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The Wackiest Jewish Ice Cream Flavors on Earth

16 Jul

In honor of National Ice Cream Month I was invited to write a guest piece on JCarrot’s blog about wacky Jewish Ice Cream flavors.

Nova Lox Ice Cream…coming right up!

If you’re a fan of Ben and Jerry’s, you’ve likely heard of some comically flavored ice creams — Americone Dream or Phish Food, anyone?

This summer, in honor of National Ice Cream Month (yes, it’s a real thing), we’ve rounded up the craziest Jewish ice cream flavors from herring to cholent and haroset to jelly donuts.

Fan favorites include everything from tzimmes (honey carrot ice cream) scooped up at Max & Mina’s Ice Cream in Queens, N.Y., to hummus, tehina and za’atar offered at Lavan Restaurant in Jerusalem and local Tel Aviv ice cream parlors.

But nothing quite compares with the quintessential Jewish Diaspora flavor — Nova Lox.

Read the entire article here

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Salted Caramel and Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

2 Feb

“The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything; the young know everything.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Signature Ice Cream - coming right up!

This ice cream is sinful. Not normal. Insanely good. So good, in fact, that it’s topping my leader board and becoming a 365scoops signature flavor.

As you all know, it’s birthday week at 365scoops and I’ve had the distinct pleasure of making ice creams for a few of my nearest and dearests!  I served this flavor on Sunday at Baby S’s first birthday party and all her cool family and friends loved it. So much so, in fact, that her grandfather told me “In my rolodex, 365scoops is listed as #1 under ice cream.” Hilarious! Not to sound like a moron but who uses a rolodex anymore? Too funny!

Needless to say, all the little yentas loved this flavor. In fact, they requested that this become a Signature Flavor for 365scoops. So, your wishes are my command!

Behold, the power of salty and sweet!

This flavor is perfect for anyone with a brain who loves the combination of salty and sweet. The rich vanilla bean ice cream is a great backdrop for the salty yet sweet caramel swirl (heavenly) and the chunks of chocolate covered potato chips. Coming from someone who usually prefers chocolate-based ice creams, this vanilla bean was so creamy and perfect that you should RUN don’t walk to make this flavor at home. Enjoy!

Signature Flavor: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Salted Caramel and Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

Flavor created by 365scoops; vanilla ice cream adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop; Salted Caramel from Smitten Kitchen

Swirling in the vanilla bean paste

Ingredients: Ice Cream

3 cups half-and-half

3 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbs vanilla bean paste

1 tsp vanilla extract

Salted caramel (recipe below)

1 cup chopped (in big pieces!) Trader Joe’s chocolate covered potato chips

Sugar browning, ever so slowly

Ingredients: Salted Caramel

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
A few grinds of sea salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Method: Salted Caramel

Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice copper color.

Starting to caramelize

Add the sea salt and butter and stir until the butter melts. Lower the heat and slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, whisking the whole time. The sauce will foam and hiss; just ignore it and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Taste it and if you think it needs more sea salt, grind in a bit more. Set aside until needed. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, but you’ll be using it all in this outstanding ice cream!

Adding in the butter and it foams up

Method: Ice Cream

In a saucepan heat the half-and-half until small bubbles form around the sides. Set aside. While the mixture is heating, whisk together three egg yolks and sugar in a large heat-proof bowl until the mixture thickens and turns a pale yellow. Temper the eggs by slowly pouring in the heated half-and-half and whisking together. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan, add in the vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract. Heat the mixture until it reaches 175 degrees or is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Let cool completely before refrigerating for 1-2 hours.

Look at that beautiful salted caramel!

The Great Assembly

Once the ice cream is chilled, pour into the base of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is done churning pour in the chocolate covered potato chips (make sure they are pretty good sized chunks).  Once done churning you’ll need to assemble the ice cream with the salted caramel swirl. Scoop 2 tbs of caramel on the bottom of the freezer safe container. Layer with a hefty scoop of ice cream. Repeat, until you fill the container, each time digging the spoon to the base of the ice cream and swirly very gently so that the caramel swirls throughout the ice cream. Top with a few extra potato chips for good measure and return to the freezer to harden. When you’re ready to eat it, grab and spoon and dive in straight from the container. No need for a bowl on this one.

Dig in!

The Verdict: Considering my peeps said to make this a signature flavor, I think that speaks for itself! In the words of Rachel Ray, Yum-O! Happy Birthday Baby S. I hope you enjoyed it too!

Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

17 Jan

“I want to sit down, and I want to laugh. Nothing works better for me than watching somebody slip on a banana peel. “~ Diane Lane

Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

To say that I hate bananas is a gross understatement. For those of you who know me, you know that I loathe bananas. I despise bananas. I am utterly repulsed by bananas. They smell. The consistency is disgusting. And the sound they make when people eat them? Uch. Fuggedaboutit. And what’s worse? A rotten banana.

