Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream (#20)

26 07 2012

I was hoping to get this post up earlier, but I ran into some technical difficulties a couple of days ago: I discovered that my Donvier Chillfast cylinder, which I normally store in the freezer, wasn’t frozen solid and icy cold, but was melty and sloshing around!  How could that be?!  I had turned down the freezer to its coldest setting the night before to make sure the cylinder would be as cold as possible.  Was my freezer on the fritz?  The cylinder itself?  Luckily, it was neither.  It turned out that the Official Taster was in a pinch to quickly chill two kegs of beer and had grabbed the Chillfast cylinder and submerged it in a tubful of water, along with the kegs and a couple bags of ice cubes.  Official Taster, you owe me some extra dish washing for thisSurely the ice cubes alone would have been sufficient!  So, this set me back half a day while I re-froze the cylinder.  On the upside though, my custard had some extra time to “age” in the fridge.

Week #20’s flavour came to me when I was shopping at my local produce store.  Blueberries!  Only $1.89/lb!  That’s about as cheap as U-pick, with all the picking done for you!  Blueberries pair well with so many different flavours – cinnamon, cardamom, basil, thyme, orange, and lemon to name a few.  I had a hard time deciding between blueberry-basil and blueberry-lemon, so I figured I’d develop an ice cream recipe containing all three.  So here we have Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream: blueberry compote infused with lemon and basil, dolloped between layers of lemon basil ice cream.

jar of blueberry compote

The blueberry compote, along with a big spoonful of ricotta cheese, would be a great topping for waffles!

Alternating layers of ice cream with random dollops of compote creates a marbled effect that allows the creamy yellow colour of the ice cream to be retained.  Marbling also lets you enjoy the subtle flavours of the lemon basil ice cream on its own as well as with the occasional mouthful of blueberry goodness.  Another option is to swirl the blueberry compote into the ice cream in the final stages of churning, similar to Week 13’s Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream and Week 16’s Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream.  This would result in a purple-blue ice cream with berries evenly distributed throughout.  Either way, Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream makes for a perfect summer treat!

blueberry lemon basil ice cream

Blueberry compote marbled into lemon basil ice cream.

Blueberry Lemon Basil Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream

2 eggs
3/4 cups white sugar
1 tbsp finely chopped lemon zest
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups half-and-half cream

Blueberry Compote (makes about 1.5 cups)

2 1/2 cups of blueberries, divided
1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

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Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (#19-E)

19 07 2012

Since I come from a family that LOVES food and cooking, I started playing around in the kitchen at quite an early age.  One of my earliest memories of “baking” was mixing together random amounts of butter, flour, milk, and baking powder, forming a few crude biscuits, popping them in the oven (a REAL oven, not an Easy Bake), and excitedly offering them to my dad when he came home from work.  And yes, he ate them (thanks Dad!)… even though I’m sure they were dense little pucks with a flakiness rating of zero.  Luckily, with some guidance from my parents, my baking skills steadily progressed and by grade 6, I could make some pretty mean cheesecakes — double chocolate, pumpkin, citrus, rocky road, and raspberry to name a few.  Raspberry cheesecake was probably my favourite.  With raspberry season in full swing, I thought it’d be the perfect time to reinvent one of my favourite childhood desserts into an egg-free ice cream recipe.

fresh raspberries

Fresh raspberries at Granville Island Market

Raspberries might look sweet and delicate, but they have surprisingly bitter seeds.  For this recipe, be sure to strain out the seeds from the raspberry puree.  I admit I had a moment of laziness in the test kitchen.  I neglected this step and used 2 cups of raspberry puree that included seeds.  The resultant ice cream was okay but it seemed to lack berry flavour and had somewhat of a bitter aftertaste.  I was more diligent during Round #2 of testing, whirling the berries in a blender at low speed to break them up, and then pressing the puree through a sieve to remove all the seeds.  I realized I needed almost twice as many berries than I had previously used in order to get two cups of seedless puree — half the volume of the berry puree was, in fact, those pesky bitter seeds!  This explained the lacklustre, tannic flavour of the first batch of ice cream.  So I will emphasize again: strain out the seeds for ultra berry-liciousness!

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream is absolutely perfect for summer — sweet, tangy, refreshing, and PINK!  Enjoy and eat often!

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 cups of strained raspberry puree (about 4 cups of fresh or frozen berries)
250 g cream cheese, softened
Juice of half a lemon
3/4 cup white sugar (adjust to taste; depends on the sweetness of your berries)
2 cups half-and-half cream
Graham cracker crumbs for garnish (optional)

  1. Puree the raspberries at low speed in a blender.  Strain the puree through a sieve to remove all the seeds.  You should have about 2 cups of puree.
  2. Place the cream cheese in the (now empty) blender.  Add half of the raspberry puree and blend at medium speed.  Scrape down the sides.  Add the remaining raspberry puree and blend some more.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and give everything a good whirl, until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  5. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. If desired, garnish with graham cracker crumbs.
bowl of raspberry cheesecake ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Should I say something cheesy?”





Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream Fail!!

17 07 2012

I was really hoping this would be recipe #18-D/E — the dairy-free and egg-free version of Caramelized Pineapple Ice Cream #18.  But after two rounds in the test kitchen, I’m tossing in the apron.  This is recipe #18-FF for FAIL.  It went something like this:

Attempt #1: The first round started with caramelizing chopped pineapple as per instructions in the original recipe, then churning it into Week 17’s Toasted Coconut Ice Cream, minus the toasted coconut.  But for whatever reason, the two wouldn’t marry; the buttery caramelized pineapple chunks together with the coconut ice cream was far too rich a combination.

