Before electricity provided modern refrigeration, icebox pies were a revelation to pioneer cooks who marveled at bringing a light, refreshing dessert to the table without firing up the wood-burning oven, especially in the heat of a steamy summer. Originally named for the antique food storage units kept cool by a large block of ice, the no-bake pastries remained popular in the 1950s and ’60s, evolving to incorporate gelatin, citrus zest and crushed graham-cracker crusts. Today, floral infusions, couture chocolates and fancy meringues make up gourmet icebox pies offered from local pastry chefs. Some require short stints of stovetop time that result in creamy ganaches and mousse fillings, but the need for heat is minimal. Whether you bake a quick crust or go store-bought, carve out some space in your modern-day icebox for this summertime favorite.
Owner, Oak St. Pie Co.
“I remember loving peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches as a kid,” says Carol Southern, who makes pies Tuesday through Sunday at her nearly 9-year-old Roanoke bakery, located just next to Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. “Since we already do a peanut-butter pie, it was a natural fit to add bananas.” Southern uses crunchy peanut butter as a layer atop an Oreo crust and creamy peanut butter in the custard filling. “It’s rich, but not overly sweet.”
Owner, Mason & Dixie
“My kids are cookie butter and Nutella fiends,” says Beth Newman, who runs her Southern-themed lunch eatery, Mason & Dixie, inside the Grapevine Antique Mall. “They will eat it straight out of the jar.” Newman combines the two sweet store-bought spreads for an easy icebox pie that can be ready by dinner if prepped and refrigerated in the morning. Made with a Speculoos spiced cookie crust, the dessert features a layer of decadent Nutella ganache and a toasted, crumbled cookie topping.
Pastry Chef, Waters Fine Coastal Cuisine and Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine
“Chocolate and strawberries have always paired well together and they always will,” says Jon Bonnell’s company pastry chef Sally Schwartz. “They’re not just for Valentine’s Day in my world.” Schwartz’s tart strawberry sherbet icebox pie is lined with a base of rich chocolate buttercream and garnished with a plump chocolate-covered strawberry. Note that this recipe requires a few days of prep for freezing components overnight as well as a digital scale for measuring ingredients and a digital thermometer for making meringue and strawberry glaze.
Co-Owner, Mod Bakehouse
After working as executive pastry chef in high-profile kitchens in Fort Worth and Dallas, including those of Stephan Pyles and The Fort Worth Club, Lina Biancamano partnered to launch Mod Bakehouse this year and takes custom orders for high-end desserts. “This dessert comes from an adapted version of a lemon icebox cake, the first icebox cake I ever made,” Biancamano says. Frozen poundcake cubes are combined with lavender-infused lemon mousse and whipped cream. The ensemble is crowned with Swiss meringue, which can be torched for a bit of color or left white as a blank slate for fresh blackberries and lavender flowers.
Peanut Butter-Banana Pie
• 3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
• 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
• 1 prepared Oreo pie crust
• 1 3/4 cups whole milk
• 1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
• 3 egg yolks
• 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
• 1 medium or 2 small bananas
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles or chocolate shavings
1. Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar and crunchy peanut butter in a bowl. Mix with fork or pastry blender until mixture becomes coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on bottom of Oreo crust, reserving about one-third for top of pie.
2. In a medium saucepan combine milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, salt and creamy peanut butter. Whisk until smooth, then cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
3. Slice banana and layer on top of crumbs in pie shell. Pour cooked filling mixture evenly on top of banana layer. Apply plastic wrap directly on filling to avoid a skin forming. Refrigerate for one hour.
4. When pie is thoroughly chilled, combine heavy cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until consistency is spreadable, being careful not to over-beat.
5. Remove plastic wrap from pie. Spread all of whipped cream over top of pie. Sprinkle reserved peanut butter-powdered sugar crumbs over top, then add chocolate sprinkles. Keep refrigerated.
— Oak St. Pie Co., 110 N. Oak St., Roanoke, 817-490-0994, www.oakstpieandcandyco.com
Nutella and Cookie Butter Icebox Pie
• 1 7-ounce package Speculoos
cookies (found at Trader Joe’s)
• 5 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Place entire package of cookies into the food processor and pulse until they become coarse crumbs. Add melted butter and stir until all crumbs are coated.
