Leave it to West Coast guide to the good life, Sunset Magazine, to dream up a dessert that makes us borderline envious that we occupy the other coast.
A high-drama way to end an evening, apricot almond swirl ice cream pie is festive and easy. A crunchy, almondy crust of ground amaretti cookies holds vanilla ice cream layered with honey-simmered apricots. Apricot purée is curlicued across the top. We made the pie in an 8-inch cheesecake pan with a removable side, but you could also use a regular 9-inch pie pan and sprinkle the toasted almonds on top instead of pressing into the side. We like Blenheim dried apricots in the pie for their vibrant flavor.
- 7 ounces amaretti cookies
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 3/4 cups dried apricot halves, preferably Blenheim
- 3/4 cup honey
- 2 quarts vanilla ice cream, divided
- 1 cup toasted sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 325°. Grind cookies into fine crumbs in a food processor. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons melted butter and blend until crumbs start to come together, adding more melted butter as needed. Press crumb mixture firmly over bottom (not side) of an 8-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim. Bake until crust is set, about 10 minutes.
- Let crust cool completely. Meanwhile, simmer apricots with 1 1/2 cups water and the honey, covered, until apricots are very soft, 15 minutes; let cool. Take 1 quart ice cream out of freezer to soften.
- Arrange 1 cup apricots over cooled cookie crust. Blend remaining apricots and liquid in a blender into a thick, pourable purée (add more water if needed). Strain.
- Stir softened ice cream until smooth. Spread over apricots in crust, set on a plate, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Spoon on all but 2 tablespoons apricot purée. Freeze until purée firms, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Let remaining 1 quart ice cream soften; spread over purée. Top ice cream with small dollops of remaining purée, then swirl with a chopstick. Freeze 2 hours more.
- Remove rim of pan and pat almonds firmly into side of pie. (If pie won’t come out easily, set it over a bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes; slide a thin knife between the pan edge and crust. Pie should pop right out.) Serve immediately, though pie can be softened for 5 minutes at room temperature if necessary for easier slicing.
*Find crunchy Italian amaretti in well-stocked grocery stores. Alternatively, use almond biscotti and blend in 1 teaspoon almond extract with the melted butter in step 1.
Make ahead: Once the pie is made through step 5 and fully frozen, keeps up to 4 days, double-wrapped in plastic wrap. Add the almonds just before serving.
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