsp. shelled pistachios,
finely chopped (for garnish)
Carefully trim meringue circles, using the point of a sharp paring knife with
sawing motion, so that one just fits into a 20-cm. springform pan and the second
is about 6 mm. smaller than first all around (so there will be a small space
between the edge of this meringue and side of pan).
Set larger meringue
round in springform pan with sides closed. Soften pistachio ice cream briefly in
refrigerator, just until spreadable. Top meringue in pan with chocolate ice
cream in spoonfuls. Carefully but quickly spread smooth. Set second meringue on
top, centering it so that sides do not touch pan. Freeze for 10
Soften vanilla ice cream in refrigerator just until spreadable.
Spoon enough ice cream around edge of top meringue to cover edge generously.
Gently push vanilla ice cream between edge of meringue and edge of pan so it
meets pistachio ice cream layer.
Spoon remaining vanilla ice cream over
top of meringue. Gently smooth top.
Cover and freeze for 8 hours or
To serve, set cake on a platter. Run a thin-bladed flexible
knife around edge of cake.
Release spring and remove sides of pan.
Sprinkle top of cake with chopped pistachios.
Makes two 20-cm. rounds, total about 8
servings Layer these meringues with your favorite ice cream to make fabulous
desserts; or make small pistachio meringues to serve as delicate
The baked meringues can be kept up to 5 days in airtight
container in dry weather; or they can be frozen.
✔ 1 cup (about 110 gr.)
shelled unsalted pistachios, or 225 gr. unshelled
✔ 2⁄3 cup sugar
✔ 1 Tbsp.
✔ 4 large egg whites, room temperature
✔ 1⁄8 tsp. cream of tartar
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 150ºC.
Butter and lightly flour 2
medium-sized nonstick baking sheets, tapping each to remove excess flour. If
using regular baking sheets, lightly butter corners and line sheets with foil;
butter and lightly flour foil.
Using a 20-cm. springform pan rim as
guide, trace a circle onto each baking sheet, drawing it around outside of
springform rim. Have ready a rubber spatula for folding and a pastry bag fitted
with a 1.25-cm. plain tip.
Grind nuts with 1⁄2 cup sugar in food
processor until as fine as possible, scraping inward occasionally. Transfer to a
medium bowl. Sift cornstarch over nut mixture.
Using a fork, stir mixture
lightly until blended. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar in large bowl,
beginning at medium speed and increasing to medium-high, until they form soft
peaks. With mixer at high speed, gradually beat in remaining sugar and continue
beating until whites are just stiff and shiny but not dry, about 15
Sprinkle about 1⁄3 of nut mixture over whites while folding
gently; continue sprinkling and folding as gently and as quickly as possible
until just blended.
Immediately transfer mixture to pastry bag, using
rubber spatula. Beginning at center of circle marked on baking sheet, pipe
meringue in tight spiral until circle is completely covered.
pressure so rounds have even thickness. If there are holes in spiral, pipe small
dot of meringue in each hole. Pipe another spiral on second baking sheet. Pipe
any remaining meringue in mounds about 2.5 cm in diameter and 2 cm high, giving
them rounded tops.
Bake meringues 30 minutes. (If both baking sheets do
not fit on central rack, bake them on 2 racks and switch their positions after
baking them about 15 minutes.) Reduce oven temperature to 135ºC. Continue baking
until meringues are light brown, dry, and just firm but not hard, about 10 to 15
minutes; to check, touch center of each meringue very lightly – your finger
should not leave an impression in mixture. Meringues burn easily if overbaked,
but remain sticky if underbaked. They will become firmer as they
Immediately release meringues gently from baking sheets or foil,
using a large metal spatula; peel off foil if necessary. If meringues are sticky
on bottom, return to oven until dry, about 5 more minutes. Transfer them to rack
and cool completely. Faye Levy is the author of Fresh from
Sensations and in Hebrew
Sefer Ha’ugot, the book of cakes, published by R.