Rhubarb Orange Star Anise Frozen Yogurt (#57-Y)

6 05 2013

I was rummaging through the freezer the other day and realized I still have lots of frozen fruit from last year.  With fresh, seasonal produce soon to be in great abundance, I figured it’s time to use up last year’s frozen goodies.  A bag of chopped rhubarb was among my collection.  Perfect.  I’ve had rhubarb, orange, and star anise compote on my mind for the past few weeks now!

For those who are unfamiliar, star anise is a spice that is commonly used in Asian cooking.  These beautiful little stars come from the pod of an evergreen magnolia tree and have an anise or licorice flavour.  Star anise pairs wonderfully with citrus and adds intrigue to rhubarb.

star anise

Beautiful, sweet smelling star anise

Rather than making a compote and churning it into a standard custard as I’ve done in the past, I decided to use 3 cups of yogurt as my base this time.  That’s right, I’m shaking things up and adding frozen yogurt to the 52 Scoops repertoire!

If you’ve been hesitant about making ice cream because of the higher fat content, you now have a healthier, lower fat alternative that is still be incredibly delectable, rich, and creamy!  I’ll be using 2% Greek yogurt for all my frozen yogurt recipes, but feel free to experiment with 1% or fat-free varieties.

Results?  Delicious!  The rhubarb, orange, and yogurt all have a mild tang, while the star anise adds just a hint of sweet licorice.  A marvelous first attempt at making frozen yogurt.

Because of the lower fat content, the frozen yogurt will become very hard overnight.  Enjoy it as soon as it is churned or after a quick chill in the freezer.  Two hours for me was perfect.

Rhubarb Orange Star Anise Frozen Yogurt  (Makes about 1 L)

2.5 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 cup white sugar
2 star anise
Juice and finely chopped zest of one medium orange
3 cups of Greek yogurt

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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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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.

cinnamon

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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Eggnog Ice Cream (#41) + Christmas Ice Cream Options

20 12 2012
Christmas tree

Our wee tree

Five day countdown!  The tree is up, the halls are decked, and our stockings hung by the gas fireplace with care.  Time to kick back with some rum and eggnog.

I must admit I was tempted to pour the rest of the carton of eggnog into my Donvier ice cream maker and call it Week #40, but that would be cheating.  Besides, anything made from scratch always tastes better!  I haven’t made homemade eggnog before, but I figured it’d be quite easy to capture the taste of this festive drink in ice cream format.  After all, the main ingredients for eggnog are pretty much the same as a basic ice cream custard: milk and/or cream, eggs, and sugar.  Add a sprinkling of holiday spices and a few glugs of alcohol, and there you go!

For this recipe, I added two extra egg yolks to the standard two eggs I typically use for a bit of extra richness.  If you’re after an ultra decadent treat, you could use six yolks and no whites.  Whichever you choose, make sure you add lots of freshly grated nutmeg to the custard — nutmeg is what gives eggnog its distinct taste.

If you’re not a fan of eggnog but still want to serve a Christmas-y flavoured ice cream for dessert, you still have plenty of other flavour options.  My top picks would be: Gingerbread Ice Cream, Spiced Rum Raisin Ice Cream, Cranberry Orange Ice Cream, Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream, or Classic Vanilla Ice Cream with a half cup of crushed candy canes mixed in.

An early Merry Christmas to all!

Eggnog Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons rum

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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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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.”





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!”








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