These lemon-ginger ice cream tarts may look a little fancy (or maybe they don’t—what do I know?) but they have a humble origin.
Growing up, my mom used to make a super-easy dessert during the summer. It was basically softened vanilla ice cream mixed with lemonade concentrate, poured into a 9×13 pyrex dish and topped with graham cracker crumbs. After it was re-frozen, she would cut it into squares to serve it.
I loved this dessert—it was creamy, it was tart, and the refreshing lemon flavor just tasted like summer to me. I imagine she loved it too, since it could be made in a few minutes and it kept her yapping children happy for awhile. (Just guessing about that last part…but let’s be real. I was a yapper.)
I took the basic idea of that dessert, and made a few modifications. Instead of one big slab of ice cream, I decided to do individual tarts. Instead of graham cracker crumbs, I used gingersnaps, plus a big pinch of ground ginger in the shell. I love the combination of lemon and ginger, and I think the strong flavors nicely balance the perfectly sweet—and perfectly boring—vanilla ice cream base.
Even though it’s September we still have a bit more warm weather left, so let’s live it up with ice cream tarts! If you can’t be bothered to make individual tarts, I’ve included a “lazy day” variation at the bottom of this recipe, so you can quickly make this dessert and satisfy any yappers in your own life.
Lemon-Ginger Ice Cream Tarts
yield: 8 6-inch tarts
For the crust:
3 cups gingersnap crumbs (1 lb, from about 5 cups of cookies)
4.5 oz melted butter
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
For the filling:
1 quart softened vanilla ice cream
8 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 cup heavy cream
Additional whipped cream, lemon zest, and ginger cookies to garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 C). To prepare the crust, mix together the crumbs, butter, sugar, and ground ginger, tossing them together with your fingers until your mixture is the texture of wet sand. Spray 8 6-inch tart shells with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the crumbs between the shells, and press them into a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides. Bake the shells in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until they look dry in the center, are darker along the edges, and are slightly puffy. Remove them from the oven to cool completely.
To make the filling, make sure that the vanilla ice cream is soft but not melted. You should be able to stir it but it shouldn’t be soupy. Whip the heavy cream to firm peaks. Stir together the soft ice cream, the thawed lemonade concentrate, and the whipped cream.
Pour the lemon-vanilla ice cream into the cooled tart shells. Re-freeze the tarts for another 2 hours, until the filling is frozen solid.
Remove the tarts from the freezer about 10 minutes before you want to serve them, to give them time to soften slightly. Top them with additional whipped cream, lemon zest, and ginger cookies, if desired. (I used these delicious mini ginger cookies from Naughty Biscotti.)
Lazy Day variation: Sprinkle half the ginger crumbs on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. (Don’t add the butter, sugar, etc, just sprinkle the cookie crumbs.)
Prepare the filling as directed above, and smooth it into an even layer in the pan. Top the filling with the remaining cookie crumbs. Freeze solid. Once frozen, cut into squares and serve on a plate with a fork. Super easy, super tasty!
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