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What is an Eskimo Pie?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated May 16, 2024
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An Eskimo Pie is a type of dessert that made with vanilla ice cream and covered in hard chocolate. This combination is skewered onto a thin wooden stick, which is used as a handle. The term Eskimo Pie is a trademarked name for this desert, which is wrapped in foil.

The Eskimo Pie was invented by a high school teacher by the name of Christian Kent Nelson in either 1919 or 1920. He claimed to have come up with the idea for the Eskimo Pie when he witnessed a young boy trying to decide whether or not he wanted to purchase ice cream or candy, but only had enough money to purchase one. After watching this struggle, he decided to combine the two. This original invention was called the I-Scream-Bar.

The I-Scream-Bar was successful almost immediately, which prompted Nelson to partner with candy maker Russel C. Stover. The invention was then renamed Eskimo Pie, and the partners sold their manufacturing rights to a number of different companies, but still collected royalties from their sales. By 1922, a million Eskimo Pies were being sold every day. Reportedly, the success of the Eskimo Pie caused cocoa bean prices to increase by 50%. Nonetheless, Stover decided to sell his share of the business shortly after.

By 1924, Nelson sold the company to R.S. Reynolds, the company that made the foil wrappers that were used to cover the Eskimo Pie treats. The patent for the Eskimo Pie was invalidated in 1929, but Nelson stayed on board with the R.S. Reynolds company. It has been reported that Nelson originally retired after selling the Eskimo Pie rights to R.S. Reynolds, but he came on board with the company later purely out of boredom.

In 1935, Nelson invented a new and more efficient way to manufacture and ship the Eskimo Pie. He continued to work with the company until he retired in 1961. Nelson died in 1992, when he was 99 years old. The Eskimo Pie Corporation was also formed in 1992. Today, the Eskimo Pie is manufactured by CoolBrands International. The company purchased the Eskimo Pie Corporation in 2000.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By CarrotIsland — On Aug 27, 2010

@gardenturtle: Sorry about that. I meant to include the recipe for ganache. Ganache is kind of like frosting. It is chocolate that has a strong flavor and it’s not too sweet. This is how you make it:

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tbs. cognac, rum, or vanilla extract

Put the chocolate and the cream in a double boiler and stir occasionally. When the chocolate is completely melted and it has a smooth consistency, set it aside to cool. Stir in whatever flavoring you choose.

You need to let it cool to room temperature before using it for the Eskimo Pie or it will melt the ice cream.

By GardenTurtle — On Aug 27, 2010

@carrotisland: What is ganache? I have never even heard of that.

By CarrotIsland — On Aug 27, 2010

@googie98: Yes, there is an Eskimo pie. It is quite tasty. You can use any kind of ice cream. Whatever your favorite is, you can use it. I like to use mint chocolate chip ice cream. Here is the recipe:

You need 1 chocolate crumb crust (frozen), 4 cups of good quality ice cream, and 2 cups of chocolate Ganache (room temperature).

Soften your ice cream in the fridge for about 30 minutes. It should be the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Spread ice cream in the crust using a spatula. Freeze the pie for about 2 hours or until the ice cream is solid.

Spread the ganache evenly over the pie, completely covering the ice cream but not covering the crust at the edges. Freeze for another hour before serving.

By googie98 — On Aug 27, 2010

Isn't there an actual pie that is called Eskimo Pie?

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