I’m still enjoying the sunshine and warm Shabbos afternoons. This pareve or dairy ice cream dessert has been very popular at my cooking classes. Umami, or pleasing to all senses, is one of my favorite food trends. I love recipes that include ingredients that are sweet, savory, crunchy, salty, creamy, and of course gorgeous to look at. This one has a delicious rich crust that is sweet and salty, an ice cream layer and a wonderful ganache and sprinkle of salt on top. You can make them days ahead of time and whip them out right before serving, except they may not last that long, if anyone knows they are there waiting for the taking.
Umami Ice Cream Bars
Makes 16 bars
11 chocolate tea biscuits, broken
1/2 cup walnuts (2 ounces), toasted
2-1/2 ounces salted pretzels (about 7 rods)
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons margarine, cut into tablespoons
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 pints pareve vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice cream, slightly softened
5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons pareve whipping cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt or finishing salt
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang all around.
In a food processor, pulse the tea biscuits until fine crumbs form. Add walnuts and pretzels and pulse to coarsely chop. Be careful, you want to leave the pretzels and nuts in chopped form, not in a crumb. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the margarine over very low heat. Add brown sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Slowly drizzle the egg and vanilla into the saucepan, whisking, until thickened, 2 minutes. Mix in the walnut mixture. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish in an even layer and refrigerate the cookie base for 30 minutes. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool.
Spread 1-1/2 pints of the pareve ice cream over the cookie base and freeze for 2 hours. Reserve the remaining ice cream for another use.
For the ganache topping: In a small saucpan, combine chocolate, pareve whipping cream, corn syrup and the remaining 2 tablespoons margarine over very low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
Pour the ganache over the ice cream and spread it evenly. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt or finishing salt. Freeze for 2 hours, until set.