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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!

Jasmine Tea Ice Cream

7 Sep

“Oh honey
Picture me upon your knee,
With tea for two and two for tea,
Just me for you and you for me, alone!
Nobody near us, to see us or hear us,
No friends or relations on weekend vacations ” ~ Doris Day

Jasmine Tea Ice Cream

Doris Day’s lyrics really speak to me. I really need a vacation. Sipping on tea with The Hubby, enjoying our life together, free from work and stress, that sounds pretty darn good. So good, in fact, that my daydreams came true! During the long weekend we flew down to Miami with the Sugar family. Suddenly I was transported to a place far, far away – a place full of palm trees and beaches!

Swimming brought me back to my childhood when, during the dog days of summer, my sisters and I would take up residence at the beach and pool. We’d spend the entire day diving for rings and competing in underwater hand-stand contests. My parents used to call us “fish” because we lived in the water. In fact, we’d whine uncontrollably when it was time to go home. It didn’t matter that our fingers and toes were so pruned, and our hair completely disheveled from the chlorine – we refused to leave.

Jasmine tea pearls

One of my most fond memories was having underwater tea parties with my sisters. The three of us would dip underwater, sit on the pool floor, and arrange a tea party. We’d pour tea, eat crumpets and “chat”.  My mom was always in the pool with us, and I think she got a lot of nachas from seeing my sisters and I play so nicely. It was particularly fun, however, when my dad would hop in the pool and join us in our tea parties. He was such a good sport, and always made the funniest faces when pouring tea (yeah, I used to open my eyes under water and peek!). In Miami, The Husband even agreed to join me in an under-water tea party (a first in our marriage!) and let me tell you, it was just as much fun today as it was 20 years ago!

Steeping the tea bags in milk, hoping that the liquid turns a color...alas, it does not. Plain, white tea.

This ice cream would have been perfect for our tea parties! But, alas, I wasn’t making ice cream at the ripe old age of 8. And, to be honest, I would have never thought of this flavor except for the fact that someone challenged me to create it. I thought long and hard about how to make it, and realized that it’s probably like making a tea latte – and that’s just what I did.

So, here’s to enjoying tea for two – whether curled up on a chaise lounge with your loved one, or at an under-water tea party with your sisters. Cheers!

Churning the tea ice cream

Jasmine Tea Ice Cream

Adapted from Figs With Bri 

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk

1 cup half-and-half

3/4 cup sugar

4 Jasmine Pearl Whole Leaf Tea Bags

Method

Hold on to your hats. This is extremely simple!

Beautiful jasmine tea ice cream

Warm the milk, half-and-half and sugar in a medium pot. Once the mixture starts to simmer and the sugar is blended, turn the heat down to low, add the four tea bags and let the tea steep for 15-20 minutes (depending on how strong you want the flavor to be). Turn off the heat and remove the tea bags. Make sure to wring out the excess liquid and flavor before discarding the tea bags. Taste. If you feel that the flavor is not bold enough, add one more tea bag, turn the heat up again and steep for 10-15 minutes. Personally 4 tea bags was enough for me, but my taste-testers (who were big Jasmine tea aficionados) said they would have liked it even stronger!

Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours.  Pour the mixture into the bowl of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer safe container and enjoy!

"Pour" yourself a cup of Jasmine Tea Ice Cream and enjoy!

Note: As you can see, this recipe is not a custard (it’s egg-free) so its slightly less creamy, and does not keep as well in the freezer. I recommend eating this within a day or two when it’s still fresh and delicious.

The Verdict: Even though this basically looked like vanilla ice cream (all white -no color!) it tasted exactly like Jasmine tea. As someone who doesn’t really like Jasmine tea (or many teas for that matter) I could definitely appreciate that the taste was rich and spot-on, but I can’t say that I was stealing spoonfuls straight out of the ice cream maker. Yet, the Jasmine-tea-lover (who put me up to this recipe challenge in the first place!) said that the ice cream was really delicious. So, I guess this really is the perfect addition to any tea party. 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!

Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

15 Aug

Did you know that the most popular flavor of ice cream in the United States is Vanilla? According to the NDP Group’s National Eating Trends In-Home Database, 27.8% of people favor vanilla ice cream above all other flavors!

