I didn’t know there’s a World Nutella Day until last year which fans of the hazelnut cocoa spread celebrate the deliciousness of the versatile Nutella. It’s a no brainer that I choose to celebrate by making a couple of delectable desserts. This is only part 1 of my contribution. Don’t forget to check out part 2 with the most girlish buckeyes you’ve ever seen!
I rarely make dessert that involves “open packages X and Y and pile them in the same plate”. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the convenience of such creations. It’s just not culinary challenging to interest me. That is the reason why I never made icebox cakes until today. Obviously, I’m not thinking of the standard chocolate wafers and whipped cream concoction. Taking a cue from my favourite cookie, what if the icebox cake consists of layers of graham crackers softened with Nutella pudding? The softened cookies with their nutty wheaty taste is perfect counterpoint to the pudding’s sweetness. The magic really happens while the cake rest in the fridge (icebox). Once the crunchy graham crackers soften, they take on the tender texture of cake. The profile of the cake looks like you’ve been slaving over the kitchen for hours with all the thin layers but in fact it took no time at all to prepare. Now that’s a dessert to tickle my fancy.
Making pudding is simple enough. I began with a standard cornstarch-based pudding enriched with heavy cream. Instead of flavouring it with vanilla, I stirred in dollops of Nutella and punched up the flavour with Frangelico. This pudding is rich and the hazelnut cocoa flavour dominates. It’s like eating a spoonful of Nutella, only lighter in texture though not in taste. Remember the ubiquitous pudding cup you used to find in your lunchbox growing up? Can you imagine the squeals of delight upon finding a Nutella pudding cup instead? I wouldn’t trade that for however many bags of chips.
Even if you’re not into making an icebox cake, I highly recommend that you try making the Nutella pudding. Garnish it simply with a small quenelle of crème fraiche, some grated milk chocolate, and toasted hazelnut, and you’ll have a dessert that few people can resist. The tangy crème fraiche is an incredible match for the rich pudding.
For more Nutella treats at Dessert By Candy, check out:
- Nutella Scones
- Nutella Buckeyes
- Nutella Banoffee Cream Pie
- Nutella Tartlets
- Homemade Nutella
- Chewy Sugar Cookie Sandwiches with Black Forest Filling
- Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
- Nutella Tartine
- Nutella Kuchen with Seville Orange Marmalade
Nutella Pudding Icebox Cake
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 6 1/2 oz Nutella (by weight)
- 2 tbsp Frangelico
- 36 graham crackers
- Line a 7” square cake pan with plastic wrap. Set aside. I know that it is an unusual size but they are quite popular in Japan as a two-piece pan that you can lift out the insert for making yokan. Besides, it fits 9 graham crackers perfectly in one layer. No kidding.
- Scald the milk, cream, and 1/4 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. In the mean time, whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar, and cornstarch in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
- Temper the eggs by pouring in a bit of the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking. Keep adding milk to eggs and continue whisking until incorporated. Pour mixture back to saucepan.
- Cook over medium high heat and stir constantly with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. When it starts to boil, the custard will thicken considerably. Keep stirring vigorously for another 15 seconds. Remove from heat.
- Empty the cooked custard into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in Nutella and Frangelico until smooth. You now have Nutella pudding! I dare you not to take a taste.
- To assemble icebox cake, line cake pan with a layer of graham cracker (9 cracker per layer) and top with 1/2 cup of pudding. Smooth pudding evenly using an offset spatula. Repeat with another layer of graham cracker and pudding three more times until you have 8 layers in total. The top layer should be Nutella pudding. Level with offset spatula. You may have a bit of pudding leftover. I don’t think you need me to tell you what to do.
- Wrap the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 24 hours. During this time, the moisture from the pudding will soften the graham crackers until they take on a cakey texture. Don’t rush it! If you want very clean neat cuts, I would put it in the freezer for 3 hours until solid.
- To serve the cake, lift it out of the cake pan with the help of plastic wrap. Peel off the plastic wrap and transfer cake to serving plate. Cut with a knife dipped in hot water and divide into 9-12 pieces. If the cake had been frozen, let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.