The Absolute Best Crust for Ice Cream Pie Is Obvious (and I Bet You’re Not Using It)

published Jul 22, 2021
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Credit: Robert Bredvad
ice cream pie slice

When it comes to pies, it’s hard to beat a crumb crust. Grind up some graham crackers or cookies, mix in some butter, press it into a pie pan, and you’re good to go. But have you ventured outside the cracker and cookie aisle to see what else might benefit from the crumb treatment? I hadn’t until I saw Kelly Senyei — the chef behind Just a Taste and the author of recently released The Secret Ingredient Cookbook — grinding up waffle cones on Instagram.

It was one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. So simple. So obvious. So smart! Naturally, she used this easy crust as the base for an ice cream pie and naturally, I immediately left for the grocery store to pick up what I needed to try it at home.

Making an Ice Cream Cone Crust Is as Easy as It Sounds (or Maybe Easier)

You only need three ingredients for this crust: ice cream cones, sugar, and melted butter. You can play around with the ratios, but Kelly calls for 1 1/4 cups crushed cones, 4 tablespoons of melted butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Kelly prefers using waffle cones because of their slightly buttery flavor, but sugar cones work well, too. As she mentions, this is great way to salvage any cones that got crushed in transit.

To make the crust, you grind the cones into fine crumbs in a food processor (or put them in a heavy-duty zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin), transfer to a bowl, mix in the butter and sugar, then press into your pie pan. Bake the crust at 350°F until it’s firm and a bit browner than it was before, about 10 minutes. While it cools, take your ice cream out of the freezer to soften.

I filled my crust with a layer of softened vanilla ice cream, a layer of lemon curd, and more ice cream, and then topped it with sprinkles (because you have to, right?). Of course, you could fill the crust with your favorite combo of ice cream and toppings. Next time, I’m considering chocolate ice cream layered with cherry jam and pistachio ice cream for a riff on spumoni.

Stash your finished pie in the freezer until the ice cream is firm, which will take at least six hours. Just before serving, top with whipped cream, your favorite sauce (I regret not topping mine with hot fudge sauce), and any garnishes.

Credit: Nina Elder
Ice cream pie

My Honest Review of This Ice Cream Pie

Let’s be honest: How could this possibly be bad? It’s ice cream and ice cream cones, two things that are meant to go together. The crust had a nice snap, cut cleanly, and held together, which isn’t always the case with a crumb crust. It had that familiar waffle cone flavor, which was great with the ice cream. Even more delightful, my 7-year-old son was appropriately wowed when I revealed the surprise ingredient in this desert.

Credit: Nina Elder
Pressing an ice cream cone crust

If You Make This Crust, a Few Tips

  • Pack it firmly: To make sure the crust stays together, it needs to be pressed firmly into the pie pan. My favorite tool for creating a smooth, even crumb crust is a small measuring cup (that’s a 1/4 cup measure above). The rounded edges are super helpful in creating an even crust around the sides of the pan.
  • Add some salt: Balance out the sweetness of the ice cream with a generous pinch or two of salt in the crust. You could also used salted instead of unsalted butter.
  • Make sure you have a whole box of cones: Although this recipe is a good way to use up broken cones, I needed the equivalent of 8 waffle cones to get 1 1/4 cups of crumbs.
  • Warm up your knife: Before cutting into this treat, run your knife under hot water, then dry it off with a kitchen towel. This will help you cut through the hard ice cream cleanly. Repeat as needed as you continue slicing the pie.
Credit: Nina Elder
Slice of ice cream pie