Archive for the ‘Cake & Other Yummy Goodness’ Category
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 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
This is what I ate on Halloween instead of candy. I unfortunately had a cold at the time so my tastebuds were a little off, but still, this was way, way better than a Kit-Kat. I’ve been munching on fun size Halloween candy for weeks now, so by the time Halloween rolled around, I was ready for a non-chocolate based ice cream. I wanted to create an ice cream that had a connection to Halloween, but didn’t involve just smashing up some random candy bits and throwing it into my ice cream maker. Not that that flavor sounds bad, mind you, but I wanted to push myself and come up with a more creative ice cream recipe. I started brainstorming about popular halloween treats when a friend brought up popcorn balls. You know, those old school, sticky popcorn balls that people always make for Halloween? I’ve never been a huge fan of them, but it got me thinking about how popcorn might taste in a ice cream recipe. Well, as it turns out, pretty sensational. The popcorn here is in cased in a salted toffee sauce and baked up until light and crispy. Mixed into the sweet cream base it becomes heavenly, a treat without any trick.
For the popcorn, I used a recipe from Cooking Light Magazine and it came out beautifully. The flavor is very similar to Poppycock, but with less fat and calories. The popcorn was so delicious on its own that I’m considering making a large batch around Christmastime and giving it away as gifts. The toffee sauce here was rich and buttery with a hint of warm molasses underneath it.
The only issue with popcorn in ice cream is that it doesn’t sit very well if you want to store for a while in the freezer. It will still taste good, but the popcorn will get soggy. This really wasn’t an issue for me however, because my family and I gobbled it up in one sitting. So for this ice cream I would recommend that you serve it when you know that there will be lots of hungry mouths around. Which shouldn’t be to hard because, heck, I’m getting hungry just looking at the pictures!
The sweet, buttery and slightly salty popcorn was divine when folded into the sweet, cream base. As always, I used once pasteurized, and non homogenized milk and cream for a super creamy and deeply flavorful sweet cream base. The caramel popcorn became little crunchy, nuggets of caramel flavor that enhanced and intensified the flavor of the cream. I definitely think that this ice cream could be an improvement over those old Halloween popcorn balls. I enjoyed this ice cream so much that I wouldn’t trade it for a lifetime supply of fun size candy. And coming from me, that’s really saying something! So enjoy and I hope you all had a Halloween that was both spooky and safe.
Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream, preferably unhomogenized
Caramel Popcorn recipe (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, fold in caramel popcorn and enjoy!
Caramel Popcorn (from Cooking Light Magazine, December 2002)
Yield: 18 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon light molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 cups popcorn (popped without salt or fat)
Preheat oven to 250°.
Coat a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Place popcorn in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over popcorn in a steady stream, stirring to coat.
Spread popcorn mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove from oven; stir to break up any large clumps. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Make it a Sundae!- You could easily create a Poppycock sundae by topping this ice cream with caramel or toffee sauce, mixed salted nuts, and fresh whipped cream for an over the top treat.
I know, I know, another apple ice cream. After the postings about the Buttermilk Custard Apple Ice Cream and the Roasted Apple Calvados Ice Cream, do you really need another ice cream with apples in it? Well, the answer is a most emphatic yes! And for supporting evidence I submit to you this photo:
While I do love to keep things seasonal with my ice cream, this combination is a no brainer and is delicious really at any time of year. It’s the combination of two of my favorite desserts and a natural extension of apple crisp a la mode. And depending on what kind of fruit is in season, you can make all kinds of delicious substititions for the apples. The middle of July? Substitute peaches. Spring has sprung? Rhubarb would be a scrumptious alternative. No matter how you whip it up, this adaptable ice cream is really the best of both worlds.
Apple Crisp Ice Cream is hardly a new flavor, but what I think sets my flavor apart is the insertion of crumbly, buttery homemade crisp crust streusel pieces. Every time I see this flavor at ice cream stands I’m filled with wild hope that perhaps, this time, the advertised apple crisp ice cream will be dotted with large chunks of crust pieces. But alas, my heart is so often broken. In my mind, to not include crust or streusel topping pieces is just plain false advertising. How can it possibly be apple crisp without the “crisp”? I guess it’s true that when you want something done right you have to do it yourself and ice cream is no exception.
I know that everyone has a favorite apple crisp recipe, so you can insert any crisp topping you want for this recipe. Just make the topping of the crisp, and pop it in the oven sans apple filling. If you are looking for a good recipe, I would definitely point you in the direction of the Barefoot Contessa/Ina Garten. Her crisp recipes, like pretty much everything else she makes, are delicious and foolproof.
This flavor is really a classic that you have to try. As delicious as homemade ice cream and apple crisp are separately, together they somehow become more than the sum of their parts. You get the cool, sweet cream flavor and then the oaty, buttery crunch of the streusel and then a burst of fresh fruit flavor from the cinnamon apples. Basically it’s the very best apple crisp a la mode you’ve ever tasted. And another fantastic flavor for fall!
Apple Crisp Ice Cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream, preferably unhomogenized
Streusel/Crisp Topping (recipe follows)
Cinnamon Apples (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, fold in the crumbled streusel topping and cinnamon apples.
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Peach and Raspberry Crisp Recipe
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ lb. cold unsalted butter, diced
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Bake for until the top is browned and crisp and golden. Let cool and then crumble and refrigerate.
To make Cinnamon-Apples, large dice, peel and core 2 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.
Make it a Sundae! – This ice cream would taste unbelievably good with a caramel or butterscotch sauce drizzled over it. You could even add some cinnamon and toasted walnuts to the sauce to really compliment the flavors of the ice cream. Reduced maple syrup and toasted walnuts, aka wet walnut sauce would be an equally delicious option. Just remember, it’s not a sundae without the whipped cream!
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.
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.
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.
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….
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!
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
2/3 cup sugar
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
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.