Back in the 60’s, my mom decided to celebrate her birthday at Howard Johnson’s Restaurant and Motor Inn. Since there were none in my rural community, she invited her best friend along with me and one of my best friends to join her in traveling 50+ miles to the closest location.
Mom concocted a crazy idea to try all 28 flavors of the ice cream they advertised on their road sign–in one sitting. She wanted only ice cream for dinner. It would be our entree.
The incredulous look on the face of the waitress as my mom explained her vision was the beginning of our laugh fest. I can only imagine what the cooks in the kitchen thought when they got the order. Seriously?? All 28 flavors–at the same time? How shall we plate it? What should we charge? (They couldn’t answer that question in the beginning.)
The waitress presented us with two plates of brightly colored scoops of ice cream arranged in a pyramid shape. As other diners noticed our “dinner,” we got really tickled and could barely control our giggles. I’m sure they wondered what we had been drinking.
When we could catch our breath from all the hilarity, we’d point to the various ice cream balls and speculate on the variety and taste of each but it wasn’t long before the icy pyramid began to soften and we had to get serious and eat fast. As it melted it looked much like an old fashioned ribbon candle after it has been lit a few hours with various colors running together in a sort of avalanche formation. Likewise, our appetites seemed to melt and run away as we started turning green about halfway through. I specifically remember my mom waving a white flag when the coffee and pistachio flavors threatened to contaminate everything else because she hates anything coffee-flavored. Ironically, coffee ice cream is now my favorite.
Thanks for creating such a fun memory for us Mom…and Happy Mother’s Day.
Speaking of Mother’s Day and memories, many people have traditional family recipes for chocolate cream pie. I was mucking around in my sister’s recipe box and found her recipe as passed down by her mother-in-law years ago. I tweaked it a bit by adapting the cream for cooking in a microwave and made it as a tart instead of a pie using a standard graham cracker crust recipe out of my old Betty Crocker cookbook. My sister usually tops her pie with a meringue but I prefer whipped cream with chocolate.
We all like this tart because it’s sweet but not too much, velvety smooth but not too rich, chocolatey but not overpowering and all the ingredients can be found in the pantry. It would be a tasty way to tie a pretty bow on your Mother’s Day meal.
- 2 cups milk (skim, 2%, whole or any combination)
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cocoa (Kay uses regular, I prefer Dutch)
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso (Kay doesn't use, I do for a deeper chocolate flavor)
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons butter (Kay adds 4 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (Mexican vanilla if you have it)
- 20 squares (5.5 ounces or 1-1/2 cups) graham crackers
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Place first 7 ingredients in blender (or food processor) in order given and pulse until completely mixed with no lumps.
- Pour into a 2-quart Pyrex batter bowl and microwave on HIGH for 6-7 minutes, whisking after two minutes and thereafter, every 30-45 seconds until thickened.
- Whisk in butter and vanilla extract.
- Pour cream through a strainer or sieve for the smoothest texture imaginable. When cream has cooled down some but is still warm, pour into 8 or 9-inch baked pie or tart crust or graham cracker crust. Cover top with plastic wrap pressing it to the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Chill several hours.
- Top with sweetened whipped cream.
- Use a blender, food processor or a plastic bag and rolling pin to crush graham crackers. Combine crumbs with butter, sugar and cinnamon. Press into pie plate or tart pan.
- Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until light brown.
- Whip cream until soft peaks begin to form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon over the top