Hello, Sugar: How to Make the Mile High Pie from Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans
After a major renovation, the iconic Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans reopened last year as a refreshed and reinvigorated version of its charming and irreverent self. Same goes for the Caribbean Room, the hotel’s legendary in-house restaurant.
Now overseen by NOLA chef John Besh and his Our House Hospitality group, the Caribbean Room serves contemporary updates to its signatures. Case in point: the tower of ice cream layers known as the Mile High Pie.
“The history of the Mile High Pie is very elusive,” says Caribbean Room Pastry Chef Erin White, who shares a modified version of the recipe for a home cook below. “All we’ve been able to come up with is that it started here in this hotel and has been the favorite dessert for generations and generations of guests at the Caribbean Room.”
While the previous Mile High Pie was in a plain pie crust and had meringue, Erin and her team updated it by using a jet black cookie crust and topping it with marshmallow.
“We also make all of the ice cream in-house, from scratch,” she says. “From start to finish, it is a three-day process!”
Erin loves how the new Caribbean Room features many menu items that are modern interpretations of original dishes to the hotel. Her own perfect meal would start with a Soft Shell Shrimp Saki, a black garlic BBQ sauce and whole tempura fried soft shell shrimp. “It’s a great way to wake up your taste buds,” she says. She’d follow it up with Red Snapper Pontchartrain, a crispy filet of skin-on red snapper, sautéed shrimp, mushrooms, and Swiss chard, served with a velvety aerated Hollandaise. She’d finish it off with the Mile High Pie, of course.
Recipe for Mile High Pie from Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans
- 1 quart peppermint ice cream
- 1 quart vanilla ice cream
- 1 quart chocolate ice cream
- 1 jar marshmallow fluff
- 1 or 2 chocolate cookie pie crusts (based on size of stainless steel bowl)
- 1 jar chocolate sauce
In a mixing bowl, use a rubber spatula to mix the peppermint ice cream until it’s the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Place the peppermint ice cream in a medium stainless steel bowl, being sure to smooth out the ice cream as much as possible. Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
Place the vanilla ice cream in another bowl and mix to soft serve consistency, then layer it on top of the peppermint ice cream. Let vanilla ice cream freeze for at least 1 hour.
Repeat the same steps with the chocolate ice cream, layering onto the vanilla and allowing to freeze. Crumble the cookie crust and sprinkle generously on top of the chocolate ice cream. Using the bottom of a water glass, press the cookie crumble into the chocolate ice cream, making sure it is dense enough to hold the slice of pie. Freeze entire pie overnight.
The next day, place a plate on the bottom of the bowl and invert the bowl. Using your hands (or a small blowtorch, if handy!), gently warm the bowl and shake gently to remove the ice cream from the bowl. If pie is resistant, try placing a skewer inside the center of the ice cream to help release it.
Once the bowl is removed, freeze pie on the plate for an additional hour. Spoon or pipe the marshmallow fluff onto the outside of the ice cream and burn with a blowtorch (or leave plain). Chill for another hour or so to allow the fluff to firm up, then cut and serve with a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.