This weekend, I had a craving for a brownie, an ice cream sundae, and a pie — and that's how this epic dessert was born.
I'm not kidding. I'm usually not one for combination desserts, but this was one hankering I couldn't fix. Probably because I'd pulled a muscle in my back during a Crossfit workout and had spent the week sitting around watching a terrifying amount of Netflix (a.k.a "recovering") instead of doing my usual daily workouts. Doing nothing always makes me eat more terribly than getting up and exercising. And I knew that this was the last week that I could indulge in dessert since my friends and I had inexplicably committed ourselves to a juice cleanse the following week. So I decided, what the hell, I was gonna go for it.
I flipped through my collection of cookbooks and was delighted to find that Christina Tosi, one of my baking idols and the pastry chef behind Momofuku Milk Bar, had a delicious sounding recipe for a brownie pie complete with a graham crust. The brownie pie was a godsend, containing so much sugar that its chocolate truffle filling actually sparkled in the light:
Next up, of course, was ice cream. I was lucky enough to have a freezer full of Straus Family Creamery ice cream. I first found out about Straus Family Creamery when I was living in San Francisco. One of my good friends, Vikram, loved getting some cookies and a bottle of their milk as a cure for when he'd had too much to drink the night before. I was always slightly weirded out by this (since I tend to like greasy foods like eggs and bacon and burgers to cure my hangovers), but I wasn't going to deny myself some cookies and milk. It was then I discovered how delicious Straus Family milk was. I don't know what they do exactly, but the milk tasted creamier and silkier than other milk I'd ever had — it certainly didn't hurt that each bottle had a generous helping of cream sitting up top the milk, which we would then stir into our coffees. Sometimes, if we were being super indulgent, Vikram would actually eat the cream by spoonfuls. Oh, those were the days... the ones where we still had decent metabolisms.
In any case, Straus Family Creamery's PR agency reached out a few months ago and sent me a generous wad of coupons to use for my baked goods. I've been using Straus Family Creamery's European style butter and cream in some of my more recent recipes (like in the all-butter crust for this Meyer Lemon Chess Pie or the cream for this Earl Grey panna cotta recipe), and I will say that I have noticed a big difference. My pie crust came out significantly more buttery and flaky, while my panna cotta was incredibly silky and creamy... so it's definitely true that good food starting out with good ingredients.
I will say, however, that despite the quality butter and cream ingredients, my favorite products of theirs is still their soft, silky ice cream. I especially adore their Dutch Chocolate (seriously, the best chocolate ice cream you will ever eat) and their Caramel Toffee Crunch:
When I brought the pie down for my roommates to enjoy, one of them actually audibly gasped. We stared at it wordlessly for a few moments, in awe of the thing.
Without too much ceremony, I cut out a slice and helped myself to a scoop of caramel toffee crunch ice cream. The pie was everything I had been craving. A few mouthfuls in, I gave my housemates a thumbs up to help themselves. And pretty soon after that, we stopped using bowls and just started eating straight from the pie plate itself:
The brownie filling managed to be light and airy, despite being rich and incredibly indulgent; it had a similar more akin to mousse, and complimented the creamy ice cream and salty graham cracker crust well. The warm fudge topping was just like the old fashioned fudge you could get at ice cream parlors — the kind that would harden when poured over the cold of the ice cream, giving the pie an awesome contrasting texture. This was the brownie, ice cream sundae, and pie I was dreaming of all right — the perfect send off for the week of juice that greeted me ahead.