A crunchy, buttery walnut crust, fresh strawberries, and rich balsamic drizzle transform this simple frozen strawberry ice cream pie—yes, you can use store-bought ice cream as a cheat—into an extraordinary dessert.–Alex Guarnaschelli
Because you can make this pie up to five days in advance, it might be quite firm when you want to serve it. Remove from the freezer and uncover before letting the pie sit for about 10 minutes (up to 15 minutes if your kitchen is a wee bit chilly.) In that time, it will soften enough for you to serve to your adoring diners.
When cutting a frozen ice cream pie, we recommend using a long serrated knife and pressing firmly into the pie. Dipping the knife into a tall glass of warm water between slices can also help with getting clean, smooth cuts.
Strawberry Ice Cream Pie FAQs
To toast the walnuts, place them in a skillet over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can toast them in a 350°F (177°C) oven until golden and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes.
If you’re unfamiliar with balsamic glaze, you’re in luck because it’s gorgeous on nearly anything. Drizzled on anything tomato (bruschetta is one of our favorites), on cooked veggies, as a finishing touch for pizza, or roasted meat. It’s all the goodness of balsamic vinegar with extra sweetness and even more flavor.
Strawberry Ice Cream Pie
For the nut crust
- 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups walnut halves, toasted (see FAQ above) and chopped
- 2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the strawberry ice cream filling
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 pints store-bought or homemade strawberry ice cream, slightly softened
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons honey
Make the nut crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Coat the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch (23- to 25-cm) springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
- In a food processor, pulse the walnuts, until they resemble coarse bread crumbs.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ground walnuts, 4 tablespoons butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and use your hands to mix the ingredients until the mixture resembles wet sand.
- Press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the prepared springform pan. The sides of the crust should rise 1/2 to 3/4 inch (12 to 18 mm) up the side of the pan. Refrigerate the crust until firm, about 15 minutes.
- Bake until the crust is browned, 12 to 15 minutes.
☞ TESTER TIP: If the crust slips down on the sides of the pan during baking, press it back up with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the crust cool completely, about 1 hour.
Make the strawberry ice cream filling
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the vinegar to a simmer and cook until it’s reduced by half, 8 to 12 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour the syrup into a bowl. Let it cool completely at room temperature, about 1 hour, or stash it in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
- Scoop the ice cream into the cooled pie crust. Pop the pie in the freezer for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
- In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey and dribble over the ice cream. Drizzle with the balsamic syrup.
- Release and remove the edges of the springform pan before serving.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
The balsamic vinegar drizzle and strawberries coated with a mixture of lemon juice, zest, and honey really elevates this ice cream pie from what one typically thinks of as a children’s dessert. Don’t skip out on the walnut crust. This pairs perfectly with the creamy ice cream and gives depth to the flavor profile.
I find it very easy to work the dough into the pan with the aid of a tart tamper. Add the strawberries and balsamic drizzle right before serving. I made the mistake of freezing them with the pie. The vinegar bled into the ice cream, and the strawberries were frozen solid. We wound up picking them off of the pie.
The pie, sans balsamic and berries, can be made at least one day in advance. This is an easy recipe to make in stages if one is pressed for time. I let the ice cream soften naturally on the counter. This can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes depending on the temperature of my kitchen. I resist trying to speed up this process in the microwave. This has resulted in unevenly melted ice cream.
This is ice cream pie all grown up! The rich, sweet, balsamic reduction adds a sophisticated touch and a mystery flavor my guests couldn’t quite guess. The walnut crust takes this from ordinary pie to extraordinary tart!
The balsamic vinegar reduction took 15 minutes. After cooling, I poured the reduction into a squirt bottle. I used approximately half of it on the pie. The amount of balsamic could be reduced in this recipe to 1 cup or even 3/4 cup.
I didn’t soften the ice cream first. I scooped it into the crust and flattened it out with the back of the ice cream scoop. I then covered it with plastic wrap and rolled a small drinking glass over it to smooth it out nicely.
I put the pie in the freezer for 2 hours. The strawberries were too frozen for my liking. I would put them on the pie no more than 30 minutes before serving.
I used a 10-inch springform pan and this amount of crust wasn’t enough. I only went up the sides an inch and as thinly as I could but there was not enough to cover the bottom, even thinly. I would increase the number of walnuts to 3 cups and increase the other ingredients by 1/3 also. If you’d like to make a tall-sided crust, it will need to be doubled. I just took the walnuts I had left and quickly put together a little more crust material. Also, concerning the walnuts, the recipe calls for toasted walnuts. It would be helpful if the author had the instructions for toasting walnuts included. I gave them a 5-minute toast in a dry pan.
It would be time-efficient to make the balsamic reduction while the crust is baking and they both can cool for an hour at the same time.