Chocolate Icebox Cake with Caramel Cream

A close-up of host Zoe Francois' icebox cake.

I made this chocolate icebox cake with homemade wafer cookies and caramel cream in the middle of summer for season 3 episode 6 of Zoë Bakes! It’s hilarious that it just so happens to be available for streaming today, in the middle of a Minnesota blizzard with dangerous wind chills and after 8 inches of snowfall! Nevertheless it’s a fabulous dessert that I know you’ll love in any weather.

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Sweet Corn Ice Cream

It is Sweet Corn season in Minnesota and this year it’s incredible. My friend’s family has an organic corn farm and he delivered dozens of ears to me, which I have made into corn chowder and this brilliant Sweet Corn Ice Cream. The taste of corn can be easily overpowered, so keep it simple. Nothing more than a bit of sugar, a touch of honey, lots of cream and a dash of vanilla.

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4th of July Baked Alaska

4th of July Baked Alaska

It’s 90°F in the shade and I just can’t bring myself to fire up the oven today. So, the only reasonable thing to do is make a 4th of July Baked Alaska with homemade ice cream and top it with flaming meringue. If you don’t want to make your own ice cream, then just get your favorite store-bought brand and layer them up in a loaf pan. I used strawberry, coconut, and blueberry ice creams to create the red, white, and blue stripes. Okay, they’re pink, cream and purple, but the intention was right and I say close enough.

Update 1/19/23: This post lead to a dream come true for me. Dorie Greenspan is one of my favorite humans and the baker/cookbook author who has had a profound influence on my career. When she asked me to participate in her New York Times article about Baked Alaska, I gleefully accepted. Dorie had been reading about the oldest woman alive, a nun named Sister Andre, who was 117 years old at the time and had proclaimed her love of baked Alaska. Dorie flipped the colors of my baked Alaska to better represent Sister Andre’s home in France. Yesterday Dorie wrote to me again, this time to share that Sister Andre had passed away, she was 118 years old. In honor of her exquisitely long life, well lived, I made this Chocolate and Coffee Baked Alaska, using ice cream and bits and pieces from my pantry. RIP Sister Andre!

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Peach Melba (Fresh Peaches with Ice Cream and Croquant)

There is nothing more satisfying than a perfectly ripe peach. When that happens, it is my job, as a pastry chef, not to screw it up. Nature is perfect, and often deserves to be left in its most pure form.

Having said that, I am a pastry chef and what fun would it be to serve a peach, unadorned, on a plate? So, I peeled the peach (which may be the sexiest dessert of all), removed the pit, stuffed it full of perfectly whipped cream with croquant (caramelized almonds) and set it on a bed of peach ice cream, to create my version of Peach Melba (Fresh Peaches with Ice Cream and Croquant).

Traditionally a Peach Melba is nothing more than peach, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. I stuck to peaches throughout, so the ice cream and whipped cream have peach puree added to them.

The original dessert was created in honor of an Australian opera singer by the first celebrity chef, Escoffier, back in the 1890s. Nellie Melba was performing in London and the chef created a dessert to celebrate her triumphant voice. This is very reminiscent of the story about the famous Pavlova, created for a ballerina. I am all in favor of worshiping creative genius with sweets. 

Despite the elegance of the this Peach Melba, it is really quite easy to make. You can watch me make it in my instagram video and the recipe is below.

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