Salted Caramel Ice Cream (#38)

29 11 2012

A couple more days until December!  Which means we should start (hopefully) getting a steady stream of Purdy’s chocolates from happy customers we’ve assisted over the year.  Very fortunately, my office is strategically located by the copy room, where all the treats are deposited.  And I must confess that when my nose sniffs out a box of Purdy’s, I make a beeline for the Himalayan Pink Salt Caramel.  Few stand a chance against me.

Sweet, sticky caramel punctuated with salt crystals makes for an exquisite combination, and it stands to reason that Salted Caramel Ice Cream be incorporated into the 52 Scoops repertoire.  This classic flavour is guaranteed to be a hit at your next dinner party.  I promise.

The trick to making a great Salted Caramel Ice Cream is the caramel itself.  Undercook it and the ice cream doesn’t have enough flavour.  Overcook it — this can happen in mere seconds — and it’ll taste burnt.  So, be sure to keep a very close eye on the caramel when it is cooking.  Also, when you pour the cream into the caramel, there is the possibility your caramel will separate (perhaps your cream has cooled down too much or you have not stirred vigourously enough).  If that happens, don’t worry — it can be rescued!  Warm the mixture over medium heat while whisking thoroughly, until the mixture comes together again as a smooth, luscious caramel sauce.

I used Maldon sea salt flakes in the caramel itself, but used Hawaiian alaea sea salt as a garnish for the ice cream.  Alaea sea salt contains a small amount of red alaea volcanic clay.  Its gorgeous pink colour makes it a perfect finishing salt.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

Salted Caramel:

3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup half-and-half cream
3/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Ice Cream Base:

2 eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
2 cups half-and-half cream

For the Salted Caramel:

  1. Warm the cream until just gently steaming.  Take off the heat and set aside while undertaking step #2.
  2. Melt the sugar in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat.  Do not stir, but swirl occasionally.  Let the mixture turn a dark amber colour.  Watch carefully.
  3. As soon the sugar turns dark amber, add the still-warm cream.  The mixture will bubble and splatter.  Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  4. Stir in the salt and vanilla.
  5. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

For the Ice Cream:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of the custard to the salted caramel.  Stir to combine.  Pour the lightened caramel mixture into the custard.  Stir to combine.
  6. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  7. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
salted caramel ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Tastes a bit like Dulce De Leche. Yum!”

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Pear Ginger Ice Cream (#37)

22 11 2012

#4409.  The Bartlett Pear.  When bright green, it is crispy and tart with just a hint of pear flavour.  When golden yellow (be patience!), it is supple, juicy, and absolutely bursting with sweetness.

Bartlett pear

When fully ripe, Bartlett pears are golden yellow, sometimes with a tinge of pink.

Bartlett pears are extremely versatile in the kitchen.  They can be made into jams and chutneys, added to salads, used for baking, or dried and eaten as a snack.  A ripe pear — sliced, chilled, and with a squeeze of lemon — makes for the simplest of desserts.  But even better is a ripe pear cooked with some lemon, sugar, and fresh and ground ginger, then whirled into a gingery ice cream.  Indeed, it’s a triple whammy of ginger, but don’t worry, the sweet taste of the pears still emerges.

For an ultimate treat, serve a scoop of this ice cream with a simple yellow cake or with a fruit crisp.

Pear Ginger Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream:

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
3 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Gingered Pears:

3 cups chopped pears (use really ripe ones)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Pinch of sea salt

For the Ice Cream:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add the ginger, 2 cups of the half-and-half, and the vanilla.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining 1 cup of the half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  5. Chill overnight in the fridge.

For the Gingered Pears:

  1. While the ice cream is chilling, prepare the gingered pears.
  2. Toss the pears with the lemon juice.
  3. Combine the pears, sugar, chopped ginger, and spices in a heavy saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, cool, and chill overnight in the fridge.

To Finish:

  1. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing the ginger to extract as much liquid and gingery goodness as possible.
  2. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. In the final stages of churning, add the pear ginger compote and churn to distribute throughout the ice cream.
pear ginger ice cream

The Official Taster says: “A perfect partner to our apple crisp tonight.”





Thanksgiving Ice Cream Recipes

17 11 2012

Five more days until American Thanksgiving!  If you are still searching for the perfect dessert recipe for your Thanksgiving feast, why not give one of these ice cream recipes a try?

Top Pick: Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Runners-Up: Cranberry Orange Ginger Ice Cream and Apple Pie Ice Cream

Anytime Classics: Maple Whisky Walnut Ice Cream and Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream





Hungarian Chestnut Ice Cream (Gesztenye Fagylait) (#36)

15 11 2012

The other day, my co-worker Lisa was telling me about a classic and extremely popular Hungarian dessert.  Gesztenyepüré – sweetened chestnut puree – is mixed with rum and passed through a potato ricer, then topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.  Lisa thought this would make for a fantastic ice cream flavour.  But making chestnut puree sounds incredibly… involved.  Scoring, roasting, and peeling chestnuts is not how I want to spend an evening!  Luckily, you can buy frozen chestnut puree — which Lisa did and kindly passed along.  Thanks!

