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

Frangipane Ice Cream

Posted on: December 9, 2009

A cake made into ice cream!

I was inspired to make this ice cream after looking at a recipe for a very popular Pear and Dried Cherry Frangipane Cake from the December 2003 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. Here’s the link if you’re interested in the cake-

The cake was listed as a part of a Christmas Tree Trimming Party and I thought it looked so perfect for Christmas with its copious nuts and fruits sparkling like plump jewels. I knew I had to see if I could ice-creamify it! I made an almond flavored ice cream base and then added some amaretto macerated dried cherries and some pears lightly sauteed in a bit of butter and a light sprinkling of cinnamon. I actually haven’t made the cake yet, but I’m proud to say that this ice cream twist on the original was very delicious and complex!

The almond infused base.

The word “frangipane” simply refers to any recipe with almonds as the base. Most of the time, an Italian almond paste is used. For my recipe I wanted to infuse the flavor of almonds right into the base of my ice cream. I ended up steeping some toasted almonds with the milk and the cream and then pureeing the mix in a blender before straining the almonds back out. I’ve used this method before in my Hazelnut-Frangelico Ice Cream, and it’s a great way to infuse the base of your ice cream with a rich, nutty flavor. It’s a little extra effort, what with the steeping and the pureeing and all, but the results are completely worth it!

Almonds and cherries and pears- Oh my!

 I wanted to give the dried cherries in this recipe some moisture and extra flavor so I boiled and then let them sit in some Amaretto. This process, also know as maceration, made the cherries plump and juicy and prevented them from freezing rock hard in the ice cream. You could use any alcohol for the maceration process, but Amaretto worked particularly well here as it’s an almond flavored liquer. The Amaretto flavor married very well with both the roasted almonds in the base and the dried cherries.

A Tree-Trimming Ice Cream!

 This ice cream is another great choice for the Christmas season. The flavors of roasted almonds, buttery pears and juicy, Amaretto soaked cherries were perfectly complementary to each other. I think next year I’ll make this ice cream with the cake it was inspired from and serve them together as part of my own tree trimming party! Somehow the nuts and the dried fruits and pears say “Christmas” in a way that seems to be etched into our collective psyche. Like our need for fruitcake at this time of year, despite the fact that almost no one seems to like it! So use that old fruitcake as door jamb or a bookend or an anchor for your yacht and make this fresher and more vibrant homage instead. Season’s Greetings!

Frangipane Ice Cream


2 cups almonds, toasted

3 cups half and half

½ cup heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

6 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

1/3 cup Amaretto or other almond flavored liquor

¼ teaspoon almond extract

1 ripe pear

¼ cup dried cherries

pinch of cinnamon

pat of butter

1.)    Place 1 3/4 cups toasted almonds and 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 almond 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 almond solids. You should have approximately 2 ½ cups of almond milk. If you have less, add more milk or half and half to make up for the desired amount.

3.)    Combine almond 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 almond 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 4-5 minutes.

6.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and almond extract and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. After freezing, stir in remaining 1/4 cup toasted almonds, sautéed pears and Amaretto cherries. Enjoy!

 Amaretto Cherries

 1.)    Combine dried cherries and Amaretto in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for a few hours. You can make this up to a day ahead.

 Sautéed Pears

 1.) Chop the ripe pear into ½ inch cubes. Sauté in a pan over medium heat with a bit of butter until cooked all the way through and beginning to brown. Add a dash of cinnamon and sprinkling of extra sugar, stirring well. Cool to room temperature.

Make it a sundae!

This flavor is very complex, so I’d be hesitant to add a sauce. I’m afraid a sauce would mask instead of enhancing the rich and complex flavors of this ice cream. I do think that an amaretto, frangelico, or even a bourbon spiked whipped cream would be unbelievably good dolloped on top.


2 Responses to "Frangipane Ice Cream"

This looks amazing! Pears over apples any day.

Thanks so much! 🙂

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