It’s hot, so hot, in New York…hot like The Lovin’ Spoonful’s song. I’m not much for cranking the A/C (although I’m glad it’s an option in our building)…I’d rather chill out with a big glass of ice water or something cool and creamy.
I bought a quart of strawberries from the Greenmarket the other day, only to find the ones in the bottom half of the container were kind of smooshed. I probably would’ve been annoyed, but I’ve had this Strawberry Swirl Semifreddo recipe mentally tagged ever since I saw it in Donna Hay a couple of months ago. It calls for heaps of fresh strawberry purée…a good use for smooshy berries if you ask me.
I’ve never made a semifreddo at home before. Turns out it’s the perfect way to get something like ice cream, but without an ice cream maker. It’s less dense than regular ice cream…sort of like frozen mousse…and it has a really silky mouthfeel. I made this yesterday morning, and it’s still perfectly scoopable this afternoon. That scores big points in my book, as some homemade frozen desserts turn hard as a rock overnight.
There are different ways to make semifreddo, but this one starts out with what’s almost a zabaglione that’s then folded into whipped cream and swirled with strawberry purée. The amount of purée called for in the recipe was quite a bit more than I thought could incorporate and still get nice curlicues of pink and white. I just served the rest as sauce on the side.
Strawberry Swirl Semifreddo- makes 6-8 servings
from a recipe in Donna Hay Magazine (Issue 49)
Steph’s Note: If you find that you have more puree than you can incorporate into the base and still get a nice swirl, serve the extra along side scoops of the semifreddo. Half a recipe freezes nicely in a metal loaf pan.
For the base
2 yolks, extra
1 t vanilla extract or seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean
1 c caster sugar
2 c whipping cream
For the strawberry purée
750g strawberries, hulled
2 T powdered sugar
-Pre-chill a 2-quart (or 2-litre) capacity metal tin in the freezer.
-To make the puree, process the strawberries and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
-Place eggs, extra yolks, vanilla (extract or seeds) and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and, either by hand or using a hand-held electric mixer, beat for 6-8 mins or until thick and pale. Remove from heat and beat for a further 6-8 mins or until cool (you can transfer to a standing mixer instead and whip for about 4 minutes).
-Whisk the cream until medium-stiff peaks form. Gently fold cream through the egg mixture until well combined. Pour into a 2-litre capacity metal tin.
-Spoon over the strawberry purée and use a spatula to gently fold it through the cream mixture for a swirled effect. Freeze for 6 hours or overnight before serving.
I’m going to the Yankees game tonight…I already have my Teixeira shirt on and everything. At about 8:00, I’ll probably be having a chocolate Carvel soft-serve out of a little plastic helmet (along with a beer chaser–classy!). That’ll be pretty great, but I know it won’t be as tasty as the Black Raspberry Ice Cream I made last week.
If this summer is anything like last summer, I’ll be able to get fresh black raspberries at the Greenmarket in a month or two. But they’ll also cost like five bucks a half-pint, and make this one super-expensive batch of ice cream. I noticed frozen black raspberries at Trader Joe’s late last year…one thing I’ve learned about TJ’s since they arrived in NYC is that if I see something that looks interesting, I should just chuck it in my basket, because the next time I go, I’ll be told that it’s been discontinued (or that it’s “seasonal,” which I’m pretty sure is a euphemism for discontinued). I snapped up a bag right away, and unfortunately I haven’t seen them in my local store since.
If you can’t find black raspberries, just use red…heck, the recipe below was originally for red raspberry ice cream anyway. Your ice cream will be less purple and more pink, but it will be every bit as good. If something can taste like summer, this is it. And just like summer, you might even cry a little when it’s gone (not that I’m admitting to having done this).
Have a nice Memorial Day weekend!
P.S.: I cannot even tell you how awesome the ice cream was with this cake…..*sigh*
Black Raspberry Ice Cream- makes a generous quart
modified from David Lebovitz’s recipe for Raspberry Ice Cream in The Perfect Scoop
Steph’s Note: Make the purée by whizzing the black raspberries in a blender or food processor and pressing through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Lebovitz says you should begin with 6 cups (or 750 g) of berries to get the required amount of purée, but I got all I needed from one 340 gram bag of frozen black raspberries, coupled with about 3/4 cup of frozen red raspberries (because one bag of the black was all I had).