Gesztenyepüré

Hungarian sweetened chestnut puree (Gesztenyepüré)

I must admit that I haven’t had had much exposure to chestnuts.  My experience is mostly limited to the chestnut-filled sponge cakes from Chinese bakeries, and I can’t say I’m enamoured by the taste and texture.  But chestnut puree + rum + whipped cream + chocolate?  You have my attention.

I thought this classic Hungarian dessert would be best represented in ice cream format by layering rum-spiked chestnut puree and shaved chocolate with a rum ice cream.  You can buy chestnut puree at most fine food stores and at European bakeries and delis.  If you can’t find it or if you are feeling particularly ambitious and want to make your own from scratch, you might want to try this recipe.  Though I do love Kraken spiced rum, I thought I ought to use plain rum for this recipe, so not to detract from the flavour of the chestnuts.  This was also an excuse to open a bottle of Venezuelan rum that was gifted to us by our friends Roman and Nathalie (thanks!).  For the chocolate shavings, I opted for Lindt 70%.

Overall, the ice cream was pretty tasty.  I loved the rum and chocolate, but I still can’t say I’m a fan of chestnuts.  It’s the mealy texture I don’t enjoy.  But, if you’re chestnut lover, give this recipe a try.  If you’re planning on storing this ice cream for more than a few hours, give it a chance to warm up before you scoop and enjoy — this will give the chestnut puree a chance to soften and for its nutty flavour to be more pronounced.

Hungarian Chestnut Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
3 tablespoons rum, divided
250 g sweetened chestnut puree
2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
1/2 cup grated dark chocolate

  1. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.  Stir in 1 tablespoon of rum.
  5. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  6. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Set aside.
  7. Thoroughly mix the chestnut puree with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rum and the 2 tablespoons of cream.
  8. Spread a quarter of the ice cream into a chilled dish.  Using a potato ricer, press about 1/3 of the chestnut puree over the ice cream.  Try to spread the strands of chestnut puree thinly and evenly over the ice cream and avoid any big clumps.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the shaved chocolate.  Repeat another two times.  Top with the remaining quarter of the ice cream.  In total, you will have three layers of chestnut/chocolate between four layers of ice cream.  Draw a metal spatula or knife through the different layers a few times to marble.  (If you don’t have a potato ricer, you can spread thin layers of chestnut puree between the layers of ice cream.)
  9. Chill thoroughly in the freezer until firm.
chestnut ice cream, Gesztenye Fagylait

The Official Taster says: “Perfect for the season.”





Spiced Rum Raisin Ice Cream (#35)

8 11 2012
Bottle of Kraken black spiced rum

Kraken spiced black rum comes in a wickedly cool bottle.

I’ve been rummaging around the liquor cabinet to see what else I can use in my ice cream recipes.  To date, I’ve used Kirsch in Week #22’s Black Forest Ice Cream, brandy in Week #24’s Caramelized Apricot Brandy Ice Cream, and whisky in last week’s Maple Whisky Walnut Ice Cream.  Flavours aside, incorporating alcohol into ice cream improves its texture and scoopability.  That’s because alcohol lowers the freezing point of ice cream, so it stays soft and creamy, even if it’s stored in the freezer for a few days.

Rum.  It’s time to break out the rum.  And there’s no better ice cream recipe featuring rum than a classic Rum Raisin.

Rather than using plain old rum for this recipe, I used Kraken, a spiced black rum that takes its name from a legendary sea monster — a squid of epic proportions.  Kraken comes in a wickedly cool looking bottle.  (And yes, I am easily swayed by cool looking bottles.)

Be sure to soak the raisins in the rum overnight to make them plump and boozy.  More importantly, this keeps them from freezing rock solid and breaking your teeth!

Spicy Rum Raisin Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
Pinch sea salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
3/4 c raisins (I used Thompson raisins)
1/3 c spiced rum (or use regular rum if you prefer)

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Maple Whisky Walnut Ice Cream (#34)

1 11 2012

I’m hardly a whisky connoisseur, but over the past two years, I’ve made an attempt to learn a little.  Top lessons learned to date?

  1. Buy your whisky at the duty free shops at the airport — you can save upwards of 50%
  2. If you like your whisky on the rocks, considering buying an ice ball mold.  A giant ice ball keeps your drink from getting watered down too quickly.
  3. The taste of whisky is enhanced when served in a Riedel whisky glass.
  4. Notwithstanding #3, no glass could ever make me enjoy whisky that tastes like diesel.
  5. Whisky is an awesome ingredient for ice cream!
bottles of whisky, whiskey

Whisky – a perfect warming drink in the fall and a great ingredient for ice cream!

Fall is the definitely the time to introduce the taste of spirits and liqueurs into ice cream.  Maple Walnut Ice Cream is a classic flavour that I thought could be made just a bit more sophisticated by adding a few shots of whisky.  Indeed!  Sweet maple syrup, toasted walnuts, and smooth Scotch whisky make for a fantastic combination.  I used the Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or for this recipe, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.  And if you like, top off your bowl of ice cream with an extra shot of whisky and drizzle of maple syrup!

Maple Whiskey Walnut Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup (Grade B syrup has a darker, richer maple taste compared to Grade A varieties)
3 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
Pinch of sea salt
4 tablespoons whiskey
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

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