Creamy vegan vanilla bean ice cream

I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately for vegan ice cream. I personally have a real affinity for all-things dairy, but sadly a bunch of my friends simply cannot eat it. So, I caved, and made vegan vanilla bean ice cream. The texture was perfect. The flavor was a little sweet, but I was so impressed at how beautifully it thickened (considering it was made with soy milk, which is essentially water-based) that it overshadowed the sweetness of this treat.

This vegan vanilla treat is the second layer in my upcoming Watermelon Bombe. You know, watermelon rind is green, then it has a white layer (name, anyone? is it pith? rind?) and then the actual watermelon fruit itself. So hold on to your hats folks because this means that the Watermelon Bombe is going to be revealed very soon!

A few months ago I made Soy Latte Ice Cream and while the flavor was terrific, the ice cream was a little icy and watery. I blamed the poor consistency on the fact that it was my first foray into vegan treats, and knew that I would have to try again. This vegan ice cream was my chance for redemption and ka-ching, I hit the jackpot. Had it not worked, I would have still blogged about it, but would have been a major whiny pants!

A little ice cream lesson if you will:

Fat does not freeze, fat is good (well, sort of…please don’t take that out of context!) and fat is smooth and creamy. This is why “full-fat” aka cream-based ice creams are, well, creamier. If you try substituting skim milk or other lower fat dairy products in place of half-and-half, whipping cream or even whole milk, you’ll notice that the next day, the ice cream is rock hard and you’ll actually need an ice pick to eat it.

Soy milk and arrow root flour...mixed together and heated they are a great thickening agent

Well, water based products (like soy milk) tend not to have as much fat, and therefore get icier and freeze harder. Egg yolks could be of assistance in the creaminess department due to their emulsifying properties, but then this recipe would not have been vegan.

So, the general consensus is to add 2 tbs of arrow root flour to the mixture. Let me tell you, it thickens beautifully and makes the ice cream ever so creamy. It was honestly like magic.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Adapted from The Vegan Scoop

Ingredients

2 cups soy milk*

1 cup soy creamer

1 tbs vanilla bean paste (I would suggest using 3/4 of a tbs next time)

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbs arrow root flour

*I used 1 cup of vanilla soy milk and 1 cup of regular soy milk. I would not recommend this as it was too sweet, but I had it in the house and didn’t want it to go to waste. Next time I’ll only use regular soy milk. You live and you learn.

Vegan vanilla bean ice cream churning...

Method

Mix 2tbs of arrow root flour with 1/2 cup of soy milk and set aside.

In the meantime, heat the soy creamer, remaining 1 1/2 cups of soy milk and sugar in a saucepan until small bubbles form around the edges. Do not let it boil. Once hot, remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the soy milk and arrow root flour mixture. You will notice that the mixture begins to thicken, almost like when adding milk to an instant pudding mixture. Continue stirring until the entire mixture is blended and then add in the tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.

Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating at least 2 hours. Pour the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll notice that this ice cream will churn faster than non-egg based recipes but on par with custards. Remove from the machine and eat or put in a freezer safe container to store.

The Verdict: Other than the fact that this recipe was too sweet (mea culpa…I should not have used vanilla soy milk) it was still pretty yummy. Full disclosure, I’m not a fan of dairy-free ice cream because that’s not really ice cream thankyouverymuch but all things considered this was really quite good! Being that this was made with soy milk (and not coconut milk or cashews) it had a slight soy aftertaste, but that’s to be expected. And like I said earlier, the texture was perfecto!

Stay tuned for the watermelon bombe extravaganza…

Lime Sorbet

8 Aug

“If life gives you limes, make a margarita.” ~ Jimmy Buffett

Loads of limes (how's that for alliteration?)

Mr. Buffett is a wise man. I probably should have listened to him and made margarita sorbet instead. Oh well, I’ll have to do that another time. Perhaps Cinco de Mayo.

Since I still only have one small ice cream maker, and therefore only one bowl for the machine (which, mind you, has to be frozen for 18-24 hours before use), I had to devote all of last week to making this ridiculous Watermelon Bombe. So, each day I came home from work, created another sorbet or ice cream, shaped it, froze it, and hoped for the best. In a few days I’ll reveal the actual Watermelon Bombe but for now, you’ll have to learn about the grueling process…

This lime sorbet started out all fine and dandy. I decided to try a new recipe from Bruce Weinstein, who wrote The Ultimate Ice Cream Book. Can’t be bad, right? Wrong!  Note to self: Don’t trust a recipe blindly again.

