Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Creative Ice Cream Recipes from Snowy New England

Archive for September 2009

Fall is in the air!

Fall is in the air!

 

I live in New England, and Autumn is just the most glorious time you can imagine here. As much as I love Summer and warm weather, there is just something about the arrival of that crisp, cool air that puts a little extra spring in my step. Maybe its just me, but I always feel like the Fall is a beautiful and exciting time. An all too short period of vibrant colors and bursting harvest life that occurs before the steely, gray touch of Winter. 

Another added benefit of Fall are the crisp, delicious, and gorgeous apples that arrive every year. This recipe was inspired by an amazing Warm Apple-Buttermilk Custard Pie I’ve made for years from Cooking Light. If you’re interested in making it, you can find the recipe here-

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=434581

I’m a huge fan of buttermilk in practically any recipe, and when mixed into an ice cream base it is absolutely delicious. The pairing of cinnamon flecked apples in a tangy, sweet buttermilk custard base captures all the best qualities of the pie recipe, and then some.

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Pouring in the Buttermilk.

 

You start with the standard base of warm milk and cream gently whisked into egg yolks and sugar. To that you add a good portion of tangy buttermilk, as high quality as you can find it. Use full fat or low-fat buttermilk here, but not fat free, which lacks flavor and gives the ice cream an icy texture. As a side note, plain Buttermilk Ice Cream pairs beautifully with a wide variety of desserts. It’s an unexpectant and refreshing change from vanilla and is compatible with just about any cake or pie that you’d want to make a la mode. I especially like to serve it with homemade Pineapple Upside Down Cake- Yum!

 

A jumbled mess of Deliciousness.

A jumbled mess of Deliciousness.

 

Making the Cinnamon-Apples.

Making the Cinnamon-Apples.

 

Making the cinnamon apples are easy-peasy. Just peel them, slice them and saute them in a hot pan with a dab of butter and a touch of sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon and let cool and then add it to your base when it’s done churning. And what kind of apples should you use? After some purely empirical taste tasting I found that more tart varieties, such as Macintosh, Macoun or Granny Smith taste the best when cooked. Roasting or sauteing apples bring out their natural sweetness, so naturally sweeter varieties such as Gala or Fuji might taste too sweet. But don’t fret over this, really, use whatever you have on hand. Trust me, it will still taste amazing!

 

The sweet tang of Buttermilk Ice Cream.

Behold- The Sweet Tang of Buttermilk Ice Cream.

 

Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of the finished product. Just as I was about to snap some great shots, my camera pooped out on me and decided it needed its batteries recharged. It’s a shame too because this turned out to be a pretty ice cream. The base was a creamy, pale yellow from the egg yolks and buttermilk and the cinnamon apples looked lovely against it as a lush backdrop. You’ll just have to use your imagination, but don’t take my word for it- make it yourself!  You could even make the pie, which is served warm, with the matching cold ice cream for an exciting contrast in temperature and texture. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate fall and the inception of apple season.

 

Buttermilk Custard and Apple Ice Cream

 

 

Ingredients:

 

¾ cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

4 egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

1 ½ cups buttermilk

2 apples

cinnamon to taste

 

 1.)    Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

 

2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

 

3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6 minutes.

 

4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Pour in buttermilk and chill completely, 4 hours to overnight.

 

5.)    To make Cinnamon-Apples, slice, peel and core the apples, then add them to a medium skillet over medium heat with a pat of butter. Sautee until fully cooked and starting to brown, then take off the heat and add a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon to taste. Cool completely.

 

6.)    Churn ice cream base according to manufacturers instructions and when finished add the cooled cinnamon apples. Enjoy!

 

Make it a Sundae!– This ice cream tastes great on its own, but if you want to put it over the top, homemade butterscotch sauce tastes fantastic on this. On top of the sauce add toasted pecans and homemade whipped cream. Being that the inspiration for this ice cream is a pie, naturally pie crust pieces or bits of streusel topping make a welcome addition as well.

 

Lighten Up!– You can reduce the heavy cream in this recipe to ¼ cup and fill the rest in with whole milk with no ill effects in texture or flavor.

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The Best Biscotti's in the World!

The Best Biscotti in the World!

 

I know I have a tendency to wax rhapsodic when it comes to ice cream, but really, this combination was just divine. You start with a simple sweet cream base, just high quality buttery cream from grass-fed cows, sugar and eggs. Perfect on its own, without even the addition of the ubiquitous vanilla extract to muddy the sweet, creamy flavor. But the addition of the crumbled toasted almond biscotti just put it over the top. Easily one of the best flavors I’ve ever made and it couldn’t have been simpler or easier to make.

For the biscotti I use my mother’s recipe which she cut out of an old Woman’s Day magazine years ago. Despite its humble origins, it is in my opinion one of the best biscotti recipes I’ve ever tasted. The cornmeal in the batter really adds to the texture and the flavor is buttery and nutty with an appealing crunch.

