Food & Wine Ice Cream Dessert Shortcuts

Food & Wine By Kate Heddings

Top ice cream artisans tell how to transform store-bought pints into great ice cream desserts like terrines, bonbons and pies.
Driving around New York City in a secondhand Mister Softee truck, Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck sell treats to customers at the curb. But their fans don’t come for the soft serve itself, which Big Gay buys premade; the fun is in the toppings — olive oil and sea salt, crushed Trix, wasabi-pea dust. As Quint says, “The last place to look for ice cream toppings is a supermarket ice cream aisle.” Inspired, F&W asked America’s most brilliant ice cream artisans for fast ways to transform store-bought ice cream. The results range from a terrine layering ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet to chocolate-covered ice cream bonbons sprinkled with salt. And the Big Gay guys share their recipe for an ice cream pie with a fresh blueberry sauce.

Berry Ice Cream Pie
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (from 12 whole graham crackers)
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 pints strawberry ice cream, softened slightly
- 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 pints blueberries, plus more for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, stir the cracker crumbs, brown sugar and butter until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs into a 9-inch glass pie plate and bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, line another 9-inch pie plate with plastic wrap and spread with 1 pint of the ice cream. Top with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, 10 minutes. Spread another pint of ice cream on top of the plastic, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Repeat with a final layer of ice cream and freeze until firm.
3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, boil the vinegar over moderate heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 15 minutes. Add the 2 pints of blueberries and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, crushing the berries, until thick and jammy, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and freeze until chilled.
4. Transfer the top layer of flattened ice cream to the crust, spreading it to the edges. Top with half of the blueberry mixture. Repeat with the middle layer of ice cream and the remaining blueberry mixture and top with the final layer of ice cream. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut the pie into wedges and serve with fresh blueberries.