Happy fourth of July!!!!
Mary Jane Maffini is a lapsed librarian, a former mystery bookstore owner, a previous president of Crime Writers of Canada and a lifelong lover of mysteries.
In addition to the four Charlotte Adams books, she is the author of the Camilla MacPhee series, the Fiona Silk adventures and nearly two dozen short stories. She has won two Arthur Ellis awards for best mystery short story as well as the Crime Writers of Canada Derrick Murdoch award. She is having fun with the fifth Charlotte Adams adventure: The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder (Berkley Prime Crime 2011) and says she’s grateful for all the tips she gets from Charlotte. Mary Jane lives and plots in Ottawa, Ontario, along with her long-suffering husband and two princessy dachshunds. Visit her at www.maryjanemaffini.com
Take it away, Mary Jane!
A cool and easy way to celebrate!
There’s so much to celebrate today and this week. And I’m not sure how you feel but on these hot humid days, I don’t want to be stuck in front of that oven baking those celebration desserts. But what to do when there’s a need to celebrate? Or it’s your turn to bring dessert to a family gathering? Or friends arrive in town with little notice? Help! It’s too hot to cook and it’s too humid to shop. That’s when you need Ice Cream Torte — my favorite cheater’s summer cake —in your freezer. This dessert started off life being known as Luscious Mocha Ice Cream Torte, but now, it’s always a big surprise. It depends on what ice cream I have in my freezer and what liqueurs are hanging around the house. This cake is always requested at every family birthday party or shower in the summer. For my mother-in-law’s eightieth birthday, four tortes with twenty candles each were paraded out to the outdoor dinner area as night fell. Spectacular, but easy. Of course, you’ll have to have cones or sundaes for the small fry, but that can be delegated.
Keep in mind when you read the lengthy list of instructions, this is very easy to make and the amount of hands-on time is probably about as long it takes to read the recipe.
Cookie crumb base
Your favorite combo of ice
cream (at least two flavors – preferably with a color contrast)
Whipped cream ‘icing’
Dollop of booze
If you don’t mind the oven on for ten minutes:
Mix 1 ½ cups chocolate cookie crumbs
6 tbsp butter, melted in microwave
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp liqueur – chocolate, coffee flavor or whatever you love – or have on hand!
Can’t stand the heat? Just make your favorite unbaked cookie crumb crust.
Naturally, you could get away with more or less. For Canada Day, I used Dutch chocolate and French vanilla with chocolate brickles. It’s wonderful with coffee ice cream and cappucino duet too. But you’re the cheater. You choose!
4 tablespoons liqueur – chocolate, coffee-flavored. You can use rum, whiskey or bourbon if you want. It’s best if you use a different flavor from the crust, but again, go with what you have.
½ cup chilled whipping cream
1 tsp espresso powder or 2 tsps. Cocoa powder. Or both. Why not? If these don’t go with your ice cream flavors, find something that does.
1 tbsp powdered sugar
Crust: Preheat oven to 350 if you dare. Mix cookie crumbs., sugar, melted butter and liqueur. Press into bottom of spring loaded pan. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Chill.
Filling: soften darker of the two ice creams while crust is cooking. Add 2 tablespoons of liqueur. Spread over chilled crust and freeze for at least one hour. Go read a mystery.
Soften second ice cream container and blend in remaining 2 tablespoons of liqueur. Spread over first. Chill one hour. Back to your book.
Whip cream with cocoa or espresso powder (or whatever flavor you’ve chosen) Toss in a bit more liqueur if you’re not driving.
Smooth over top of ice cream like icing. You can omit this step and put whipped cream and fruit on top if you prefer. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or your favorite cake toppers. I used dark chocolate covered espresso beans in the latest version.
Wrap well and freeze at least two hours or overnight. You can relax now! This cake keeps well in the freezer, but someone will almost certainly hunt it down and eat it before long.
I’m happy to say, I have an Ice Cream Torte ready to mark the arrival of Closet Confidential, the fourth Charlotte Adams mystery, which hits the shelves on July 6th along with Avery’s Long Quiche Goodbye and Riley’s Delicious and Suspicious. Who wouldn’t celebrate being in such good company?