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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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!”





Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (#19-E)

19 07 2012

Since I come from a family that LOVES food and cooking, I started playing around in the kitchen at quite an early age.  One of my earliest memories of “baking” was mixing together random amounts of butter, flour, milk, and baking powder, forming a few crude biscuits, popping them in the oven (a REAL oven, not an Easy Bake), and excitedly offering them to my dad when he came home from work.  And yes, he ate them (thanks Dad!)… even though I’m sure they were dense little pucks with a flakiness rating of zero.  Luckily, with some guidance from my parents, my baking skills steadily progressed and by grade 6, I could make some pretty mean cheesecakes — double chocolate, pumpkin, citrus, rocky road, and raspberry to name a few.  Raspberry cheesecake was probably my favourite.  With raspberry season in full swing, I thought it’d be the perfect time to reinvent one of my favourite childhood desserts into an egg-free ice cream recipe.

fresh raspberries

Fresh raspberries at Granville Island Market

Raspberries might look sweet and delicate, but they have surprisingly bitter seeds.  For this recipe, be sure to strain out the seeds from the raspberry puree.  I admit I had a moment of laziness in the test kitchen.  I neglected this step and used 2 cups of raspberry puree that included seeds.  The resultant ice cream was okay but it seemed to lack berry flavour and had somewhat of a bitter aftertaste.  I was more diligent during Round #2 of testing, whirling the berries in a blender at low speed to break them up, and then pressing the puree through a sieve to remove all the seeds.  I realized I needed almost twice as many berries than I had previously used in order to get two cups of seedless puree — half the volume of the berry puree was, in fact, those pesky bitter seeds!  This explained the lacklustre, tannic flavour of the first batch of ice cream.  So I will emphasize again: strain out the seeds for ultra berry-liciousness!

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream is absolutely perfect for summer — sweet, tangy, refreshing, and PINK!  Enjoy and eat often!

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 cups of strained raspberry 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
Graham cracker crumbs for garnish (optional)

  1. Puree the raspberries 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 raspberry puree and blend at medium speed.  Scrape down the sides.  Add the remaining raspberry 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.
  6. If desired, garnish with graham cracker crumbs.
bowl of raspberry cheesecake ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Should I say something cheesy?”





Egg-Free Ice Cream Recipes and Tips

18 06 2012

A few 52 Scoops readers have recently asked whether I have any egg-free ice cream recipes.  So far, all of my recipes have eggs, since I love the richness and texture of custard-based ice cream.  But since I am quickly learning there are many ice cream lovers out there who are allergic to eggs or do not eat eggs, I’d like to offer some tips on how to modify 52 Scoops ice cream recipes so they are egg-free, as well as some general tips on successful egg-free ice cream making.  But first, a primer on the difference between ice cream made with and without eggs…

Egg vs. Egg-Free

Ice cream made with eggs is also known as French-style or custard-based ice cream.  It is made by combining eggs, sugar, and cream, and cooking it into a custard.  This style of ice cream has a richer and creamier mouth feel, a denser texture, and is more scoopable.

Ice cream made without eggs is also known as Philadelphia-style or American-style ice cream.  Egg-free ice cream has a lighter, more delicate texture.  It is faster and simpler to make and typically does not require any stove-top action.

Modifying 52 Scoops Ice Cream Recipes So They are Egg-Free

The 14 recipes I have posted to date all contain egg, and most have been prepared following this method:

  1. Combine eggs and sugar.
  2. Add most of the cream.
  3. Cook until it thickens.
  4. Remove from heat, add remaining cream, and place in an ice bath to cool.
  5. Stir in flavourings (unless recipe calls for flavourings to be added in the final moments of churning).
  6. Chill overnight.
  7. Churn.

After reviewing the ingredients and preparation methods of numerous egg-free ice cream recipes, I would suggest that most 52 Scoops ice cream recipes can be modified to be egg-free.  Omit the eggs from the original recipe and follow one of the general preparation methods listed below:

For recipes using only sugar as a sweetener:

  1. Combine the sugar and cream.
  2. Whisk thoroughly until the sugar is fully dissolved.  (Be patient and thorough here.  You do not want to eat grainy ice cream!)
  3. Stir in flavourings (unless recipe calls for flavourings to be added in the final moments of churning).
  4. Chill overnight.
  5. Churn.

For recipes using a liquid sweetener (i.e. honey, syrup) instead of, or in addition to, sugar as a sweetener:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the liquid sweetener with 1/3 of the cream called for in the recipe.  Heat over medium-low heat until the liquid sweetener is dissolved into the cream, stirring constantly.  Let cool.
  2. Combine #1 above with any sugar called for and the remaining cream.
  3. Whisk thoroughly until the sugar is fully dissolved.  (Be patient and thorough here.  You do not want to eat grainy ice cream!)
  4. Stir in flavourings (unless recipe calls for flavourings to be added in the final moments of churning).
  5. Chill overnight.
  6. Churn.

52 Scoops Disclaimer!  I have not (yet) tested any of my recipes to be egg-free, so actual results might vary.  (But can you really go wrong when you churn sugar and cream together?!)  When I have the chance, I will go back and try egg-free versions of various recipes.  When I do, I will post an addendum, complete with a modified ingredient list, specific instructions, and Official Taster notes.  Egg-free ice cream recipes will be coded with an “E” (e.g. Classic Vanilla is coded #1, Egg-Free Classic Vanilla will be coded #1-E) and will be searchable under the category tag “egg-free”.  If you have the chance to adapt a 52 Scoops ice cream recipe to be egg-free before I get around to it, please let me know how it turns out — I’d love to hear from you!

I will also be developing recipes that will be egg-free from the get-go, so stay tuned.  I have an egg-free ice cream recipe in the test kitchen right now!

General Tips on Making Egg-Free Ice Cream:

– It goes without saying, always use the best quality ingredients you can find.

– Egg-free recipes tend to work best with fruit flavours (e.g. using fresh ripe fruit puree)

– Use superfine sugar, as it will dissolve much faster in the cream.  If you don’t have superfine sugar, use regular granulated sugar that has been pulsed in the food processor for a few seconds.

– Compared to custard-based ice cream, egg-free ice cream will freeze up harder and be less scoopable.  To achieve a more scoopable egg-free ice cream, you can add some alcohol to the mix.  One tablespoon of vodka per cup of cream used usually does the trick.  You can also try substituting some of the sugar with a liquid sweetener, such as a mild honey or maple syrup.

– Your best bet is to enjoy your homemade egg-free ice cream the same day it is prepared (four to six hours after freezing) when a softer texture is still maintained.  If you need to freeze the ice cream overnight or longer, do so in a shallow dish (an 8″ x 8″ glass dish works the best for 1 L of ice cream), and let the ice cream soften in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to scooping.








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