Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream (#61)

8 09 2013

My mother in law stopped by yesterday and brought along a huge bag of goodies from her garden: beautiful heirloom tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes, amazingly fragrant basil, green beans, and rhubarb.   Rhubarb typically peaks in the spring, but I guess when you have your own garden, anything goes… or grows!

I suppose I could have gotten creative with the tomatoes or the basil (green bean ice cream would have been pushing it), but I thought a rhubarb ice cream recipe would be safest.  I have already developed recipes for Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream, Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream, and most recently Rhubarb Orange Star Anise Frozen Yogurt.  What next?

I scanned the kitchen and zeroed in on a canister of old fashioned rolled oats I had on the counter.  With autumn just around the corner, a Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream was in order.

I love rhubarb crumble, and I love it even more when it’s topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Trouble is, the warm fruit usually melts the ice cream.  Unless you inhale your dessert, you end up with a bowl of soupy, fruity cream!  Solution?  An ice cream recipe that captures the sweet-tangy taste of cooked rhubarb and the satisfying crunch of a buttery crumble topping.  Enjoy.

Cook down rhubarb, orange zest, OJ, and sugar...

Rhubarb, orange zest, sugar, and orange juice…

rhubarb orange compote

… cooked into a luscious compote.

crumble topping

A quick crumble topping made of oats, flour, butter, and brown sugar.

Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream:

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

Rhubarb Orange Compote (makes 1 cup):

2.5 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup of sugar
Juice and zest of one orange

Crumble Topping

1/4 cup of butter
1/3 cup of flour
1/3 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup of brown sugar
Pinch of salt

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Oatmeal Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches (Saigon Cinnamon Ice Cream #54)

23 03 2013

Remember my friends Pete and Bec?  The ones who I had over for a farewell dinner and Tim Tam Ice Cream Sandwiches before they moved back to Australia?  Well I didn’t mention that the evening they were over, they brought with them two huge bags of groceries and pantry items that they couldn’t finish up and otherwise would have tossed.  Two huge goodie bags full of things like spring roll wrappers, olive oil, shredded coconut, and white chocolate chips.  (Thanks guys!  The Official Taster and I are slowly working through the lot.)  One of the most curious items I found in the bags was a spice jar containing Saigon Cinnamon.  This was new to me.


Saigon cinnamon

After some quick poking around on Google, I learned there are four main varieties of “cinnamon”.   Ceylon cinnamon is considered the “true” cinnamon.  The three other varieties, Indonesian cinnamon, Chinese cinnamon, and Saigon cinnamon, are actually from a related plant called cassia.  Ceylon cinnamon is the most expensive of the four.  But when it comes to flavour and aroma, it’s Saigon cinnamon that really packs a punch.

When I compared my “regular” cinnamon (unspecified variety, but most likely Indonesian cinnamon, as it is purportedly the cheapest and most common variety of cinnamon in North America) with the Saigon cinnamon, the Saigon variety was, by far, more aromatic and spicy.  It had a delightful burn on the tongue, like I had just popped a couple of cinnamon hearts into my mouth.

It was rather timely that I received an email from a blog reader last week suggesting I make cinnamon ice cream.  Even better, I thought I would bake a batch of oatmeal cookies and assemble some Oatmeal Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches.

The Oatmeal Cookie recipe below is from All Recipes, with a reduction in the total amount of sugar, since I find most cookie recipes are too sweet.  The cookies themselves are rather understated, which is fine for ice cream sandwiches since I want the ice cream to be the star of the show.  If you are making just the cookies (and not ice cream sandwiches), I would suggest adding a cup of raisins and/or chopped nuts for a bit more texture and interest.  The ice cream recipe is pretty much just a basic custard recipe with a couple teaspoons of Saigon cinnamon and some vanilla for depth – super easy.

Do you best to track down Saigon cinnamon — it’s amazingly fragrant, sweet and spicy at the same time.  It brings the ice cream to life.  If you can’t find Saigon cinnamon, regular cinnamon will do too, but use 1-1/2 teaspoons for the cookies and 3 teaspoons for the ice cream.

