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COLD COMFORT BEAT THE HEAT WITH NO-BAKE, NO-HASSLE PIES.

Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

Icebox pies. They sound so retro - and, in many cases, they are - as cooks have been making variations on the theme for years. When I was growing up, my mother was a master of chocolate chiffon pie, grasshopper pie and lemon-peach pie, along with many variations on the no-bake cheesecake and instant pudding pie themes.

These are pies that don't come from the oven like your usual apple, cherry, peach, berry and pecan pies.

In her new cookbook ``Icebox Pies: 100 Scrumptious Recipes for No-Bake, No-Fail Pies,'' (The Harvard Common Press; $16.95) author Lauren Chattman writes that ``the reality is that you don't have to be a domestic goddess or fantasy grandmother to make these desserts,'' adding that the pies are perfect for contemporary cooks who crave nostalgic, simple, homey, hassle-free indulgences.

Whether you're already acquainted with cool, refreshing refrigerator pies or just discovering them, they are are made to order for summer entertaining - or for any time of year. These are the homemade, no-brainers that you can fix in a jiffy - that require no baking and no heating up of the kitchen (use the microwave oven, if necessary) - just refrigeration.

Versatile and convenient, these pies lend themselves to lots of creative flavor combinations. How about a rocky road or candy pie made with an instant chocolate pudding mix and whipped cream? Or a coconut banana cream combo with instant coconut cream pudding zipped up with flaked coconut - and then layered with banana slices in between?

Icebox fillings are either the no-cook or the cooked variety, the latter prepared in a microwave oven or on the stove. Use pudding mixes, cream cheese, fresh fruits, chocolate and many other ingredients in tandem. Flavors can run the gamut from strawberry, raspberry, espresso, lime, banana, lemon, chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter and much more. Mix and match and stir in anything that strikes your fancy. Keep in mind that grated citrus peels, a splash of liqueur like Chambord or Grand Marnier or Kahlua will add extra zip to pies.

No rolling of any dough is required for the crust, as most feature graham cracker, chocolate or vanilla wafer or Oreo cookie crumb crusts, sometimes in combination with other ingredients, like a variety of nuts, mini chocolate chips, shredded or flaked coconut and the like. For variety, try lemon, ginger, macaroon, oatmeal, shortbread or amaretti cookie crumbs, all blended with a little melted butter.

To save time, use pre-crushed graham or Oreo chocolate cookie crumbs (which taste the same as crushing the cookies yourself) available in boxes in supermarket baking sections.

In lieu of oven baking the crumb crust (to avoid heating up the kitchen), set it by microwaving on high power 30 to 40 seconds. (Chattman prefers to crisp the crusts in a preheated 350-degree oven six to eight minutes.) If you don't have time to turn out a quick homemade crust, you can rely on store-bought cookie crumb crusts - however most don't taste great and are reminiscent of cardboard.

Although some cooks include frozen ice cream pies in the icebox pie category, we prefer to classify them as freezer (or ice cream) pies or frozen desserts - and therefore have skipped including any such recipes here. For convenience and ease, we've also opted to overlook any gelatin-based icebox pies, which are more time consuming (although not difficult) to make.

All icebox pies must be refrigerated until the filling is set or firm - and timing varies from recipe to recipe. Generally figure on three to four hours or longer. Also note that pies are best consumed within a day of preparation.

To dress up the pies, Chattman suggests topping pie slices with coffee- flavored whipped cream, warm hot fudge or caramel sauce, raspberry sauce, chopped or sugared nuts or candies, toffee bits, fresh fruits (slices or whole berries), shaved chocolate, dessert fruit salsas and more.

No, all pies don't come from the oven. These cool creations prove it.

GIANDUIA PIE

3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (see Note)

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (13-ounce) jar Nutella

1 prepared 9-inch chocolate cookie crumb pie crust (homemade OR store-bought)

Place skinned hazelnuts in bowl of a food processor and chop very fine. Combine cream and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer whip cream until stiff peaks form. Place Nutella in a medium mixing bowl and stir in 1/4 of whipped cream. Gently fold lightened Nutella mixture back into remaining whipped cream. Fold in chopped hazelnuts.