2. Place in greased pie tin and bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Cool completely.
• 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate
• 1/4 cup Nutella hazelnut
• 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Over medium heat, combine the chocolate chips, Nutella and heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan. Continuously stir until the chocolate chips have completely melted and ingredients have combined.
2. Remove from the heat and pour into prepared cookie crust. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to set.
Cookie Butter Filling:
• 1 cup Speculoos Cookie Butter
(found at Trader Joe’s)
• 1 8-ounce package cream
cheese, room temperature
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Put the cookie butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/4 cup of whipping cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
2. In a separate bowl, beat remaining whipping cream and vanilla extract at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold about one-third of the whipped cream into the cookie butter mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream.
• 1 7-ounce package Speculoos
cookies (found at Trader Joe’s)
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup milk powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 7 tablespoons melted butter
1. Crush the cookies into large crumbs. Add the sugar, milk powder and salt.
2. Place cookie crumb clusters on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes, until toasted and crunchy, then cool.
1. In the prepared crust, spread the Nutella Ganache layer and top with cookie butter mixture. Refrigerate for eight hours.
2. Top with Speculoos Crunch before serving.
— Mason & Dixie, 1641 W. Northwest Highway, Grapevine, 817-707-2111
Strawberry Sherbet Icebox Pie
Chocolate Pâte Sucrée
• 13 ounces all-purpose flour
• 6 ounces sugar
• 3 ounces cocoa powder, extra brute
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 6 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and frozen
• 10-12 ounces egg yolks (approximately 16
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Make sure all ingredients are cold. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt with frozen butter. Once butter pieces are the size of peas or slightly smaller, remove from processor and place in large bowl. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined and dough has formed. Shape dough into a flat disk and chill for a minimum of two hours.
2. Roll dough into a circle large enough to overlap pie pan. Poke holes in dough with a fork. Place dough in pie pan and trim excess if needed. Chill for 30 minutes.
3. Line dough with parchment paper and fill with dry beans. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and remove parchment paper and beans. Wrap edges with foil if needed to prevent burning edges and bake for 5-7 minutes. Cool completely.
• 2 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
• 3 ounces cold water
• 14 ounces fine sugar
• 1 tablespoon corn syrup
• 4 whole eggs, room temperature
• 2 ounces egg whites, room temperature
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 pound, 8 ounces dark couture chocolate, melted
1. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Reserve.
2. In a stainless steel pot, combine water, sugar and corn syrup over medium heat. Bring to 240 degrees.
3. While syrup is cooking, whip the eggs, egg whites, salt and vanilla extract in a stand mixer with whisk attachment for 1 minute until well combined.
4. With mixer on low speed, slowly add prepared syrup to egg mixture. Once all of the syrup has been added, increase speed to high for one minute. Decrease to medium speed and add butter in 1-2 ounce increments. Once all of the butter has been added, increase speed to medium high and whisk until thick. On medium speed, slowly add melted chocolate. Mix until completely combined. Store in an air-tight container.
• 1 cup simple syrup
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 2 cups pure strawberry puree, strained
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• Italian Meringue (recipe follows)
1. Blend simple syrup, lime juice, strawberry puree and heavy cream. Fold approximately half of the Italian Meringue into mixture, reserving the rest. Freeze in air-tight container overnight.
2. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze overnight once more.
• 2 1/4 cups fine sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
• 1/2 cup cold water
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon glucose (found at specialty cake shops
• 1 cup egg whites, room temperature
• Pinch cream of tartar
1. Combine 2 1/4 cups sugar, water, lemon juice and glucose in a stainless-steel pot over medium-high heat. When mixture reaches 235 degrees, begin to prepare egg whites. In a stand mixture with a whisk attachment, combine egg whites and cream of tartar and then slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring egg whites to a medium stiff peak.
2. When syrup mixture reaches 248 degrees, or soft ball stage, slowly add it to the egg whites while whisking on low speed. Once syrup has been added, increase speed to high and whisk until the bowl is no longer hot and the meringue can hold its shape. Store in an air-tight container.
