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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Lemon Ricotta Ice Cream (#55-E)

29 03 2013

Thank you Vancouver for promising me a week of sunshine!!!

Vancouver sunshine

Sunshine, sunshine, nothing but sunshine!

What better way to embrace spring sunshine than with a bright, citrus-y ice cream flavour?  Lemon Ricotta Ice Cream has been on my to-make list for months now, but the dark, dreary days of winter called for richer flavours.  Now that spring is in the air, it’s time to re-introduce lighter, fruitier flavours to the 52 Scoops repertoire.

This ice cream recipe is egg-free and super simple.  No cooking required!  Just pour the ingredients into a blender, give it a whirl, and you’re pretty much good to go.

The ice cream turned out light and fresh, sweet and tangy — absolutely delicious!  Texture wise, the ricotta cheese makes the ice cream a little more crumbly / flaky compared to other 52 Scoops recipes, so let it warm up ever so slightly before scooping and serving.  Enjoy it on its own or try serving it with a couple of shortbread cookies on the side.

Lemon Ricotta Ice Cream (Makes about 1.25 L)

3/4 to 1 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I used 10% M.F.)
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (3 to 4 lemons)
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups half-and-half cream Read the rest of this entry »





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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Backcountry Blackberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (#53-E)

17 03 2013

Admit it.  Some of you didn’t think I’d be posting more ice cream recipes after finishing 52 Scoops.  But as promised, here’s another!

A few weeks ago, prior to this HUGE deluge of Vancouver rain, the Official Taster and I, along with our friend Jason, thought it’d be fun to head up one of the local mountains and build an igloo.  Yes, an igloo.

I hadn’t grown up camping, let alone snow camping.  The Official Taster introduced me to this activity just a few years ago, and let’s just say my first snow camping experience was rather… epic.  New Years Eve, 2009/10.  Mount Seymour.  22 hours of rain and sleet.  Two people who were sent down around midnight because they wouldn’t have lasted the night.  Huddling under a tarp in the morning hoping for a break in the weather so we could pack up and haul all our gear, plus the evacuees’ abandoned gear, down the mountain.  I think my body needed three days to recover after that!

But I’ve since grown to love snow camping.  Because when you can fall asleep to something like this…

winter camping

Mount Seymour. Photo courtesy of Peter G.

… Or wake up to something like this…

Mt. Strachan, Cypress Provincial Park

Mt. Strachan, Cypress Provincial Park

… It’s pretty amazing.

And when you introduce a snow saw to your arsenal of winter gear, it gets even more fun.  Because you can play around and cut out sleeping platforms like this:

Sleeping platform cut into a huge snow bank.  Mt. Strachan, Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver.  (Photo courtesy of Dave F.)

Sleeping platform cut into a huge snow bank. Mt. Strachan, Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of Dave F.)

Even better, you can cut blocks to build igloos, as the O.T., Jason, and I did recently:

building igloo

The Official Taster laying igloo blocks. Black Mountain, Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver

igloo, winter camping

The finished igloo!

Knowing we were going to be building a warm, cozy snow shelter, Jason had suggested we might as well get fancy with food – why not churn a batch of ice cream up on the mountain?

A half-pint jar of custard and my half-pint Baby Donvier wouldn’t add that much weight to my backpack, and since I had some leftover blackberry puree from my blackberry escapades last summer and a block of cream cheese in the fridge, an egg-free Blackberry Cheesecake Ice Cream it was then!

Donvier half pint ice cream maker, blackberry cheesecake ice cream, blackberry ice cream

Churning out a mini batch of ice cream in the backcountry.

As expected, the ice cream did not firm up as much as it usually does when I churn it at home, since the inner frozen cylinder — though packed in the snow while we were busy igloo building — was not at its optimal ultra-cold temperature.  But after two and a half hours of cutting, hauling, shaping, and stacking blocks, we were hungry and happy to have a treat to enjoy, even if it was a bit on the soft side.

Backcountry Blackberry Cheesecake Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 cups of strained blackberry 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

  1. Puree the blackberries 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 blackberry puree and blend at medium speed.  Scrape down the sides.  Add the remaining blackberry 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.
inside igloo with ice cream

Jason, the Igloo Builder and Guest Taster, says: “This tastes pretty good!”





So here we have it, 52 Scoops!!!

13 03 2013

That’s it!  Done!  Finito!  A year of ice cream making — a different artisan ice cream recipe for every week of the year — is complete!  So what do 52 flavours of ice cream look like?  Take a look at my year long compilation:

52 scoops of artisan ice cream

52 Scoops – a different flavour of ice cream for every week of the year!

Wow.  That was a lot of ice cream.

