Fried ice cream pie (or bars) are a favored Pinterest recipe with several major variations, such as:
- Fried ice cream pie/bars made with real ice cream (frozen);
- Pie/bars made with cream cheese (also frozen);
- Pie/bars made with sweetened condensed milk and pudding (still frozen), and;
- Pie/bars with Cool Whip base.
Nearly always, I substitute whipped cream for Cool Whip, although it can usually hide in cream desserts without being noticeable. When I spotted fried ice cream bars for the first time on Pinterest, the recipe called for ice cream. And I didn’t want to make room in my freezer for it or deal with a frozen dessert.
There are a ton of other variations that effectively utilize a “no-churn ice cream” style base. Understandably, these are still frozen — to closely replicate the restaurant fried ice cream experience.
Aside: as a Xennial, I remember being fascinated by the idea of fried ice cream in the late 80s and early 90s, but never encountered it in a restaurant setting. So for me, it’s one of those “height of sophistication” as a kid concepts – I don’t even know if I ever got to try the real thing.
Either way, I try to make dinner for my mom every Sunday. She doesn’t love to cook, and she gets tired of takeout, and weekdays are too busy. And every Sunday, I make a simple dessert (because, in all honesty, I don’t cook or bake nearly as much as I want to during the week).
One of the first desserts I made when Sunday dinners came back was a no-bake coconut cream pie, which I know is one of my mom’s favorite desserts. (This is relevant, I swear!) Not only was the recipe I used awesome and no-bake, it was really, really good. Instead of a heavier cooked custard base, it was more like a sliceable, set mousse.
I’d say it’s in a class of recipes where this sort of base forms a bunch of different layers — it’s scalable, and it doesn’t taste like some of the mixes often used to make it. (It’s very similar to my favorite banana pudding recipe.)
The coconut cream pie recipe I referenced is this one. A few weeks after that, I decided to make Taste of Home‘s fried ice cream bars — but that recipe called for freezing, and didn’t really work without freezing (obviously).
Taste of Home’s fried ice cream bars are notable on their own for this really amazing crushed cornflake topping. It’s incredibly easy to make, and could be used so many ways — and I just realized I forgot to stir in the sugar (it’s cooling).
You probably see where this is going. I made the base of the above-linked coconut cream pie recipe first, and set it to chill. Then I made the fried ice cream bars’ crushed cornflake topping (forgetting but not omitting the sugar intentionally), and tried to brown the butter first. (When possible, I like to use brown butter because it’s awesome, and because my family loves the Amish food in which it is a staple.)
This isn’t so much as a recipe as a mashup or remix.You could likely scale up for barbecues or potlucks with little hassle.
Between both, you’ll need:
- A can of sweetened condensed milk;
- Two boxes of instant vanilla pudding;
- A cup of cold milk;
- Eight ounces of Cool Whip or an equivalent amount of whipped cream (I almost always eyeball it, tbh);
- Vanilla extract (optional);
- A pie crust, prepared, bought or thrown together from cookies and butter;
- Two cups of crushed cornflakes;
- 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon (again, I eyeballed here);
- 1/2 a cup of butter, cubed;
- 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Here’s how I made unfrozen fried ice cream pie/bars:
- Followed this recipe for no-bake coconut cream pie but omit the coconut extract and coconut;
- Poured the cream pie mix into a prepared pie crust;
- Followed step one only of this recipe for fried ice cream bars, and;
- Set the cornflake crumbs aside to cool, before topping the pie with it.
Since I bought a whole jar of cherries for this, I’ll probably add them when the pie finishes cooling. That’s it. That’s the recipe.
This fried ice cream pie/bar recipe is based on a technique I’ve used in different ways, and one that yields a light and creamy fluff-like pie that holds its shape. My search didn’t turn up any fried ice cream inspired pies that didn’t involve freezing it solid, so I combined two recipes I’ve used and liked to yield a more portable and less freezer-space taking version.