Bangkok is a hard place to define. One minute you’re walking past elegant restaurants filled with people drinking mid-afternoon white wine and the next you’re passing rickety plastic tables topped with spicy grilled fish and deeply fragrant pork broth soup. It has nearly everything that most big modern cities in the world have, but with a heart that is uniquely Thailand.
This weekend was a holiday one here. Today is the birthday of the Queen of Thailand which means that both Frank’s and my offices are closed (!). For the long weekend, Frank and I soaked up both sides of this unpredictable city. We ate pad thai and drank prosecco. We spent Saturday morning at the market buying curry paste and spring rolls, and I spent my afternoon writing in a Starbucks that could have been in absolutely any city in the world.
I haven’t checked in to this space for nearly a week for a reason that is another result of living in this city. Our internet stopped working last Monday and refused to function for more than 5 minutes at a time for the rest of the week. Despite calls from Frank and unplugging the router at least 100 times as instructed, we spent the week offline. It wasn’t such a welcome state. We had MasterChef to watch and Parade posts to submit, and downloaded NPR podcasts are just about the only things that get me moving in the morning.
Finally on Friday, Frank asked a Thai friend to call and intervene with the internet company on our behalf.
The weekend in its entirety felt very much like what this life is – compromising opposites. Good and bad; highs and lows; global and local; Thai food and ice cream cake. It’s all gets thrown together in a jumble that is sometimes overwhelming and sometimes so very wonderful.
I couldn’t let the “summer” get away from me without an ice cream cake. Didn’t it seem like ice cream and ice cream-based desserts were even more popular this year than usual? The only way to get an ice cream cake in Bangkok is to make it or buy it at Swensen’s. Remember Swensen’s?
This is just about as straightforward as ice cream cakes get - with five ingredients and store-bought ice cream – but I wanted to share it because it made use of that cookie butter/speculoos spread that I love so much I carry it back every time I go home to the U.S. I can’t open the jar until I have a plan in mind or it disappears in a blur of spoon-jar-mouth motion. I loved it as a sweet layer in this cake.
- 1 pint ice cream (vanilla or chocolate chip work great)
- 25 chocolate sandwich cookies (235g / 8oz)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup whipping cream
- ¾ cup cookie butter/ Speculoos spread
- Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let soften on the counter at room temperature while preparing the rest of the cake.
- In a food processor, pulse the cookies and butter until it even crumbs form. Spread the cookie base into the prepared pan and gently press the crumbs into an even layer.
- Beat the whipping cream on high until soft peaks form. Add the cookie butter and beat on low just until evenly combined. Pour over the cookie base and spread into an even layer. Freeze for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and spread the softened ice cream evenly over the surface. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
- Remove the cake from the freezer 10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften a bit at room temperature before cutting into slices.