Tag Archives: Ice Cream

The Apotheosis of Arrogance

I’ll say this: it takes a certain kind of person to see a recipe from a well respected pastry chef and think, I can do that better.

sweet potato ice cream

Probably the same sort of person who goes to a bakery to buy ingredients for the sole purpose of recreating their recipe or goes through the trouble of making homemade marshmallows. (Sorry, folks, there will be no recap for that one. Just a statement: it’s an even sticker process that you think.)

There are names for people like me, none of them flattering.

In my defense, by better I meant better suited for a very specific dinner party I was hosting. In this case, I was looking for something that combined the flavors of Mexico and Japan. No small feat, until I was flipping though The Perfect Scoop. Then, inspiration: Sweet Potato Ice Cream.

While I can’t claim that my version of sweet potato ice cream was better than the original, it certainly did a good job of hitting all the right notes. Plus, it went really well with Mexican Chocolate Cake. I’ll share that recipe soon. I promise.

Naturally by soon, I mean sometime within the next year.

Sweet Potato Ice Cream
Adapted, very generously from The Perfect Scoop

The most notable adaptations I made here were roasting the potatoes, first, to help deepen the flavor, and omitting the pecans. I’m sure they would be lovely, and, in fact, that version might make it onto my Thanksgiving table.

1 pound sweet potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Piece the sweet potatoes, and roast for 45 minutes, until they are soft. Allow them to cool and then remove the flesh from the skins.

Pour the heavy cream, milk, brown sugar, sweet potatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt into a blender, and puree until the mixture is smooth. Add lemon juice to taste. Press the mixture into a strainer to remove any pulp.

Chill the mixture, then freeze it in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Freeze until ready to serve.


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On being an adult

When I was younger, a good friend of mine once told me that she had heard it said that the best part of adulthood was the ability to buy one’s own groceries. I tended to agree.

Of course, I was much younger.

I still remembered going to the grocery store with my mother and begging her for sugared cereals. Her response was always the same. It’ll be a hot day in December before I buy you that. It should be noted here that I am a child of the eighties, and, as such, grew up well before the phrase global warming entered the national lexicon (I’m fairly certain that synergy hadn’t caught on either, but that’s another matter altogether). It should also be noted that my parents always sent me and my sister off to camp with pallets of pop tarts, so I suspect that sugar wasn’t the problem; our resulting hyperactivity was.

At some point, as I got older, buying my own groceries was no longer so exciting. In fact, it could be downright stressful—a game of Supermarket Sweep in reverse where I’d be doing mental math down the aisles, trying to determine if I really needed that soda (if it was Diet Coke, the answer was yes) or those cleaning supplies (I’ll let you guess here).

Being underpaid and in your twenties in New York has its own rites of passage. There are the big ones that hopefully you learn from—your first promotion or professional reprimand, first huge break-up, first time hunting for an apartment on your own—they’re universal.

Then there are the small ones—in my first office, most of the assistants brought in a loaf of bread during the second week of our pay cycle, using the peanut butter that the company supplied to subsidize our lunches. If you asked any of us, we could have rattled off all of the happy hour specials within a ten block radius in minutes, taking care to mention all of the bars that provided snacks or whole full meals (I’m looking at you Crocodile Lounge). We were, quite literally, living paycheck to paycheck in the hopes that one day things would improve and we’d make it.

And, we did.

Getting our very own offices with doors any everything. Putting some money aside for a fancy vacation. Or, a home we owned ourselves. Or, in some cases, to start a college fund for our children. I realized around Halloween last year that my Facebook feed was clogged with photos of the children of my friends dressed up for the holiday rather than of my friends engaged in stupid activities. It had finally happened—I was a grown-up. I was buying orange juice not for screwdrivers but to ward off a head cold.

Something needed to be done. And, so, because I’m an adult and can buy my own groceries and make my own dinner, the answer was clear—a dinner date with my friend James, consisting of hot fudge spiked with red wine and salted caramel ice cream. Thankfully no one was there to tell us to eat our vegetables first.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
6 TBS unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp fleur de sel (Diamond Crystal would work in a pinch, too)

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed dutch oven. Stir in the sugar and cook until the mixture turns golden brown and starts to smoke slightly.

Remove from the heat and mix in 1/2 cup heavy cream, whisking completely to help the caramel soften. Be careful as the mixture is hot and will splatter. Once the first 1/2 cup of heavy cream has been fully incorporated, add in the rest, whisking continuously. Then add in the salt and vanilla extract and mix well.

Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes, then add the rest of the milk, whisking well. This is your ice cream base. Once it is cool, process it with your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve with hot fudge sauce (recipe follows).

Hot Fudge Sauce

12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine the chocolate, sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup, and cinnamon in the top bowl of a double boiler and place on medium heat. Heat until the chocolate has nearly melted, then whisk in the red wine, until it has been completely incorporated. Serve immediately.

Lasts one week, refrigerated. Heat over a double boiler prior to serving.

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Well, that seems about right.

Remember my kinda sorta planning?

About that.

It began in earnest around midnight that night. File this under: it seemed like a good idea at the time. If you’ve been following along, this should come as no surprise.

In my defense, it was all in the service of a good idea: namely, cinnamon ice cream.

Since I was making a Thanksgiving themed dinner, I wanted to hit all of the traditional notes—to me, that means some sort of variation on pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream. Mind you, my family has spent more Thanksgivings than most in restaurants, so my conception of traditional Thanksgiving may be a little skewed. And that seemed boring.

Cinnamon ice cream seemed to encapsulate exactly what I was trying to achieve—the traditional flavor in a slightly different format. In other words, it was perfect.

But, if I was going to include it, I needed to get started right away. And, so, there I was tempering eggs at 1 in the morning. I’m nothing if not dedicated.

You could certainly make ice cream over in several hours, but I tend to think it’s one of those things that’s better made over the course of two days, in order to ensure that your custard base has enough time to cool. However you do it, don’t leave out the straining step—it ensures that, if you haven’t tempered the eggs properly, your ice cream will still be creamy.

And, isn’t that the whole point?

Well, that and the indulgence of it, anyway.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
Method courtesy of The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
pinch of kosher salt

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, setting the them aside and reserve the outside.

In a medium saucepan, warm one cup of the heavy cream, the milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla seeds, allowing everything to come to simmer. Be careful not to bring the mixture to a boil. After the mixture comes to a simmer, remove it from the heat, cover it and let it steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the infused cream is cooling, pour the remaining cup of heavy cream into a large bowl, and put fine mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together.

Once the infused cream has finished cooling, slowly pour it into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Then, whisk the warmed egg yolks and cream back into the saucepan. Stirring the mixture constantly using a heatproof spatula, heat over a medium flame. Take care to scrape the bottom of the saucepan as you stir. Once the mixture thickens and coats the spatula the custard is ready. Pour it through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add in the vanilla bean and stir, until cooled.

Chill the mixture in your refrigerator until you are ready to churn. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructors.

Makes One Quart

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Waste Not, Want Not

As it turns out, I find myself often lacking the motivation to cook the thing I originally intended. Naturally, this tends to happen well after I’ve already purchased all of my ingredients.

All of this is a long way of saying, that I won’t be sharing a recipe for salted caramels with you today. Trust me, I’m as upset as you are about this. They sounded amazing—chewy, flecked with vanilla and finished with a crunch of salt. And, I still have high hopes that I’ll make them one day.

I could tell you about how this chai vanilla ice cream is perfect for this time of year, despite the snow on the ground and intense cold because the spices are both warming and comforting. But, we’d both know that I was lying, or more accurately, being just the slightest bit self serving. Make no mistake, the ice cream has warming spices and will make your house smell wonderful—like somewhere you should stay put—as you cook, but that’s not why I made it.

In all honesty: I had heavy cream that was about to go bad, and I couldn’t bear to let it go to waste.

The ice cream comes together fairly easily, thanks to the use of a blender, which makes tempering the egg yolks a snap. And, the almond milk isn’t necessary. Regular would work well, I just didn’t have any. But, I think it lends the desert a mellowing layer. Work with whatever you have on hand.

Or, at risk of being presumptious, go out and buy it. Who knows what wonderful food you’ll come up with as the ingredients are about to go to waste.

Vanilla Chai Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream, divided into 2 1-cup portions
1 cup almond milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla pod, with seeds scraped out and pod reserved
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Heat 1 cup of heavy cream, one cup of almond milk, vanilla pods and seeds and the rest of the spices over a low flame until it comes to a simmer. Once it is simmering, add the sugar and allow the mixture to continue heating until the sugar is dissolved and the spices have infused, about 10-15 minutes. Take care that your mixture does not boil.

Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.

Place the egg yolks in a blender and mix, streaming in infused cream slowly until both are well incorporated.

Add the rest of the heavy cream to the blender and mix.

Chill your ice cream base until is has completely cooled, then churn according to your ice cream maker instructions.

