Tag Archives: ice cream

No Brainer Blueberry Ice Cream

For the first time in many years, I missed strawberry season.  In my defense, the season fizzled out pretty quickly this year.  But the reason doesn’t really matter when there is no strawberry jam to fill the freezer for the entire winter.  It just seemed that between travel and schedules, I couldn’t get a flat when they were available and by the next week they were just done.  I hate that.

So, I’ve been going through the freezer and assessing what is left from last season.  Luckily, we’ve still got quite a few blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.  Has anyone ever made jam from frozen strawberries?  If so, let me know how it turned out.  I might give it a try so I don’t have to break down and buy grocery store strawberries for jam — which just seems absolutely sacrilegious.  I think I’d rather just live with raspberry and peach jam than have grocery store strawberry jam.

We still have a ton of frozen blueberries and no one here is a big fan of blueberry jam.  So, I decided to make up a batch of blueberry ice cream.  I tweaked two different recipes/styles and the resulting ice cream is very easy and delicious.  The first recipe is from Epicurious and it is a quick and easy method that doesn’t require a custard base.  The second is from the latest Cooks Illustrated (paywall for recipes), where they discuss how to prevent your ice cream from being too “icy.”

The basic idea is to substitute some corn syrup for part of the sugar and then make sure the base is super chilled before churning.  If you don’t have time to give it a good chilling (4-6 hours or ideally overnight), they have a great method where you take part of the base and put it in a separate container in the freezer (while the rest chills in the fridge).  When you are ready to make the ice cream, take the frozen part of the base and mix it in the refrigerated base — it acts like a big ice cube of ice cream.  Stir it in to melt into the base and then it will be cold enough to put in the ice cream maker.

The resulting ice cream is rich and creamy, but not at all icy (which can happen easily with fruit-based ice creams).  You’ll notice it’s not exactly low fat, but it is also not the kind of ice cream you are going to eat a big bowl of.  A small scoop of this and you’d be entirely satisfied.   It highlights the perfectly simple flavors of summer that require absolutely no lily gilding.

No Brainer Blueberry Ice Cream

I’m sure it would also be good with other berries, but I’d probably strain the base if using raspberries of blackberries to get the seeds out.

Yields about 1 quart

2 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/8 t salt
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract

1.  In a medium saucepan, mix blueberries, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5-7 minutes.

2.  Place blueberries in a blender or food processor with half and half.  Blend or process until very smooth (allowing any steam to escape from blueberries by keeping the feed tube out of the processor or keeping the lid slightly off the blender).  Remove and place in a wide freezer-proof container (like a square pyrex).  Stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract.  Chill for 4-6 hours or overnight.  (To ensure the mixture is super chilled, which is imperative, you can take a cup or so of the ice cream base and freeze it.  When ready to make the ice cream, stir the frozen “ice cube” into the base until melted.

3.  Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Mine took about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately for a soft serve texture or transfer to a container and freeze for a harder texture.  (Let soften a few minutes before scooping.)

 

Creamy Grilled Peach and Bourbon Sorbet

OK.  So I am in a conundrum as to what to call this dessert.  I started out thinking this was going to be an ice cream. But then I decided to up the amount of peaches and add grilled peach puree to the ice cream base — making it more icy than creamy, but also a lot peachier.  So, the idea of sherbet came to mind — a fruitier, lower fat version of ice cream– but my recipe has cream in it.  I am sure somewhere in the land of ice cream making that there is a term for whatever this is … but I settled on a Creamy Sorbet, which itself is somewhat blasphemous because sorbet is icy and fruity but is never made with dairy.

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I guess, in the end, I decided on “creamy sorbet” because it sounded nicer than sherbet.  The end product also reminded me most of sorbet from a textural perspective.  I am not a purist, nor am I classically trained (or trained at all, for that matter), so you’ll have to put up with my limited knowledge.  But I do know that regardless of what you call this, it tastes delicious and is really refreshing on a hot summer night.

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It is lightly sweetened with honey (use sugar if you like, but you’d have to heat the cream to dissolve it) and uses grilled peaches — which really enhances their flavor.  The sorbet (or whatever you call it) is finished with some bourbon, and while I used two tablespoons, I think you could add a bit more if you weren’t worried about serving it to children. However if you enjoy giving your children bourbon, please feel free to add more.  It is the end of summer, and I know we are all feeing it, aren’t we?

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Creamy Grilled Peach and Bourbon Sorbet

Makes about two quarts

8 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
1 1/2 cups of cream
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of honey
1 t vanilla extract
1/8 t of salt
1/4 t ground ginger
Zest of one lime
2 T bourbon

1.  Grill peach halves for 5-7 minutes until nicely charred.  (You can broil them instead, just flip them half way through).

2.  In a blender, combine four grilled peaches (8 halves), cream, milk, honey, vanilla, salt, ginger, and bourbon.  Blend well until completely pureed.  Stir in lime zest and chill mixture very well for several hours. (If you are short on time, pour it into a medium bowl and place medium bowl inside a large bowl filled with ice water, making sure not to get ice water into the peach mixture.  Stir frequently until chilled.)

3.  Freeze mixture in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s instructions. During the last five or ten minutes or freezing, chop remaining four peaches (8 halves) and add to ice cream freezer.  Serve immediately or put into a container and store in the freezer until ready to serve.  It will be quite hard out of the freezer, so give it time to soften.