Depending on how thick or thin you spread your ice cream, you may or may not have some leftover cookies.  I ended up making ten ice cream sandwiches, each with a good, thick layer of cinnamon ice cream.  The ten extra cookies are stashed in a top secret location, away from the Official Taster.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the Oatmeal Cookies (Slightly adapted from All Recipes)

(Makes about 30 single 2-1/2″ cookies.  If you are making sandwiches, you will have some leftover cookies)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
1 cup butter
1-1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups quick cooking oats (not instant)

For the Saigon Cinnamon Ice Cream (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
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Red Velvet Ice Cream (#49)

13 02 2013

Red.  This week is all about red.  First off, we rang in the Year of the Snake for Chinese New Year on Sunday.  In Chinese culture, the colour red symbolizes good fortune and joy.  During the 15 days Chinese New Year is celebrated, red envelopes, red lanterns, red paper-cuts, and other red decor abound.

And then there’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  Definitely not a day I’m rah rah rah about, but an occasion that many enjoy.  Red hearts, red roses, red, red, red all around.  A red ice cream is befitting for this week.

Back in Week #39, I made the most gorgeous red ice cream: Beet and Orange Ice Cream.  I’ve been racking my brain all week trying to figure out what other intensely red ice cream recipe I can develop.  I was inspired by the idea of Red Velvet Cake — layers of red-tinged chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting — but after poking around online, I realized that Red Velvet Cake recipes typically call for a ridiculous amount of red food colouring to tint the cake red.  Some recipes call for a WHOLE BOTTLE of colouring!  Adding chemicals to my ice cream recipes is the last thing I want to do!  Fortunately, I came across Bake Cakery’s post on Red Velvet Cake made with beets.  This was the perfect inspiration to use beets in another ice cream recipe and in a way that will lead to a completely different taste.  Beets + cocoa + cream cheese = all natural Red Velvet Ice Cream bliss!

I used 1.5 cup of grated beets in this recipe (compared to the 2 cups used in my Beet and Orange Ice Cream recipe) to make sure the taste of beets would not be overwhelming.  A 1/4 cup of natural cocoa powder introduces just enough of a chocolatey taste to the ice cream, and half a brick of cream cheese pays tribute to the cream cheese frosting traditionally used to frost a Red Velvet Cake while adding a subtle tang.

grated beets

Instead of using red food colouring to tint the ice cream red, this recipe uses grated beets!

The ice cream turned out reddish-brown — definitely not the same luscious red as my Beet and Orange Ice Cream or the deep garnet colour of a traditional Red Velvet Cake made with food colouring.  I was a little disappointed in the colour, but it was a small price to pay to not add any food colouring to the recipe.  If you want your Red Velvet Ice Cream to have a more brilliant red colour, go ahead, add a few drops.  Your secret is safe with me!

Red Velvet Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

1.5 cups grated beets
1/2 cup water
125 g cream cheese
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
Juice of half a lemon
3 cups half-and-half cream, divided
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
Pinch of salt Read the rest of this entry »

Gingerbread Ice Cream (#40)

13 12 2012

Let me loose in a specialty food store and I’m like a kid in an ice cream parlour — giddy and over-excited.  Last week, my co-worker Leah and I squeezed in a lunch time trip to Galloway’s Specialty Foods.  If you’re a food nerd and haven’t been to Galloway’s, you must.  Every ingredient you could possibly need for cooking and baking can be found here.  French super-blue lavender flowers?  Yes.  Gluten free chestnut flour?  Yes.  Xanthan gum?  They’ve got that too.  If we weren’t pinched for time, I could have spent hours combing through all the aisles, looking at all the products, and learning ohhhh, so *this* is where I can buy beet powder!