1½ cups (375ml) half-and-half
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1½ cups (375ml) heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1½ cups (375ml) strained black raspberry purée (from fresh or thawed frozen berries)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
about 1/8 t xanthan gum (optional; helps keep ice cream scoopable)
-Warm the half-and-half, pinch of salt and about half of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
-In a separate medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg yolks with the other half of the sugar. Slowly pour the warm liquid into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
-Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Vigorously whisk in the xanthan gum, if using, and quickly pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the raspberry purée and lemon juice, then stir until cool over an ice bath.
-Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, but to preserve the fresh berry taste, churn the ice cream within four hours of making the mixture.
I know I’ve told you before that I’ve been turning my nose up at raw bananas since I was a kid. But I try to keep an open mind, and I want to bake along with everyone, so I always give banana recipes a go anyway. Well, guess what. I think I’m starting to accept them…maybe even like them a little. I didn’t at all poo-poo Spike’s choice of Banana-Coconut Ice Cream Pie for TWD this week. In fact, I enjoyed it! What’s happening to me?? :)
An ice cream pie is what it sounds like– a crust (cookie-coconut in this case) topped with ice cream. I made mine in a springform rather than a pie plate, but that’s a nitpicky detail. Dorie uses chocolate ice cream as the base in her recipe…I assembled this pie at the same time I made that burnt sugar ice cream, so I used it instead. I didn’t want to miss out entirely on the chocolate, though, and made a cocoa fudge sauce to go on top.
Raw bananas make three different appearances here. There’s a layer of them between the crust and the ice cream, there’s a rum-banana smoosh stirred into the ice cream, and there are a few decorative slices for the top. Further proof that I am beginning to appreciate bananas: I thought the burnt sugar ice cream with rum and bananas stirred in was just killer!
I suppose because I work in the pastry biz, I’m often put on the spot about my favorite desserts. If I’m asked to name my favorite to eat, that’s such a tough question…often the answer that comes to mind is just the last thing I’ve tried! But if I have to name my favorite to make, that’s easy…ice cream! I love the way one simple base recipe can be switched up a million different ways. I love tempering the eggs and watching as they magically thicken the custard (geeky, right?). And I especially love that first taste of soft-serve right out of the machine! Yeah, so, needless to say, Becky’s pick of Burnt Sugar Ice Cream for TWD made me pretty jazzed up.
What is “burnt sugar?” It’s caramel taken half a step further…deep dark and just smoking. Don’t be afraid to take it to this stage for the best flavor. But do be prepared to move fast with your milk and cream when you reach it, or instead of getting the complex sweetness with a bitter edge that you are after, you will wind up with something that is just plain burned (and a pot that’s hard to clean!). Stand back when you add the milk and cream to the hot caramel…it will bubble and spit (you can minimize that by heating the liquids first), but the fury dies down quickly.
If you’ve given up on making ice cream at home because it turns rock hard as it sits in the freezer, give this one a shot. Because of the caramel, it stays luxuriously soft, creamy and easy to scoop. And the taste– oh momma! It’s perfect in an affogato, prefect for leftover DdL cookie sandwiches and perfect on its own, with just a sprinkling of pink salt.
Do I really need to say anything at all about vanilla ice cream? It is good…so good…not to mention good with everything (sweet, that is). It is fantastic if you make it yourself. And it is amazing if you make it yourself and use real beans in your custard. I dare you not to lick every last bit off your machine’s dasher!
For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (Dorie also has it here on her website). Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu chose it for TWD this week, so she’ll have the recipe, too. Don’t forget to scan the TWD Blogroll!
We are well into June now…never mind the fact that it’s been raining here constantly, and the thermometer can’t decide if it wants to read warm or chilly…it’s time to crank out some ice cream! Tommi of the colorful Brown Interior selected Honey-Peach Ice Cream for TWD, so that’s a good place to start!
Peaches cooked down in honey are puréed and added to a simple custard. I buy Cobble Hill Honey from Two for the Pot in Brooklyn. Every jar I’ve purchased tastes a little different, and my current one is quite mild. After churning, some extra chopped peach bits are supposed to be added to the ice cream. Peaches aren’t quite in season here, and the ones I bought were less than spectacular, so I just cooked and puréed the whole lot, rather than save some for add-ins. I added most of the purée to the custard, but didn’t want to thin it out too much, so I froze the rest in an ice cube tray…I see bellinis in my near future! As is, I liked this ice cream a lot, and would love to try it again with amazing peaches and a stronger batch of honey!