Scrape filling into prepared crumb crust and smooth top with a rubber spatula. Cover pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate until filling is completely set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day. Garnish slices with whipped cream and a drizzling of chocolate sauce, if desired. Makes 1 pie, 6 to 8 servings.

NOTE: To toast and skin hazelnuts, place nuts on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, wrap nuts in a clean kitchen towel, and allow to cool 10 to 15 minutes. Rub nuts with towel to remove skins (it's OK if bits of skin stick to some of the nuts).

From ``Icebox Pies,'' by Lauren Chattman.

RASPBERRY AND COCOA MASCARPONE CREAM PIE

3 tablespoons raspberry jam

1 prepared 9-inch chocolate cookie OR graham cracker crumb pie crust (homemade OR store-bought)

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 pint fresh raspberries

Spread jam across bottom of prepared crust using a small rubber spatula. Refrigerate crust.

Combine mascarpone cheese, cream, powdered sugar and cocoa in a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer beat mascarpone mixture until smooth. Spread mascarpone mixture over jam. (At this point, pie may be refrigerated up to 1 day before continuing with recipe.) Cover pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate until filling is completely set.

Just before serving, arrange as many raspberries as will fit on top of cocoa mascarpone. Place slices of pie on individual dessert plates and scatter any remaining raspberries around each slice. Makes 1 (9-inch) pie, 6 to 8 servings.

From ``Icebox Pies,'' by Lauren Chattman.

BANANA COCONUT CREAM PIE

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups crushed chocolate Oreo cookie crumbs

2 (3.4- ounce) packages (each 4-serving size) coconut cream INSTANT pudding and pie filling mix

2 cups cold milk

2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream, whipped

1 cup flaked coconut

2 bananas, sliced

To make crust, melt butter in microwave oven on high power 40 to 50 seconds. Mix with cookie crumbs until well blended. Press mixture evenly and firmly over bottom and up sides of a 9-inch deep glass pie dish. Microwave on high power 30 to 40 seconds to set. Set aside to cool.

To make filling, in a medium bowl, combine pudding mixes and cold milk. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed 2 minutes (mixture will thicken). After whipping cream, remove 1 cup and reserve for top of pie.

Fold remaining whipped cream into pudding mixture until blended. Fold in 3/4 cup coconut. Turn 1/3 of pudding mixture into cool crumb crust, spreading evenly. Top with 1/2 of banana slices. Spread with another 1/3 of pudding mixture, then remaining banana slices. Top with remaining pudding mixture, spreading evenly. Spread top with reserved 1 cup cream. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut. (Coconut can be lightly toasted, if desired, spread out on a paper towel in a microwave oven on high power about 30 to 35 seconds; watch carefully after 20 seconds as coconut burns easily; cool before using). Refrigerate pie 3 to 4 hours or overnight, until set. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

QUICK ROCKY ROAD PIE

1 1/2 cups cold milk

1 (5.9-ounce) package (6-serving size) INSTANT chocolate fudge pudding and pie filling mix

1 tablespoon grated orange peel (optional)

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

1 cup miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup chopped walnuts OR pecans

1 (9-inch) baked chocolate cookie crumb pie crust (store-bought OR homemade)

In a medium bowl, combine cold milk and pudding mix. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed 1 minute. Fold in orange peel and whipped cream until well blended. Stir in marshmallows and 1/2 cup nuts.

Turn mixture into crumb crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup nuts over top. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or longer, until set. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

NOTE: Other flavor pies may be prepared using the same proportions of milk, different INSTANT pudding and pie filling mix flavors and whipped cream as noted above. For variety, stir in mini chocolate chips, assorted nuts, coconut, grated citrus peel, etc. or layer the pudding mixture in crust with fresh raspberries, fresh strawberry slices or banana slices (do not use fruits with lots of juice as they'll make pie too runny). Also, use different kinds of cookie crusts, if desired.

