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A frozen pink lemonade pie can be low, with Cool Whip and a prepared graham cracker crust, or high with homemade ingredients, but either way it completes a refreshing summer dinner.

We all love a fruit pie this time of year, on those swampy summer days. It’s the ubiquitous take-out dessert for dinner parties. Making them yourself is time-consuming and expensive, and you’ll heat up your kitchen cooking them.

There are plenty available locally, from large (Loaves and Fishes and Carissa’s) to moderately priced (Blue Duck and Tate’s). The devoted pie lover will even head to Riverhead for pies from Briermere Farms, which are old-fashioned, full of farm-grown fruit, with a crumbly crust done as it should be, with lard or vegetable shortening. mixed with butter. These will cost you $20 to $38. Extra gas.

Here is an idea. Why not make a frozen pink lemonade pie, a French nougatine (similar to the Italian semi-freddo), a lemon ice cream cake or an ice cream “lasagna”? These can be made well in advance, won’t heat up your kitchen (except for a few minutes for the puff pastry lasagna sheets), are economical, and you’ll treat friends and family to a wow dessert to end the meal. .

I came across the Pink Lemonade Pie recipe on the back of the lid of a jar of Cool Whip. Do not laugh ! Cool Whip is delicious in its non-dairy, vegan, creamy version. The recipe uses a pre-made graham cracker crust, softened ice cream, Cool Whip, and frozen lemonade concentrate. I realized it could be made almost as easily from scratch with a homemade crust, fresh juice and whipped cream. It’s a refreshing and tangy end to a light summer supper.

Who invented the first frozen desserts? Some sources say it was the Chinese in 3000 BCE. They scooped up snow or ice and seasoned it with fruit juices. Emperor Nero is said to have sent his slaves to the mountains in search of snow which would be enriched with nectar, fruit pulp and honey. Ice creams and sorbets were probably invented in the late 1600s.

From simple to moderately complex, these frozen desserts are sure to please. Make several at a time and keep them in your freezer for spontaneous occasions.

Don’t have the time or inclination to put them together? Then do what the late great food writer and bon vivant Julia Reed recommended to the harassed hostess. Always have lemon sorbet and Bordeaux biscuits on hand!

Pink lemonade pie
The original Pink Lemonade Stand Pie recipe is as follows, with my homemade version following.

For eight people.

1 can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, partially thawed
1 pint Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream (2 cups), softened
1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
1 prepared graham cracker crumb crust (6 oz)

Beat the concentrate in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds. Gradually add ice cream with a spoon; beat until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping until smooth. If necessary, freeze until the mixture forms a mound. Pour into the crust.

Freeze four hours or overnight until firm. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or until pie can be easily sliced. Serve with strawberries or raspberries.

Homemade pink lemonade pie
Here is a variant. Also serves eight.

I find using a disposable aluminum pie pan works best for frozen or refrigerated crusts, they stick to glass or ceramic pans.

1 package (there are three per box) graham crackers, crumbled (I do this in a Ziploc bag.)
5 c. melted butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice with 1/4 cup dissolved sugar (Add a few drops of red food coloring for a pink tint.)
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to 2 cups
2 cups softened vanilla ice cream of your choice

Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and gently press into pie pan.

Mix the lemon juice with the softened ice cream, then stir in the whipped cream. As stated in the previous recipe, put it in the freezer if it’s too loose, you want to be able to mount it in the pie pan, not pour it.

Top with raspberries before freezing if desired, or top with berries after taking out of the freezer to serve.

Freeze four hours or overnight. Remove from freezer 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

French nougatine
I received this nougatine recipe years ago from a fellow pastry chef in the East End. You can also find him on Food Network’s “Barefoot Contessa,” season seven, episode three, titled “Fruit All Ways.” Ina Garten modified the recipe slightly by adding almond extract and Framboise, a raspberry liqueur added to the berry filling.

For about 8 to 10 people.

4 oz. unsalted roasted pistachios
5 oz. sugar
6 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 C. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Line a large loaf pan with enough plastic wrap to fold over the top when filled.

Put the pistachios on a baking sheet. Prepare the caramel by combining the five ounces of sugar with three tablespoons of water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook until golden brown, then pour quickly over the pistachios. Leave to cool, then cut into pieces the size of a pistachio. Put aside.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff.

Whip a cup of sugar with heavy cream and vanilla and a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Fold together in a large bowl, then gently add the nut praline. Pour into a loaf pan, fold over the excess plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve.

To serve, remove plastic covered nougatine, slice and serve immediately. It will be quite soft but will hold its shape. Top with berry sauce, below.

raspberry sauce

6 cups of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup (or to taste) sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Cook the raspberries, sugar and zest in a non-reactive saucepan for about 10 to 15 minutes. Filter and cool. You can also add about a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in water to the cooking berries if you prefer a thicker sauce.

Ice cream lasagna
I found this recipe in a 2018 issue of People magazine. It would be fun to play around with the ice cream and fruit variations.

For 12 people.

1 package (17.3 oz) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups shredded coconut, 1 cup toasted
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
1/2 cup coconut cream
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 small pineapple, peeled, seeded and chopped

Preheat oven to 425.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each puff pastry sheet into a 9 x 13 inch rectangle. Place each sheet on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with a tablespoon of water and sprinkle evenly with sugar. Prick each leaf with a fork to prevent it from puffing up too much. Bake until deep golden brown, about 18 minutes. Cool completely.

Place ice cream, coconut cream and untoasted shredded coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Place a sheet of chilled puff pastry in a 9 by 13 baking dish. Spread half of the ice cream mixture over the pastry, then top with half of the mangoes, strawberries and pineapple. Repeat using the remaining puff pastry sheet, ice cream mixture and fruit. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, cover and freeze at least two hours before serving.