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

Posts Tagged ‘Gelato

The best rice pudding I've ever had!

I’ve been making David Lebovitz’s Rice Pudding Gelato ever since I purchased his wonderful book, The Perfect Scoop, a year ago. It immediately jumped out to me because I love gelato and I particularly love this type of rice pudding that Scandinavians call Riskrem. Riskrem is rice pudding as you’ve never had it before and one of my all time favorite desserts. Part of what makes it so special is that freshly whipped cream is folded into the rice pudding, making it both decadent and light as a cloud. Combining my two favorite desserts is brilliant and this recipe captures the very best qualities of rice pudding and ice cream.

This ice cream starts life in the oven.

Part of what makes this ice cream so great is the way it’s prepared and its delicious flavorings. You bake arborio rice with milk, a whole split vanilla bean and some orange rind for an hour and a half until the rice is tender and deeply flavored. The milk infuses with the orange and vanilla flavors creating a rich and complex base.

The best of both worlds, take that Hannah Montana!

Another genius aspect of this recipe is the fact that some of the rice gets put into a blender, creating little nubbly textured grains of rice. Texture is really important in almost all food and ice cream is no exception. With some grains of rice being left whole and some pureed fine, this ice cream has a delightful mouthfeel that’s a joy to eat.

A sprinkling of cinnamon makes it perfection!

Even if you’re not a rice pudding lover, do try this ice cream. I think it’s an improvement on the traditional rice pudding and the subtle nutmeg, vanilla and orange flavorings keep every bite delicious and intriguing. Another great ice cream from David Lebovitz! With him you just can’t go wrong.

Rice Gelato
Adapted from Perfect Scoop.

1/2 cup Italian Arborio rice
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lenghtwise
Two 1-inch-wide strips of orange zest
5 large egg yolks (save the whites for use later)
1 cup half-and-half or cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350. In a 1.75 to 2 quart baking dish, mix together the rice, milk 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt. Add the vanilla bean and strips of orange zest (I made the mistake of actually scraping out the vanilla, but it’s not really a mistake… it’s delicious.)

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the rice from the oven and remove the foil. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, then continue to bake the rice, uncovered for another 30 minutes.

Remove the rice from the oven a second time, remove the vanilla bean and orange zest and briskly whisk in the egg yolks at once. Then whisk in the half and half or cream and nutmeg.

Puree half of the rice mixture in a blender or food processor until chopped fine then stir it back into the cooked rice.

Chill the mixture in the fridge then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Plum 6

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.



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



                     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.