Sand dune ice-cream cakes recipe

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Arcachon is postcard-pretty, sandwiched between the sweeping blue water of the Atlantic and a fragrant forest of pine trees. Inspired by the flavors and textures of this beautiful landscape, I sneaked some pine nuts into the base of my recipe for ice-cream cake.

  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 Hour
  • Cooking Time: 20 Minutes


  • 5 tbsp (60 g) seedless raisins
  • 3 tbsp Sauternes or rum
For the Praline
  • 6 tbsp (75 g) superfine sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 50 g (½ cup) pine nuts
  • ½ cup (100 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 5 tbsp (75 g) light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp (100 g) self-rising flour, sifted
  • 2¼ cups (540 ml) good-quality vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 10½ oz (300 g) white chocolate
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
How to Make It
  1. Soak the raisins in the Sauternes for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. To make the Praline
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Put the superfine sugar and water in a large saucepan and heat gently over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to high. When the mixture starts to bubble and darken, add the pine nuts and swirl the pan to coat them evenly. Pour onto the baking sheet and spread with an offset spatula (be quick, as it sets fast). Cool completely, then pulse in a food processor until it has the texture of coarse breadcrumbs.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Then stir in the flour and most of the praline (set aside a little for decoration). Line an 8-by-10‑inch baking sheet with parchment and, using a spatula, spread out the mixture until ⅓ inch thick. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Using the biscuit cutter, press out six rounds and set these aside to cool completely.
  5. Drain the raisins. Mix the raisins into the ice cream and, using a spoon and spatula, spread the mixture on to the biscuit bases, building it up to a peak. Smooth the edges with a spatula dipped in hot water. Freeze for 15 minutes, until firm.
  6. Place the white chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the hot water). Melt and stir together, then remove from the heat. Take the ice-cream cakes out of the freezer and ladle the topping over each. Quickly sprinkle with a little of the reserved praline and either eat straight away or return to the freezer, where they will keep for up to 2 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before eating.

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