Each year for The Husband’s birthday I make him chocolate chip banana bread. It’s a labor of love. I pinch my nose the entire time while baking it, and each time, he calls me a baby. I swear that I am allergic to bananas. In fact, sometimes I tell people that I have a very serious banana allergy just so that I don’t have to explain that I actually dislike bananas.

This year, The Husband turned the big 3o. I’ve been prepping myself for this day for years and as his “much younger wife” it’s my duty to remind him, day in and day out, just how old he has become (and just how young I remain!) As a special treat for his birthday I decided to make an outrageous triple-layer chocolate peanut butter cake (it was breathtaking!) with none other than…drumroll please…banana ice cream.

Now that’s love!

Two rotten bananas + two fresh bananas = gross!

To make this banana ice cream I used two uber-rotten bananas, and two fresh ones. The combination was perfect, and really mimicked the taste of banana bread. (Or so I’ve been told — this is actually the first ice cream that I have not tasted, so technically I cannot vouch for it’s quality). To further enhance the banana flavor I caramelized the bananas first – and again, I’ve been told by the royal taste-testers that this was well worth it. While I’d love to add my own personal opinion of this ice cream, I will never, ever taste it. Mark my word. You’ll just have to trust The Husband and our friends who ate this ice cream. They seemed to like it, a lot, and I think you will too.

Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and David Lebovitz

Bananas smothered in brown sugar and butter

Ingredients

2 yellow bananas

2 brown bananas

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbs butter

1 1/2 cups cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla

Method

Caramelized bananas

Cut the four bananas into small discs. The very ripe bananas will not cut as cleanly, that’s fine, just break into small pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the bananas in it. Sprinkle with brown sugar and chopped butter. Toss well with hands and bake for 35-40 minutes until the bananas get very soft and begin to roast and caramelize.

While the bananas are cooking combine the cream, whole milk, and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Whisk until small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk together the three egg yolks, slowly adding in the white sugar until the egg yolks thicken and become pale yellow. Slowly temper the eggs by pouring the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, stirring in between each pour.

At this point, the bananas should be done roasting. Remove them from the oven and set aside.

Tempering the eggs

Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the medium saucepan and heat until it reaches 170 degrees and the eggs are fully cooked. If you don’t have a candy thermometer the mixture is cooked when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula or wooden spoon.

Next, add the bananas into the milk mixture. Stir thoroughly to break up the small banana pieces. Transfer to a blender and puree until the mixture is smooth. Let the banana ice cream base chill completely before refrigerating for at least two hours.

Mixing in the bananas before pureeing in the blender

Transfer the fully chilled mixture into the base of an ice cream maker, and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, approximately 20 minutes. When it’s done, freeze for at least 2 hours to firm up, or enjoy “soft serve” straight out of the machine.

The Verdict:  I asked The Husband what to write here – after all, I never tasted this flavor, so how could I know. In his words, “this $hit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S”. Enjoy!

They say it's delicious...

Pomegranate Champagne Sorbetto

4 Oct

“Your lips are like a scarlet thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil.” ~ Song of Solomon

Dig in!

Ok let me be clear about one thing. This quote is rather erotic – and maybe not totally appropriate for an ice cream blog, but in the spirit of researching the biblical significance of the pomegranate, this seemed apropos. I should also note that if The Husband recited these lines to me as some sort of a love poem, I’d vomit. Let me be clear, if my cheeks were like halves of a pomegranate I’d probably look like a chipmunk, or maybe like I just had my wisdom teeth removed. That ‘aint no compliment. Oh, and I don’t want to be told that my mouth is lovely. That’s like saying I’m really good at eating. Gee, thanks. Solomon, I think you need to try a little harder with your pick up lines. These just stink.

This recipe is the second in a series of Jewish New Year sorbet posts. I’ve decided to use fruits that are quintessentially Jewish – or that are prominently featured this time of year. Enter the pomegranate. This beautiful fruit, though a big fat pain in the tuchas to peel, is rather significant in Judaism.

Adding the champagne to the simple syrup

First, legend has it (though I cannot personally confirm because I do not have the time to sit there and peel and count the seeds) that the pomegranate has 613 seeds. This number is of great significance in Judaism as it corresponds to the number of mitzvot, or commandments in the Bible. Second, the pomegranate is one of the seven original species of fruits and grains enumerated in the Bible. In fact, upon entering the Land of Israel, the Israelite scouts brought Moses a pomegranate, to show that the promised land was fertile. This, my friends, is precisely why we eat the pomegranate on the new year (that and it’s harvesting season is September – December, so eco-conscious foodies would approve!).

