Showing posts with label Puddings and Ice Cream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puddings and Ice Cream. Show all posts

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Spiced Apple and Honey Ice Cream

This year we are hosting our first Rosh Hashanah dinner.  Instead of the traditional brisket or roastchicken, we are serving chicken fesenjan, a Persian dish that contains pomegranates, a fruit often associated with the Jewish New Year.

For dessert I made this ice cream which includes apples and honey, which symbolize a sweet new year.  The Ashkenazi community first linked these ingredients with Rosh Hashanah in late medieval times; now the association is widespread throughout the Jewish community.

The apple has particular significance for several reasons: Rosh Hashanah is believed to be the day when God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the garden is believed to have had the scent of an apple orchard; ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties; the apple is also considered by some to represent the feminine aspect of God and eating apples represents our hope of being well-judged by him.

This ice cream can be served alone or as an accompaniment to honey or apple cake.  Other dishes that can be served at Rosh Hashanah include pomegranate couscous, noodle kugel, and honey cake.  Each of them contain some of the ingredients associated with this holiday.

Serves 10


Spiced apples
3 large apples, cored, peeled, sliced, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of salt

Ice cream
3 cups heavy cream
9 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vodka or other neutral alcohol (optional, to lower freezing temperature)
1/2 cup apple sauce (ideally one with a strong, spicy flavor)

1.     In a medium saucepan, combine the spiced apples ingredients.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples are tender and all the liquid has evaporated.  This should take about 10 minutes.  Let the apples cool and then place them in the fridge to chill.
2.     Pour 2 cups of heavy cream into a large bowl and set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.
3.     Combine the milk, sugar, salt, and remaining heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once the mixture is warm and just begins to bubble, slowly pour about half of it into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium high heat.
4.     Cook the mixture, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until it thickens and coats a spatula or spoon (about 170-175° F).  Pour the mixture through a strainer into the large bowl with cream (this will remove any egg that has cooked).
5.     Mix in the vanilla and vodka.  Thoroughly chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.  Lay plastic wrap on the mixture so that a skin does not form.
6.     Pour the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker, and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  About 10 minutes before the end of the cycle, add apple sauce to the ice cream.
7.     In the final minute, add the cooled spiced apple mixture until well incorporated.

8.     Remove and store in an airtight container for up to three months.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Raspberry and Blueberry Gelatos

Outside North America, Italy is the nation I’ve most often visited.  It provides a wonderful combination of history, architecture, art, culture, fashion, and of course food.  Among Italy’s many earthly delights, gelato ranks near the top of my list.  I am often amazed by the intensity of  flavors which seem to distill and heighten the essence of an ingredient: hazelnut, lemon, chocolate, and pistachio…

In the United States, federal standards require that any item labeled as ice cream contain at least 10% milk fat, at least 20% milk solids, and no more than 1.4% egg solids.  There are no parallel guidelines for gelato; however, it generally contains less milk fat (usually 7-8%).  Unsurprisingly, the Italian government does not regulate use of the term gelato and it is used interchangeably with ice cream.

Gelato was popularized in the early 20th century in the Italian town of Varese where the first gelato cart was developed.  To this day, more than half of the gelato produced in Italy is handmade rather than produced in factories.

Although the crisp autumn air has arrived, I’ve decided to extend summer through a second experiment with my new ice cream maker.  For this endeavor, I decided to experiment with two types of berries.  The raspberry flavor was rather delicate and might have benefited from marbling with extra raspberry puree (detailed on this site).  The blueberry was more intense due to the use of blueberry skins which contain the color and flavor of the fruit.

2 cups raspberries or 2 1/2 cups blueberries (use either fresh or defrosted berries)
1/4 cup water (for blueberry gelato only)
pinch salt (for blueberry gelato only)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups half-and-half (2 cups for blueberry gelato)
4 large eggs yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 drops of red food coloring for raspberry gelato (optional)
fresh berries for garnish (optional)

1.     For raspberries, purée in a blender and press through a sieve to remove seeds.  For blueberries, cook fruit with 1/4 cup water and a pinch of salt for 10 minutes over medium heat.  Remove from heat and purée in a blender until smooth.  Set aside berry purée.
2.     Heat the sugar and half of the half-and-half in a saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Set aside on low simmer.
3.     Using a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks until light and thick.  Then add 1/2 cup of warm half-and-half mixture to egg yolks and blend well.
4.     Gently pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the half-and-half mixture.  Mix well and raise the heat to medium.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon.
5.     When the mixture is thick and reaches 180F on a thermometer, remove from heat.  Add remaining half-and-half, berry purée, vanilla extract, and food coloring.  Mix well.
6.     Cover and refrigerate overnight.
7.     Prepare gelato in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
8.     The gelato will be soft and creamy and ready to serve.  If you prefer a firmer consistency, transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe, air-tight container for several hours.  Best to freeze in serving size portions to avoid multiple thawing and freezing.
9.     Remove gelato 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with fresh berries.  Raspberry gelato also goes well with chopped salted pistachios or chocolate sauce.
10.  Gelato will keep for up to one month in the freezer.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lemon Sorbet

One of summer’s greatest gifts is ice cream.  I rarely eat ice cream during the rest of the year, but in the summertime I consume it several times a week.  When I was young, my parents used to buy one gallon tubs or boxes of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or Neapolitan ice cream.  Grocery store ice cream choices have expanded significantly since my childhood, and the exotic flavors that were only available at ice cream parlors are now sold at grocery and convenience stores across the country.

I had not made ice cream until a few years ago when my friend Yvonne showed me her recipe for Thai tea ice cream.  Since then I’ve been dreaming of owning an ice cream maker; my wish recently came true through a gift from a friend.

We inaugurated our new ice cream maker with this refreshing lemon sorbet.  Sorbets are frozen sugar water flavored with fruit or alcohol.  Unlike ice cream, they do not contain milk, cream, or eggs.  Sorbets are sometimes served as a palette cleanser between multi-course meals; more often they are served as a dessert at the end of a meal.

The word ‘sorbet’ either comes from the Latin sorbetto meaning a mixture of solid and liquid food or the Arabic sharbat meaning drink or juice.  There are many stories about the origin of sorbet.  Some claim that it was invented by Roman Emperor Nero and others suggest that Marco Polo brought back a sorbet recipe from China.  Whatever its origin, sorbet is an increasingly popular summer treat.

Watch this space for other inventions enabled by our new ice cream maker!

1 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately 6 lemons)
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1.       Juice the lemons and set aside.
2.       In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water and all the sugar.  Grate the zest of two or three lemons directly into the mixture.
3.       Heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a glass dish.  Add remaining water and lemon juice.  Mix well.
4.       Cover and cool in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.  The colder the mixture, the more likely it will produce an even texture in the ice cream maker.  The mixture may be kept in this state for several weeks.
5.       Prepare sorbet in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
6.       Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container to ripen for several hours.  The mixture should still be soft when you do this; resist the desire to over-churn as it will produce a dry and fluffy texture.  Do not serve directly from the ice cream maker.

7.       Serve as a palette cleanser or dessert.  Best served with other sorbets or topped with a drizzle of limoncello.