Here’s the scoop. I needed a green flavor for the watermelon “rind” in my watermelon bombe. I decided that lime sorbet would be best, and by adding green food coloring I got the perfect watermelon “rind” color. Not so fast.  I squeezed and zested limes until my fingers were sore, whisked an egg white until my weak little arm muscles were pissed, all in hopes of a limey treat. Ohy….not what I hoped for.

Squeezing those limes. A little trick to help get all the juice out, cut the limes in half and stab the cut side with a fork while squeezing. Trust me, it works!

I can’t quite figure out what made the sorbet so weird. First and foremost, it was way too sweet. I mean sickeningly sweet. And that means a lot coming from a self-proclaimed sweet-o-holic. I tried to offset the sweetness with lime zest – lots of it – even though the recipe didn’t call for any. Using my brand new citrus zester certainly made this much easier. But still, no good.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the freezer…by some miracle of miracles, I let the sorbet freeze overnight and you know what, it lost some of its sweetness. I’m not sure how it happened, but it transformed from a painfully sweet, questionable sorbet, to a little more of a refreshing ( and sweet) summer treat. Another possibility is that it grew on me.  Either way, next time I make lime sorbet I’m going to use a lot less sugar, and a lot more lime.

Lime Sorbet

Adapted from Bruce Weinstein’s recipe

Stirring the lime juice into the egg white and sugar syrup mixture

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups sugar**

2 cups water

1 large egg white

2/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 6-7 large limes)

zest from 2-3 limes, according to taste

Approximately 5 drops of green food coloring

**If you know anything about making sorbet, you’ll notice that the water to sugar ratio here is not accurate. For simple syrup you need 1 cup water for every 1 cup sugar. In Bruce’s recipe the ratio is 1 1/4 cups sugar for 2 cups water, or a little less than 2:1. That should be the first red flag! Anyhow…

Method

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Raise the heat and boil the syrup for one minute, and remove from the heat.

...And poof, it's green!

In a medium mixing bowl lightly beat the egg white with a whisk or an electric beater until foamy. Slowly beat in the hot sugar syrup and continue to beat until the meringue (aka egg white) cools down. Add in the lime juice and lime zest. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight. You’ll notice that the mixture will have foam on top, don’t worry it will incorporate into the sorbet when it freezes.

Stir the chilled mixture and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, the sorbet will be soft and ready to eat. If you’re just making this for a refreshing treat then I say eat it out of the machine. If you’re saving it for a watermelon bombe (which I was) you’ll have to mold it into the watermelon shape. I’ll tell you all about this in a few days, hold your horses!

Fully churned, that stuff looked beautiful...The taste, on the other hand...

The Verdict: Eh. Way way way too sweet. If the simple syrup proportion was correct, and we omitted the egg white, I have a feeling this would have been much better. But, the lime zest definitely saved the day, and when this was served in conjunction with vanilla ice cream and watermelon sorbet, the overly sweet lime flavor was definitely tempered. Phew.

Stay tuned for more on the Watermelon Bombe. Trust me, it was cool.

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!

Rasperine Popsicles (Raspberry Nectarine Pops)

25 Jul
“Good relationships are like those popsicles with two sticks—they are bound in the middle.”

You might be suprised at what you can freeze, and with such ease!

These nectarines need a home in someone's belly...

Here’s the story:

It’s 104 degrees in New York City. We have two very powerful air conditioners blasting and had to purchase two fans because our apartment thermometer still reads 88 degrees – indoors! This is insanity. Sometimes I wonder if this is what hell feels like.

I was about to make a new ice cream when I realized that it’s just too damn hot. That may sound completely counter intuitive but just hear me out: The thought of using one iota of muscle power to whisk ingredients, and heaven forbid, turn on the stove, had me running the other direction. So naturally I looked in my refrigerator and realized that I had 6 nectarines that were being neglected. The Husband already dutifully downed a box of raspberries that were about to go bad, so I had to resist asking him to eat these 6 nectarines in one sitting. I also noticed that I had one cup of raspberry syrup left from my ice cream soda recipe, and that too needed a good home. Ah ha…Enter rasperine popsicles.