FRUIT TOPPED NO-BAKE CHEESE PIE

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

1 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 (6-ounce) graham cracker crumb pie crust (store-bought)

Fresh strawberry halves

Fresh blueberries

Beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in 2 cups whipped topping. Spoon into crust.

Refrigerate 3 hours or until set. Spread remaining whipped topping over top. Arrange strawberries and blueberries in design desired on top of cheesecake. Store leftover cheese pie in refrigerator. Makes 8 servings.

NOTE: Substitute fresh raspberries, sliced peaches or nectarines for strawberries and blueberries, if desired.

RASPBERRY GANACHE PIE

1 package (8 squares) semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped OR 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup whipping cream

6 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

1 (6-ounce) Oreo chocolate cookie crumb pie crust (store-bought)

2 cups raspberries

1 tablespoon water

Place chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix cream and 2 tablespoons jam in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Pour over chocolate in bowl. Let stand 2 minutes. (Can also be done in microwave oven).

Mix with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Turn into crust; cover. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Arrange raspberries on top of pie. Microwave remaining 1/4 cup jam and water in a small, microwaveable bowl on high power 30 seconds; stir until well blended. Brush over raspberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

MICROWAVE CANDY BAR PIE

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups crushed chocolate chip OR chocolate Oreo cookie crumbs

1 (8-ounce) milk chocolate bar, broken into pieces

2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, cut up

3/4 cup milk

3 cups miniature marshmallows

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped Heath Bar OR other candy OR English toffee bits

To make crust, melt butter in microwave oven on high power 40 to 50 seconds. Mix with cookie crumbs until well blended. Press mixture evenly and firmly over bottom and up sides of a 9-inch deep glass pie dish. Cook on high power 30 to 40 seconds to set. Set aside to cool.

To prepare filling, in a 2-quart glass bowl, combine milk chocolate and unsweetened chocolate, milk and marshmallows. Cook on high power 1 1/2 minutes; stir well. Cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer or until chocolate is melted and marshmallows are completely dissolved when stirred. Let cool completely. Use an ice-water bath or refrigerator to hasten process, if desired, but do not allow mixture to harden.

In a medium bowl, whip cream with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Remove 1 cup and set aside. Fold cold chocolate mixture into remaining whipped cream.

Turn chocolate filling into crust, spreading evenly. Spread reserved 1 cup whipped cream over top. Sprinkle chopped candy over whipped cream.

Refrigerate until firm, 3 to 4 hours or overnight. To serve, cut into slices with a sharp knife. Makes 8 servings.

From ``365 Great Chocolate Desserts,'' by Natalie Haughton.

PEANUT BUTTER AND FUDGE SWIRL PIE

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

1 (6-ounce) Oreo chocolate cookie crumb pie crust (store-bought)

1/4 cup chocolate fudge sauce

Beat cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gradually add whipped cream, stirring gently after each addition until well blended.

Spoon into crust. Drizzle fudge sauce over filling; draw knife through cream cheese mixture several times for marble effect. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Garnish top with chopped peanuts, if desired. Store leftover pie in refrigerator. Makes 6 servings.

Guilding the Lily

To dress up the pies, Lauren Chattman suggests topping pie slices with: coffee-flavored whipped cream

warm hot fudge or caramel sauce

raspberry sauce

chopped or sugared nuts or candies such as toffee bits

fresh fruits (slices or whole berries)

shaved chocolate

dessert fruit salsas

CAPTION(S):

3 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) Gianduia Pie

(2 -- color) RASPBERRY AND COCOA MASCARPONE CREAM PIE

From ``Icebox Pies,'' The Harvard Common Press

(3 -- color) no caption (Icebox Pies)

Box:

Guilding the Lily (see text)
COPYRIGHT 2002 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Jul 17, 2002
Words:2237
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