P.S.: By the time this post pops up, I’ll be in Michigan, visiting one of my grandmas. I haven’t seen her in a few years, so please forgive me if I can’t make the blogroll rounds this week. Also, because of the timing of this trip, I’m not sure I’ll be able to make next week’s recipe. I know, I know…I’ll do my best, but it may have to be one for the rewind files.
I skipped out on last month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge, so I wasn’t about to miss this one– especially since our hosts Wendy at wmpesblog and Dharm at Dad – Baker and Chef chose something exceptionally decadent. Actually, they chose two exceptionally decadent things: a flourless chocolate cake (called “Chocolate Valentino”) and homemade ice cream.
It may surprise you that a cake worthy of a restaurant plate has just three ingredients: chocolate, butter and eggs. Since chocolate is the star of the show here, use the best stuff you can. The recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, but I only had bittersweet so I threw a couple tablespoons of sugar into the meringue component. This sweetened it up a bit and also made the meringue more stable. I should also note that making the cake is just as easy as remembering the three ingredients! Melt the butter and chocolate together, add in the yolks, whip the whites to a meringue, fold them in, and bake. Keep a close eye on the cake in the oven, as mine baked quickly…but then again, I did just make a half recipe. This cake is so dense and chocolatey– it’s a really special dessert, but not at all hard to make.
To tell the truth, I think a rich cake like this pairs better with a light whipped cream than it does with an equally rich ice cream. But ice cream was part of the challenge, and it is really one of my favorite things to make. We were given the option of making either a traditional custard-based ice cream or an eggless Philadelphia-style one. I happened to have several yolks leftover from the coconut cake I had made a few days before, so that meant a French-style ice cream for me. I also had some fresh mint in the fridge…since I love the combination of chocolate and mint, I thought that would be a good way to go.
I have made a lot of ice cream at home (incidentally, I use the KitchenAid ice cream attachment and have had good results with it), and something I’ve learned is that if you start with a good vanilla ice cream recipe as your base, you can easily modify it for other flavors. For my mint ice cream, I used the custard-based classic vanilla recipe provided by Dharm, and rather than steeping the milk with a vanilla bean, I steeped it with a couple handfuls of fresh mint leaves. I also increased the sugar by two tablespoons, but this was just a matter of personal taste. Getting the mint flavor right can be a little tricky. The more mint you use, and the longer you infuse it, the more herbal the ice cream will be. That may sound obvious, but I’ve made several batches in the past that have tasted almost grassy. I was going for a subtler flavor here so I was careful when adding the mint, and made sure to taste the milk after it had steeped.
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
I want to start by saying thank you for all the good wishes regarding my last post! We are getting our act together over here and slowly sorting out the move details. Luckily, the move itself probably won’t be too painful, as we really don’t have much big stuff to send back. I’ll keep posting till we go, and I hope you’ll follow me back to New York!
OK, time to get back on topic–did I ever tell you about that one kilo bag of white chocolate I bought a few months back? I probably did, as it was dumb purchase that I am continually kicking myself for. I am determined to not waste it, but I can’t seem to use it up either. It taunts me from the cupboard…in fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that it may be multiplying in the bag.
The days have suddenly gotten quite warm (and a little muggy, too) here in Sydney, so I thought maybe a white chocolate ice cream would kill two birds with one stone: use up some some of that stash, and beat the heat at the same time. I found a recipe to almost exhaust the bag– the white chocolate ice cream from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. It uses a whopping 8 ounces of chocolate…that’s about double any other recipe I’ve seen. With all that white chocolate, you can probably guess that it’s a pretty rich ice cream. It’s quite dense, but silky smooth. Although I’ve photographed it plain and simple here, it’s great with sliced strawberries, or if you are feeling naughty, a big splash of Kahlua poured over the top works, too.
If you have The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz, you can find the recipe there. If you don’t, you can find a version with fresh ginger here on his site (omit the ginger and you’ll get the same recipe I’ve used).
One last thing…I cringe at the thought of using my blog as a pawn shop, but if anyone in Sydney is interested in purchasing a very gently used (gorgeous!) pistachio KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer or a Braun Multiquick stick blender with lots of attachments, shoot me an e-mail for the details. I apologize. I know it’s tacky, but these electronics won’t work back home (without a transformer, which I don’t trust and would rather not bother with). Also, to buy them new, they are much more expensive here than in States, so if anyone wants a deal, I thought I’d throw it out there.
