Nigella Lawson's Passion Fruit Ice Cream Cake

Daniel Hautzinger
Nigella Lawson's Passion Fruit Ice Cream Cake with Coconut Caramel Sauce

Nigella: At My Table airs Saturdays at 10:30 am beginning July 7

With The Great British Baking Show on its final season (which you can watch Fridays at 9:00 pm or stream; find recipes from the show here), maybe you're lookig for another food-related British show to fill the void. Enter Nigella Lawson's At My Table, in which she demonstrates some of her favorite recipes, the ones she makes at home for her friends and family. To celebrate the show's premiere, try an easy but scrumptious ice cream cake whose tropical passion fruit flavor is perfect for summer. 

Passion Fruit Ice Cream Cake with Coconut Caramel Sauce

A dream to eat, and a doddle to make. Ever since my first pavlova, I've been utterly sold on the combination – smooth, chewy, sour-sweet, and fragrant – of cream, meringue, and passion fruit. And to turn these ingredients into a coolly elegant ice cream cake, you need do nothing more than stir them all together and leave to set in the freezer overnight: a no-cook, no-churn, no-stress affair. 

Makes 8 slices of cake and approximately 3/4 cup of sauce

Ingredients

For the ice cream cake:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
4 passion fruits
4 tsp Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or Triple Sec
4 oz meringue cookies

For the sauce:
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1 cup unsweetened coconut cream (not creamed coconut)

Directions

1. Line an approximately 7 1/2x5x3-in, 1-lb loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of overhang on the sides of the pan so that you can cover the top later. 

2. Whip the heavy cream until ripples start to appear in the bowl and it's slightly thickened but not stiff.

3. Add the pulp, seeds, and juice of the passion fruit, then the Cointreau (or other liqueur) and fold briefly just to combine. Go gently.

4. Using your hands, break up the meringue cookies, making a mixture of both dust and small pieces of meringue, and very gently fold in, until evenly mixed; along with the alcohol, it's the fine dispersal of meringue that keeps the ice cream smooth as it freezes.

5. Spoon gently into the lined loaf pan, pressing down as you go so that you don't have any gaps or air pockets. Once the mixture is carefully packed in and the top smoothed, cover with the plastic wrap overhang, then wrap the pan in another sheet of plastic wrap before putting into the freezer overnight. 

6. The sauce is to be served cold, so you can get on with it now; I find it makes life very much easier if you can make everything ahead. Gently melt the butter, sugars, and syrup in a deep, heavy-based saucepan of about 8 inches diameter and, once melted, turn the heat up a little and let it simmer – bubbling up a bit – for 3 minutes. Lift the pan up off the heat every now and again and give it a swirl.

7. With the pan off the stove momentarily, add the coconut cream and swirl again, then put back on the heat and cook at a fast simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and then, until it's the color of peanut butter and slightly thickened (it will get properly thick once it's cooled). It does bubble and spurt a little as it cooks, rather like those municipal water features – the dancing fountains – that children love running through.

8. Pour the sauce into a heatproof pitcher and leave to cool to room temperature. It will thicken too much if refrigerated, so if it has been in the fridge, remember to take it out in time (about an hour before serving) for it to lose its chill and come back to room temperature. It can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days after having been refrigerated.

9. When you are ready to serve the ice cream cake, take the pan out of the freezer, remove the outer layer of plastic wrap, then lift out the ice cream cake and sit it on a board before fully unwrapping. Cut into thick slices; if you don't want to eat all the cake at one sitting, wrap the remaining unsliced loaf up well and put it back in the freezer.

10. Put a slice onto each plate and then leave to soften a little, for 5-10 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

11. Zigzag some of the coconut caramel sauce over each slice – stirring it briskly first if it's got too thick – and pour the rest into a small pitcher to take to the table alongside. 

Note: The cake can be frozen for up to 1 month but is at its best within 1 week of making. The sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw sauce overnight in fridge and use as above.

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Nigella Lawson
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