Sherbet Icebox Pie
As I’ve said before, I think that these National/International [Fill-in-the-blank] Day “holidays” are a bit of a gimmick — a blatant sacrilege to the word “holiday” (literally “holy-day“). Ice cream, however, is something that I passionately believe is worth celebrating,so I’ll jump on the bandwagon and observe National Ice Cream Day! After all, today is Sundae.
Strictly speaking, sherbet isn’t ice cream (there’s no cream involved), but I think the Instagram gods will forgive me for this one once they try a slice. A pet-peeve of mine is the widespread mispronunciation of “sherbet” as “sherbert.” The propagation of this travesty (via the addition of this erroneous pronunciation to the dictionary) just grinds my gears. Sherbet is a delicious summer treat — sherbert is what Ernie says when his chum makes a bad joke. Any sherbet flavor will do. I happened to have orange on-hand today, but I am a big proponent of watermelon sherbet on grounds of deliciousness. I wouldn’t recommend rainbow sherbet, though, since the colors would get muddled together into an unappetizing gray color (not fifty shades, just one or two). Kids — and wary boyfriends — tend to be easily influenced by the color of a new foodstuff, so, if you’re making this pie for a child’s birthday party — or a wary boyfriend — select a monochromatic sherbet flavor.
Icebox pies are quick to assemble, but they do require adequate post-assembly freezer-time to achieve their solid, slice-able, serving state. The best way to slice an icebox pie for serving is to remove the pie from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring some water to a boil in a kettle, or run the hot water tap until hot. Fill a tall glass with the hot water, and place your desired pie slicing knife (I recommend a long one) in the water to heat the metal blade. When ready to slice, dry the knife on a paper towel, and make your first cut. Continue to cut the slices, re-dipping the knife in the hot water and drying it on the paper towel between each cut. Your warmed knife should slide quite easily through the pie, like a butterflying Michael Phelps through a pool.
You could certainly choose more “adult” toppings for this pie, but the fruity sourness of the gummy worms plays nicely with the sweetness of the sherbet. Candied orange peel may be a more sophisticated topping, but whose inner kid can resist a gummy candy? Just be sure to brush your teeth after eating, and if you have any questionable fillings or poorly-fitting dentures, skip the worms for sure.
In a pinch, a pre-made graham cracker pie crust could easily be substituted, with satisfactory results, but, I advocate strongly for making the crust yourself. Sherbet is inherently rather sweet, so it’s nice to have the flexibility to decrease the amount of sugar in the crust to prevent causing hyperglycemic shock in your guests. Like I say in the recipe, browning the butter for the crust is 100% optional, but I really do think this step is worth the extra 5-7 minutes. If you’re going to make the crust yourself, you might as well go the whole nine yards…it’ll be your browning achievement!
Sherbet Icebox Pie
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted (browned, optional)
1 pint sherbet, softened in refrigerator 45 minutes prior to assembly
1/3 cup miniature marshmallows
6 ounces thawed whipped topping (or real whipped cream, if you’re feeling classy)
12-16 sour gummy worms (or 1/4 cup candied orange peel, if you’re feeling mature)
Use a rubber spatula to combine graham cracker crumbs with sugar and melted (+/- browned butter), until mixture looks uniformly moistened. Press mixture into the pie dish and up the sides — use either the rubber spatula or a 1/4-cup-measuring-cup to firmly press the crumbs into position. Chill crust 45 minutes — no baking needed!
Use a rubber spatula to mix the softened sherbet (right in the carton) to ensure even consistency following fridge-thaw. Transfer softened sherbet into prepared crust, and spread into an even layer. Scatter marshmallows over the sherbet, and press gently into the sherbet. Next, spread and smooth the whipped topping over the sherbet/marshmallows. Top with artfully-arranged gummy worms (or orange peel), trying to avoid placing a worm where you will be slicing — those little buggers get super chewy in the freezer and become impossible to cut with anything other than a lightsaber. Cover pie with a layer of waxed paper, then wrap with plastic wrap. Freeze at least 5 hours.
When serving, remove from freezer 5 minutes prior to slicing-initiation. Use a warmed knife (see post above) to make clean slices, and serve with the assistance of an offset spatula or a pie server. If you find your crust is sticking to the pie dish, wait another 5 minutes before trying to remove slices. Store leftovers in oven…JUST KIDDING! Store leftovers in freezer (still in pie dish), tightly covered with waxed paper and plastic wrap.