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Mocha Choca Latta Gelato

19 Oct

“Mocha Choca latta ya ya (oh oh oohoh ) 
Creole Lady Marmalade”  ~ Lady Marmalade

Mocha Choca Latta

Top of the morning to ya.

As of late, that’s become my favorite greeting. It’s weird, it’s retro, it’s fun.

Last night was a big day for 365scoops – we debuted our flavors at the Real Bloggers of NYC. Not to toot my own horn (wow, another awkward expression) but it seemed that the ice cream went over swimmingly! We served over 100 cups of ice cream from 15 pints of freshly churned flavors including Tiramisu, Charleston Chew, Key Lime Pie, Peach Sorbetto, and Vanilla Bean.

This morning, however, I was zonked. So zonked, that I needed a cup of caffeine – stat. For those of you who know me, I cannot drink caffeine. I become crazy, nutty, loopy and shaky (not so different from the present, non-caffeinated me). Not good things when I’m trying to work at my day job. But, alas, I had to succumb to my urges and drink coffee. In so doing, I realized that caffeinated ice was in order. After work, I marched myself home to create this very flavor.

Fun fact:

Adding the coffee to the milk and cocoa mixture

Shakers banned the consumption of coffee because they felt it was a luxury, but shortly thereafter the older members of congregations complained, so the elderly were allowed to drink coffee in the morning.  Upon hearing this, the women in the community became very angry with the unfairness of the rule, so they lobbied and received the right to drink coffee the mornings of communal clothes-washing as well.  SO despite their reputations of being stringent and unyielding, Shakers did sometimes show some flexibility!

Mocha Choca Latta Gelato

Inspired by Ben and Jerry’s 

Whisking the eggs and sugar

Ice Cream Ingredients

2 1/4 cups half-and-half

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

3 tbs good quality instant coffee

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

Mocha Sauce 

Adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe here

Method

This happens to be a very simple (and wildly delicious recipe). I made the ice cream with caffeinated coffee (duh) but have also made versions with decaf and it tastes exactly the same and still delicious.

The mocha sauce comes to life

Make the mocha sauce here and set aside.

Warm the milk and half-and-half in a large pot until small bubbles form around the edges. Whisk in the cocoa and instant coffee and stir vigorously so that it dissolves. Set aside.

Whisk together (I used my new fun blue whisk!) the three egg yolks. Slowly add in the sugar until it is dissolved and the yolks are pale yellow.

Pour the hot coffee/chocolate mixture into the egg mixture (slowly so they don’t scramble!) and stir thoroughly. Pour the mixture back into the large pot and heat until the mixture either coats the back of a spoon, or it reaches 185 degrees.

And it reaches 185 degrees. Eggs are cooked, phew!

Let the mixture cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Once the mixture is cooled, pour into the base of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 20 minutes).

Scoop into a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Drizzle with the mocha sauce and enjoy!

The Verdict:  Hit the spot. I’m sick and tired of saying “yummy” so this time I’ll say, delectable! Really, this is good stuff. I even put a scoop of it in my coffee this morning, and let me tell you, I do not regret it. A perfect, creamy addition. Enjoy!

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Apple Crumble Ice Cream

9 Oct

“I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert.”  ~Jason Love

Jason Love, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Apple Crumble Ice Cream

This seems to be my life struggle. On one hand I am committed to health and wellness (this blog did come about after graduating from my Master’s in Public Health), yet on the other hand I have a constant need to ingest sweets. All things sweet. Yes, I tend to lean towards cake and ice cream but let’s be honest: I cannot recall a time in my life when I ever refused a cookie or brownie.

This time of year, with the leaves falling, and the weather cooling down, I tend to gravitate towards apple pie. Be warned: I have very discriminating taste. If you try and serve me apple pie with cheap crust and canned apples I will throw it in your face. I mean that seriously. But, any pie with fresh apples (preferably macintosh) a buttery, flaky crust (perfect amount of cinnamon), and a slightly crunchy crumble on top, sign me up!

So, I set out to create my own version of apple pie ice cream. I read tons and tons of recipes, and couldn’t find one that I liked. Being that I’m finally starting to get the hang of this ice cream thing, I decided to create my own recipe. When I asked The Husband to taste the batter he exclaimed, “wow, that takes just like apple pie.” Success.