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Summer, Preserved

It seems I’m on a bit of an ice cream kick these days.

But, can you blame me? I’m desperately trying to hang on to these last lazy days of summer for as long as possible

And, while normally I’m all for adventurous flavors, this time, I wanted something classic: cherry vanilla.

Rosy hued and delicately flavored, this ice cream positively tastes of summer. The Bing cherries—naturally sweet—don’t need much help to shine. A little sugar helps to break them down and flavor the cream, but you could even scale it back. You’ll want to leave some toothsome chunks of the fruit, too, so that long after cherry season has passed, you’ll be able to savor their flavor.

I’ll be stockpiling this in my freezer to enjoy long after the air has gotten crisp.

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

1 pound Bing cherries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 TBS good quality vanilla

Remove the pits from the cherries, and chop them into small pieces.

In a large saucepan, combine the cherry pieces, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and heat until the cherries start breaking down, at least 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Reduce the heat so that the cherries and syrup are at a simmer and add the heavy cream. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and taking care not to let the cream come to a boil.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla, mixing well.

Refrigerate to cool, at least 2 hours. Then, process the mixture according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes approximately 3 1/2 cups

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We All Scream for Ice Cream

I frequently claim that I’m not much of an ice cream eater.

That’s true, generally, but, if I’m being completely honest, everything changes during the summer, particularly one such as this one, where hundred degree days are the norm.

Then I’ll forgo entire days worth of meals in favor of all things frozen.

Accordingly, it’s only fitting that the first purchase I made when I moved into my current apartment was an ice cream maker. It was Memorial Day weekend three years ago, and unseasonably hot as I recall. Armored both with a gift card—a housewarming gift—and far more counter space than I ever expected to find in a New York apartment, it seemed like a great idea at the time.

And it was, until it got cold and, more to the point, I realized cream and sugar did not really provide enough nutrition on which to live.

I think, though, I’ve found the perfect solution: adding fruit into the mix. There’s no shortage of it at the moment, and I find that my eyes are always bigger than my appetite. So, the addition of cream and some churning allows me both to extend the summer’s bounty of fresh fruit—in this case, fresh figs—and at least pretend that this ice cream is better for me since it’s not simply cream.

Misguided, perhaps, but it sure does taste good.

Fig Ice Cream
Recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

I served this ice cream with some homemade graham crackers crushed on top and suggest that you do the same. It was like a fig newton only much, much better.

2 lbs fresh Black Mission figs (about 20)
1/2 cup of water
1 lemon, zested and juiced*
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of heavy cream

*You’ll need at least a 1/2 teaspoon here, although I ended up using about 1 TBS to brighten the flavor more and cut some of the richness.

Remove the hard stem ends from the figs, then cut each fig into small pieces.

Put the figs in a medium, nonreactive saucepan with the water, and zest the lemon directly into the saucepan.

Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8-1o minutes until the figs are tender.

Remove the lid, add the sugar and continue to cook, stirring constantly until the fig mixture reaches a jam-like consistency, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Blend with heavy cream and lemon juice, using a blender or hand-held mixer, to create a custard .

Chill the custard for at least an hour in the refrigerator and the process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Makes approximately 3 cups

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Ice Cream for Strength

Inevitably, when I order a pint of Guinness in a bar, someone comments about how the beer “eats like a meal.” Or, at this time of year, that a stout is just too heavy.

I disagree on both counts.

To me, the stout is refreshing and light. Try a pint of ale after sipping a Guinness and you’ll see what I mean. The ale becomes almost sickeningly sweet in comparison.

On a hot Summer day, I can think of nothing better than a cold pint of it.

Of course, if you’re still not convinced that Guinness is light enough to drink at this time of year, there’s always the option of making it into ice cream. Slightly nutty and sweet, this is a treat you don’t want to miss.

And, come to think of it, it’s also the perfect snack on a steamy afternoon such as this one.

Guinness Ice Cream

Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Guinness
2 TBS plus 2 tsp molasses
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract

In a saucepan, whisk the Guinness and molasses together, bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.

In a seperate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. Whisk a few teaspoons of the warm Guinness mixture into the egg mixture to temper it. Slowly add the rest of the mixture, stirring constantly. Then, add the milk and cream, whisking continuously.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and return it to the stove. Stir it over medium heat, 6-8 minutes, using a rubbber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan often. The custard will thicken and is done when it coats the back of your spatula.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Once the custard has cooled, process it with an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes 1 scant quart

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