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Start with the best ingredients.

 

When an ice cream recipe like this one has so few flavors, it’s important to purchase the highest quality ingredients available. Last year I discovered the joys of unhomogenized, once pasteurized, organic cream from grass-fed cows. The first time I substituted it for the cream I’d been getting for years at my local megamart I was blown away by the difference in flavor. The unhomogenized cream has a depth of flavor that honestly isn’t even in the same ballpark as the ultrapasteurized, homogenized stuff. Really, if you love making ice cream, you have to give this a try. I found some good brands at Whole Foods Market and it’s completely worth any extra expense. And don’t worry- its completely safe to use- the homogenization of milk has nothing to do with the killing of harmful bacteria. It’s a process intended to prevent the heavier cream from rising to the top, which is what happens naturally with dairy products. So shake it up baby! You’ll thank me later.

 

Pure and Simple.

Pure and Simple.

 

Unlike the other ice creams I’ve posted so far, this one is uncooked.  It’s what’s called a “Philadelphia Style” ice cream and it contains only eggs, cream, milk and sugar. This kind of recipe is the perfect place for high quality cream and milk to sing because every ingredient is uncooked and kept in its pure, unadulterated form. Simply whisk the eggs with the sugar, add the dairy products and pour into your ice cream maker. If you’re concerned about the use of raw eggs, you can use pasteurized eggs or egg beaters. You could always leave them out as well, but your ice cream will run the risk of getting icy and will not store very well in the freezer. The use of raw eggs isn’t as much of a scary prospect as one would think. The risk of getting salmonella poisoning is small, especially with the use of organic eggs from cageless chickens where cross contamination is less likely to occur. Just make sure to not serve the ice cream to children or the eldery, just in case.

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The creamiest ice cream ever!

 

After 20 minutes in my machine it churned into this. Sitting here, typing this, I’m annoyed that I can’t lick the screen. It was that good. While I was waiting for the ice cream to churn….

 

The Twin C's- Crunchy and Crumbly.

The Twin C's- Crunchy and Crumbly.

 

I chopped the biscotti and popped them in the freezer for a few minutes in the moments before they were to meet their beloved. Sing it with me: I can’t see me lovin’ nobody but you, for all my life!

 

Together at last!

Together at last!

 

When all is said and done, this recipe is a good reminder that sometimes simpler really is better. The ice cream tasted even richer than it actually was and had a great contrast of flavors and textures. It almost took me back to when I was a kid coming home from school and that happy simplicity of enjoying cookies and milk for an afternoon snack. Except this was much, much better.

Sweet Cream and Biscotti Ice Cream Recipe

 

 Ingredients:

 

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 ½ cups heavy cream, preferably unhomogenized

Biscotti, crumbled (recipe follows)

 

1.)    Whisk eggs together in a large bowl for a few minutes. Then, gradually add the sugar to the eggs, all the while whisking. Add the milk and cream and whisk until well mixed. Pour into ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is finished churning, folded in the chopped biscotti.

 

Almond Cornmeal Biscotti Recipe

 

Ingredients:

 

½ cup butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup yellow cornmeal

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 ½ toasted almonds, chopped and divided.

 

1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In bowl with mixer at high, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; add vanilla.  In separate bowl, combine next four ingredients. Add to butter mixture; beat until just blended. Stir in 1 cup almonds. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a 12 inch log. Place on greased baking sheet; top with remaining nuts. Bake 45 minutes; cool 5 minutes. Cut each log into 12 slices; place cut-side down on the same sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until golden, turning once. Cool on a wire rack.

The Land of Milk and Honey...

The Land of Milk and Honey...

 

Yes, I did just imply that my ice cream was of biblical proportions. Well, maybe it’s not as tasty as the promised land, but it’s still pretty darned good. I actually got my inspiration for this recipe from a little cookbook I have from Food and Wine Magazine called “Quick from Scratch”.  It’s a cookbook with an Italian theme and one of the desserts is a Honey-Ricotta Ice Cream made from store bought vanilla ice cream mixed with ricotta cheese and honey. It’s simple and delicious and very Italian, which are all things that I love. A few weeks ago however, I began to wonder if I couldn’t improve on the recipe by making my own homemade version. The results were fabulous, it churned up like a creamy dream and the flavor combination was both sophisticated and comforting.

 

Orange and Vanilla Bean.

Orange and Vanilla Bean.

 

These are the key flavorings. The vanilla bean adds tremendous flavor to both the honey and ricotta in this recipe. The orange rind enhances the natural floral and citrus undertones of the honey in addition to being a very quintessential Italian flavoring.

 

Steeping in the milk bath.

Steeping in the milk bath.

