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.
I’m back from Hawaii…a couple days in Oahu, a couple Kauai, but most of our time was spent on the Big Island, where my dad’s side of the family descended upon Kona for my uncle’s wedding. I’m sure the area is still recovering from the W family whirlwind. It was a lot of fun, and I have a face full of freckles and a mind full of good memories to show for it. One night, I even had a mai tai for each of you! Trust me when I say that I paid a stiff price for it the next day!
I’ve returned just in time to make blueberry sour-cream ice cream, this week’s TWD recipe, which comes to us courtesy of Dolores from Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. I was pretty jazzed about this recipe, not only because I jump at any excuse to use my KA ice cream attachment, but also because one of my favorite homemade fruit ice cream recipes is a strawberry-sour cream ice cream I found in Sunset magazine many moons ago. I just love the tang that a whomp of sour cream gives!
This ice cream recipe was pretty simple…no eggs, no making custard, no straining. I used frozen blueberries to make the base. I thought the end product had pretty good flavor, but decided to amp it up a bit before serving with a simple sauce made from, you guessed it, frozen mixed berries.
Dorie notes that this this ice cream is firm in texture. On the day I made it, we ate some within a few hours, when it had that gorgeously soft, smooth feel to it. But on the second day, it was more rock hard than just firm, even after sitting out for awhile. I find that to be a bit unpleasant, and usually put a teeny pinch of xanthan gum, which I get at the health food store, into my homemade ice creams to keep it scoopable for a few days (just a pinch, so it’s never gummy like some store-bought stuff). I was a little PO’d with myself for forgetting it here. If I make this again, I’ll wait till fresh berries are in season and I’ll add a pinch of xanthan gum at the point where the berries are just cooked and still hot.
Look in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity to find the recipe. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll to see what over 200 other people had to say!
I don’t often make this kind of thing at home. I’ll leave the plated dessert nonsense for work, thanks very much (although this is not even close to restaurant-worthy). But R was in Korea for four days this week, and I had too much time on my hands. Also, I thought he’d like having a special dessert when he came home.
I’ve called this a “bombe,” but if you’d like to think of it as “baked Alaska,” that’s fine, too. I originally thought to do some version of this as a means to use up some extra sponge cake in the freezer and some yolks in the fridge. I could have gone in any number of directions flavor-wise, but I wanted to send Tartelette one more entry for her Sugar High Friday (an event started by Jennifer The Domestic Goddess) citrus extravaganza, so I settled on a meyer lemon ice cream bombe with orange caramel sauce hiding in the center.
If you’re into making ice cream, then this isn’t too complicated if you start the whole process a couple days ahead. Make your ice cream custard and caramel sauce one day, run the ice cream and mold it the next. Then the day of, assemble, make your meringue and plate up! And if you’re not into making ice cream, then I think store-bought would do just fine, and would save a lot of prep. Having cake in the freezer and a silicone semi-spherical mold (like this) in the cupboard helps, too.
The ice cream is snappy, and combined with the meringue, is a bit reminiscent of LMP. The orange juice and zest in the caramel help temper some of its sweetness. This is like a self-contained ice cream sundae, and it’s good!
Meyer Lemon Ice Cream Bombe- makes 6 individual bombes (of this size)
Note: If you don’t have a silicone mold, you can put a large scoop of ice cream onto cut cake circles and just serve the sauce on the side. I don’t give a recipe for the cake here, but I used scraps from the jaconde used in my opéra cake (any relatively thin sponge cake will do).
Day 1: Make the custard base for the meyer lemon ice cream (recipe below; save your egg whites for the meringue) and chill in the refrigerator. Put your ice cream machine canister in the freezer, if necessary. Make the orange caramel sauce (recipe below) and chill. If you don’t already have cake available, make or buy the cake and freeze.
Day 2: Freeze the meyer lemon ice cream base according to your machine’s instructions. Using a spoon, fill the cavities of your dome molds with the ice cream, making sure to nudge it against the side of the molds, and level off each one with an offset spatula or the back of a knife. Lay your silicone molds on a sheet pan and freeze for about 4 hours. Once semi-hardened, using a spoon or a small ice cream scoop, hollow out a cavity in the middle of each mold. This cavity will hold the caramel sauce, so be sure to leave enough ice cream “cushion” around it. Press plastic wrap against the exposed surface of the ice cream and return the molds to the freezer overnight to harden.
Day 3: No more than a couple of hours before serving, cut out cake circles using a round cutter that matches the diameter of the bottom of the mold. Take the tray holding the silicone molds out of the freezer. Using a spoon or a squeeze bottle, fill the cavities in of each bombe with orange caramel sauce. Lightly press a cake circle onto each bombe, and pop out of the silicone mold. Place back on the sheet tray, cake side down (the caramel shouldn’t leak out). Return the tray to the freezer. Prepare the Swiss meringue (recipe below) and use a small offset spatula to cover the bombe. Either brown the meringue with a kitchen blowtorch, or bake in a preheated 500°F oven until meringue is deep brown in spots, turning the sheet pan as needed for even cooking, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve (or you can return the bombes to the freezer for up to a couple of hours, if necessary).
Meyer Lemon Ice Cream Base
modified from a recipe on Epicurious
Note: The xanthan gum in the recipe is optional, and helps keep ice crystals from forming as the ice cream sits in the freezer. It is a powder and can be found in most health food stores.
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 c milk
3/4 c sugar
2 T finely grated fresh meyer lemon zest
1/8 t salt
6 large egg yolks
2/3 c fresh meyer lemon juice
pinch of xanthan gum (under 1/8 t)
-Take about half of the sugar and put into the bottom of a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Add the lemon zest and rub into the sugar using your fingers. Add the cream, milk and salt to the pan and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and set aside for about ten minutes to infuse the flavor of the zest.
-Beat yolks and the remaining sugar well in a large bowl, then add hot sweetened cream in a slow stream, whisking. Pour custard into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until a candy or instant-read thermometer registers 170°F and custard coats back of spoon, about 10 minutes.
-Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl, then stir in meyer lemon juice. Cool custard, stirring occasionally, then chill until cold, preferably overnight, before freeing in an ice cream machine.
Orange Caramel Sauce
1 c sugar
1 T light corn syrup or golden syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 c water
1/2 c heavy cream, heated
2 T unsalted butter
zest and juice of half an orange
-In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, syrup, salt and water until the sugar is completely moistened. Wash down any sugar that is stuck to the side of the pot with a wet pastry brush or wet fingers. (Sugar granules on the side could cause your caramel to crystallize.) Allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns deep amber in color (380°F.). Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel. It will bubble up, so stand back.
-Use a whisk or wooden spoon to stir the mixture until smooth, scraping up the thicker part that settles on the bottom. If any lumps develop, return the pan to the heat and stir until they dissolve. Stir in the butter and the orange zest and juice. Cool. Store in a jar in the refrigerator.
Note: If you are afraid you will not be able to work quickly enough rather than pull out the full tray, you can remove the unmolded bombes from the freezer and meringue them one by one, returning each one to the freezer before removing the next.
4 egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup sugar
-Combine sugar and egg whites in large metal bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over saucepan of gently simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot to the touch and all the sugar has dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Using the stand mixer fitted with the whip or a handheld electric mixer, beat meringue at high speed until very thick and billowy and room temperature, about 2-3 minutes.
-Place sheet tray with unmolded, assembled bombes on work surface. Mound 2 heaping tablespoons meringue atop ice cream on 1 cake round. Spread meringue evenly over to cover, sealing meringue to plain cake border and swirling decoratively. Repeat with remaining desserts.