The beautiful Macintosh apple

It just so happens that I made this recipe right before learning of Steve Job’s passing. Being that this is apple pie ice cream (made with Macintosh apples, no less) it’s apropos to dedicate this recipe to him. Here’s a man who has innovated beyond our wildest imaginations, and who has single handedly changed the way we communicate with one another. Steve taught us to love what we do, and his words resonate deeply with me. At the Stanford graduation in 2005 Steve said,  “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

My hope for all of you is that as we enter the Jewish new year, we all find something that we love, and pursue it.

There's nothing bad about apples and cinnamon!

Apple Crumble Ice Cream

Created by 365scoops

Ice Cream Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs apples (approximately 4 Macintosh)

3 tbs water

1/2 – 3/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups half-and-half

3 egg yolks

splash of vanilla extract

Crumble Ingredients

From Emeril Lagasse

1 cup oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

6 tbs flour

8 tbs (1 stick) butter

The crumble ingredients

Method

This recipe requires a number of pots and pans, and the ability to multitask. Essentially you’re going to be making three components of the recipe at once.

First, slice the apples into small chunks (do not peel) and put into a medium pot. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and water. Cover and heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that the apples do not burn. After 15 minutes remove from the heat and set aside.

In the meantime, whisk together the three egg yolks, and slowly add in the sugar. You’ll notice that as you add more sugar, the yolks become more pale in color and thick in texture.

Third, while all this is happening, put the half-in-half in a large pot and heat. Once small bubbles begin to form around the sides remove from the heat.

Now you’re going to temper the eggs. At this point your apples will be cooked and set aside, and your yolk/sugar mixture will be ready for tempering. Slowly pour the half-and-half into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Repeat until all the half-and-half has been blended with the yolks and sugar.

Add the butter, mix and voila - crumble topping

Pour the tempered eggs and apple mixture into a blend and puree until smooth. Immediately pour this new mixture (which incorporates all the ice cream ingredients) into the medium pot and heat until it reaches 185 degrees. WARNING: If you over cook this by even a second, your mixture will taste rather eggy and it will be ruined. Also, you may notice that once this mixture is heated, it doesn’t smell that good. Don’t worry, let it cool, taste it, and it will be delicious (I’m speaking from first-hand experience here!).

Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight.

In the meantime, make the crumble topping. Pour the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg into a mixing bowl. Stir together. Add in the chunks of butter and mix with your hands until small chunks form. Place these chunks onto a baking sheet (line with either parchment paper or tin foil to avoid a messy clean up) and bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven, flatten out the crumble and bake again for another 2 minutes. Let the crumble cool entirely before freezing.

Look at those crumbles. Yum.

Once the ice cream mixture is cold, pour it back into the blender and puree for 30 seconds so that the mixture is very smooth before churning. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished you’re going to layer the ice cream with crumble and voila, apple crumble ice cream! Pour a few chunks of crumble onto the bottom of a freezer-safe container, scoop ice cream on top, and repeat until you’ve used all the ice cream. Top with crumble and freeze before serving. There will be left over crumble. If you’re feeling particularly sassy, whip up some caramel sauce, and drizzle on top before serving. Enjoy!

Apple Crumble Ice Cream, coming right up!

The Verdict: This flavor was good, not great. I think it had real potential, which is why I’m going to make it again. When I ate it out of the machine as I tend to do, it was delicious. But then when I had a bowl of it, I wasn’t as thrilled with the flavor as I was the day before. Bottom line, this ice cream tasted just like apple pie. So, if you love apple pie, you’ll love this ice cream. Enjoy!

Amorino Gelato

1 Sep

“L’amore si trova nel tuo cuore non per resarci, ma per essere condiviso.” ~ Italian Proverb

(Love is in your heart not to stay, but to be shared)

The famous Amorino flower

You know that intoxicating feeling you get when you buy someone a gift, and upon giving it to them, you see an enormous smile sweep across their face? It’s the best thing on earth.

So, if you’re anything like me, you derive great pleasure from giving gifts – from sharing something of yourself with others. As a kid I always loved getting gifts, and truly nothing has changed since then. I never understood why my parents would always take photos of me opening presents – was it because they loved documenting me with awful “sleepy hair” on the morning of my birthday? That’s what I used to think. Now as an adult, I realize they loved capturing my enormous smiles – my unadulterated joy and sheer happiness. Those reactions were just precious. I get it. My parents were the best. They still are.

This week, I received one of the coolest gifts in a while. I was invited by Amorino Gelato to come and take a behind-the-scenes tour of their flagship NY shop, learn about how they make each flavor, and even sample some gelato straight out of the machine. I was in seventh heaven.