 

I’m a huge fan of letting flavors steep in gently heated milk for as long as possible.  That way, whatever flavors you’re trying to impart to your ice cream really fuse together right into the base.

 

Churn, Baby Churn!

Churn, Baby Churn!

 

For some reason, this ice cream whipped up exceptionally well in my ice cream maker. It froze quickly, and was so fluffy that it practically spilled out over the sides. I suspect this may have had something to do with the ricotta cheese, which must have added body, accounting for the differences in texture.

 

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn't it beautiful?

 

Spoon lickin' good!

Spoon lickin' good!

 

The finished product was gorgeous both to look at and to eat. The ricotta, honey, orange and vanilla flavors combined beautifully. This recipe is a must for anyone, like me, who loves ricotta cheese. Just remember, ice cream is only as good as the ingredients you put into it. For instance, try to find to best, freshest ricotta cheese. If you’re feeling particularly inspired you can even make you’re own! As intimidating as that might sound, it’s actually a shockingly easy process. There are many easy recipes for it on the internet, so if you feel daring, go  for it!  Also, try to purchase good quality honey as well. I used wildflower honey and it worked nicely.

 

Ricotta and Honey Ice Cream

 

Ingredients:

 

2/3 cup honey

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

1 ¼ cups whole milk or half and half

1 ½ cups good quality whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tablespoons corn syrup or golden syrup, optional

½ vanilla bean, split

2 inch thick strips of orange peel

 

 

1.)    Heat up the honey, milk, cream, ricotta cheese, vanilla bean, and orange peel in a medium saucepan until steaming, but not boiling.  As it is heating up, whisk the mixture together, and if necessary, scrape the vanilla bean to release the seeds.

 

2.)    Once the mixture is heated, take it off the heat and let it steep, covered, for 20-30 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and orange peel and then, in batches, process the mixture in a blender with a sturdy lid.

 

3.)    Stir in the corn syrup or golden syrup, if using. Chill the mixture four hours or overnight. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

 

 Make it a Sundae! – This makes a heavenly sundae with a generous drizzle of honey on top and a sprinkling of toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts on top. Top with whipped cream, if desired. (For the record, I pretty much always desire whipped cream).

Lighten Up!– To lighten this recipe you could use half and half in place of the heavy cream and part skim ricotta for the whole milk.

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Pretty little plums!

 

 

Or rather, Plum and Cognac Ice Cream for me.  I got the inspiration for this recipe from an absolutely tempting looking Plum-Armagnac Galette in the September issue of Cooking Light magazine. Relying on my deeply held principles that any dessert can be successfully converted to an ice cream, I resolved to create an ice cream that would marry the classic flavors of brandy and sweet-tart, ripe,  fall harvest plums.

When I arrived at the liquor store however, I discovered that my plans would have to make a slight detour. Though my vision originally called for Armangnac, my wallet brought my feet quickly to the ground at over $50 a bottle. So because I am an aspiring pastry chef, and not a professional one, I decided on a lovely little nip of Cognac instead for a much more economical price of $1.  The lesson learned is that feel free to substitute almost any kind of brandy here for the Armagnac, and if you do happen to be a famous and wealthy pastry chef you might just want to spring for the real thing.

 

 

Plum 2

Brandied Plum Jam

 

 

One thing that can be tricky when working with fruit based ice creams is that they have a tendency to go icy. Fruit is basically full of water, which if simply pureed can lead to an inferior ice cream texture.  I think I’ve found one way of solving that problem by making a quick skillet fruit jam which extracts most of the water from the fruit and also adds a rich, ripened fruit flavor to the ice cream base. I also include a small amount of pureed fresh fruit right before churning for a bit of brightness.

 

Delicious, easy and adaptable.

Delicious, easy and adaptable.

Most people are somewhat intimidated by the prospect of making jam.  All of that canning and jarring process sort of scared me off until I discovered these quick skillet jams. With just a few ingredients you can turn almost any type of fruit into a yummy (and in this case plummy) jam.  Sure it won’t keep as long, but it’ll last a few weeks in the fridge and that’s plenty of time to turn them into a luscious and flavorful ice cream of gelato.
Brown sugar base.

Brown sugar base.

 

As a last minute touch, I decided to whisk brown sugar into the egg yolks instead of the usual white cane sugar.  You could make the ice cream either way, but I think the bit of brown sugar brought out some of the caramel notes in the jam.

 

The freshly churned ice cream.

The freshly churned ice cream.

 

As for the finished product…. Well what can I say, it was plumb awesome!  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. It turned out to be a delicious flavor that’s perfectly suited to autumn. The cognac, plum and hint of brown sugar combined to create a flavor with complexity that mirrors the classic French combination. Honestly, I seriously thinking about making the galette now. And if I do, I can definitely think of the perfect ice cream to make it al a mode.

