Last week, the kitchen sink stopped draining. The first plumber asked if I’d used Drano and then said we’d have to hire a crew to break through the brick outside and replace our pipes. We got a second opinion. The second plumber had a brain aneurysm.

In the meantime, I took the dishes outside to hose them off and wound up with a shoe full of field peas.

So, I called my momma, who asked why I wasn’t washing them in the bathtub, and I’m like, BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE WE KEEP THE GIN. But really, it’s because we just moved here, and I’m not at a Place of Trust with the bathtub yet. I’m not going to scrub our utensils where strangers have warrrshed theirs, if you know what I mean.

I loaded the dishes into two laundry baskets and a very large Rubbermaid and drove them the 45 minutes to Mom’s house, where I tapped my toes to the rhythmic whoosh of the dishwasher and talked celebrity news with my grandmother. (Once we were watching an entertainment roundup, and my mom asked, “Who’s 50 Cent?” Mommaw looks over and says, “It’s ‘Fiddy,’ Sherry. Fiddy.”)

This morning, I’m waiting for Plumber No. 3. Thankfully, this Neapolitan Ice Cream Torte – didn’t require many pots, pans … or utensils. Basically, you layer ganache and store-bought ice cream in a springform pan and freeze it. I didn’t alter Dorie’s recipe much, except for making the ganache with semisweet chocolate (instead of bittersweet) and mixing strawberry ice cream in the food processor instead of raspberry. The resulting torte tastes like Neapolitan ice cream for grown-ups. A nice way to end the summer.

Not indoor plumbing-nice, but nice.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Torte

From Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”

  • 1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed
  • 1 quart premium-quality vanilla ice cream.
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, for decorating (optional)
  1. Lightly spray an 8 or 8 1/2 inch springform pan.
  2. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set over a saucepan of simmering water and warm the ingredients, stirring occasionally, until they are melted. Transfer the bowl to the counter, whisk in the sugar and let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Rap the bowl against the counter to de-bubble the ganache, and pour one third of it into the springform pan. Freeze for at least 30 minutes to set the ganache. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the remaining ganache and keep it in on the counter.
  4. When the first layer of ganache is set, start making the strawberry ice cream. Puree the thawed strawberries in a food processor. Spoon the ice cream into the processor, and pulse just until it is blended with the puree.
  5. Spread half the ice cream over the ganache layer, return the springform to the freezer and freeze for at least 15 minutes. Scrape the remaining ice cream into a bowl, cover it with plastic and put in the freezer.
  6. When the raspberry layer is set, pour half of the remaining ganache over it. Return the pan to the freezer for another 30 minutes.
  7. When it’s time to spread over the next layer of ice cream, beat the ice cream with a wooden spoon or, if it’s too frozen to soften to spreadability with the spoon, scrape it back into the processor and whir for a few seconds. Spread the last of the raspberry ice cream over the truffle layer and freeze for at least 15 minutes.
  8. Finish by pouring the remaining ganache over the ice cream. Jiggle and tilt the pan to even the layer, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze the torte for at least 6 hours.
  9. To Finish: About 30 minutes – or up to 3 hours – before serving time, unmold the torte. The best way to do this is to warm the sides of the springform slightly with a hairdryer. Or, you can wrap a kitchen towel dampened with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. As soon as you remove the sides, pop the torte back into the freezer for 30 minutes, or more, so the warmed sides can re-firm.