We have quite often catalogued the various nature-related nuisances of where Gourmandistan is most often located: our sometimes raging and/or icebound creek, roaming bands of garden-gobbling deer, coyotes that creep near to the house and our many, many issues with mice. We have recently been reminded that we also have ants. Our somewhat wet spring saw the return of marching lines of little brown ants, invading the sugars in our pantry, infesting the cats’ kibble bowl and generally making us re-examine our food storage methods. One way of keeping the little Formicidae at bay is airtight containers, of course. But when we found ourselves with an almost-full box of leftover gingersnaps, Michelle thought a pie might be a nice option.
It’s blueberry season, so we always have several boxes on hand for Steve to snack on, and there are also plenty of berries for Michelle to play with. Adding flour to the ice cream base seemed a little odd, but the idea of swirled-in blueberries was intriguing. And there was that leftover box of gingersnaps, waiting to add a bit of spice and crunch.
The result was everything we hoped for (especially Steve, who had done nothing towards the effort but avoid eating all the blueberries). A little sauce of blueberries spiked with candied ginger added extra flavor, and we happily enjoyed the ice cream pie over many days—sneering at the decreasing ant population each time.
BLUEBERRY-GINGER ICE CREAM PIE
- 11 ounces gingersnap cookies
- 5 TB butter, melted
- 1-1/2 c. blueberries
- 1 c. sugar, divided
- 1 tsp. finely chopped orange peel
- 3 TB orange juice
- Pinch of salt
- 2 c. heavy cream, divided
- 1 TB all-purpose flour
- 2 c. milk
- 2 slightly beaten egg yolks
- 1 TB vanilla extract
- 3/4 c. chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
- 2 TB butter
- 2 c. blueberries
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 2 tsp. candied ginger, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 325° F. Crush cookies in a food processor. Put crumbs in a bowl and mix well with melted butter. Pat into a 9″ springform pan, pressing well across bottom and 1″ up sides of pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Once cooled, wrap with aluminum foil and freeze.
Make ice cream:
Place blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, orange peel, orange juice and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, mashing berries with the back of a spoon. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Remove all but 1/2 cup of the mixture and strain into a medium-sized bowl through a fine sieve, pressing with a wooden spoon to extract all juices. Discard solids. Add the reserved blueberries and 1/2 cup of cream to sieved mixture. Cover and chill.
Toss together 3/4 cup sugar and flour in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in milk, whisking. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and starting to boil. Cook for 1 minute more. Stir some of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks, then return the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook, stirring until mixture just returns to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a large bowl through a fine sieve and cool slightly. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Beat 1-1/2 cups of cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chilled custard mixture. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. When done, fold in the blueberry mixture and the pecans—being careful not to mix in completely.
Place ice cream in prepared crust and level with a spatula. Cover and freeze overnight.
Place sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, stirring. Pull off heat when berries have released some juices and a sauce is formed, but before berries are totally deflated. Let cool.
Remove sides from springform pan, using a knife to release if necessary. Serve slices of pie with a bit of sauce poured over.