Recipe

Ingredients:

Prepared Plum Jam (recipe follows)

1 cup chopped fresh plums

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup white or brown sugar

3  large egg yolks

pinch of salt

1-3 tablespoons Armangnac or Cognac, to taste

 

1.)    Place plum jam and fresh plums in food processor. Pulse until blended. If desired, strain mixture through a sieve to get rid of plum skin (I didn’t, but I like texture in my ice cream).

 

2.)    Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

 

3.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

 

4.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6 minutes.

 

5.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and brandy and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy!

 

Make it a sundae!

 Although it might seem a bit unconventional, in Italy and other European countries chocolate and Armangnac are often paired together with delicious results. Try adding a dark chocolate hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. Another option would be a raspberry sauce which partners beautifully with plums.

 The lighter side

Feel to substitute whole milk or half and half for heavy cream in this recipe. If anything it will only make the flavors more intense, which is the reason gelati is often made this way in Italy.

 Plum Jam

 

Ingredients

                     4  cups sliced plums

                  1/2  cup  sugar

                    3 tablespoons brandy or other liquor

 

Combine plums, sugar, and 3 tablespoons brandy in a heavy Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (about 30-40 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Spoon into a container; cool to room temperature. Cover and chill.

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Hazelnut and Frangelico Gelato- Truly a thing of beauty!

After much deliberation, I decided that my maiden ice cream making voyage for this blog would be with Hazelnut Frangelico Gelato.  I had never made this recipe before, but I love hazelnuts and I love Frangelico so I just knew that the combination between the two would make for an absolutely scrumptious frozen treat. My culinary intuition was rewarded with a gelato that was smooth and nutty, with levels of flavor and no alcoholic afterburn.

 

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Of course when you're making Hazelnut Gelato you have to start with lots and lots of hazelnuts. Don't forget to toast them- in fact anytime you can toast a nut in a recipe go right ahead and do so. It adds so much flavor!

 

 

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Steeping the toasted hazelnuts with the milk and cream adds a rich nuttiness right into the base of the gelato. The frangelico (a hazelnut flavored liqueur) just enhances and intensifies those flavors. After the hazelnuts bathe in their warm milk bath for an hour, the mixture gets ground up in a blender and then pushed through a cheesecloth. Just don't make the mistake I did- I tried to make my hazelnut milk in a food processor not equipped to blend liquids. Big mistake, not only did it leak all over the place but I ended up losing many precious drops of hazelnutty, milky goodness.

 

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The next step is to take the strained hazelnut milk, warm it on the stove and slowly mix it into whisked up egg yolks and sugar. After the eggs are tempered, the whole mixture is cooked over low heat until a thin custard or creme anglaise is formed.

 

 

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After the custard cools (4 hours to overnight) just add the Frangelico and pour it into your ice cream maker. Behold- The Finished Product!

 

 

For some reason, homemade ice cream always tastes best licked right off the dasher!

For some reason, homemade ice cream always tastes best licked right off the dasher!

 

 

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Hazelnuts and Frangelico= Creamy, nutty love. Yum!

Recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups hazelnuts, toasted

3 cups or more whole milk or half and half

½ cup heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

6 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

3 tablespoon frangelico or other hazelnut flavored liquor

 1.)    Place 1 ½ cups toasted hazelnuts and milk or half and half in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the barest simmer for a few minutes and then cover the mixture, take it off the heat, and let it steep for an hour.

 2.)    Pour the hazelnut mixture in two batches into a blender with a sturdy lid. Process in blender until pureed. Then, set a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a medium bowl and carefully pour pureed mixture into sieve. Gently squeeze the cheesecloth to extract as much milk from the mixture as possible, discarding the hazelnut solids. You should have approximately 2 ½ cups of hazelnut milk. If you have less, add more milk or half and half to make up for the desired amount.

 3.)    Combine hazelnut milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

 4.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

 5.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add hazelnut milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 3-4 minutes.

 6.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and frangelico and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. After freezing, stir in remaining ½ cup toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!

 Make it a sundae!

 Of course hazelnuts and chocolate are a perfect pair. Try this ice cream with milk or dark chocolate hot fudge sauce spiked with a bit more of frangelico. Top with lots of whipped cream and a smattering more of toasted hazelnuts for a little piece of Nutella inspired heaven.

Hello World! I’m a recent college graduate who trained to be a teacher but dreams of opening her own ice cream shop someday. I’m completely obsessed with all things frozen including ice cream, frozen yogurt, semifreddo, sorbet and more. I’m also a true believer that almost any dessert can be deconstructed into an ice cream and that cake and ice cream are an almost magical pairing. The best day of the week in my house is homemade ice cream day so why not share it? Every week I’ll experiment with new recipes and let you know how they went.

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