Horlicks Ice Cream (#62)

1 10 2013

When we had a week of surprise sunshine and warm temperatures earlier this month, I had been hopeful that summer would extend right through to the end of September.  But alas, Raincouver is back with a vengeance.  The last few days have seen howling winds and sideways rain.  Welcome, Fall.  It’s officially time to switch from iced coffee in the morning to a warming drink instead.  The last couple of days, I’ve been drinking Horlicks with a shot of espresso.  Hor-what you ask?!

Horlicks is a malt drink mix.  Though it was developed by two English-born brothers in the United States, I tend to think of Horlicks as a “Chinese drink”.  It’s quite popular in Hong Kong, and hence it became a staple in many Chinese immigrant households in Vancouver.  Other kids drank Nestle Quik growing up.  I drank Horlicks.

Horlicks malted milk drink mix

Horlicks malt drink mix.  Delicious and nutritious!

Horlicks is actually quite good for, with 45% of your daily recommended calcium and 10% of your daily iron in each serving.  When mixed into a basic ice cream custard, it makes for an incredibly rich, delectable, and — dare I say — healthy dessert!

Horlicks Ice Cream (makes about 1.25 L)

3/4 cup Horlicks powder
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt Read the rest of this entry »





Kheer Ice Cream (#56-E)

10 04 2013

Rice pudding used to totally gross me out.  I mean, come on, I’m Chinese.  Rice should be:

  1. Steamed
  2. Cooked into congee
  3. Fried

Cooked with milk and sugar?  Eeeeeeewwwww!!!

But my tastes started to change some years ago, and now I love rice pudding, especially South Asian style rice pudding, kheer.  Last week, while at an Indian restaurant enjoying a bowl, it occurred to me this dessert could be probably churned into a delectable ice cream.

After doing some research, I realized there many, many different methods and variations of making kheer.  Should I use cream, milk, coconut milk, or sweetened condensed milk?  Full fat or reduced fat?  Basmati rice or regular long grained rice?  Raw or cooked?  If raw, pulse the rice first or not?  Will frying the rice in ghee first really make a difference?  Saffron or not?  Pistachios, cashews or almonds?  In the absence of an obvious go-to  recipe, I developed a recipe for kheer that draws from numerous recipes found online and with ingredients that I had on hand at home.

For my first attempt at making kheer, it turned out quite well — sweet, creamy, and wonderfully aromatic.  Cardamom is what gives kheer its unique, distinctive taste — if you’re a fan, you might want to use an extra pod or two into the recipe.

Indian rice pudding

Homemade kheer — sweet, creamy, and wonderfully aromatic!

When the kheer was churned into ice cream, it developed quite an interesting texture.  Even though the recipe uses milk instead of cream, the starchiness of the rice made the ice cream quite thick and creamy.  The broken grains of rice added a bit of a chew and the pistachios a nice crunch.

You’re best off serving this ice cream shortly after churning and with only a quick chill in the freezer.  If you chill it overnight, it will freeze up rock solid due to the low fat content.  (This is solvable of course by letting the ice cream warm up on the counter or in the fridge… but who has the patience!!)  Also, this ice cream has almost no overrun, so you might want to double the recipe if you want to make a full litre.

Kheer Ice Cream (Makes about 0.5 L)

4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup long-grained rice
3 cardamom pods, crushed
Small pinch of saffron threads
1/4 cup white sugar (or more to taste)
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

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Avocado Ice Cream (#47-E)

2 02 2013

Organic avocados were on sale this week for $1 each.  While I typically pounce on sales, I’ve always been a bit cautious with sale avocados.  Will they be a perfect creamy green inside or a brown icky mess?  It’s always been a bit of a gamble for me… until I recently stumbled upon this neat little tip from The Kitchn on how to tell if an avocado is perfectly ripe inside.  Pop off the dry button on the stem end of the fruit.  If it’s green underneath, the avocado is ripe.  If it’s brown, it’s past its prime and most likely brown and stringy inside.

Avocado

Score.  That little trick from The Kitchn worked!  Perfectly ripe inside!

So, what to do with three perfectly ripe avocados?  Ice cream of course!

