Pomegranate Ice Cream (#46-E)

27 01 2013

Pomegranates are a fascinating fruit.  Crack one of these guys open and there are hundreds of red, jewel-toned seeds (AKA arils) inside.  Beautiful.

pomegranate, pomegranate seeds

Pomegranates have hundreds of gorgeous red seeds inside.

Pomegranates are typically available during the fall and winter.  They are considered a superfood and loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibre.  If I can get my superfoods in ice cream format, all the better!!

I thought the simplest way of making Pomegranate Ice Cream would be to go Philly-style, simply whirling pomegranate syrup into some cream and adding a handful of pomegranate seeds at the end of the churning process for some texture.  I used Alton Brown’s recipe for pomegranate syrup, which involves cooking pomegranate juice, sugar, and a squeeze of lemon juice into a thick syrup.  Pomegranate juice can be found at higher end grocery stores.  I used a bottle of POM 100% pure pomegranate juice for this recipe.  If you are inclined to juice your own pomegranates, the POM council lists three methods on its FAQ page.  Make sure you’re not wearing any white clothing!  You will need at least eight pomegranates for 1 litre of juice.

Be sure to let the pomegranate syrup cool completely before you whisk in the cream.  If you add cold cream to hot syrup, the mixture will curdle and there will be no way to rescue it.

This egg-free ice cream has a very concentrated, rich, fruity taste, with a hint of tannins during the first few bites.  The frozen pomegranate seeds add a delightful pop in the mouth.  Overall, Pomegranate Ice Cream is a winner in my books!

Pomegranate Ice Cream (Makes about 1.25 L)

4 cups of 100% pure pomegranate juice
1/2 cup white sugar
Juice of half a lime (I love the combination of pomegranate and lime; feel free to use lemon as Alton suggests)
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup of pomegranate seeds
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Sweet Potato and Kahlua Ice Cream (#44)

10 01 2013

Ahhh, sweet potatoes!  Packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibre, these bad boys are one of my favourite superfoods.  They were on sale last week, so I bought a big pile.


Sweet potatoes are one of my favourite superfoods.

I baked the sweet potatoes with every intention of eating them plain as I usually do, but then I thought, hey, why not incorporate them into this week’s ice cream recipe?  I’ve tried a few veggie ice cream recipes now — Mint and Peas Ice Cream, Carrot Cake Ice Cream, and Beet and Orange Ice Cream — so Sweet Potato Ice Cream should hardly be considered weird!

Baked sweet potato, baked yam

Fresh out of the oven and oozing with sweetness!

So I peeled them, tipped them into the blender, and stirred the silky orange puree into a basic custard along with a few spoonfuls of Kahlua.  Results?  This was an interesting one.  The taste of the sweet potato and the Kahlua were both fairly subtle, emerging only after the third or fourth bite.  As with the Beet and Orange Ice Cream, I found I really had to focus to figure out what flavours I was tasting.  The ice cream was also surprisingly not very sweet, considering I used my standard 3/4 cup of sugar and also had the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes.  Depending on your tastes, you might want to the increase the sugar to 1 cup or give the ice cream an extra drizzle of Kahlua or maple syrup.

Sweet Potato and Kahlua Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

3 medium or 5 small orange sweet potatoes (enough to yield 1.5 cups of baked sweet potato puree)
3 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Scrub the sweet potatoes under cold running water.  Prick the potatoes a few times to let steam release while baking.  Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until soft when pierced with a fork.  Let cool.
  2. Peel the skin off the sweet potatoes.  Tip the potatoes into a blender and puree until smooth.  Measure out 1.5 cups of puree.  Set aside.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  4. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream and the salt.
  5. 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).
  6. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining cup of the half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  7. When the custard is cool, whisk in the sweet potato puree and the Kahlua.
  8. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  9. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Sweet potato and kahlua ice cream, sweet potato pie ice cream

The Official Taster says: “This is a slow-release taste ice cream. “

Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream (#12)

31 05 2012

My dear family friend Grace is getting married this weekend!  In her honour, Week #12 will be her favourite ice cream flavour: chocolate chip mint.  But wait!  There’s a healthy twist: sub out the chocolate chips, sub in cacao nibs.

Cacao nibs are made by roasting, hulling, and gently crushing cacao beans.  They are, essentially, the natural source of all chocolate products.  Cacao nibs have a strong, dark, bitter chocolate flavour, delightfully crunchy texture, and are one of the hottest superfoods on the market.  They’re packed with vitamins and minerals including beta carotene, zinc, and a whack load of magnesium.  They also contain more antioxidants than blueberries, red wine, and green tea.

cocoa nibs

Cocoa nibs – crunchy little nuggets of chocolatey goodness packed with antioxidants!

Grace introduced me to cacao nibs earlier this month and I have to say I’m hooked.  How can something that is so good for you taste SO AMAZING?  I’m sprinkling cacao nibs over oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt, whirling them up in smoothies, and eating them by the handful.  And now, cacao nibs are working their way into my ice cream recipes.

The cacao nibs add an amazing crunch to the ice cream, and the mint ice cream itself has just enough sweetness that you don’t need to use a sweetened (and processed!) chocolate chip.  Enjoy, and eat often!

Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
1.25 to 1.5 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 to 7 drops green food colouring (optional)
3/4 cup raw unsweetened cacao nibs (or substitute with high quality miniature chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate)

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