Sorbets and Gelatos. All Natural. All Delicious.

Amorino’s name pretty much sums up their company’s motto and ethos. The translation of Amorino is “little love” or “cupid”, and they try to infuse every single bite with a little bit of love. Love for authentic Italian gelato, love for high-quality, organic ingredients, and most importantly, love for excellent flavor. Amorino believes (and I agree!) that their goal is to get the best flavor possible, using the best possible ingredients from around the world. They attempt – and in my opinion succeed – in infusing every single bite with strong flavor notes that are representative of true artisanal Italian gelato.

Churning the gelato...made fresh daily!

Filippo, the EVP/COO of the US branch of Amorino (did you know that they have 53 stores in Europe?) is from a small town in Italy, called Reggio Emilia. In his town of 150,000 people (or 400,000 if you count the surrounding areas) there are 80 gelato shops. That’s insane (and my dream come true!). His father is a Gelato master, and it’s this family treasure that has propelled him, and Amorino, forward into the US gelato market.

For consistency’s sake, Amorino mixes all their ingredients in Paris (where the company is headquartered) and blast freeze it before sending to NYC for production. Then, in the basement of the Union Square shop, they churn each individual flavor daily. Everything is all-natural so even though they use stabilizers, theirs are totally natural. In fact, they are so committed to good, wholesome ingredients that if you take a close look, their grapefruit sorbet is uber shiny – “too shiny for my taste” says Filippo. But, the shine is actually a result of the organic stabilizer – and let me tell you, it is delicious. I suppose the shininess is just a small price to pay for organic, natural delights.

And that's my chocolate gelato straight from the machine. Life is good.

Good ingredients make good gelato. Plain and simple. So it should come as no surprise that Amornio uses only the best of the best. Pistacios from Sicily, Hazelnuts from Piedmont, Chocolate and Bananas from Ecuador, Vignola Cherries from Italy, Alphonso mangoes from India, Speculoos from Belgium, and Amaretto and Passion fruit from Italy. But, the best flavor, in my opinion is “L’Inimitabile” literally meaning, “it can’t compare.” Well hell, they’re sure right about that! This flavor (once called Nutella) is a chocolate hazelnut that is, simply put, to die for. The flavor is so accurate, yet not too rich, so creamy, yet not too milky, and utterly delicious.

Artesanal Gelato. Fresh Daily. The sign says it all!

Visiting their kitchen was a dream come true – and being able to sample chocolate gelato straight from the machine as it was churning, is something I will never forget. It was outrageous! Delicious! I loved it. Ti amo! Italian is, after all, the language of love.

At the end of my tour, I got my very own Amorino flower. When I asked Filippo how this shape came to be, he told me that’s how gelato is served in his region. What? You mean, not only did those geniuses create gelato but they also invented the beautiful presentation? They don’t glob half scoops of gelato into a cone and hand it to you, half melting down the side. Instead, they meticulously (yet impressively quickly!) craft a flower, with the most firm flavor in the middle to create the center petals, and up to 22 other flavors surrounding it. For someone who loves to sample a lot of flavors (but not too many at once, or else you’ll miss the unique flavor that each one offers), this Amorino flower is the way to go.

Check out my awesome Amorino flower....

Bottom line: run, don’t walk to Amorino. You must taste what I’m talking about.

Luckily, as I was leaving, Filippo sensed my sheer happiness, and managed to snap a shot of me eating my very own Amorino flower (that’s my flower on the right, but not me!) Filippo definitely gets it. Sharing your gift with others is, in it of itself, the greatest gift one can give. Thanks Amorino for sharing your story and gelato with me. It was truly a precious present!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion

27 Aug

“There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with Chocolate.” ~ Linda Grayson, The Pickwick Papers 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion!

I owe this recipe to a good friend. Here’s the story:

I recently walked into my apartment building, arms filled with groceries, when the doorman stopped me to let me know that I had a package at the front desk.

Uch, not this again – another package that doesn’t belong to me.

You see, last week we received two mysterious packages that were not for us. One was small and had The Husband’s name on it, so we opened it. Turns out it was for The Brother-In-Law. Womp Womp.

The second one was rather large and looked quite appealing from the outside… but again, not for us. Grr. (If this handsome looking package belongs to you, let me know, and you should come and claim it ASAP!).

Save me a bite!

