In my growing up years there were certain dishes that were a part of the landscape of any special family gathering. There was one dessert, Pineapple Ice Box Cake, that was the fanciest delectable fashioned by the cooks around me. It's been around so long in my family, the name Ice Box Cake refers to a time before electric refrigerators when large blocks of ice were delivered weekly for an insulated box that served to keep food cold. My Grandma was once featured in our town's paper as having developed this recipe. Whether that was local lore or true, the dessert was certainly claimed by the family as "ours". It remains a beloved favorite in the memories, if not on the tables, of remaining family members. My Grandma Allen, my mom and my cousin Donna, who was raised like a sister with me, are all gone. They were the one's who made the dessert for so many family gatherings, wedding and baby showers and probably a Tupperware party or two.
I hadn't made it in years as my husband and I rarely dine in a situation requiring a large dessert, and if I made it we would probably end up eating the whole thing ourselves. The idea sounds yummy but. alas, we may eat a bit higher fat food than many but that's over the top. Joining some friends for the Fourth, this year, for an informal meal, the time seemed right for sharing. And, the time is right for featuring the "famous" Pineapple Ice Box Cake here.
It involves Vanilla Wafers, butter, powdered sugar, eggs, whip cream and pineapple.
I used my food processor, an kitchen accoutrement not available to the original makers of this dessert. It made construction of the layers very easy. No crushing the wafers with a rolling pin. The first layer is Vanilla Wafer crumbs. I split the crumbs equally, half into a bowl and half into a quart Ziploc bag (for more even spreading over the top at the end. Here is the bottom layer of crumbs in a 9X13 pan.
The trickier step, which I found fun is spreading the next layer, butter, powdered sugar and egg blended, on top of the crumbs. I drizzled the goo artistically all over the crumbs then very carefully "painted it" over any crumbs left showing. Below you see that layer with the beginning of the next layer.
On top of the sweet goo of butter, sugar and egg goes whipped whip cream infused with very well drained crushed pineapple. I whipped the cream in the food processor then folded in the pineapple. Below you see that layer nearly completed.
The final layer is the other half of the crumbs. The Ziploc bag allowed me to carefully shake them evenly over the top of the whip cream pineapple layer. See the partially topped dessert below.
Now, the trick with 'ice box' desserts, which are not cooked, is to leave them in the refrigerator over night to 'blend'. Tough to do as you'll want to take a bite. But I covered with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and dutifully stored it over night. I'm afraid we did have some for breakfast and it was as good as I remember it tasting all those hundreds of time I had it growing up.
Grandma Allen’s Pineapple Icebox Cake
1 - 12oz. box vanilla wafers
½ cup butter (one cube)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs (here I have a caveat, I used Egg Beaters as people today are wary of uncooked eggs, though in all of my growing up years no one ever got sick from the uncooked eggs in this dessert. I do have to admit that, at least in the early years, my Grandma had eggs delivered weekly by the local farmer.)
½ pint whipping cream
1 #2 can crushed pineapple very well drained
Process the wafers into crumbs. Divide in half. Spread half of the crumbs in a 9X13 pan.
Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Spread the mixture evenly over the crumbs (drizzling and then carefully spreading over any holes).
Whip the cream until stiff. Add well-drained pineapple to the whipped cream and spread over the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Top with the remaining crumbs. Let it stand for at least four hours.