Orange fool, blancmange, Creamsicle—call it what you will. This fruity, creamy, frozen combination is here to stay.
It’s silly that pies are considered a classic summertime dessert—because, goshdarnit, sometimes it’s just too hot for pie baking. It’s hard to make a great crust when you’re worried about your butter melting out of your pie dough. Sugar and flour absorb moisture from the air and wreak havoc with time-tested recipes. Plus, you have to put the oven on, which is stupid when it’s over 75 degrees out. (I have learned the hard way that baking in your underpants is dangerous, and for chrissake I’m a professional.)
A better option at this time of year is an icebox pie, which requires a cold refrigerator and little effort. And a better option than that is a freezer pie, which may be the easiest frozen dessert you can make. Unlike ice cream, you don’t need any special equipment. Unlike ice pops, you don’t need to remember to buy sticks.
This pie is inspired by the Creamsicle. The beauty of the Creamsicle is not merely its unusual combination of acidic citrus and creamy vanilla; it’s the fact that by common culinary logic, it shouldn’t even exist. The folly of combining milk and OJ is one that many of us learn in childhood—splashing a bit of juice into our bowl of cereal and watching as it transformed from cool, creamy bliss into curdled repulsion. So just how did those Creamsicle wizards ever figure out how to create this borderline-magical concoction in the first place?
Well, they didn’t, necessarily. There are English cookbooks over 200 years old that give instructions for a dish called “orange fool”—a fool being a mixture of stewed fruit and whipped cream. Perhaps it’s called “fool” because it’s so easy, a fool could make it. It could also be called fool because the British are notoriously lousy at naming things (cough*spotteddick*cough), so I spliced it with another old and sexier-sounding recipe, blancmange. The French cousin of panna cotta, it’s made by thickening milk and sugar with cornstarch to make a wiggly, jiggly, marvelous dessert.
You’ll smile as you whisk your blancmange on the stovetop, giggle as you pour it into your pie shell. You’ll place it in the freezer to set and prance across the floor, knowing that you have a full hour to go watch TV before you need to be bothered with it again. You’ll whip up your cream and fold together your fool whilst twirling in delight, knowing that soon you’ll have pie.