Avocado Ice Cream might sound rather bizarre, but in Southeast Asia, avocados are typically used for sweet rather than savoury dishes.  When I was travelling in Vietnam, when I wasn’t sipping an iced Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk (cà phê sữa đá), I had an avocado milkshake (sinh tố bơ) in hand.  Avocado milkshakes are rich and buttery in taste and ultra smooth in texture.  Surely avocados would work well in ice cream.

This egg-free ice cream recipe is super simple: blitz four ingredients in a blender, chill, churn, done.  I would suggest that you churn the avocado mixture as soon as it is thoroughly chilled (about four hours), otherwise the mixture will start to discolour and darken from contact with air.

Results?  An amazingly smooth, creamy, and pillowy soft ice cream with the rich taste of avocado and just a hint of caramel from the condensed milk.  Be careful with this one, it might be hard to stop yourself from eating the whole batch in one sitting!!

Avocado Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.5 L)

2.5 cups half-and-half cream
3 avocados
Juice of half a lemon
225 mL (3/4 can) sweetened condensed milk (save the rest for cà phê sữa đá)
1/4 cup white sugar (optional)

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Purple Yam and Coconut Ice Cream (#45-D/E)

18 01 2013

This week’s recipe features another tuber: the purple yam.  Purple yams are commonly used in the Philippines, where they are known as ube.  In North America, you can buy purple yams at most Asian green grocers.  You can also find them in some conventional grocery stores, alongside potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Purple yams have a reddish-brown skin and the most delightful purple insides.

purple yam, purple sweet potato, ube

Look at this gorgeous colour!

Purple yam and coconut are a common combination in Filipino desserts, such as ube macapuno cake and halo halo.  With this in mind, I thought I’d give purple yam and coconut ice cream a try.

This is a super simple ice cream recipe.  You puree peeled and boiled yams with some coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt and – ta da! –  your custard is done and ready for chilling.  Yes, finally, another dairy-free and egg-free ice cream recipe!

I had a bit of a chuckle as I was pouring the custard into the ice cream maker.  It was super thick and goopy because of the richness of the coconut milk and the starch in the yams, and the colour reminded me of McDonald’s Grimace character.  As for taste, the Official Taster claims it’s “gentle”.  Huh???  I will interpret that to mean “an ice cream with a soft, pillowy texture, wonderful coconut flavour, and subtle undertones of purple yam”.

Keep in mind this ice cream freezes up quite hard overnight.  Enjoy it as soon as it is chilled to serving consistency.  If you need to freeze it longer, give it a good 15 to 20 minutes on the counter to warm up before scooping.

Purple Yam and Coconut Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

2 cups of purple yams, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 – 13.5 oz (400 ml) can coconut milk
1.5 cup soy milk (or substitute dairy milk)
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of sea salt

  1. Place the yams into a medium-sized sauce pan, cover with water, and bring to boil.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the yams are fork tender.  Drain the yams, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Tip the yams and the reserved cooking water into a blender and puree until smooth.

    Purple yam puree, purple sweet potato puree, ube puree

    Purple yam puree

  3. Add the coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and salt into the blender.  Puree until very smooth.
  4. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  5. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Purple yam coconut ice cream, purple yam ice cream, ube ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Gentle.”





Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream (#28)

20 09 2012

Last weekend, while making cà phê sữa đá — iced Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk — it occurred to me that this would make for a fantastic ice cream flavour.

Since my trip to Vietnam last year, I have become rather addicted to Vietnamese style coffee.  Why?

  1. Vietnanese coffee is a blend of robusta, arabica, chari and catimor beans — it’s a wonderfully aromatic combination and has a very unique flavour.
  2. It is brewed using a phin — a small, simple drip filter shaped like a top hat.  You watch your coffee slowly drip, drip, drip for four to six minutes through the filter into your glass.  The slow drip results in coffee with the strength of rocket fuel.  You can read more about brewing a perfect cup of Vietnamese coffee here.
  3. You can optionally serve it with ice and sweetened condensed milk.  For me, that’s about 99% of the time!
Iced Vietnamese coffee

One of a many, many iced Vietnamese coffees I had during the trip.  Yum!

