Cashew Turtle Ice Cream Pie (Low Carb)


Being the bad foodblogger that I am, I did not plan ahead with a Father’s Day post to help guide my readers in their food choices for their celebrations. The truth is, we had such a busy weekend that I hardly knew myself what I was going to cook and make. We don’t do much to celebrate these Hallmark holidays in our house, though the kids like to bring home from school the sort of handmade gifts that warm a parent’s heart far more than anything storebought. Other than that, we just try to spend the day together, relax, and enjoy each other’s company, not always an easy feat when you have three young ones. Our “celebration” consisted mostly of making Daddy’s tea before he woke up and bringing it to him in bed, and then packing a light lunch and heading to the beach. It was a beautiful day.

I did originally have a small plan for my husband, but it didn’t consist of me making anything for him myself. In fact, the plan was to buy him an ice cream cake. See, most of the time when we go to the beach, we stop at one particular creamery on the way home that sells some of the most incredible ice cream I’ve ever had. If you are ever spending the day on the North Shore in Massuchesetts, we have some amazing beaches that are worth a visit – Plum Island, Crane’s and Wingaersheek, to name a few. And if you do, it’s definitely worth your while to make a stop at Cherry Farm Creamery in Danvers. Their ice cream is phenomenal and their sizes are huge…don’t be fooled into getting anything larger than their “baby” size, because trust me, it’s ginormous! Back in the day when I could eat ice cream with abandon, I had to share the “baby” size with my husband or one of my kids, or risk feeling ill afterwards. They are that big.

Our favourite flavour is their Cashew Turtle, full of toasted cashews with ribbons of caramel and chocolate. It’s insanely good. So my original plan was to order a Cashew Turtle ice cream cake, and go pick it up whether or not we went to the beach. Obviously it would be torture for me to have such a treat around the house and not be able to partake, but it was something I was willing to suffer to let my husband know just what a great dad he is. Alas, I looked up their website earlier in the week and discovered that they need 7 days for a custom-order cake. I was about 3 days too late! So I let that idea go and cast around for some other ideas, but I consistently came up short.

There I was, awake by myself early on Father’s Day morning, and no idea what to do. I contemplated whipping up a big pancake or waffle breakfast, but I was just so irked by the ice cream cake plan, I couldn’t let it go. Finally, my son came downstairs and I told him how stumped I was, when it almost occured to us both at the same moment. Why not make him an ice cream cake (or pie, in this case)??? At first, I thought about making the real deal, full sugar, full carb, over the top indulgence. But my husband has been such a willing guinea pig for my low carb experiments and he tends to like them quite as well as the real deal. So why not make a version in which I too could partake? Before anyone else in the house was awake, my son and I got to work making the vanilla custard for the ice cream, as well as a cup of tea for Daddy. When we got home from the beach, I made the crust and churned the ice cream, and put the whole thing together.

The Results: I think you can see from the pictures that it turned out quite well. The flavour was wonderful, and in that respect I was very pleased. The execution, however, left a little something to be desired. This was my first time ever making an ice cream cake/pie and I learned a few things along the way that I think I would do differently next time. But there will indeed be a next time, because it was delicious, and you can learn from my mistakes.

First off, once it’s all assembled, it takes quite a bit longer for the ice cream to firm up than I realized, so plan ahead and give it at least 2 to 3 hours to chill before serving. Secondly, caramel sauce made from erythritol hardens as it cools. I knew this, and was a little flummoxed as to how to add it in while still warm without melting my ice cream entirely. I tried adding just a bit at a time, but I could tell almost right away that it was too hot and my ice cream was rapidly melting. So I stopped then and there and decided just to reheat the sauce before serving and pour it over the top before serving. Finally, I found that even while spreading my recently-churned ice cream into the cooled crust, it was melting quickly. I would have done better to freeze my crust for half an hour or so before attempting to assemble the cake, to help keep the ice cream cold.

I was also not entirely satisfied with the chocolate topping. It tasted great, but it hardened too much and cracked when I was trying to cut nice, pretty pieces. I made it with coconut oil, thinking that would keep it softer than butter, but it didn’t. I am not quite sure how to address this, but I know it can be done. I just need to play around with it a bit, and I intend to keep working at it! Until then, it’s pretty darn tasty as it is, so make it as is, and enjoy!

*Note – I did not label this recipe as Gluten Free because I used Lindt chocolate for the topping. Lindt is not labeled gluten free, so may contain traces of gluten. However, you can substitute GF high % cacao chocolate to make a GF version.

Cashew Turtle Ice Cream Pie

Ice Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups almond milk
1/4 cups granulated erythritol
3 large egg yolks
15 drops stevia extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped cashews, toasted

1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp granulated erythritol
3 tbsp butter, melted

Chocolate Topping:
1 3.5 oz Lindt 90% cacao chocolate bar, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup granulated erythritol
2 tsp molasses (optional, for colour)
2 tsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter

For the ice cream, set a medium bowl in a large container of ice water. Combine cream, almond milk and erythritol in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and heat until mixture is steaming but not simmering, or 175F on a candy thermometer.

Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl until smooth. Very slowly whisk in 3/4 cup of the hot cream mixture to temper the yolks. Then slowly whisk tempered yolks back into cream mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until very hot, 180F.

Pour custard into bowl set in ice bath, and let cool 10 minutes. Remove and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. Stir in stevia and vanilla extract, then pour into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions, adding chopped cashews in the last minute of churning.

Prepare the crust while the custard is chilling in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine crust ingredients together in a 9-inch pie pan and mix until fully incorporated. Press crust evenly into bottom and up sides of the pan (using a flat-bottomed object like a glass or measuring cup to press it down firmly and evenly will help).

Bake crust for 10 minutes. Let cool completely and then freeze for at least half an hour before adding the ice cream.

Spread freshly-churned ice cream into prepared crust. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of ice cream and remove any air bubbles. Chill until firm but not rock hard, about 2 hours.

For the chocolate topping, melt coconut oil and chopped chocolate together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Once ice cream is firm, pour over and spread chocolate topping evenly. Return to freezer to set, 30 minutes.

While topping is setting, make the caramel sauce by combining erythritol, molasses and water together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir until erythritol dissolves completely. Boil until begins to darken, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in whipping cream and butter. Return to a boil and cook until thickened, about 1 to 3 more minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes until thick but still pourable. Pour over slices of ice cream pie and serve.

Serves 12. Each serving has a total of 23.8g of carbs, with 2.5g from fiber and 14g from erythritol. Total net carbs equals 7.3g.

Yeah, so it’s not the lowest carb thing I’ve ever made…it’s what I like to call a “controlled indulgence”!

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  1. Kate@Diethood says

    Oh man, I would LOOOOVE to bite into that!! You know how much I love frozen desserts… a lot! :)) I can't believe this is low carb… I can have my cake and eat it too. Beautiful!

  2. Myrna says

    Mmmmm…this looks soooo scrumptious. Would love to dig into that! Would chocolate ganache be a good topping? Thanks for sharing=)

  3. Foodness Gracious says

    It looks really good!! Im a huge caramel freak. Kudos to you and your son for sticking to your guns and making the pie on top of whats already a very busy day!

  4. safire says

    This looks delicious! I would have to control myself and save some for later and not polish the whole thing!

  5. Jennifer says

    Looks incredible – lovely photos. Carolyn, for the caramel sauce, does the whipping cream and butter get stirred in or did I miss something somewhere?

  6. Peggy says

    Oh yeah, this is my kind of pie! I just recently made my first ice cream pie too… and it's definitely a learning experience. You'd think it would be so easy, but it takes a lot of patience and waiting, doesn't it?! Either way, the end result (obviously!) is well worth it =)

  7. The Mom Chef says

    You absolutely blow me away with your ability to create such masterpieces without the "normal" baking ingredients. In the words of the great philosophers Wayne and Garth, "I'm not worthy."

  8. Erin says

    Oh this looks great! Now you can have it anytime, you don't have to stop in the way home from the beach, and hope they have it!

  9. Kim - Liv Life says

    A wonderful summer pie! I'm still waiting for those warmer temps, but i guess that just means that my pie wouldn't melt too quickly if I left it out. Soon, I keep telling myself, soon.
    Love that you used the almond milk in the ice cream… I need to experiment there!

  10. Lizzy says

    Oh, wow…this looks fabulous, Carolyn..and SO happy you were able to partake :) I'm a sucker for anything caramelly…and combining caramel and ice cream makes a heavenly dessert~

  11. Kristel says

    Hi Carolyn! I am a new reader and just love your blog/recipes!! I have a question: Do you have any tips for converting my favorite recipes to low-carb, gluten-free & sugar-free? I noticed that you mentioned you use less erythritol in place of sugar, is there anything else, for example when you substitute almond/coconut flour for all-purpose flour, does the amount stay the same? Thanks so much!

  12. Tiffany says

    You are such an awesome wife and mother! And I love that your son was your ice cream pie sidekick! Sounds like great bonding :D. I'll be home in MA next week. I usually go to the beaches in South Shore… but this ice cream place in Danvers is tempting me to go north instead!