You know the ice cream from my last post? Well, I did say I’d type up the recipe for you, and I do not fib (at least not often, and when I do, I usually get caught).
Making up your own ice cream flavors isn’t hard. Here, I pretty much just futzed around with a standard formula for vanilla ice cream that I often use, but the idea to add skim milk powder to the base and the technique of cooking it over a double boiler (no tempering that way) came from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy. (By the way, if you haven’t tried the Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream from her book, it is most excellent.)
After the cookies were polished off, R and I enjoyed the ice cream in sundae form! With chocolate sauce, it was truly spectacular (the sauce was leftover from the DB’s eclair challenge, but I’ll list that recipe below as well, just in case you want it). I’m imagining it would have made a damn good malted milkshake, too, but the ice cream is just a sweet memory now…
Vanilla Malted Ice Cream- makes about 1 quart
1½ c cream
1½ c milk
½ c vanilla sugar (or ½ c granulated sugar + ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped)
1/8 t salt
1/4 c skim milk powder
2 T barley malt syrup
4 egg yolks
½ t vanilla extract
about 1/8 t xanthan gum (optional; helps keep ice cream scoopable)
-Set yourself up with a double boiler: Put a few inches of water into a large, heavy saucepot and bring to a simmer. Find a heatproof bowl both big enough to hold the above ingredients and big enough to sit over the pot without touching the simmering water.
-In the bowl, thoroughly combine the cream, milk, vanilla sugar, salt, skim milk powder, malt syrup and egg yolks with a whisk.
-Set the bowl over the simmering water and stir the mixture constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches 180°-185°F (this takes 5-10 minutes). You may need to adjust the heat to keep the water at a simmer.
-Take the bowl off the heat and whisk in vanilla extract and xanthan gum (if using). Now is also a good time to taste the base…if it’s not malty enough for you, add in another tablespoon of syrup.
-Strain the base into a clean storage container or large glass measuring cup. Cool over an ice bath. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
-Pour the chilled base into your ice cream maker and freeze.
-Transfer to a resealable container and place in the freezer until firm enough to scoop.
Chocolate Sauce- makes 1½ cups or 525 g
from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 c (250 g) water
½ c (125 g) heavy cream (or crème fraîche)
1/3 c (70 g) sugar
-Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to whisk constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue whisking until the sauce thickens.
-It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of a spoon.
I’m just going to admit that I almost pooped out on TWD this week. I’ve been feeling a little weighed down lately, ya know, and I wasn’t so sure that something called a “Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte” was really going to help. But then I felt guilty…I haven’t missed a week for no good reason yet, and thought it best not to go down that road. Besides, I didn’t want to let down Amy of Food, Family and Fun, who chose this week’s recipe. The deal I struck with myself was to make just two individual servings– one for R and one for me.
I knew that my solo portions wouldn’t need to be as tall as Dorie’s large torte, so I could get away with less of everything. I made just 1/8 of the ganache recipe (or enough for one Dorie-sized serving), and divvied it up between my two little molds, which were actually sturdy, straight sided muffin wrappers. (FYI: The truffle cream does use raw eggs, so if you are sensitive to that, then you may want to skip this recipe or seek out pasteurized eggs, or do whatever you would normally do in this case.) Dorie uses raspberry-flavored ice cream in her torte, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been a fan of fruit and chocolate combos. Instead, I bought two scoops of condensed milk ice cream from a Sydney shop called Passion Flower, which has lots of cool Asian-inspired flavors (I wasn’t sure how black sesame or taro would pair with chocolate, so I played it safe). Back at home, I ground up some hazelnut praline, leftover from this cake, and stirred that in to the ice cream.
The key to serving a frozen dessert like this is to it pull it out of the freezer and let it temper on the counter a few minutes beforehand. Obviously you don’t want it to start melting, but if the ice cream begins to soften just a tad, it’s much more pleasant to eat and will actually taste better, too.
I’m so glad I pulled my head out from you-know-where and got this one done! It was fantastic, and a bit more classy than the normal mid-week dessert around these parts. The chocolate ganache doesn’t freeze solid, but becomes almost chewy when cold. And I really loved it in combination with the hazelnut praline, which retained its sweet crunch in the ice cream.