As temperatures have already begun to rise to sweltering degrees here in southern California, cool, quenching refreshment is what my parched soul longs for. Fantasies of islands that jut up from teal-blue waters with white, velvety sands, where breezes blow through palm fronds and whip through long, strapless sun-dresses, dance fluidly into my mind and wash my creativity in a soft shade of lime green. And in these daydreams of mine, these moments of desire to be swept away into the hazy, powder-y softness that is an imagined day of toes in the sand or lazy “hammock-ing” around, the tangy, tart fruits whose juices run fragrant and who beg to be turned into sweet elixirs and bases for cool, creamy pies, or aromatic, tropical cocktails, call out to be used as inspiration. “Creaminess”, “coolness”, “tartness”, “sweetness” — these are powerful words when used in the blazing heat of the summer; and they play so very nicely together, especially in the daydreams of a parched, refreshment-seeking soul like mine.
Creamy coconut, zingy limes and a hint of spiced rum evoke images of gentle relaxation to me; they contain strong, distinct flavors of tropical islands, flavors that when blended into an ice-cold and creamy pie, feel like an escape from the baking heat of the furnace that is the summer. Light desserts with seasonal, flavorful ingredients put together in refreshing ways create opportunity to get lost in a daydream for a while, for at least that little bit of delicious time that it takes to savor each bright and vibrant bite and feel it glide ever-so-easily down the throat. A slice of Frozen, Coconut-Lime “Island Breeze” Icebox Pie is like a little taste of “rest and refreshment” that the soul longs for; like a brief moment of getting lost in the sweet bliss of a place that exists only in the imagination in perfect stillness.
The simple little joy of a simple little icebox pie is precisely what my soul craves at this very moment. Rich, tangy and cold; just the perfect thing to refresh and escape a little. The hot, midsummer day’s dreams beckon me to a place that exists only in my mind’s eye; a place with a playful breeze that carries the scent of sweet indulgence on it. May a little taste of frozen, tangy creaminess with just hint of spiced rum whisk me away for just a short while, that my soul may find some renewal and pleasure in the sheer flavor of getting lost in a sweet daydream.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Coconut-Lime “Island-Breeze” Icebox Pie with Spiced Rum Whipped Cream
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(Serves about 8)
• Graham Cracker Crust (recipe below, OR, use a prepared graham cracker crust, if desired)
1 cup whipping cream, cold
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 (14 fl oz) can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lime zest
¾ cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 5 limes)
¾ teaspoon coconut flavor (I bought mine at Whole Foods Market in the extract’s section)
• Spiced Rum Whipped Cream (recipe below)
1/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut, for garnish
8 semi-circle lime slices, for garnish
-If preparing the Graham Cracker crust from scratch, preheat your oven to 350°, and prepare a 9 ½” pie dish; prepare the crust according to the recipe below, and allow it to cool completely.
-Next, add the cold whipping cream to a small bowl, and using the whisk attachment on a hand mixer, whip the cream until it begins to thicken; then, add in the tablespoon of powdered sugar, and continue to whip for another moment or two until stiff peaks form; set aside in the fridge for a moment, to keep cold.
-To prepare the filling, add the softened cream cheese to a medium-size bowl along with the condensed milk, the sugar and the lime zest; using a hand mixer, beat the mixture on low/medium speed until nice and creamy; next, add in the lime juice and the coconut flavor, and once again beat those in until well blended.
-Next, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese/lime filling, making sure that it’s well incorporated.
-Pour the filling mixture into your prepared Graham Cracker Crust, and place into the freezer for at least 6-8 hours, or even overnight.
-Once the pie is frozen and you’re ready to serve it, remove from freezer and allow the pie to sit at room temp for about 20-22 minutes or so to slightly soften before slicing and serving; in the mean time, prepare the Spiced Rum Whipped Cream and top the pie with it, and garnish with the shredded coconut and lime circles. (Store any leftover pie in the freezer; when you’re ready to enjoy, just allow it to stand at room temp for about 20-22 minutes before enjoying.)
Graham Cracker Crust ingredients:
1 ½ cups (or about 10 cracker sheets) fine graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch cinnamon
6 tablespoons melted butter
-Preheat the oven to 350°, and have a 9 or 9 ½” pie dish handy.
-In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients, and using a fork or your hands, mix together until well moistened; turn the crumbs out into the pie dish, pressing the crumbs evenly on the bottom and about half-way up the sides, as well; bake for 10 minutes, then allow to cool completely before filling.
Spiced Rum Whipped Cream ingredients:
½ cup whipping cream, cold
1 ½ tablespoons powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons dark rum (I used “Myers’s”)
-Add the the cold whipping cream to a bowl, and using a hand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream until thickened; next, add in the sugar and the rum, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form; keep in fridge until ready to use.