Salty peanut-pretzel ice cream cake

I admit that I’m a sucker for an ice cream pie/cake. Indeed, my favourite dessert that I’ve ever made is a lemon meringue ice cream pie. So when I came across this recipe in my Twitter feed, my ears perked up. Salty and sweet–plus ice cream? Sign me up!


from New York Times 

2 cups mini pretzels
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp salted peanuts (preferably dry roasted)
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 quarts vanilla ice cream
¾ cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
1 cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 350 F. Process pretzels, ¼ cup peanuts, and sugar in food processor until mixture resembles coarse sand. Pulse in butter until well-combined. Press about ¾ cup of the mixture into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Spread remaining mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake crust and crumbs until lightly golden, about 4 to 5 minutes (crusty may take a bit longer, extra 2-3 minutes). Set pans on a rack to let cool.

When crust and crumbs are cool, transfer 1 quart of ice cream to a large bowl and use a wooden spoon to break into a few pieces. Let ice cream soften at room temperature, about 10 minutes. Drizzle half the peanut butter over top and gently fold into the ice cream, so some ribbons of peanut butter remain.

Spoon ice cream mixture onto cooled crust and gently spread to the edges of the pan, being careful not to pull the crust away from the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the top of the cream with 1 tbsp of honey, swirling with a knife or toothpick. Sprinkle about half of the pretzel-nut crumbs over the top and gently press them into the ice cream. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place cake in the freezer. After about an hour, soften the second quart and repeat the same process, without adding the crumbs. Cover the pan and freeze for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.

Just before serving, whip cream into soft peaks. Dollop the cream in the middle of the cake and lightly spread to the edges. Mix 2 tbsp of whole peanuts into the remaining crumb mixture and sprinkle around the top edge. Serve.


A few notes on preparation: I added an extra ¼ cup of the pretzel-nut mixture to the crust, to make sure it would spread evenly enough. As a result, I pulsed an extra handful of peanuts, ½ cup pretzels and pinch of sugar so I’d have an enough of the crumb mixture to layer.

Whilst making it, I did sample a bit of the vanilla-peanut butter ice cream mixture, and that was already divine, so I had high hopes for this one. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. It really was a fantastic combination of salty and sweet, with the nut crumbs adding a great texture to counterpoint the creaminess of the ice cream. I’ve recently been using peanut butter that is just made from peanuts (no added sugar), and I’m really liking it. So flavourful! I also appreciate that this was a relatively simple recipe to make, just involving a little bit of patience to wait for the layers to freeze. Despite the simplicity, it makes for an impressive dessert to take to a BBQ or party (provided no one attending has a nut allergy).


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