So, you can imagine that after these two huge let downs, I was afraid to get my hopes up.  I informed the doorman that I wasn’t expecting anything and was about to carry my groceries into the elevator when I decided that maybe, just maybe, this surprise was actually for me…

Guess what? It was! (Insert victory music here!) You all know how much I love sweets. I think I’ve made that very clear. But, as much as I love sweets and treats, I also love presents. Just ask The Husband, he’ll tell you!

Well, I picked up this amazing surprise present at the front desk, and you know what it was? The Serendipity Sundaes book, which features tons of amazing ice cream constructions and frozen concoctions. Honestly, it’s the best. I opened the book to find a cute little note from my dear friend which read I saw this and thought of you. Hope it helps provide a little inspiration for 365scoops.

You can bet your little bippy that this book provided me with some great inspiration. This recipe is a testament to how awesome this book is, but more importantly, a testament to how super duper awesome my friend is. I’m the luckiest girl in the world!

So, grab a spoon and dig in!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Peanut Butter Chips (A.K.A. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion)

From Serendipity Sundaes

Look at that beautiful chocolate.

Ingredients (Ice Cream)

2 cups whole milk

2 cups half-and-half

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

9 ounces best-quality bitter sweet chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger), chopped

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Yes. I melted the chocolate in a personalized ice cream bowl. Why not? An awesome gift from my girlfriends.

Ingredients (Chocolate Peanut Butter Chips)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Method

First make the chocolate peanut butter chips. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe container and melt on high for 30 seconds, remove, stir, and repeat until the chips are completely melted. This should take 1 minute – 1.5 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. Stir in the peanut butter.

Chocolate peanut butter mixture.

Place a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. With a spatula, spread the melted chocolate peanut butter to the size of a 9×12 inch rectangle. Place the tray into a refrigerator until the chocolate hardens. When the mixture is firm, break into chunks and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Now it’s time to make the ice cream base. Combine milk and cream in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat until warm over low heat.

Chocolate peanut butter chips on their way to being melted

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar in a heat-safe bowl (you are tempering eggs!)

When the milk mixture is warm, add the chopped chocolate. Heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is beginning to simmer. Set aside.

Chocolate milk mixture melting

Add one-fourth of the warm chocolate mix to the yolk mixture and whisk until blended. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the remaining milk mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour the batter into a clean heat-safe bowl and cool to room temperature. Whisk the vanilla extract into the batter, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Tempering the egg mixture

Remove from the refrigerator and pour out one cup of the prepared batter and whisk in 1/2 cup of peanut butter until smooth. Whisk this small mixture into remaining batter and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is done churning, slowly pour in the peanut butter chocolate chips so that they mix thoroughly into the ice cream.

Adding the home-made chocolate peanut butter chips

Scoop the mixture into a freezer-safe container and enjoy. Warning, you might eat  this ice cream sttraight from the machine, it’s that good!

Voila! Look at those chips. Dang that was good!

The Verdict: Dark chocolate peanut butter explosion! Definitely an apropos name for this special treat.  This ice cream was really rich, and really creamy. The bittersweet chocolate gave a slightly bitter flavor (duh) , but that was countered beautifully by the semi-sweet chocolate peanut butter chips. This ice cream hardened slightly more than usual so just leave it out for 5-10 minutes before scooping. It’s really yummy. Really, really yummy. It even made a guest appearance into an ice cream sandwich so stay tuned for more!



Indego Africa’s Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Sundae

22 Aug

365 Scoops: “If I were to make a flavor for Indego Africa, what would it be?” 

Indego Africa: “Good question…what flavor would represent empowerment?” 

Now that's an "empowerment" sundae

When I think of Indego Africa, I think of innovation and empowerment.

When I think of Indego Africa, I also think of transparency and good governance, creativity and sustainability, and most importantly unparalleled impact.

In sum, Indego Africa is an innovative non-profit social enterprise – built on core values of transparency and good governance – that attacks systemic poverty by delivering access to export markets and job skills to African women. Indego Africa’s business model is simple yet powerful.

I’ve been involved with Indego Africa for the past 2 1/2 years, and for those of you who know me, you understand that this organization marries some of my deepest passions for Africa – where I have been traveling for the past 7 years – and women’s empowerment – a crucial part of my graduate and professional work. This organization really is the bee’s knees. Trust me.