  13. Carolyn says

    Hi Kristel – ooo, that's a tough one. It takes a bit of playing to get a feal for how to sub in the various low carb ingredients. When it comes to sweetening, I almost always go with 1/4 cup erythritol and 16-20 drops stevia extract in place of about 1 cup of sugar. But the flours are harder. They behave so differently than wheat flour. For almond flour, I find you have to use a bit more than you would regular flour, plus add in some things like whey protein and xanthan gum to help give your baked good some structure (and usually one or two more eggs). For coconut flour, it's a whole different ballgame. You use less because it soaks up liquids like crazy, and then you have to use a LOT more eggs to give it structure.
    If I want to rework an old high-carb favourite, I usually have to give it a lot of thought as to how to swap the ingredients. Often I do a fair bit of research on the web, finding low carb recipes that might be a good start and then reworking them to fit the idea I have in mind. But I do often find that I have to modify them more than I thought…for example, if I find the batter too thick, I start adding almond milk one tbsp at a time until I get the right consistency. Or if the batter is too thin, I start adding in more almond flour or some such thing. It's all a bit of an experiment and sometimes it doesn't work out! Fortunately, most of the time it does.

  14. Maris(In Good Taste) says

    Well I think it looks perfect and I am sure there were no complaints from the lucky family that enjoyed it!

  15. Shirley says

    This looks amazing!! Sure you're not being too critical of your work? Vanilla ice cream, chocolate, caramel, cashews… hard to see how that can go wrong. :) I've never used erythritol before, but interesting to see what it works in, as well as the coconut oil.

  16. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom says

    Cashews have always been my favorite nut and I love them in mixed nuts, trail mix but never thought about an ice cream flavor with them. Your creation is so marvelous!

  17. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says

    This pie looks out of this world! I bet your husband was even more excited about this than the creamery's cake! Even if you weren't 100% thrilled, I am still so amazed at what you do with low carb ingredients!

  18. Tina @flourtrader says

    How sinful this looks-I'll bet there is none left. Great twist, using cashews instead of pecans. Well done!

  19. Curry and Comfort says

    This is wonderful. I ran over here to check out your decadent pie and when I saw that it was low carb I was so very impressed! I cook with low carb ingredients when I can and this looks like a dynamite recipe. Great Job! : )

  20. The Farmers Wife says

    That is one gorgeous dessert! I just love it! I'm with you, our Fathers Day Weekend was SO busy I didn't hardly have time to plan our own meal let alone help out my fellow bloggers! Lol!

  21. Parsley Sage says

    And you whipped this up on a whim? Holy crap that's impressive. Who cares if the ice cream melted? The messier the better in my book. Come make me one! Or 12 :)

  22. Kristel says

    Thank you Carolyn! I will start with following your recipes until I get a hang of it and then I may try experimenting on my own!

  23. All That's Left Are The Crumbs says

    What a great looking ice cream pie. Thank you so much for all of the tips. I would have to work quickly too due to the heat here.

  24. Nami @ Just One Cookbook says

    Wow, I'm just impressed by your gorgeous desserts every time I visit here. These pictures look like they come from magazines! Glad to hear you have a nice relaxing Father's Day!

  25. Kari says

    Oh. my. goodness. Wow!

    The low carb-ness makes me smile though :) Goes to show you can have significant indulgences and still make them low something! Impressive.

  26. Hester Casey - Alchemy says

    Wow – this is a stunner, all the more so because it's low carb.

    Will take your advice on ordering the baby size if I ever get to Cherry Farm Creamery having almost been wiped out by a Ghirardelli ice cream sundae :)

  27. Diane says

    Amazing…as usual! But I'm wondering if there is anyway to sub xylitol for sweetener? I have tons of it….Any ideas?? Thanks, and thanks for all of your posts! They make my day… :)

  28. Carolyn says

    Hi Diane – I think xylitol would be fine for the sweetener in the crust and the ice cream I am not sure about the caramel sauce, I have yet to try caramelizing it.

  29. Sandra says

    I am in love with your recipe..I would never make it as pretty as you did but I would eat it in second..LOL! Absolutely amazing!!!

  30. The Cilantropist says

    This looks fantastic! It sounds like you had a few things you would change next time, and it is always interesting to hear about your experiences so I can learn from them too. (I have never tried to make ice cream cake!) Sounds like your father's day was great even without the cake, so this was an extra treat!

  31. Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} says

    That looks like a little bite of ice cream heaven! I made an ice cream pie of sorts this weekend and had the same problem with re-freezing the ice cream. I had no idea it would take so long! I can't wait to try this combination of flavors!

  32. jackie says

    WOW! Seriously, you need to open a bakery so I can come and get a huge slice of this a cup of coffee! YUM!

  33. sara @ CaffeIna says

    Oh cashews and caramel! And it's low carb! Why should I resist the temptation. It looks just so wonderful.

  34. Dionne says

    Ice cream, chocolate, caramel, and nuts! Sounds divine. I'd like to place an order for one, please. What is your lead time?

  35. FamilySpice says

    ha! ha! I didn't do much planning either! We went to Legoland and ate the sandwiches we took. I figured I spoil him enough in the kitchen on a daily basis, so it was okay to slack off on Father's Day! Great looking treat- the kids would certain fight for this one!

