Love Pie…a crunchy, cold, ice cream treat

There are a lot of “types” of mom’s. They are all generalizations, to be sure. But there is the society mom, the stage mom, the artist mom. There are numerous categories. I suspect I fall into several, myself (though none of the aforementioned). But then there is one of the most admired types. She is the mom who runs the kitchen where all the boys show up throughout high school and college where there is always home cooked fare and fried chicken and all the fixins and giant casseroles and great desserts. This kind of mom learned early how to man-handle gigantic pot roasts and generally kept at least 4 gallons of milk in her refrigerator at all times.

When I think of this type of mom I think of my aunt Betty, who raised 3 enormous boys…and I’m talking “NFL big” boys. She is a wonder of a woman. When my husband talks about this kind of mom he is often talking about Karen Mertens. You will see some Betty recipes over the years. This is a Karen. I recently posted Poppy Seed Bread by Courtney Mertens. This is from Courtney’s mother in law.

Also the mom of multiple big boys, Karen Mertens fed the boys of Fulton during my husband’s stint at Westminster College…and apparently still feeds the very lucky international students who attend the college. I must say that my husband’s memories of this family also include the many radish sandwiches and pickled herring he was fed by Mr. Kenneth “Kingfish” Mertens, a beloved figure who my husband mentions fondly with frequency. They are just folks who know how to make you feel at home, even when home is far away. This tradition is carried on with great success by Doug and Mitch Mertens and Doug’s sweet wife Courtney, the source of the Poppy Seed Bread.

Recently, Karen emailed me a recipe for a crunchy ice cream topping. Within about 5 seconds I had a complete vision in my head of an ice cream pie, in a graham cracker crust, buried in a pile of the sweet crunchy goodness. I was pulling into the grocery store parking lot within 15 minutes of getting the email. I had a sense of urgency about making this pie exist. And it is divine. Pure bliss. Karen Mertens got this crunchy ice cream topping recipe from her sister. Her last name is Love. Therefore, this pie is, and forever more will be called Love Pie. I think it would be equally good with chocolate ice cream as the filling. I used the graham cracker crust from my Key Lime Pie.

Love Pie...a crunchy, cold, ice cream treat
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Make sure to account for at least 2 hours in the freezer before serving.
  • 11 full sized graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  • 2½ cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
Ice Cream
  • 6 cups vanilla ice cream (buy ½ gallon)
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Combine the pecans, Rice Krispies and coconut in a 9” x 11” baking dish. Pour the melted butter over the Rice Krispie mixture and mix. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the baked Rice Krispie mixture and stir to combine. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and pour the mixture out on parchment to cool. Sprinkle the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips over the mixture. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
  2. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Put the grahams in your food processor with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Process until they are the consistency of sandy crumbs. You can also put them in a Ziploc and crunch them up. Mix in 5 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter. You can add up to two more tablespoons of melted butter if it is not becoming workable. Pour the buttered crumbs into a 9 inch pie plate and press it into the bottom and sides to form a crust. You can use the sides of a measuring cup to push the crumbs against the side of the pie plate. Bake for 13 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. When the crust is cool, remove the ice cream from the freezer and allow the ice cream to soften somewhat. Mix the softened ice cream with a spoon to even the consistency. Spoon the ice cream into the graham cracker crust and smooth it out with the back side of the spoon or a spatula. You can use more or less ice cream depending on how tall you like your ice cream pie. Pile up the crunchy topping on top of the ice cream. Use as much as you like. I used about half of it. Press it down gently into the top of the ice cream just a little and then add more if you like. Immediately put the pie into the freezer until you are ready to serve. You will want to let it harden at least for an hour or two.

My mind truly spins with all of the possible adaptations of this recipe. I mentioned chocolate above, but I’m fairly sure coffee ice cream would be great too. The topping could easily be modified with other goodies, as well. I’m thinking white chocolate chips, or bits of caramel candy, or toffee bars. Let your inner kid go wild.

Ice cream pies are easy and always appreciated. If you are one of the “I can’t make pies” people, this is a great place to start. And, yes you can make pies, incidentally. If I can, you can.

Thank you for a great idea, Karen!

Put the remaining crunchy stuff into a glass jar with a lid or a resealable plastic bag. This will keep for a while and is great just spooned on top of ice cream. At the risk of sounding truly gluttonous, this is amazing with a little Hershey’s syrup on top, too.



  1. Lola Pitzer says

    I have really enjoyed your recipes and most especially your great photography and seeing the children every once in awhile. Had the salmon last night and both Phil and I thought that it was awsome. Keep up the good work.

  2. Dani says

    Wow! I can’t wait to make this. I think Love Pie is very fitting since this pie will make my husband fall in love with me all over again.

  3. Elsa Rector says

    Yum! Use the chocolate syrup that hardens when it touches something cold…not the kind you chug.

    I would use Blue Bell mint chocolate chip ice cream since that is the best in the world!

  4. Kelly says

    I love their mint chocolate chip too. And their plain chocolate and vanilla chocolate chip is amazing too. Let’s just say…I love everything Blue Bell. That would be much simpler.

  5. Courtney says

    Karen is the most amazing cook. I am not certain if it exactly the same recipe, but I first had poppy seed bread when I was one of the lucky recipients of the loaves Karen gives out during the holidays. She whips up an amazing spread like there is nothing to it. The pie looks delicious!

  6. Carolyn Flynn says

    Wow — Love Pie!
    !’m drooling already — what a fabulous summer pie recipe; can’t wait to try it, thanks.

  7. Amy Dean says

    Yum! Yum! Before you mentioned Aunt Betty I thought of her too. I hope she caught this introduction!

  8. Karen says

    I have a “smooth sailing” week ahead and I am going to be trying Love Pie without the pecans. So happy to see you added mini chocolate chips to the topping because I and many other can’t eat nuts. What a great exchange. I know this is going to be good.

  9. Kelly says

    Oh, Karen, thank you so much for the fabulous idea. It is really a yummy combination. The kids were wild about it.

  10. Debbie says

    Hi there! I’m Deb Love (Karen’s sis). When Karen emailed me about this I thought it was very funny since when I made this topping for the grandkids birthday party she attended, she couldn’t even partake because of the pecans and she hadn’t even tasted it before she sent it off to you!!! Proof my big sis knows a good recipe when she sees it, even if she hasn’t tried it! So glad to know of your site — already found some good ones to try out on the family and Westminster students we host in our home!

  11. Kelly says

    Deb, I’m so glad you popped up here. What a fun topping. The minute I saw it I knew I had to make it. Love Pie!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Elizabeth Alexander Cumbie says

    Okay, I just proclaimed to my husband . . . “I think I have a new love.” He looked at the ingredients and agreed. This looks YUMMY!


  1. […] Love Pie is an ice cream pie that was inspired by a wonderful woman in Fulton, Missouri named Karen Mertens. She shared a recipe that was shared with her…and it became Love Pie. Karen is the mother of our dear friends Doug and Courtney Mertens. My life has been enriched immeasurably by knowing the Mertens family. One of my most heartfelt pie posts was about Jennifer Perillo, a fellow food blogger, who lost her husband in an instant earlier this year. Her tribute pie to her husband was copied and posted by bloggers all over the country. It is and always will be Mikey’s Peanut Butter Pie. […]

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