Nicole Miller and Indego Africa partner to produce these vibrant, fair trade bangels

But, just in case you need more proof get a load of this…Indego Africa has been recognized by the likes of Harvard Business School, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Program, and iconic fashion designer Nicole Miller. Its list of corporate and nonprofit partners is wildly impressive and includes Generation Rwanda, Vision Spring, Amazon, Anthropologie and many more. Most notably, however, Indego Africa won the 2010 AfriPro Charity of the Year, and the Fair Trade Federation Award for “Most Positive Change in a Producer Community” and has been recognized because “their innovative business and education model creates a broad, deep, and sustainable impact on the artisans’ lives.”

In short (ok, maybe that was not short, but I have a lot to say about this great organization!) if you don’t already support Indego Africa then hurry and join. All the cool kids are doing it.

One last thing…We’re having an awesome fundraiser in NYC on Wednesday August, 24 at Libation. Buy your ticket, come hang out with me (if that’s not an enticing offer, than I don’t know what is!) and have fun all while supporting a good cause.

Do it. You know you want to!

Blueberries, sugar and lemon marinading

Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Sundae (A.K.A. Empowerment Sundae)*

Inspired by Serendipity Sundaes and Ciao Bella

*This empowerment sundae is purple to represent Indego Africa’s logo color. Blueberries also happen to be a very powerful fruit, which is fitting for this empowering organization.

Ingredients

Ice Cream:

3 cups blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

2 cups half-and-half

Beautiful blueberry sauce

1 cup whole milk

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

Crumble:

5tbs butter

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

Milk mixture and blueberry sauce right before blending

Method

To make the blueberry ice cream pour 3 cups of blueberries into a pot, add 1/4 cup of sugar and 2tbs of lemon juice. Toss to coat thoroughly and let sit for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, pour the 2 cups half-and-half and 1 cup milk into another pot and heat until bubbles form around the sides (do not boil).

While the milk mixture is warming, whisk together the 2 egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a large, heat proof bowl. Because there are fewer egg yolks than usual (most of my recipes call for 3-4 yolks) this mixture will get extra thick when whisking. Once the milk mixture is hot, temper the eggs by slowly pouring the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. Once fully incorporated, pour back into the pot and heat slowly until the mixture reaches 170 degrees, F – this should take approximately 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating for 2 hours or overnight.

Making the crumble topping

At this point, the blueberries will have marinaded sufficiently and are ready to cook. Heat the blueberry mixture on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes until the mixture thickens and some of the blueberries burst. Stir occasionally and once ready, remove from the stove to cool completely before refrigerating.

Anything with butter is delicious and this is no exception

While you’re waiting for the blueberry and milk mixtures to cool completely, make the crumble topping. In a medium sized mixing bowl mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and oats and until well-blended. Chop the butter into small pieces and thoroughly knead into the flour mixture. Eventually when the ingredients are mixed, you’ll get a big ball of buttery-goodness. Spread evenly into a 9″ pie pan and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. I cooked mine for 11 minutes and it was well-browned and toasted.

Yum! Crumble topping straight out of the oven

Once the blueberry and milk mixture are well-chilled,  pour half of the milk mixture into a blender with the blueberry mixture. Whisk in the remaining milk base and pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions or approximately 20 minutes. Once ready, scoop into a freezer-safe container and store for later use.

Yes. This was outrageous.

And now, the final creation…Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Sundae! To assemble, place two generous scoops of blueberry ice cream in a sundae dish. Pour 1/4 cup crumble on top or layer with ice cream and crumble to create a parfait, drizzle a few fresh blueberries on top and enjoy! Warning: this is outstanding. You may not actually be able to sit down and enjoy it because it will be gone by the time you reach the table!

The Verdict: Unequivocally one of the best flavors yet! The marriage between sweet, creamy blueberry ice cream, and crunchy crumble is simply divine! I’m really a fan of deconstructed desserts so it should come as no surprise that this blueberry crumble ice cream sundae made the top of my charts. More importantly, however, you should feel really good eating this flavor – after all, it supports Indego Africa, which by now should be synonymous with women’s empowerment in Rwanda and long-term solutions to systemic poverty.

Strawberry Basil Gelato

29 Jul

“All the things I like to do, I like to do more with ice cream.”  ~Michael Ian Black

Strawberry Basil Gelato

Hold onto your seats ladies and gentlemen…This is a first.

That’s right. This is the first flavor ever created by The Husband.

Now, let’s not get confused. The Husband took no part in actually making this gelato. Well, that’s a small lie. He went out and bought the lemon, but that’s it. Oh, and he ate the gelato too, but that doesn’t count.