(Note:  I served these with a ginger variation of the honey tuile cookie.  To make six cookies:  combine 1 T honey, 1 T brown sugar, 1 T melted butter, 1/8 t cardamom, 1/8 t ground ginger, 1 T white whole wheat flour, and 1 T sesame seeds.  Spread six rounds of the batter into circles on a parchment lined sheet and bake in a preheated 375 F oven for about 6 minutes until bubbly and golden.  You can shape them if you like when they are hot or leave them circular.)

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Banana Honey Caramel Ice Cream with Salted Tuile Cookies

So, this was the week when everyone in my family decided they didn’t like bananas — and I was left with four sitting in the fruit bowl (Bananas, that is.  Not family members.).  Of course, the natural inclination is to make banana bread.  Or more likely, the natural inclination is to pitch them.

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And even though I never do it, I’ve also been told that ripe bananas freeze very well.  Collect them in the freezer and use them when you feel like it.  However, there is something about slowly rotting bananas that make me feel like I need to use them immediately.  I never feel this way with shriveled up apples or moldy cheese.

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Add to this that I had the most beautiful eggs from the farmer’s market the other day  — from three or four different breeds of laying hens — that seemed like they needed a showcase.  So I settled on the idea of a custard-based banana ice cream and I was not disappointed as I cracked those eggs.  They were probably the brightest orange yolks I have ever seen.

I wanted to sweeten it with honey and I remembered a honey caramel sauce recipe I had seen.  So the idea came together — a honey caramel custard base pureed with ripe bananas.  With a touch of vanilla, dark rum, and a slightly salty cookie to garnish.  The ice cream really is fabulous — super creamy and smooth without being too “fatty” tasting from a lot of heavy cream.  It is still plenty rich though.  I’d suggest serving it in little custard or egg cups. That leaves a lot leftover for you to eat it directly out of the freezer.

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And the cookies are great on their own.  I made them with whole wheat pastry flour and some dry roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (we can’t do nuts because of my daughter’s allergies, but any chopped nuts would work perfectly alongside the banana ice cream).  They are super easy to make and look great if you roll them or form them while still hot — around a chopstick or skewer to make a “cigarette cookie” or in a shot glass to make a little flower.  Bonus points if you drink the dark rum from the shot glass after you form your cookies.

So, maybe this got a little more involved than a loaf of banana bread, but I’m pretty sure it’s way, way better.

Banana Honey Caramel Ice Cream with Salted Tuile Cookies

Makes about two quarts of ice cream and 1 to 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Ice Cream:
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 C. of whole milk
1 C. of heavy cream
3/4 C. of honey
4 egg yolks
Pinch of sea salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. dark rum

1.  In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together honey and heavy cream and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat a bit and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened and a caramel color.  Watch that it doesn’t boil over — it does so easily.

2.  Remove caramel from heat and whisk in 1 cup of the whole milk (other cup will be added later).   Return to heat and make sure all the caramel gets incorporated (use a silicone spatula to get it out of the corners of the pan). Whisk well and turn heat to medium low.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks with pinch of salt.  Take about 1/4 cup of the hot caramel/milk mixture and very slowly whisk it into the egg yolks. (You are tempering the egg yolks so they don’t scramble.) Add another 1/4 cup and whisk well.

4.  Pour tempered egg yolk mixture into caramel/milk mixture and whisk well to incorporate, cooking over low heat and stirring almost constantly.  Cook this mixture for about five minutes, until it has thickened.  You can test it with an instant read thermometer if you like — it should be about 160-170 F.

5.  In a blender, puree the remaining one cup of milk with the mashed bananas.  Add the hot caramel custard from the pan.  Puree well, being careful because hot liquids can expand … allow steam to escape through hole or keep lid slightly off, covering with a kitchen towel.   You can also do this in a bowl with an immersion blender.

6.  Stir in vanilla and dark rum and chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting the ice cream mixture in a bowl set inside another larger bowl filled with ice water — just be careful to not get water in the ice cream mixture.)  It should be very cold when you put it in the ice cream freezer.

7.  Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.  My batch took a little over 20 minutes.  Transfer to the freezer to harden more, or serve as is (it will be more like soft serve at that point.)

Salted Pumpkin Seed Tuile Cookies:
(Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Honey Lace Cookies)
2 T. butter
1 1/2 T. honey
1 T. brown sugar
2 T. whole wheat pastry flour
Pinch of sea salt, plus a bit more for tops of cookies
3 T. roasted pumpkin seeds (or other toasted, chopped nuts)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.

2.  In a small pan, melt butter with honey and brown sugar.  Remove from heat and stir in flour, salt, and pumpkin seeds.

3.  On a parchment lined baking sheet, use about one teaspoon of dough per cookie — allow plenty of room to spread while baking.

4.  Cook about 8 minutes (less for smaller cookies) until cookies are golden brown and bubbly.

5.  Remove from oven, sprinkle each with a few grains of sea salt, and let cool for 2-3 minutes on parchment.  When the cookies are just starting to firm up (meaning they are pliable, but not falling apart), you can roll them around a chopstick or skewer for a cigarette cookie or carefully push them into a shotglass or other small cup to make a flower shape.  Let cool completely in forms.  Drizzle with a bit of melted chocolate if you like.

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