DEAR READERS: It's my turn. One sweet-tooth-taste of Velvet Turtle Turtle Pie, and I was hooked. It took two people and two days in The Times Test Kitchen to test this long-winded, but ultra-delicious frozen ice cream pie. But if you have the stamina and patience, you won't be sorry. And neither will your guests.
VELVET TURTLE TURTLE PIE
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
Dash ground cinnamon
3 quarts almond praline ice cream
Caramel Fudge Sauce
Whipped cream, optional
Beat egg whites until whites are glossy and hold soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, whipping until stiff but not dry. Sprinkle in ground nuts and cinnamon and beat just until blended.
Pipe meringue on parchment-covered baking sheet to form 8-inch circle about 1/2-inch thick. Preheat oven to 250 degrees 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 200; bake meringue 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Let stand in oven until cool. Peel and lift off parchment. Store in airtight container in dry place.
Soften ice cream in refrigerator. Pack 1 1/2 quarts evenly into Crumb Crust. Drizzle with 6 tablespoons Caramel Fudge Sauce.
Place meringue round on top. Trim if necessary, leaving 1/2-inch border between pie and meringue.
Pack another 1 1/2 quarts ice cream into pan, filling space between pan and meringue. Do not press hard or meringue will break. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 10 to 12 hours before serving.
To serve place pie slice on serving plate. Serve hot Caramel Fudge Sauce and whipped cream on side. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
1 cup shortbread cookie crumbs
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
Combine cookie crumbs, nuts, sugar and cinnamon in bowl and mix well. Add melted butter and mix until crumbly.
Pack into 9-inch springform pan, bringing crust 1 to 1 1/2 inches up sides. Chill until firm. Bake at 375 degrees 10 to 15 minutes. Cool then freeze.
Caramel Fudge Sauce
3 cups whipping cream
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup butter, frozen
Place whipping cream in large skillet over medium-low heat. Simmer until reduced to 1 1/2 cups or by half. Strain.
Using 2 1/2-quart saucepan, heat sugar over medium to low heat, stirring with wooden spoon constantly until sugar is caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add boiling water and whisk to mix evenly. Boil until caramelized sugar dissolves completely, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain.
Combine strained cream and caramelized sugar mixture in saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil. Break up butter and add bit by bit to sauce. Stir until butter is incorporated into sauce. Whir in blender until smooth. Cool until thickened. Makes 3 cups.