Up close and personal...

This is also a first for me because given my past track record with egg-based ice creams, I’m proud to report that this one went off without a hitch. Heck, I may go so far as to say that “technically” this is one of my best creations yet!

And, this is also a last. It’s the last post during National Ice Cream Month, and frankly, I’m shedding a tear just thinking about it…

Anyhow, a little background of how this flavor came to be. The Husband has a real affinity for basil, so much so that he’s been eating the leaves for breakfast. I kid you not. In fact, he even claims to “brush his teeth” with basil. Don’t get me wrong, and don’t get me started on how strange that is…

I love basil, give it to me on fresh pasta and pizza, and I’m sold. But, please don’t give it to me before noon, thankyouverymuch. Apparently The Husband holds by a different standard because he just can’t get enough of it! We recently purchased a little basil plant to feed his habit. Everything was going smoothly until one night I went to make pizza and noticed that the plant was totally depleted. Naturally I confronted The Husband who remarked sheepishly, “what, I wasn’t supposed to eat the whole thing?”. Ug. No.

Fast forward a few weeks and we’ve replenished our basil collection. I was putting the finishing touches on the New York Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie when boom. It hit him. Strawberry Basil Gelato.

I personally love gelato, but find it’s slightly harder to make it at home because gelato, unlike ice cream, has a lower fat content due to the primary use of whole milk. As a result home-made gelato doesn’t always keep as well in a home freezer. Additionally, it’s often made with eggs, and I personally get rather temperamental when tempering eggs. But, I gave it the old college try because strawberry basil gelato seemed like a good idea.

Lemons for the strawberry base

I came home to make this flavor after an excruciating high interval training workout.  Again, don’t get confused and think that I actually work out like this regularly. The Husband gave me a free one week gym membership so I decided to milk it for all it’s worth. Yeah, well I’ve never sweat that much in my life. And I’m uber sore today too. Thanks a lot…

Anyhow, making egg-based gelato requires an enormous amount of whisking, and after a long upper body workout, I wasn’t thrilled to be doing that again. But, for the love of gelato, I did. And I’m glad I did, because it helped me get over my fear of tempering eggs, and contributed to this delicious flavor. So, without further ado…

Strawberry Basil Gelato

Gelato adapted from Ciao Bella; Flavor created by The Husband

Hull and slice, hull and slice...

Ingredients

1 cup half-and-half

2 cups whole milk

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup of sugar (for gelato base)

1 pound box of strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup of sugar (for strawberry swirl)

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

7 large basil leaves

candy thermometer*

*You don’t technically need one, but trust me when I say that it will make your life much easier when tempering and heating the egg mixture

Method

Prepping the yolks before tempering... slowly adding the sugar until the yolks are thick and pale yellow

Day 1 – To make the custard base pour the milk and half-and-half into a medium pot. Heat slowly, and stir occasionally so that a skin does not form on the milk. Heat until small bubbles form on the sides, but do not boil.

In the meantime, whisk the four egg yolks together in a large heat-proof bowl until smooth. Gradually add in the 1/2 cup of sugar until the yolk mixture is very thick and a pale yellow color. Here’s where you’ll begin tempering the eggs. Slowly add the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk continuously. Once you’ve combined the eggs and the milk, pour back into the medium pot and slowly heat the mixture until it reaches 185 degrees F. Trust me here, you’ll want to use a thermometer. If you overcook the egg mixture, it will scramble, your whole kitchen (or apartment if you live in NYC) will smell like eggs, and the mixture will be ruined.

The eggs have been tempered! Success!

With the heat on low, it will take at least 15 minutes to bring your mixture to 185 degrees. Stir occasionally until the mixture reaches the desired temperature and thickness. Once ready, pour over a fine mesh strainer so that you catch all the little mini pieces of “scrambled egg” that may have formed. Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating overnight.

To make the strawberry mixture hull and thinly slice 1lb of strawberries. Put them into a small pot on the stove, cover with 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 tbs of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let them sit (with the heat off) and marinade for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat on low and let the mixture cook until the strawberries are mushy and a syrup begins to form, approximately 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating overnight.

Day 2 – To actually make the gelato pour 3/4 of the strawberry mixture in the blender with the gelato base and 5 basil leaves. Puree until smooth. Taste the mixture and adjust the basil flavor to your liking. I added 7 leaves and found that was the perfect “earthy” flavor, but yet the basil flavor was not overpowering.

