Ice Cream Cake

Licorice Vanilla Biscotti Ice Cream Cake with Lingonberries 
You know people, it's hot over here in Finland.  Really hot.  Hottest summer in 50 years, some Finns say.  It's hard to get excited about turning the oven on when it's already 30°C inside and out, so what's a person to do when you want a sweet treat to beat the heat?  (Ok, I really wasn't attempting to wax poetic there, but, well, heat does funny things to my head).

A berry garnish adds a nice, tart touch to a very sweet cake.

Not that I am complaining about it being hot, mind you. After one long cold February in 2010, I decided that I would embrace the heat whenever I can and not complain on the hot summer days, because I do plenty of grumping about the cold, long winters here.  In early July, with temperatures barely tipping above 12°C, I  headed south to Sicily looking for the sun and the deep, blue, warm sea…and as much great food as I could eat.  I was delighted to arrive in Palermo to clear, sunny skies and a searing 29°C+ temperatures, happy to escape the Spring that wouldn't end. Two days later, we got a message from Finland "It's 27°C here…"  And so it seems, summer arrived with a roar, and has stayed around for a nice long while.  I'm loving it.  But…back to the beginning…it's hot.  The perfect excuse for a no-cook, easy-to-make, very pretty treat.

Ice cream cakes have a million variations depending on your taste preferences.  I made mine using cookies and berries as a layer and two kinds of ice cream, but you can use cake as a replacement to the cookie layer, or chopped nuts would be great as well.  I think chopped, smoked almonds would be great with a caramel cranberry ice cream, for example, and you could use stone fruit, or different berries, or a berry sauce, or a chocolate sauce between the layers…but now I am getting ahead of myself.  Back to the cake.

Packing it into a plastic container with a lid is the easiest way to store it - and transport it if needed.

I had made a big batch of biscotti in a crazy moment in the middle of a hot day as I was dreaming of the good life and pastries down in Sicily. I had created a gluten-free version, and, forgetting for a moment that gluten-free flours have very different behaviors than their glutenous friends, attempted to lift one warm biscotti log off the pan, only to have it crumble in my hands.  So I was left with two logs which I later sliced and rebaked for a lovely jar full of almond aniseed gluten-free biscotti; and a big bowl of biscotti crumbs.  At this point, I was hatching up ways to use the crumbs, when I remembered Ice Cream Cake.  Here is the version I made, but keep in mind, you don't need to wait until you have a pile of cookie crumbs on your hands.  Make crumbs of any cookie in your cupboard, or chop up some nuts and use those.  Here is a rough recipe to get you started.  It's the easiest thing to make in a short time, and looks and tastes fantastic.

Ice Cream Cake

1 1/2 cups / 3 dl cookie crumbs
2 quarts / liters of your favorite ice cream(s) - I used licorice and vanilla
Berries, optional; I used frozen lingonberries because that is what I had

Use a square plastic container with a lid; or alternatively a square baking pan.  Cover the bottom with cookie crumbs.  If using berries, sprinkle some across the cookie layer.  Cut the ice cream into slices that are about the thickness of your thumb and layer this tightly across the cookie crumbs.  Repeat the layers again:  Cookie, Fruit, Ice Cream, until your container is full, ending with a generous sprinkling of cookie crumbs.  Cover the container tightly with a lid or cover tightly with foil and freeze for as long as you can stand to wait, but preferably at least one hour. Remove from the freezer and let it sit out for 5 to 10 minutes so it softens slightly (not necessary, but nice). Cut into squares and serve, garnishing with more berries if you have them.

Serves 12 - 16.

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