Baked Sunday Mornings: Coffee Ice Cream (and Tart!)

I was so excited that today's assignment for Baked Sunday Mornings is coffee ice cream -- coffee ice cream is my favorite flavor!  I love the fact that every morning my husband goes downstairs to make himself some espresso; after he drinks it, he comes back upstairs smelling like a pint of coffee Häagen-Dazs.

I also figured that just having to make ice cream would be a breeze, basically a week off!  But when I looked up the recipe in the Baked Explorations recipe index, I couldn't help noticing that not only does the cookbook have a recipe for "coffee ice cream," but also one for "coffee ice cream tart."  I immediately decided that I should go ahead and make the tart if I was already going to make the ice cream.

So first, the ice cream.  This was pretty straightforward -- heat heavy cream, milk, sugar, salt, and instant espresso powder, incorporate egg yolks, heat until thickened, strain, and add Kahlua.  After you cool the mixture, you are supposed to refrigerate it for 4 hours before freezing.  I chilled my ice cream mixture for 24 hours before freezing, just because it was more convenient for my schedule; after a day in the fridge, the mixture was a pudding-like consistency.

Now for the tart.  The coffee ice cream tart recipe is actually one of two variations of Mississippi Mud Pies in the cookbook. This one is in the "Tarts and Pies" section of the book and has a chocolate cookie crust and layers of chocolate fudge, coffee ice cream, pecans, and more fudge.  The other version of Mississippi Mud Pie is in the "Cakes" section of the cookbook and features a chocolate cookie crust with layers of flourless chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream.  The coffee ice cream tart -- "Mississippi Mud Pie (A)" -- requires a number of steps, but each of them is quite easy.

I made my own chocolate cookies for the crust (using the Farmeeoh cookie recipe from The Farm of Beverly Hills -- the recipe is a dead ringer for an Oreo).  You press a mixture of cookie crumbs, a little sugar, and melted butter into a pie pan, chill it, and then pour in a layer of fudge filling (cream butter, corn syrup, and bittersweet chocolate -- you are also supposed to add a tablespoon of Kentucky bourbon, but I skipped it).  After chilling the tart with the fudge layer for a couple of hours, you spread on a pint of softened coffee ice cream.  I froze the ice cream in the ice cream maker while the fudge layer was chilling, so I was able to spread it onto the fudge layer straight out of the ice cream maker, when it was soft and easy to spread.  After sprinkling chopped pecans on top of the ice cream layer and chilling the tart until the ice cream layer is firm, you drizzle on more fudge (cream, butter, corn syrup, and bittersweet chocolate -- and again, I skipped the bourbon).  After briefly freezing the tart again until the top layer is set, it's ready to eat.

I discovered that this tart was very easy to serve -- after it was solidly frozen, it was quite easy to just lift the entire tart out of the pie pan in one piece, and this made it a breeze to cut and plate slices.  And as for the taste?  Quite delicious!  Every component is tasty (crust, fudge, ice cream more fudge).  Every layer of the tart has a firm, but not hard texture, so it's easy to eat.  I wasn't thrilled about the pecans as the nut of choice; I was thinking that I might have preferred almonds or hazelnuts instead.  But this is an exceedingly minor quibble. 

The coffee ice cream by itself (I only needed a pint for the tart, so I had a good amount left over) is supercreamy and fairly salty.  I thought the salt worked well in the tart, but it might not be for everyone. 

As it turns out, I'm now a little concerned about my timing for making this ice cream and the ice cream tart.  With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard, we have a high likelihood of losing power this weekend, potentially for an extended period of time (we have above ground power lines and notoriously unreliable Pepco as our electric company).  Then again, if melted ice cream is the most serious problem we encounter during this storm, Tom and I will consider ourselves pretty lucky!

Recipes: "Coffee Ice Cream" and "Mississippi Mud Pie (A), aka Coffee Ice Cream Tart," from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.


Love that you made this tart! It looks fantastic...I'd have to leave out the nuts completely for my family.

Hope the worst of Irene misses you~
Candy said…
Your tart is beautiful!

I remembered this recipe after I had made my chocolate version of the ice cream and wished I had gone ahead and made the tart (killing two birds with one stone). But, I enjoyed the ice cream so much that I think I will be able to muster up the enthusiasm to make it again when the tart shows up on the recipe list!
Louise said…
When I didn't see a photo at the top of your post, I was afraid you had a disaster. In the event of a long power outage I'm sure you'd find neighbors who would be happy to share the pie and ice cream. What kind of ice cream maker do you have? I'm looking to replace mine.
Katie said…
What a FANTASTIC idea. I didn't get around tot he ice cream this week, but I might have to make it just so I can make that beautiful looking tart.
Bourbonnatrix said…
That tart must have been so delicious! the pics are gorgeous too!
Desiree said…
that tart looks amazing, can't wait to make it!! glad you enjoyed this recipe.
Elaine said…
How fabulous that you made the tart! I have had my eye on this one and now you make me want to make it! I enjoyed the story about your husband. :)
This tart is just beautiful! I think pairing it with a bit of chocolate would be delicious and may cut a bit of the saltiness of the ice cream. Lovely photo! : )
Rebecca said…
Hope you guys rode out the storm ok. You just have to eat everything in the freezer before it melts! Love the tart. i'll have to try that.
Chelly said…
Your tart looks fabulous!! Wish I could take a bite!
Susan said…
Wow - you really took it over the top! I'm with you - homemade ice cream is SO much better!
We never lost power during the storm, so Tom and I will be able to take our time eating our way through the rest of this yummy tart! @Louise -- I have a Cuisinart ICE-20, which I really like... and at the time I bought it from Amazon, I got a free extra freezing bowl, which comes in pretty handy.
Kris' Kitchen said…
Wow! Now I want to make the tart. Wonderful and thanks for your ideas.
I loved this pie. I've never made my own ice cream before, but am thinking I should invest in a maker and try it!
Sheri said…
Beautiful! As always.