Churning...right after adding the strawberry swirl

Pour the mixture into the base of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is ready (for me this was after 13-15 minutes) add in the remaining 1/4 of the strawberry mixture. Scoop the gelato into a freezer safe container, garnish with a basil leaf and store in the freezer for 2 hours before serving.

Most creative flavor...Strawberry Basil Gelato!

The Verdict: I was so surprised and pleased by these flavor notes. First, I succeeded in tempering the eggs, and therefore the texture was so creamy and smooth. Second, the basil to strawberry ratio was spot on. When you take a bite of this gelato, the first flavor you’ll taste is basil. Then the strawberries hit you and together it’s a perfectly earthy combination. It’s hard to describe, so just trust me on this one.

And the award for most creative idea goes to…drum roll please…The Husband!

Great Eggspectations

4 May

“I’m frightened of eggs, worse than frightened, they revolt me.”

~Alfred Hitchcock 

Ok. I like eggs. I really do. Give me a spinach and feta fritata and I’m a happy girl. Eggs Benedict –  even better.

That Alfred Hitchcock is a nut. Not sure why he’s so scared of eggs. But if he were to edit the quote slightly, I actually might agree with him:

“I am frightened of tempering eggs.” That’s it!

The first time I tried tempering eggs I had no idea what to expect. If you had seen me in the kitchen you may have remarked “Is this a joke?” or “Does this woman have a clue what she’s doing?”

To answer your questions: NO – I had no freaking idea what I was doing. It was just a shot in the dark, and lucky for me, it worked!

Truth be told, I really would have loved it if someone had given me advice on tempering eggs  before  I attempted that feat.

As you all know, this is a “live blog” in other words, I blog as I make the ice cream. If I screw up or the flavor is gross, well, so be it! You’re going to have to read about it, and even worse, I’m going to have to eat it. Lucky for me, there’s only been one tragedy at 365 scoops. Hopefully not too many more will come my way! Being that this is, however, a live blog, I didn’t do much research on tempering eggs – I really just dove in head first and hoped for the best. Perhaps that’s my mantra in life!

Whisking the egg yolks

Here are some things I wished I had known about tempering eggs before my first try.  I hope they’re helpful to you.

  1. Buy a thermometer. This whole guessing game is totally ludicrous. Though it worked for me, I probably slightly over cooked my eggs, or worse, they could be slightly raw,  giving everyone who ate this ice cream salmonella. Sorry if that was you…
  2. Whisk the heck out of the egg yolks. And just when you think you’ve whisked enough, whisk some more. The creamier and frothier the better.
  3. Essentially, tempering eggs is slowly raising the temperature of your egg yolks up to the temperature of a hot liquid you have on the stove. This serves the purpose of preventing the yolks from turning into scrambled eggs if you simply dump them in.
  4. To quote The St. Louis friend in her recent post, make sure to temper the eggs nice and slowly or else “they will throw a temper tantrum” and scramble. I love this!
  5. This video might be of some use to you all. I think it’s helpful..http://www.bhg.com/videos/m/32071602/tempering-eggs.htm
This whole post probably begs the question: why eggs in ice cream anyways?

To be frank, I often wonder the same thing myself. And to be even more frank (is this confessional or something?) I prefer my ice cream without eggs!
There. I said it.
But, there are some of you who really do like the added creaminess that egg yolks undoubtedly provide, so that’s why I am committed to trying recipes with eggs.
David Lebovitz gives an excellent explanation of the difference ice cream made with and without egg yolks. I feel compelled to share it with you so that you are fully informed readers.
There are two basic types of ice cream: French-style which is a cooked custard made with egg yolks, and Philadelphia-style which is made with cream or milk, but no eggs.  French-style ice creams tend to be smoother and silkier due to the emulsifying power of the egg yolks, which get cooked on the stove top (hello tempering!). Philadelphia -style ice creams can be simply mixed or pureed, thoroughly cooled, and then churned (i.e. much simpler!). Because Philadelphia-style ice creams don’t have egg yolks they tend to be a little firmer, freeze harder, and have a somewhat chewier texture (note: I have no idea what David is talking about here!). The advantage, of course, is that Philadelphia-style ice creams have no egg yolks so they’re a little lighter tasting and easier to make.
So now you can choose for yourself. Philadelphia or France, that is the question… ponder it and stay tuned for the next recipe…