Nectarines smothered in home made raspberry syrup

Using nectarines and raspberry syrup I created a deliciously refreshing puree, poured them into popsicle molds and voila…rasperine popsicles.

This recipe is shockingly easy and honestly can be made by mixing any variety of fruits together. The best part is, they’re just fruit so they’re gluten free, vegan, and healthy too!

Rasperine Popsicles

A 365scoops original

Ingredients

2 cups chopped nectarines, peeled (approximately 5 nectarines)

1 cup raspberry syrup

water (as needed; I used 1/4 of a cup)

Four rasperine popsicles, coming right up!

Method

Puree the nectarines and raspberry syrup. Add a little water to thin/dilute the puree. Pour into four popsicle molds and let them freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Before eating, run the popsicle molds under warm water for 20 seconds so that they release easily from the molds. Enjoy!

The Verdict: I drank the leftover puree even before it was frozen, which is a sure sign that these popsicles are good. Frozen, however, they are even better. I’m telling you, they’re refreshing, sweet (but not too sweet, thanks to the lime zest and lime juice in the raspberry syrup) and well textured (thanks to the nectarines). Do yourself a favor and try these at home. And the best part is…they don’t require any equipment. No ice cream maker, no problem. No popsicle molds, no problem, just use paper cups and popsicle sticks. These are a DIY summer dream!

Happy licking to you all!

Raspberry Lime Rickey Ice Cream Soda

22 Jul

“When life gives you limes…make a raspberry lime rickey!”

In honor of National Ice Cream Month I was invited to write a guest piece on JCarrot’s blog as part of their Frozen Fridays series.

One raspberry lime rickey ice cream soda, coming right up!

Ice cream sodas, once a staple of pharmacies and soda fountains are sprouting up across the U.S., bringing back a lost art form and flavor palette. Given the plethora of soda fountains and pharmacies,  ice cream aficionados like myself have decided it’s time to jump on the ice cream soda bandwagon. I’m doing it with a modern twist on an old classic: The Raspberry Lime Rickey Ice Cream Soda, which traditionally is made with seltzer water, raspberry syrup and a few squirts of fresh lime juice. (Don’t worry, we didn’t leave out the ice cream in our version!)

Seltzer runs deep in my family’s blood. My maternal grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, used to make and sell seltzer water from a pushcart in Latvia. Almost in parallel, across the globe, my paternal great-aunt, the first woman to graduate Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in 1939,  owned and operated a drug store and soda fountain in Boston.

Look at that beautiful raspberry swirl... so refreshing and so creamy

In this family-owned pharmacy and soda fountain, my father and his siblings enjoyed countless ice cream sodas. The options were delicious and cold classics including an orange freeze (vanilla ice cream in orange soda or orange sherbet in club soda), egg creams and root beer floats. My uncle even tells me that he worked as a “carbonics engineer” (a fancy title for soda jerk) which explains my father’s fond memories of guzzling ice cream sodas as a kid. Nothing, however, is as refreshing on a hot summer day as a raspberry lime rickey.

To read the full article and get the recipe for a raspberry lime rickey ice cream soda, visit JCarrot’s blog  here

White Chocolate and Candied Ginger Ice Cream

14 Jul

The importance of ginger can be dated back to the writings of Confucius. In 9th century Europe, powdered ginger was placed on the table alongside salt and pepper.

The candied ginger heart. I did put my heart and soul into this!

Being from Boston I am a big fan of Emack and Bolio’s. In fact, they affectionately refer to themselves as “The Boston Ice Cream Experience” which I think is quite accurate. Though desserts were a rarity in our household growing up, I do remember occasional outings to Emack and Bolio’s. I always thought that their name was really funny. To be honest, I don’t think I ever started pronouncing it correctly until about last year. True story.

Recently a friend wrote to 365scoops in a moment of desperation, panicking because a super fabulous Emack and Bolio’s flavor had been discontinued. The original Emack and Bolio’s flavor, I’m told, was called “Triple Ginger Mama” and was some sort of vanilla base with ginger flavor and lots of texture. This flavor was affectionately referred to as “vanilla/ginger amazingness”. Trying to decode that description was a little hard, so I took some liberties and attempted to recreate this recipe with my own 365scoops flair.

