Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strawberry Icebox Cake

Do you have air conditioning?  I don't have my window A/C units installed yet this year so when it gets hot, I make do.  That means NO extra heat creating activities, especially firing up the gas oven.  It was supposed to be hot today so I made an icebox cake to serve at my cocktail party.

I'm pretty sure icebox cakes were invented in the deep South to combat those horrific hot summers when baking wasn't possible.  Someone created the idea of making "cake" from softening cookies with layers of whipped cream in the refrigerator overnight.  Genius!  It's especially delicious if you add the extra antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals from whatever fruit is at the peak of ripeness at your local Farmer's Market (strawberries for me right now!).

For a healthy food blog, I sure post a lot of dessert recipes.  Right?  But, that's because I think healthy living includes good dessert in moderation.  It drives me crazy when people try to make desserts with low fat this and low cal that to make something worth zero weight watchers points.  It's probably also worth zero taste points.  I found this recipe on the awesome Kitchn blog (it's a daily read for me), and some of the comments are about using fat free Cool Whip and fat free Hershey's syrup to make it a "diet" dessert.  Grody!

I went full out heavy whipping cream and regular honey graham crackers, plus decadent dark chocolate (local BT McElrath!) for the ganache drizzle.  It was worth it!  My guests tonight cleaned their plates and didn't refuse doggie bags of leftover dessert.

Seriously - whipped cream, fresh local strawberries, and chocolate.  Can it possibly be anything but awesome?

Strawberry Icebox Cake, from The Kitchn
Serves 8

1 box graham crackers (you may or may not use them all)
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 Farmer's Market bins of fruit (probably about 4 cups sliced fruit)
2 oz good quality dark chocolate (about 1/3 cup), chopped
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Slice all your fruit.  Whip your cream and sugar until you can swipe your finger through the cream and leave a path that doesn't disappear.

Decide the shape of your dessert.  I played around with making a square dessert on a big round platter, but ended up fitting graham crackers into a small 9x11 pan.  Be creative and don't be afraid to break up your graham crackers to make it fit (remember, they'll all soften eventually anyways).  Or make it free-form.  Be creative!

Start with a small swipe of whipped cream to anchor your crackers, then arrange the first layer of graham crackers.  Top with a thick (half inch) layer of whipped cream and then arrange sliced fruit on top of cream.

Repeat layers until it's tall enough to suit you, or you run out of ingredients.  I had 4 layers of graham crackers.  Make sure fruit is the last layer.

Heat 1/4 cup cream until it bubbles at the edges.  Pour over chopped chocolate and let rest for 30 seconds.  Stir until you get a nice chocolate glaze.  Drizzle over cake.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

ONE YEAR AGO:  Strawberry Crostata
TWO YEARS AGO:  Pan Bagnat
THREE YEARS AGO:  Chickpea Salad