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.”





Cranberry Orange Ginger Ice Cream (#31)

11 10 2012

The taste of fall continues!  This week’s ice cream features the BC cranberry.

British Columbia is one of the largest cranberry growing regions in the world.  Most cranberry bogs in BC are in the Lower Fraser Valley, with a few over on Vancouver Island.  Every fall, when the berries ripen and turn a gorgeous, deep red colour, cranberry farmers flood their fields in preparation for harvesting.  A harvester is then driven through the beds to shake the berries off the vines and into the water.  The berries, which are filled with little air pockets, float at the surface until they are corralled, transferred onto trucks, and whisked off for further processing.  Check out Lauren Robertson’s video about her trip to a cranberry farm in Delta, BC during harvest time — the sea of red berries is incredibly dramatic.  Lucky gal, I’d love to dance in a cranberry bog and scoop up fresh berries to use in all my fall recipes.  But until that time, I’ll rely on the fresh berries I get at the supermarket.

This ice cream recipe marries a delightfully tart Cranberry Orange Ginger Compote with sweet vanilla ice cream.  The compote is incredibly easy to make, taking about 15 minutes from start to finish.  I’d suggest doubling the compote recipe, saving the extras to serve with roast chicken or turkey, spread onto a deli sandwich, or dollop over hot cereal, pancakes, or waffles (along with a generous pour of maple syrup, of course!)

cranberry sauce

Cranberry Orange Ginger Compote — tastes like fall!

Even after making a double batch of compote, I still have extra cranberries on hand.  Readers, do you have any cranberry recipes you’d like to share with me?

Cranberry Orange Ginger Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream: (Makes about 1.25 L)

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

Cranberry Orange Ginger Compote:

2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 orange

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 extract.
  5. Chill overnight in the fridge.

For the Cranberry Orange Ginger Compote:

  1. While the ice cream is chilling, prepare the compote.
  2. Combine the first four ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop and soften, about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
  3. While the compote is cooking, zest the orange and chop finely.  Over a small bowl, peel and segment the orange, taking care to keep all the juice from the orange.  Cut each of the segments into small pieces.
  4. In the final two minutes of cooking, add the orange zest, juice, and segments to the compote.  Stir.
  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. Spread a quarter of the ice cream into a chilled dish.  Spoon 1/3 of the compote in random dollops onto the ice cream.  Repeat another two times (3 layers of ice cream, 3 layers of compote).  Top with the remaining quarter of the ice cream.
  3. Chill thoroughly in the freezer until firm.
cranberry orange ginger ice cream

The Official Taster says: “This is one of my favourites! I love the contrast between sweet and tart.”





Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream (#13)

8 06 2012

Week #13!  This means I’m 25% through my year of ice cream making.  So far, I’m having loads of fun time developing new recipes and churning out batch after batch of delectable home made ice cream.

I really like using fresh, local ingredients, so I recently put out a call to my co-workers: If you grow interesting things in your backyard and want to bring me some freshly harvested goodies, I can probably transform it into ice cream for you.  And the next day, I came to work and found a bunch of rhubarb on my desk.  (Thanks Hildie!)

bunch of fresh rhubarb

Freshly picked rhubarb

Rhubarb is a fascinating vegetable.  It looks like pink celery and has an absolutely puckering bite if you try to eat it raw.  I thought this bunch of rhubarb ought to be cooked into a luscious compote loaded with ginger, then swirled into an ice cream custard.  Don’t be scared by the amount of ginger called for in the compote.  When mixed into the ice cream, there’s a wonderful balance of sweet and heat.  If you have a lot of rhubarb on hand, double the compote recipe and save some for topping yogurt, waffles, pancakes, or toast.

Jar of rhubarb ginger compote

Rhubarb ginger compote

Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream:

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

Rhubarb Ginger Compote (makes 1 cup):

2.5 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp water

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Ginger Ice Cream (#10)

17 05 2012

This recipe is inspired by a trip to Hawaii that Tavis and I were on five years ago this week.  Having both been Geography majors, when we were choosing which Hawaiian island to visit, we figured we must choose the one with the most to offer in terms of natural geography — active volcanoes, massive mountains, and the best representation of the world’s climate zones and flora.  Big Island!  The plan was to circumnavigate the island, spending a few nights in Kona, on the western side of the island, and a few nights in Hilo, on the eastern side.

Lava flow on road in Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

Lava on the road in Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

We flew into Kona on Air Canada’s last direct flight of the season, which meant there were less than twenty of us on board (nice!)  Kona itself was all right, nothing special I would say — a typical, touristy surf town.  Hilo, in spite of its rain (it’s the third rainiest city in the US, and yes, we did get caught in a couple of afternoon rain storms), we loved.  There was a great authenticity to this little town.  Unlike Kona, Hilo felt like it had real people, with no resort development and hoards of tourists — old Hawaii, if you will.  It was great chatting with local people.  One woman we spoke with said we absolutely must try the ginger ice cream at Hilo Homemade Ice Cream, a local ice cream parlour.  We did and, indeed, it was amazing, amazing, amazing!  It was the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, with a little kick of heat.

Make sure to use fresh ginger for this recipe.  Don’t think about using the powdered stuff!

Fresh ginger from Granville Island

Ginger Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

Adapted from Gourmet, November 1998

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
3 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla

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