My friend Jenny has a tradition of Thanksgiving in Summer. Likes Thanksgiving so much, she plans a second one sometime during the summer. Gets to share the turkey her employer gives her every year. I had to bring dessert. Sure, pie is traditional. But, it's not November when I'm more than happy to turn on my oven.
It's July and it's been hot. Really hot. I don't turn on my oven when it's this hot. I cook outside on the grill. Cooking dessert on the grill can be done but it's limited and most grilled desserts lack the wow factor (unless it's homemade ice cream, which is in a class by itself). I certainly won't be baking a pie.
Enter icebox cake. No baking. Simple assembly. Tastes as good as cheesecake. Icebox cake was very popular once but it's fallen out of favor. I don't know why. It's really good, especially if it includes a pound of mascarpone cheese. The only thing to remember is you have to put it together 24 hours ahead
And to make it feel like Thanksgiving, I served it with cranberry sauce.
Ginger-Mascapone Icebox Cake
(from the Best American Recipes 2000; originally from Fine Cooking Magazine)
butter or nonstick spray
3-4 tbl sugar
12 ounces Ginger Snap Cookie Crumbs
5 tbl Unsalted Butter, melted
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1⁄2 cup Plain Low-Fat Yogurt
2⁄3 cup Sugar
1⁄2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1⁄2 cup Crystallized Ginger, minced
1 pound Mascarpone Cheese
1⁄3 cup Heavy Cream
Spray a 9" springform pan with nonstick spray or butter it lightly. Dust the pan with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and shake out any excess. In a medium bowl, combine the ginger snap crumbs and butter, rubbing them together with your fingertips to combine thoroughly. Sprinkle half of the crumbs over the bottom of the pan and pat down evenly; reserve the rest.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, whip together the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and ginger until smooth, scraping down the sides. Add the mascarpone and cream and whip until the mixture is thoroughly combined and just holds peaks. Don't overwhip, or the mixture may separate.
Carefully spoon half of the mascarpone mixture over the crust, spreading it evenly to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle half of the remaining crumbs over the mascarpone mixture in the pan. Top with the remaining mascarpone mixture and finish with the remaining crumbs. Gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Serve cold.
Link to PDF of Ginger-Mascarpone Icebox Cake