Myriad stories abound, but no one really knows the exact origins of ice cream.
There’s evidence that various forms of frozen treats were created as early as the fourth century BC, but these would have been vastly different from the confection that 20th century westerners are familiar with.
What these disparate desserts have in common, however, is the element of luxury.
We forget about that sometimes, those of us living with the comfort of modern conveniences like electricity and refrigerators. (Imagine what a different appreciation we might have for humble ice cream if we lived without freezers.)
Ice cream should be a real treat – something savored and looked forward to. Not such an everyday occurrence that we’d think nothing of tossing a half-eaten cone away.
These Lemon Ice Cream Bars fit the bill. Serve them around and head out to the porch to catch an afternoon breeze while summer gains momentum.
You can vary these to take advantage of the fruits of the season. Just replace the lemon juice in the recipe with 1/2 cup / 125 ml of fruit or berry puree (and 1/2 a tablespoon / 7.5 ml of lemon juice).
You can dip them in white chocolate or dark chocolate, or drizzle them instead. Or forget the chocolate altogether (which is entirely your choice even though I don’t fully understand it).
The technique in the recipe creates a concoction that will hold its shape well, without being overly melty – so these work well in small hands, and give you time for savoring even on a hot day.
I found the wafers at a bulk baking supply store in town. They are called ‘torte wafers’, and I think they are quite common in eastern European cuisine. I’m including a (kind of blurry) photo in case you have not seen them before.
The Lemon Ice Cream Bars also call for condensed milk. I know this isn’t a common item in some countries, so if you have a hard time finding it, you can make your own using this recipe.
Once you see how easy it is to make these bars, you’ll want to keep a batch in the freezer for a touch of instant summer luxury.
- 2 torte wafer sheets
- 1 8 oz /225 g package cream cheese
- ½ cup / 125 ml lemon juice
- 1 14 oz / 300 ml can of condensed milk (about 1-1/8 cup / 280 ml)
- 1-1/4 cup / 280 ml whipping cream (35%)
- 1-1/4 cups / 290 ml white chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml vegetable oil
- Line a 9x13-inch / 23x33 cm baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Trim one of the torte sheets to fit pan. Use a serrated knife to gently saw the sheets in order to keep them from cracking. Cut the other sheet to the same size.
- Lay one sheet in the prepared pan.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is very smooth. Add the lemon juice and continue beating until thoroughly mixed.
- Add the condensed milk and beat until smooth. Add the whipping cream and beat on high speed until the mixture has increased in volume and started to stiffen a bit. It should be a consistency that you can spread, not pour. It should be almost as thick as a cake icing.
- Spread the cream mixture over the torte layer in the pan. Smooth as much as possible and top with the second layer.
- Freeze the mixture until firm enough to cut into bars. This should take at least 2 hours.
- When the mixture is firm, Remove it from the freezer and lift out of the pan using the edges of the parchment paper. Peel away the paper from the sides and cut into 12 bars using a serrated knife.
- Turn the used parchment paper over and line a cookie sheet with it.
- Melt the white chocolate chips with the vegetable oil in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. If using the microwave, heat in 30 second increments, stirring after each. Repeat until the chocolate is smooth.
- Let the chocolate cool slightly so that it doesn't melt the bars. Dip one end of the bars in the melted chocolate and place on the lined cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer and freeze until the chocolate has set.
- If you are not serving the bars that day, store them in a covered container in the freezer.
You can replace the lemon juice with ½ cup / 125 ml of fruit puree. Add 1 tablespoon / 15 ml of lemon juice to heighten the fruit flavor.
If you can't find condensed milk, you can make your own with this recipe.