For the very basic recipe:
1 cookie crust (store-bought or made from scratch - recipe follows)
1 tub ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, sherbet, etc. (1 quart - 1/2 gallon)
Soften the ice cream, until it's just soft enough to scoop out easily, then put into prepared pie shell. Smooth out the top. Cover lightly. Freeze until firm, at least two hours or overnight. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving. Then garnish with desired toppings (whipped cream, chocolate or caramel sauce, magic shell, crushed cookies, fresh fruit, etc.
Of course, you could just buy a pie shell and fill it with ice cream and it would be a nice dessert. But if you want to impress your guests, then you can make a delicious cookie crust from scratch and fill your pie shell with interesting flavor combinations, mix-ins and toppings.
HOMEMADE COOKIE CRUST
1 1/2 cups fine crumbs (from graham crackers, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, chocolate cookies, shortbread - any crisp cookie, store-bought or homemade)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Crush crumbs in a food processor or the old fashioned way - in a large, heavy-duty resealable bag. (Leave a small opening in the top of the bag to allow air to escape.) Roll a rolling pin over the plastic bag until the cookies are broken into crumbs.
Mix crumbs and sugar together, stir in melted butter. Line pie plate with mixture, pressing firmly into place. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool thoroughly before adding ice cream.
PRETZEL CRUMB CRUST
2 cups crushed (very fine) pretzels
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
Combine all crust ingredients. Press crumbs over bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.
NO-BAKE OREO CRUST
13 Oreo cookies, crushed
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
Mix Oreos and butter together and firmly press into a 9-inch pie pan over the bottom and all the way up the sides. Chill for 20 minutes to set.
Now, for the fun part. Get creative and come up with some combinations for some truly spectacular desserts:
* MUD PIE - Oreo crust, coffee gelato, topped with thick chocolate syrup
* PEACH MELBA PIE - Nilla wafer crust, peach ice cream, topped with raspberry sauce, garnished with fresh peaches
* BANANA-SPLIT PIE - Chocolate cookie crust, layer of thinly sliced bananas, followed by strawberry ice cream, freeze - before serving, top with drained crushed pineapple, whipped cream and maraschino cherries.
* SNICKERS PIE - Make chocolate cookie crust, adding 1/4 cup peanuts to the recipe. Mix into softened vanilla frozen yogurt - 6 (2 oz) coarsely chopped Snickers bars. Spread mixture in pie shell, freeze. Before serving, drizzle with chocolate and caramel sauce and additional chopped snickers bars to top.
* LEMONADE PIE - Mix 1/2 gallon softened vanilla frozen yogurt with a 12-oz can lemonade or limeade, slightly thawed and spread in a pretzel crust.
* PEANUT BUTTER PIE - Mix 1/2 gallon softened vanilla frozen yogurt with 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky) until combined. Swirl in peanut butter chips, fudge chunks and fudge ice cream topping. Spread mixture in chocolate cookie pie shell. When ready to serve, top with chocolate magic shell.
* PUMPKIN PIE - Mix 1/2 gallon softened vanilla ice cream with 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Spread in a gingersnap cookie crust. Freeze until firm..
* LAYERED PIE - Spread 3 cups of any flavor frozen dessert in prepared pie shell, top with crushed candy, cookie crumbs or sundae sauce - freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer, spread 3 cups of a different flavor on top. Refreeze 2 hours - overnight. Some ideas: orange sorbet and vanilla frozen yogurt layers for a creamsicle pie; or layers of chocolate and coffee ice cream for a mocha pie. How about chocolate layered with cherry vanilla for a chocolate-cherry pie (garnish with chocolate covered cherries).