  36. RavieNomNoms says

    Oh my! I cannot even tell you how much I love cashews! They are so yummy and then put them in a pie with ice cream?! HOLY MOLY! Home run Carolyn! The photos are incredible too!

  37. Becky says

    This is such a great pie for your hubby. Who can resist ice cream caramel and cashews all wrapped up in a pie? Great job, and I'm sure that your son was happy!

  38. Roxana GreenGirl says

    Carolyn, your deserve an award for all the low carb desserts you're sharing with us.
    I love turtle cheesecake and I can only imagine how this ice-cream pie tastes. oh, and looks amazing!

  39. Kathleen says

    I'm looking for a good low carb ice cream recipe. Would you recommend the ice cream part of this recipe to make a homemade vanilla ice cream?

  40. Magic of Spice says

    I love ice cream pies and this one looks fantastic! I just recently made my 1st sorbet and a frozen yogurt…wanting to try an ice cream next :)

  41. Carolyn says

    Hi Kathleen and Cara – yes, this is a decent base for low carb ice cream. Because it doesn't contain any sugar, it does freeze VERY hard if you have leftovers and you have to let it sit in the fridge for a good 1/2 hour to an hour to soften enough. But on the day you make it, it's really quite good. After churning in the IC maker it's about the consistency of soft-serve, so if you want it harder, you should cover with plastic wrap flush to the surface and give it another hour or two in the freezer, until firm but not rock hard.

  42. Diane says

    Thanks Carolyn. The xylitol worked perfectly in the ice cream…again, easy and delicious and my whole family loved it! Thank you so much.

    Quick question (sort of) – I found the infamous Olive Garden's Lemon Cream Cake over on the blogspot "Eat Cake For Dinner"

    Any chance you could work your magic on it to make a version that's low carb and gluten free…? If anyone can do can. Just a thought…but oh, it's a beautiful cake –

  43. Joanne says

    I am seriously blown away. That top photo should be submitted to FoodPornDaily, if you haven't done so already. Definitely worthy! I'm drooling over here!!! I can't WAIT to make this!!!

  44. Maggie @MaggieCooks says

    This pie looks delicious! 😀
    I know my grandpa will love it!
    he is a diabetic but loves desserts, I'm always looking for recipes like the ones you have here for him :) Thank you for sharing!

  45. Kelly says

    Love the recipe!

    Also thought I'd mention that coconut oil is the "secret ingredient" in Magic Shell – it's what makes it harden.

  46. Carolyn says

    Diane – sorry I am getting back to this so late! Going to take a look at the blog and the recipe and see what I can do!

  47. gobakeyourself says

    I can't believe I don't like cashews – what a ridiculous thing to say now that I am salivating over this 😀
    Wonderful recipe!

    Choc Chip Uru

  48. Tatyana says

    I have a question about caramel sauce. I made it last night to top my caramel apple cake and my caramel sauce get as hard candy right away as I put it on the top of the cake. Did I over boiled it? Why it happened? I will appreciate any suggestions. Thank you.

    • Carolyn says

      Hi Tatyana,
      Unfortunately, erythritol does this almost always in caramel sauce. It just doesn’t stay in solution and there’s virtually nothing to be done about it. It tastes good, but it hardens as it cools. I did manage to make a caramel sauce with xylitol recently that stayed soft (with a little bit of added xanthan gum) and I am working on perfecting that. I will let you know when I do!

      • Tatyana says

        Thank you, Carolyn. I tried to make it again, but it’s still getting hard, I like the taste anyways. I saw one video recently where caramel sauce was made from butter, heavy cream and Swerve powdered sweetener. I’ll let you know how this one will turn out, when I finally will try it. Thank you for your blog and wonderful recipes!

        • Carolyn says

          Hi Tatyana, I use Swerve a lot and I suspect it will also harden up…maybe not immediately, but eventually. But it’s worth a try! :)

  49. Taylor says

    This was absolutely delicious, my family loved it. However, can you tell me why you subtract the 14g of erythritol? I thought you only subtracted fiber. Why do you subtract erythritol?

    • Carolyn says

      Because it has absolutely no effect on my blood sugar, something I have tested over and over. Most people find the same thing.

  50. Emily says

    I didn’t read all of the comments, but if you add heavy whipping cream to the chocolate it should end up as more of a ganache as opposed to being hard.

  51. Christine says

    Carolyn, I have been on a low carb diet since Jan 1st. I was thrilled to come upon your site and have tried quite a few of your recipes, lemon cake and the grain free pancakes, are just a few of my favorites…mmmm. I was pleasantly surprised to realize you are on the north shore, I am from there too! Thanks for all the great recipes, you have made this low carb journey much more enjoyable for this foodie! Christine


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