Over the last few of weeks, a number of people have been asking: What are you going to do after you finish 52 Scoops?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

MAKE MORE ICE CREAM, I SAY!!! 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Don’t worry, 52 Scoops is here to stay.  While I might not be posting a new ice cream recipe every single week as I’ve done over the past year, I have plenty more recipe ideas up my sleeve, and I can’t wait to share them with you!  Follow @52Scoops on Twitter or subscribe to this blog to make sure you’re not missing out on any new posts.  Have a flavour idea?  Email me!

A few other questions have popped up quite frequently over the last few weeks:

Q: 52 weeks of ice cream making?  WHY???

A: It’s fun.  It’s tasty.  I can use local products and what’s in season, and I can minimize chemical additives.  Once you start making your own ice cream, there’s no turning back — what you make at home tastes far better than anything you can get at the grocery store.  It’s cheap too.  That salted caramel ice cream that costs $6 for a little scoop at a fancy ice cream or gelato shop?  (That’s over $30 a litre!)  You can make a litre of it at home for $2 or $3.

Q: So… how much weight have you gained?

A: I didn’t do an official weigh-in at the beginning of this project, so I’m not actually sure!  At Week #4, I eliminated whipping cream from my recipes for fear of wreaking havoc on my waistline.  I totally kicked up the exercise during the summer time — running stairs and hiking a lot.  There were some days I would hike the BCMC trail up Grouse Mountain three times in an afternoon!  Also, I actually only make half a recipe most of the time, and I often share the ice cream I make with my family, friends, and co-workers.  Overall, I don’t think there’s been a significant change in my weight.  My pants still fit.

Q: What are your favourite flavours?

A: Looking back over the past year, I would say my top two flavours are Hungarian Plum Dumpling Ice Cream and Mango Ice Cream with Chili Sea Salt.  There are numerous flavours tied for third place: Spicy Mexican Chocolate, Black Forest, Spiced Rum Raisin, Pomegranate, Tawari Honey, and Nutella.  It depends on my mood.  I’m sure my favourites will be continually changing as I experiment with more recipes.

Thanks to everyone who took a keen interest in 52 Scoops over the last year — blog readers, Twitter followers, ingredient donors, and, of course, ice cream tasters!  There’s lots more fun to come, I promise.





Tiramisu Ice Cream (#52)

7 03 2013

I DID IT!!!  52 Scoops in 52 weeks!  My year of ice cream making is complete.  A rich, indulgent ice cream to finish off the 52 Scoops repertoire is definitely in order.  How does Tiramisu Ice Cream sound?

This was actually one of the first ice cream recipes I tried, well over a year ago.  I was having my family over for an Italian-themed dinner and was struggling to think of what to make for dessert.  Tiramisu would have been the perfect end to that meal, but my dad makes a pretty mean tiramisu — there was no way I could compete with him!  I settled on Tiramisu Ice Cream as an alternative.

Tiramisu

My dad’s tiramisu makes a special appearance at birthdays and other special dinners.  It’s amazing and can’t be beat!

For readers who are unfamiliar with tiramisu, it’s a classic Italian dessert made with ladyfingers (small, elongated sponge cakes) that are dipped in strong coffee and liqueur (typically Marsala, Kahlua, or rum), layered with a rich, airy mixture of mascarpone cheese and egg yolks, and topped with powdered or shaved chocolate.

I’ve tinkered with this recipe over the last year, adjusting proportions and testing out different ingredients.  My final and preferred version of Tiramisu Ice Cream uses a couple of shots of espresso, Kahlua, and mascarpone cheese with 35% milk fat.  (Mascarpone can be up to 75% milk fat!)   The espresso and Kahlua give the ice cream a double coffee punch and a complex flavour, while the 35% M.F. mascarpone adds an extra degree of richness and smoothness without blowing your calorie count for the day.  It’s the perfect pick-me-up dessert!

Many of you have asked What’s next for 52 Scoops?  Well, right now, I’m eating a big bowl of Tiramisu Ice Cream and working on a blog post to answer that very question.  Check back in a few days 🙂

Tiramisu Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt
2 shots of strong espresso (or 60 mL very strong brewed coffee.  No instant coffee allowed!)
1/4 cup Kahlua (or other coffee flavoured liqueur)
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup grated dark chocolate
3/4 cup coarsely crumbled ladyfingers (optional)

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