I wasn’t looking for anything particularly obscure during this shopping trip though — just unsulphured blackstrap molasses, the key ingredient in Week #40’s Gingerbread Ice Cream.

unsulphured molasses, blackstrap molasses, Galloway's Specialty Foods

Rich, sticky molasses

Molasses are typically made from sugar cane and come in three grades or varieties.  Light molasses is made by boiling sugar cane juice and extracting the sugar.  The residual syrup is mild and quite sweet, since relatively little sugar is removed from the sugar cane juice.  Dark molasses is produced during a second round of boiling and sugar extraction.  Blackstrap molasses is made when the syrup is boiled for a third time and most of the remaining sugar removed.  Blackstrap molasses has a dark and robust flavour and is quite high in nutritional value, especially for manganese, copper, iron, and calcium.  Lately, I’ve been stirring a spoonful into my coffee every morning!  Many people choose light or dark molasses for cooking and baking, with the concern that the taste of blackstrap molasses can be overwhelming and bitter.  Personally, I love the taste of molasses, so I used blackstrap for this ice cream recipe.

All three varieties of molasses can be sulphured or unsulphured.  Sulphured molasses is made from young sugarcane and contains sulphur dioxide as a preservative.  Unsulphured molasses is made from old sugarcane, which has a higher sugar content compared to the young stuff.  This higher sugar content acts as a natural preservative for the molasses, so there is no need to add a chemical preservative.  While sulphured and unsulphured molasses can be used interchangeably, I opt for unsulphured.  No chemicals for me, thank you very much!

When cooking the custard, I noticed it started to thicken up at 160 degrees F / 71 degrees C.  I tried to keep the custard on the flame a little longer to reach my standard 170 degrees F / 77 degrees C, but the custard definitely didn’t need any further heating.  Take it off at 160, otherwise you might end up with gingerbread scrambled eggs!!

Gingerbread ice cream is one of my new winter favourites.  As with other syrup-sweetened ice creams, it is quite scoopable even after an overnight in the freezer.  The molasses gives the ice cream a rich, dark flavour and the spices… well, they make the ice cream taste like Christmas 🙂  If you’re a fan of candied ginger, you might also want to add a 1/2 cup of finely chopped candied ginger to the custard in the final moments of churning.

Gingerbread Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

1/2 cup unsulphured molasses (light, dark, or blackstrap – your choice)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

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Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream (#30)

4 10 2012

Welcome, October!  Welcome, Fall!  Here are the top 10 things I love about this time of year:

10) Fall fashion (classy, sophisticated)
9) The return of soups and stews in the slow cooker
8) Halloween costumes
7) Mid-Autumn Festival
6) Harvest time in the garden (for others; alas, I have no garden!)
5) Beautiful colours in the trees
4) Crunching through leaves
3) Golden sunshine
2) Thanksgiving and time with family
1) Pumpkins

I especially love pumpkins.  How can you NOT have a smile on your face when you see a collection of pumpkins (and squashes and gourds) of all shapes, sizes, and colours?  Large, small, yellow, orange, white, green, cute, ugly, I love them all!  And they taste pretty good too.

pumpkins, squashes, Keremeos

Pumpkins galore in Keremeos, BC

This year, my sister will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner.  Rather than sticking with tradition and having pumpkin pie for dessert, I thought we could end dinner 52 Scoops style — with Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream.  You can use freshly cooked and pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin for this recipe.  I opted for the latter and had great results.  If you use canned pumpkin, just be sure to use 100% pure pumpkin and do NOT use pumpkin pie filling.

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy!

Pumpkin Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup pure pumpkin puree

  1. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream, spices, and salt.
  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. When the custard is cool, whisk in the pumpkin puree.
  6. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  7. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
pumpkin pie ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Try it with a drizzle of maple syrup too!”

Apple Pie Ice Cream (#29)

27 09 2012

A few weekends ago, my parents, sister, and I went off on our annual wine tasting trip to the Okanagan.  I find mid-September — after Labour Day and before the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival — to be the best time to visit.  The roads are quiet, there are no insane crowds, fruits and veggies are at their prime, and the fall sunshine is warm and golden.  The place is beautiful.