Cà phê sữa đá just begs to be turned into ice cream!  For this ice cream recipe, I used Trung Nguyen coffee, Vietnam’s national brand.  If you can’t find Trung Nguyen coffee (or another brand of Vietnamese coffee) from a local Vietnamese market, you can substitute a strong French roast coffee.

Trung Nguyen coffee

The last of the huge stash of Trung Nguyen coffee I brought back from Vietnam last year.

I also used Longevity Brand sweetened condensed milk, which you should be able to find at most Asian grocery stores.  Longevity is my brand of choice as it doesn’t contain any oil, fillers, or other strange ingredients.  Plus it has a cool label that screams wise choice.  Longevity also happened to rank #1 in a condensed milk taste test by Serious Eats.

Longevity Brand condensed milk

Wise men (and women) choose Longevity Brand!

Results?  The ice cream has a strong, rich coffee taste with notes of butter and caramel from the condensed milk.  Using condensed milk also results in an extremely malleable ice cream.  Even after 24+ hours in the freezer, the ice cream was ready to scoop, requiring no softening time in the fridge or on the counter.  I’ll be eating this ice cream for breakfast for the next week!

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)
Adapted from Serious Eats

2 1/4 cups half-and-half cream
1/4 cup ground Vietnamese coffee
2 eggs
1 300 mL can sweetened condensed milk

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Lime and Phu Quoc Peppercorn Ice Cream (#27)

13 09 2012

The inspiration for this week’s ice cream recipe is an ingredient I obtained while travelling in Vietnam last year: Phu Quoc Peppercorns.

Last year, the Official Taster and I travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia.  Hands down, the favourite part of our trip was a few relaxing days at Freedomland, a homestay resort on Phu Quoc Island in southwestern Vietnam.  While Freedomland is truly a little piece of paradise in and of itself, the highlight of our stay was definitely the food.  Peter and Rita (the owners) and their staff do an amazing job every night cooking for up to 30 guests.  Peter is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about food, and having travelled and lived in so many parts of the world (including Vancouver!), this was Vietnamese fusion cuisine at its best.  Each dish was so fresh, flavourful, and exquisitely prepared and plated.   He really ought to have his own cooking show.

Grilled lemongrass prawn

Grilled prawns on a lemongrass skewer, served over fresh pasta and pesto.  We had three dinners at Freedomland during our stay and Peter prepared a total of 25 (yes, 25!) dishes.  I’m not exaggerating about his amazing food!  Check out the Tripadvisor reviews.

Phu Quoc peppercorns made their way into many of Peter’s dishes.  Vietnam, I learned,  is the leading global exporter of black peppercorns, and the best quality peppercorns come from Phu Quoc.  Peter — sensing my extreme enthusiasm for all things food — was kind enough to get me a huge bag of peppercorns from a local pepper farm.  Don’t buy it from the market, he warned.  It’s mixed with the cheap stuff! 

Phu Quoc peppercorns

Spicy, aromatic Phu Quoc peppercorns — real ones, not the cheap stuff!

Phu Quoc peppercorns are wonderfully aromatic and spicy — like no other peppercorns I’ve ever tasted.  Finish any Southeast Asian dish with freshly ground Phu Quoc peppercorns and a squeeze of lime juice and it comes to life!  A perfect flavour combination, and a perfect combo for ice cream.

If you can’t source Phu Quoc peppercorns from your local Vietnamese grocer for this ice cream recipe, substitute with the freshest, highest quality black peppercorns you can find.  Also, be sure to infuse the custard with the peppercorns overnight if you want a spicier ice cream.  You will find many peppercorn ice cream recipes instructing you to strain out the peppercorns after one hour, but why be apologetic in its use?

Freedomland homestay resort

The Official Taster, Peter, and I on our last day at Freedomland, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Lime and Phu Quoc Peppercorn Ice Cream (makes about 1 L)

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 tablespoon coarsely ground Phu Quoc peppercorns
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups half-and-half cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the first five ingredients.
  2. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of the half-and-half, taking care that the mixture does not curdle.
  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. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Cool and chill overnight in the fridge.
  7. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove the zest and pepper.  If some of the pepper escapes, that’s okay!
  8. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  9. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and slice of lime.
lime peppercorn ice cream

The Official Taster says: “It would have been nice to have this while in Vietnam!”





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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