• 1 large long-stemmed strawberry
• Dark couture chocolate, melted, slightly cooled
Dip strawberry in chocolate, leaving a portion of the strawberry visible. Allow to set for 30 minutes. Dip in Tart Glaze (recipe follows) for added shine.
• 2 cups simple syrup
• 18 grams sheet gelatin, platinum strength (found at
specialty cake shops or online), bloomed, or mixed
with a small amount of water according to gelatin
• 1 cup fruit juice, puree or other flavoring
• 2-4 strawberries, sliced
1. Heat syrup over medium heat to 120 degrees. Add bloomed gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add juice, puree or flavoring and stir. Cool to 70 degrees.
2. Soak diced strawberries in glaze for 30 minutes
1. Coat completely cooled chocolate pâte sucrée with Chocolate Buttercream and fill with Strawberry Sherbet. Smooth the top with a small rubber spatula and freeze overnight.
2. Pipe or dollop reserved Italian Meringue on top of pie and caramelize with a blowtorch. Garnish with chocolate-dipped and glazed strawberries.
— Waters Fine Coastal Cuisine, 2901 Crockett St., Fort Worth, 817-984-1110, www.waterstexas.com, and Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, 4259 Bryant Irvin Road, Fort Worth, 817-738-5489, www.bonnellstexas.com
Lemon Lavender and Blackberry Icebox Pie
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
• 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into
• 1/4 cup ice cold water
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
1. In a food processor, add the flour, salt and sugar and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add the cold butter and pulse a few times until butter becomes the size of peas.
2. With the food processor turned off, combine water and vinegar together and add all at once to the flour mixture. Continue pulsing until the dough just comes together. It’s OK if the dough looks crumbly. Wrap the dough parcel in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 if convection). Roll chilled dough and place it into pie pan. Weigh the pie shell down with a pie weight and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Lemon Lavender Mousse:
• 1 3/4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
• 3 tablespoons cold water
• 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
(approximately 3-4 small lemons or 2-3 large lemons)
• Zest of one lemon
• 3 ounces unsalted butter, softened
• 1 scant cup granulated sugar
• 2-3 tablespoons lavender flowers
• 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Whisk the eggs and yolk in another bowl and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, combine lemon juice, zest, butter, sugar and lavender flowers and bring to a simmer until the sugar dissolves. Take off the heat and let mixture sit for 15-30 minutes, covered, to let the lavender infuse.
4. Place back on the heat and bring to a simmer again. Once hot, add the mixture to the whisked eggs while vigorously whisking. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and bring back up to a simmer, continuously whisking to avoid scrambling eggs. When mixture starts bubbling, remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer, reserving 1/2 cup for assembly of pie. Cover with plastic and set on counter until mixture reaches room temperature.
5. Whisk the 1/2 cup heavy cream until it thickens to soft peaks. Keep chilled.
• 3 large egg whites
• 7 ounces granulated sugar
1. Whisk together egg whites and sugar in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a simmering pot of water, making sure the bottom of bowl does not touch surface of the water. Whisk often just until the sugar dissolves, making sure not to overheat.
2. Once sugar is dissolved, place the bowl on a mixer and whip the eggs on medium-high speed for three minutes. Increase the speed to high and continue whipping until the meringue reaches stiff peaks, a few minutes more.
• 1 pint fresh blackberries
• 1 1/2 cups poundcake or vanilla cake, cut into
1/2-inch cubes and frozen
1. With a small knife or offset spatula, spread the reserved 1/2 cup of lemon lavender mousse onto the bottom of the cooled and baked pie shell.
2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining mousse and the whipped cream and fold gently just until the two mixtures are combined. Fold in most of the fresh blackberries (reserving a few for garnish) and the frozen cake cubes. Pour entire mixture into pie shell on top of mousse. Smooth the top.
3. Pile the Swiss meringue onto the top of the mousse and garnish with remaining fresh blackberries and a sprinkle of lavender flowers. If a scorched meringue is desired, the pie can be placed under the broiler (before adding blackberries and lavender) for a couple of minutes, or a culinary torch may be used. Chill pie for two hours to set.
— Mod Bakehouse, 817-734-8579, www.modbakehouse.com