There are two layers, one dark and one white, and embedded in them are red and white stripes. Peppermint bark, you’re the best! Though I have many holiday desserts that are favorites, peppermint is on my list, and this one from Williams-Sonoma is probably one of the best I’ve tasted in a while. The chocolates (white and dark) are smooth, and the peppermint is cool and doesn’t get sticky by absorbing moisture from the air. Consequently, it’s quickly become a part of my arsenal when it comes to pimping up my holiday desserts.
This time, when I decided to make a holiday dessert with peppermint bark, I knew it should involve pie and ice cream because holiday ice creams are a special category. But an ice cream pie is, well, pie made better, especially if it’s all that ice cream is loaded up in a gingersnap crust!
I keep a small pot of peppermint growing, and even though I’ve had it for over a year, I’m almost a little ashamed that I’ve done nothing with it until now. Fresh peppermint makes amazing ice cream; it’s one of the strongest infusions that’s sweet but not harsh. So always try to keep some growing if you can!Print
For the Ice Cream
2 cups/480 ml whole milk
1 cup/240 ml heavy cream
1/2 cup/100 g sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp fresh peppermint or mint leaves, chopped or 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup/45 g white chocolate chips
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp plain full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup/50 g peppermint bark, chopped
For the Pie
5 Tbsp/70 g unsalted butter, melted + a little extra to grease the pie pan
9 1/4 oz/260 g gingersnap cookies, homemade or store-bought
2 Tbsp fine-grain sugar
1/2 cup/100 g peppermint bark, finely chopped
For the Ice Cream
- Place the milk, heavy cream, sugar, peppermint, and chocolate in the medium thick-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-high, stirring constantly. Once the mixture starts to boil, cook for 3 minutes, then reduce to a simmer.
- Whisk the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to form a smooth slurry. Pour the slurry into the hot milk mixture, increase the heat to medium-high, and whisk until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. The liquid should acquire a thick custard-like consistency. Remove from the stove.
- Place the cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup/60 ml of the hot liquid and whisk until smooth. Pour this mixture into the hot liquid in the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve over a gallon ziptop bag or freezer-safe container. Discard the leaves and lumps left behind in the sieve. Refrigerate the ice cream base until chilled, or keep the bag in an ice water bath to cool faster.
- Once completely chilled, churn the ice cream base per the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, follow the instructions in the Notes if you don’t own an ice cream maker. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer for at least 2 hours before use. The ice cream can be made a day ahead of time. Remember to soften it until pliable enough before adding it to the pie.
For the Pie Crust
- Grease a 9 in/23 cm pie pan with a little butter and line with parchment paper.
- Place the cookies in a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse for 20 seconds, about 4 times, until the mixture turns into a fine powder. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the melted butter and fold with a silicone spatula until the mixture is “wet” and resembles a “dough”.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared pie plate and press gently with lightly greased fingers to cover the entire pan and the side. Level the edges of the pan with an offset spatula.
- Bake the pie crust in a preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes; the spices from the gingersnaps will turn fragrant. Remove the pie crust from the oven and let it cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Wrap the pie pan with the crust carefully with clingfilm and freeze for 2 hours. The crust can be made at least 2 days ahead of time.
- When ready to assemble, soften the ice cream on the kitchen counter for 5 to 10 minutes until soft and pliable.
- Unwrap the chilled pie crust and transfer the ice cream. Flatten the ice cream to cover the pie using an offset spatula or a large spoon.
- Decorate the outer edge of the pie with the chopped peppermint bark to form a 1 in/2.5 cm wide ring. Wrap the pie loosely with clingfilm and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Cut with a sharp, serrated knife to serve. Dip the knife in hot water, wipe the blade with a towel, and then cut.
- If you don’t own an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture in a shallow, non-reactive metal pan (a loaf pan or an 8 in/20 cm square baking pan will work). Cover with cling wrap. Freeze the mixture for 2 hours or until it begins to firm up. Remove from the freezer, unwrap, and crush the ice crystals using a fork or immersion blender. Alternatively, transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse to break the ice crystals. Cover with the cling wrap and refreeze. Repeat three to four times at 30-minute intervals until the mixture turns soft but frozen. Freezing times will vary depending on the refrigerator.
- I love the Peppermint Bark from Williams Sonoma, but feel free to use another you prefer.
- Use your favorite gingersnaps. However, I recommend skipping those that contain chunks of ginger as it might be overwhelming when it comes to balancing the flavors of the dessert.