Attempt#2: I prepared another batch of caramelized pineapple.  This time, I pureed it, since the chunkiness of the fruit seemed to be an issue the first time around.  To lighten up the mouthfeel, I thought I would eliminate the eggs from the recipe and go Philly-style.  So, I had caramelized pineapple puree + coconut milk + rum + sugar.  Blend it, chill it, churn it, DONE.  Easy peasy right?  Well it was easy, but the texture and taste of the ice cream still wasn’t right.  The Official Taster even said to me: “This does NOT work.”

Pineapple and coconut should be an exquisite combination, but I am currently 0 for 2.  Readers, do you have any tips for making dairy-free and egg-free caramelized pineapple and coconut ice cream?  Should I thin down the base with some coconut water?  Use more fruit?  Use more sugar?  Other?

I welcome any of your suggestions — you can post a comment or tip below.  I’d love to hear from you!





Caramelized Pineapple Ice Cream (#18)

11 07 2012
Dairy Queen pineapple sundae

My weakness!

I have a confession.  Even though I’ve committed to a year of ice cream making (over one-third of the way through!!!), I still, on occasion, like going to Dairy Queen.  Pineapple sundaes are a bit of a weakness for me.  I don’t care what crazy, unpronouceable ingredients go into them.  I am a sucker for sweet soft serve ice cream and tangy pineapple.  But when I mentioned the other day that I wanted a DQ pineapple sundae, the Official Taster raised an eyebrow and gave me a look.  While Tavis did oblige and let me indulge, I knew it was time to develop a 52 Scoops pineapple treat.

I used to think that pineapples were really finicky to peel and cut.  When Tavis and I were visiting the floating markets in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam last year, we marvelled at the ability of the pineapple vendors.  The vendors, mostly women, have perfected the art of peeling and spiral cutting a pineapple in just a minute or two. They are MACHINES, carving perfect little hand-held snacks for boatloads of happy travellers passing through the delta.

Floating market pineapple vendor

Pineapples, pineapples everywhere!

Woman cutting pineapple

Pineapple Lady expertly peeling a pineapple

Spiral cutting a pineapple

Spiral cutting out the eyes of the pineapple

Fresh pineapple

Yum!

Here’s a link to a very helpful spiral cutting technique video on YouTube.  Once you practice a few times, you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll never need to buy canned or pre-cored/cut pineapple again!

For this ice cream recipe, I caramelized the pineapple in a little bit of butter and brown sugar.  Cooking the pineapple takes away the acidic bite on your tongue and results in a deeper, richer taste.  The addition of rum keeps the pineapple from freezing into solid chunks, while imparting another layer of flavour.  When the caramelized pineapple is churned into a simple vanilla base — absolutely exquisite!

Caramelized Pineapple Ice Cream (#18)  (Makes about 1.5 L)

Ice Cream:

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Caramelized Pineapple (makes about 2 cups):

3 cups of fresh pineapple tidbits (half to one pineapple, depending on size and your peeling abilities)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rum (I used spiced rum)

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Toasted Coconut Ice Cream (#17-D)

4 07 2012

Since Week #3, my sister has been bugging me to make coconut ice cream.  I have learned that, on occasion, she indulges in Coconut Bliss, an organic, dairy-free ice cream that is made from coconut milk (obviously).  It also happens to cost about $9.00 a pint!  No wonder I’ve been nudged on many an occasion to crank out a batch of coconut ice cream for her!  Since it’s my sister’s birthday this week, I will oblige.  So, here we have it: Toasted Coconut Ice Cream, the first “Happy Coconut” recipe in the 52 Scoops repertoire.  Dairy-free and delicious!  And, it cost me less than $5.00 to make a whole litre.

Coconut milk can be a bit confusing.  When I was little, I thought the water inside the coconut was “coconut milk”.  This liquid is, in fact, coconut waterCoconut milk is made by grating the meat from a mature coconut and extracting the liquid from the meat (e.g. squeezing it through cheese cloth).  The first pressing yields a luscious, thick, flavourful milk with a high fat content.  The leftover coconut meat can then be soaked in warm water and squeezed a second or perhaps even a third time.  Subsequent pressings result in a thinner milk.  When coconut milk is left to settle, the fattier components separate and rise to the top.  This thick, buttery substance is coconut cream.

inside young coconut

The Official Taster scooping the soft, gelatinous meat from the inside a young coconut. This coconut would be too young for making coconut milk, but I thought it’d be a cool photo to include nonetheless!  (Mekong Delta, Vietnam, 2011)

I wasn’t ambitious enough to make my own coconut milk for this recipe, so I opted for the canned variety instead.  There is a huge range in the quality of canned coconut milk.  I usually use Aroy-D brand, which contains 60% coconut extract and 40% water.  Beware of cheaper brands that use less coconut extract, more water, and various additives and preservatives such as potassium metabisulphite E224.  Potass-a-what?  No thanks!

This recipe yields a very rich ice cream with a wonderful texture and chew from the toasted coconut.  The ice cream does freeze up harder and icier compared to other recipes containing dairy cream, so it is best enjoyed within a few hours of churning.  If you must store it longer, let it soften up in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to scooping.

A note to egg-freers: This recipe was also tested omitting the eggs, but, alas, I am sad to report that the results were unsatisfactory.  The ice cream was immensely hard and icy and seemed to lack depth in terms of flavour.  But don’t worry, there is lots of action in the test kitchen, and I assure you there will be egg-free Happy Coconut recipes in the near future!

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
2 – 13.5 oz (400 ml) cans of coconut milk
1 cup of dessicated coconut

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