It turns out that this friend was the first person to witness the birth of 365scoops because I actually ran into her on the fateful night that I purchased my ice cream maker . I suppose I owe it to her to create a flavor in her honor. I also owe it to her because she just got engaged and what a better pre-wedding treat than good (I hope!) ‘ole fashioned ice cream…

The beautiful candied ginger

So, since I’ve been wanting to make a white chocolate ice cream for a while, this just seemed like the perfect opportunity. I wanted to subtly introduce the ginger flavor, but not go overboard because I’m not such a fan of ginger in my ice creams (give it to me in Asian cuisine or salad dressings and I’m game though!). Additionally I thought that little chunks of caramelized ginger would give a nice added texture and treat without making the ice cream too “aggressively ginger.” So, that just leaves me with one thing…the recipe!

White Chocolate and Candied Ginger Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe has two parts; the actual ice cream and the candied ginger. You should make the candied ginger first unless you have enough kitchen space/pots and pans to make it while the ginger is steeping in the milk. I, however, live in NYC, and therefore it was just too tight in the kitchen to make all this work at once !

Candied Ginger

Adapted from David Lebovitz (only slightly) 

It may be hard to tell, but that's a lot of ginger!

Ingredients

1/2 lb peeled fresh ginger

2 cups sugar (plus a little extra for dusting)

2 cups water

candy thermometer

Method

Don’t be scared but this recipe calls for a candy thermometer. Actually, you don’t really need one, but I can say unequivocally that I would have ruined this recipe if I did not use the thermometer. There. I said it! So, while I typically shy away from any recipe that requires a candy thermometer, they’re much easier to use then I thought, and way less intimidating!

Slice the ginger as thinly as possible. It can’t be too thin, so use a sharp knife.

Put the ginger slices in a non-reactive pot, add enough water to cover the ginger, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let ginger simmer for ten minutes. Drain, and repeat, simmering the ginger slices one more time. After the second time boiling the ginger, do not drain the water; you’ll be adding to it for the rest of the recipe.

Success! 225 degrees F. Home-made candied ginger is on its way!

Mix the sugar and 2 cups water in the pot, along with the ginger slices, and cook until the temperature reaches 225 degrees F. This is where the candy thermometer comes in handy. The temperature will rise rapidly to approximately 17o degrees F and will hover around there for approximately 10-15 minutes. It will then continue to slowly rise until it reaches 225, again hovering around 215 degrees F for a while. You’ll need to keep watching the mixture, and periodically check the thermometer to make sure. All in, this takes approximately 20-30 minutes.

Remove from heat , drain very well while the ginger is hot, and toss the drained slices in granulated sugar. Shake off excess sugar, and spread the ginger slices on a cooling rack overnight, until they’re somewhat dry. The sugar can be reused in a batter or ice cream base, or for another purpose. The ginger syrup can also be used for home-made ginger ale.

Heaps of candied ginger.

The candied ginger can be stored at room temperature for at least a month. This recipe will yield plenty for snacking or gifting.

White Chocolate and Candied Ginger Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 cup milk

2 cups half-and-half

2/3 cup sugar

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

8 ounces good quality white chocolate (I used Ghiradelli), chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger

Method

I did not have a ruler to measure out the ginger...so I fashioned one by folding a 4 inch envelope in half. Crafty, I know!

Peel and slice the ginger very thinly and cover it with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes. Drain away the water but return the blanched ginger to the pan.

Add the sugar, milk and 1 cup of the half-and-half. Rewarm the mixture, turn off the stovetop, cover the mixture and steep for at least an hour, or until you are satisfied with the ginger flavor. I steeped mine for 1 hour and it was a very mild flavor – which is what I wanted. (But if you really like ginger I suggest you use either 3 inches of ginger or let it steep more. Once you add the white chocolate mixture it will dilute the ginger flavor a lot).

Chop the white chocolate and put it in a microwave safe bowl. Melt on high for 30 seconds, stir and see whether you need to melt it again, if so, repeat. Whisk the white chocolate into the milk mixture. Add in the remaining one cup of half-and-half.

Mixing the melted white chocolate. I may have stolen a few licks (after I made the mixture, don't worry!)