This year, we focused on wineries on the Naramata bench.  Tasting was, of course, our main focus, but I’d have to say that our most delightful stop was at Dream Acres, a small apple orchard beside Lake Breeze Winery.  We were drawn to Dream Acres’ road side fruit and jam stand and the gala apple trees that were growing right next to it — it was the cutest set up and the trees were absolutely laden with apples.  The owner just happened to be outside during our visit and invited us to pick some apples off his trees.  Not the galas though, these are my grand kids’ trees and they’d kill me if I let you pick off them!  He led us to his McIntosh grove instead, where we excitedly picked a couple dozen apples.  They were truly the most amazing, juicy apples I have ever tasted, and just 30 cents a pound to boot!

apple tree

McIntosh apples at Green Acres Orchard, Naramata BC

apple tree

Happy customers!

The apples just begged to be made into pie, but since I’m not in the business of making pie, Apple Pie Ice Cream it is then — the first of several ice cream recipes celebrating the tastes of fall!

This recipe involves pan frying apples with some cinnamon, sugar, and other warming spices, and then churning the fruit into a luscious vanilla ice cream base.  (I used the little McIntoshes, along with some Galas and Jonagolds I picked up in Keremeos on our way home.)  Don’t be scared by the intensity of spices if you sneak a taste of the apples before churning it into the vanilla ice cream.  When mixed together, the flavour mellows and you have a wonderfully balanced combination of sweet and spice.  Think apple pie à la mode (sans pie crust, since I’ve never been a huge fan of crust).  It’s a perfect dessert for those first days of fall.

Apple Pie Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream:

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

Cinnamon Spiced Apples:

3 cups finely chopped apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Pinch of sea salt

For the Ice Cream:

  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 the vanilla.
  5. Chill overnight in the fridge.

For the Cinnamon Spiced Apples:

  1. While the ice cream is chilling, prepare the cinnamon spiced apples.
  2. Toss the apples with the lemon juice.
  3. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the apples, sugar, and spices.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and all the liquid has evaporated, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat, cool, and chill overnight in the fridge.

To Finish:

  1. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. In the final stages of churning, add the cinnamon spiced apples and churn to distribute throughout the ice cream.
apple pie ice cream

The Official Taster was out of town at a conference this week, so my sister fulfilled the role of Guest Taster.   The Guest Taster says: “HOLY SH*T, this is gooooood ice cream!!!”

Black Forest Ice Cream (#22)

9 08 2012

There was a news story that broke a few days ago that made me a bit sad.  Apparently, excess cherries from the US are being shipped to Canada, flooding the local market and causing prices to drop.  Cherry farmers in the Okanagan are receiving just half as much for their fruit compared to previous seasons.  With prices so low, farmers cannot afford to harvest the fruit.  Cherry pickers in the Okanagan have been laid off… leaving tens of thousands of pounds of beautiful, crispy, sweet cherries unpicked on the trees.  Sad faces all around.  Support our local farmers!  If you are able, pick up some local Okanagan cherries (and other local fruits and veggies) the next time you’re at the market!

Okanagan cherries

Okanagan cherries

I picked up a couple of pounds last weekend with a specific purpose in mind: BLACK FOREST.  I love chocolate and cherries!

Black forest cake itself is rather… involved.  Last year for my birthday, I was set on making a black forest cake from scratch.  Chocolate shortcrust pastry.  Chocolate sponge cake.  Cherry filling.  Freshly whipped cream.  Shaved chocolate curls.  Project Black Forest was accomplished over two days, the help of my dad (who just happened to have a homemade cake turntable on standby for my use), and caused quite the chocolately mess in the kitchen.

homemade black forest cake

Project Black Forest

But black forest ice cream is a cinch.  Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream + kirsch + boozy cherry compote = THE MOST AMAZING BLACK FOREST ICE CREAM EVER.  And it takes about 20 minutes of prep time!  (Hint: use a cherry pitter)  If you love chocolate and cherries as much as I do, you must try this recipe!

Black Forest Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.5 L)

Ice Cream

3 eggs
1 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
3 3/4 cups half-and-half cream
3 tablespoons kirsch

Boozy Cherry Compote (makes about 2 cups)

3 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons kirsch
1 tablespoon cornstarch

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