Pour the mixture through a strainer and discard the ginger. Cool completely (at least 2 hours) and then pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately five minutes before the ice cream is done churning, slowly pour in the candied ginger pieces.  When finished, scoop into a container and let freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

You’ll notice that I cut one piece of ginger into a heart, and placed it on top of the ice cream. Let’s just say it was a cute surprise when the newly engaged couple opened the container!

The Verdict: Folks, I think they liked it! One of the royal taste testers got down on one knee and asked me to marry her (I politely declined, though I was flattered. I just didn’t think The Husband would want to give me up that easily!) Another taste tester said “many things are frozen but not all things are chosen”. I liked that rhyme, and again, I was flattered. And of course, the dear friend who requested this flavor seemed really happy with it. I hope you’ll all try this flavor at home.

Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream Sandwiches

1 Jul

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride and honor that I wish you Happy National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day!

In 1984 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July “National Ice Cream Month” and urged fellow Americans to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” I love those politics :) To kick off ice cream month I’m presenting you with a very creative flavor that I hope will knock your socks off!

My cousin’s cousin (hell, we’re all related, he’s my cousin too!) is a masterful chef at the ripe ‘ole age of 14 and a great fan of 365scoops. He sent me this cinnamon bun recipe and anecdote below and I knew I had to turn it into an ice cream. I’ve been saving it for a special day, and today is the day!

Baked to perfection!

Here is the story of the cinnamon buns…One Sunday morning, my family and I were relaxing, getting ready for breakfast, and my sister said she wanted cinnamon buns, so I said I would make them for her. [Note to self: move into their house!] I looked on the internet for a recipe, and found one, but changed some of the ingredients. They came out delicious. Now whenever we have sleepovers with friends, I make them for breakfast. We love them so much because they are the best cinnamon buns any of us have ever had, and my mom  doesn’t even like cinnamon buns and she loves these! [Now that’s an endorsement!] I will make them for anyone who comes to our house and is here during a breakfast time. [Great, I’ll be there tomorrow!]

The cinnamon bun dough ingredients

Mitchell’s Cinnamon Buns 
Created by Mitchell himself!
Ingredients
The Buns: 2 cups flour
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 egg

Adding the butter...which makes everything better!

Filling:
3 tbs butter1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Glaze:
2  sticks of butter (wowzers!)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tbs Agave nectar
Method
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda + powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir with fork to blend. Cut butter into dry mixture; it will resemble coarse crumbs. Beat the yogurt with the egg in measuring cup and pour into bowl. Stir with fork until dough forms ball. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and knead about five times, until no longer sticky.

The dough, covered in the cinnamon filling, rolled half-way

Pat dough into 12×8 inch rectangle. Spread with filling and roll up into 12 inch long “jelly roll”. Cut into 1 inch thick slices.
Spray 9×13 inch pan with nonstick coating. Spread 1/2 glaze on bottom and then arrange rolls on top of glaze. Bake 15-20 minutes until rolls are golden and glaze is bubbly. Watch them closely as they can burn quickly!
Coming up with an ice cream flavor to complement these perfect cinnamon buns was not so easy. But, I decided on a classic: cinnamon. It’s a perfect addition to the buns, and served with the

Yum. Simply Yum.

remaining glaze drizzled on top was simply heaven.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s A Perfect Scoop
Ingredients 
1 cup whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
10 cinnamon sticks

The beautiful cinnamon sticks

Method

In a saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon sticks, and 1 cup of the half-and-half. Warm through, and then cover and let steep off the heat for one hour. Pour in the remaining cup of half-and-half.  Refrigerate until completely cold.
Once cooled, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The Great Assembly!
To serve this incredibly delectable treat you’ll need two warm cinnamon buns, a generous scoop of cinnamon ice cream, and 1-2tbs of glaze. Place one cinnamon bun on a plate, glaze side up,scoop a generous heaping of ice cream on top and drizzle with a bit of glaze. Cover with the second cinnamon bun, glaze side up. Enjoy!
The Verdict: In-cred-i-bleMouthwatering. Buttery and gooey. The perfect amount of cinnamon. Most importantly, Mitchell, you’ve made 365scoops proud! Here’s to many more delectable days during national ice cream month!

Now that's the money shot!!