And as for the champagne – well, let’s be honest, there really isn’t much of a significance, other than this new year is cause for celebration, so let’s pop open a bottle of bubbly. You should know that when we opened it, The Husband did a piss poor job because the champagne literally exploded everywhere – including all over this recipe. Good thing enough remained to make this sorbetto.

So, in the spirit of the new year we bless one another with prosperity and fertility, health and happiness. May your good deeds and kindness be as numerous as the pomegranate seeds. Here’s to a sweet new year.

The sorbetto with it's main ingredient, POM

Pomegranate Champagne Sorbetto

From Ciao Bella

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

1 cup champagne, chilled

Simple Syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice (I omitted this)

Method

Prepare the simple syrup by combining the water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high  heat and bring to a boil, whisking often to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 4 minutes, while continuing to whisk until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool, then transfer to a bowl or container, cover, and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.

In a large bowl whisk together the pomegranate juice, champagne, simple syrup and lemon juice (if you use it). Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. When ready to eat, drizzle with pomegranate seeds and enjoy.

Pomegranate Champagne Sorbetto

Cheers!

Note: Because this recipe involves alcohol, you’ll notice that even after 20 minutes (the usual churning time) it does not fully freeze. It’s going to be slightly more liquid than other sorbets, so just keep in the freezer until right before you serve.

The Verdict: Wow! The first bite is all champagne. The second bite is all pomegranate. The third – a perfect mixture of the two. I must admit, even though I can appreciate how yummy this flavor is, it is not one of my favorite concoctions – partially because I don’t like champagne, and partially because I was so obsessed with the apple sorbet that I didn’t have any room in my heart for another flavor. But apparently my entire family (yes, all 30 of them who tasted it) actually preferred the Pomegranate Champagne Sorbetto. So, I was outvoted. They raved about this flavor. In fact, they loved it so much that I they may have successfully changed my mind. I’ve been converted. This flavor is good!

Pure deliciousness! Three cheers for the sorbetto

Apple Sorbet

28 Sep

Shanah Tovah U’Metukah

Have a good and sweet year

Apple Sorbet

Please forgive me, but this is going to be a rather reflective post. In honor of the Jewish New Year, which begins on sundown Wednesday evening, I am making a trio of sorbets, each one bringing forth a new flavor and blessing for the new year. This recipe, apple sorbet, carries quite a bit of meaning.

Ever since I was a little girl, my parents used to say that no matter what – the most important thing is that we have our health, and that we have each other. I never fully understood those words – they resonated, sure, I knew that it was very important to have family, but as a kid, you take good health for granted. As an adult, working for Project Sunshine I see the impact of health, both good and bad, on families across the country. Every day I am humbled by the generosity, strong spirits, and resiliency of these brave, young patients. In the face of such challenges, they smile, they laugh, and quite honestly, they elicit from me such joy and happiness that I am truly in awe.

Macintosh Apples. Good stuff.

It’s times like these that I am reminded of how blessed I am to have my health – and as my mom always said – to have “each other”. I am truly grateful for each family member and each friend that is part of my life. I can only wish that each one of you are blessed with good health, happiness and lots of sweetness as we embark on this new year together.

And now, a bit about the sorbet. Apples and honey are the quintessential combination during the Jewish New Year. There are many interpretations about the combination of apple and honey – and at the most rudimentary level – they represent the sweetness with which we should all be blessed each year. But on a deeper level, the apple is a rather famous fruit in our culture.  Midrash, or biblical stories, teach that the apple tree puts forth the nub of its fruit even before the leaves that will surround and protect the little fruit  are fully sprouting. This is a beautiful metaphor. Much like the apple leaves protect the fruit until it is truly ready to enter the world, so too do our family and friends protect us from the outside world until we are truly ready to venture into it ourselves. As each of one you embarks on a new journeys this year, I wish you the necessary shelter and support until you are ready to face those challenges, be they good or bad, and the strength to carry you forward to achieve each and every goal along the way.

Look at that beautiful star created by the apple seeds

That my friends, is why I’ve decided to make an apple sorbet. May your homes be filled with sweetness in the coming year. Here’s to good health and happiness.

Apple Sorbet

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

3 Macintosh Apples

1 Gala Apple

2 cups Riesling wine

2/3 cup sugar

Honey (optional – but just enough to drizzle on top of your scoop)

Apples + Riesling = Pure Goodness

Method

Brace yourselves, this is very simple.

Core and seed the apples. Cut into 1 inch pieces. (Do not peel, the skin adds great flavor and color).

Put the apple pieces and 2 cups of Riesling into pot. Cover and let boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce to a simmer for 15-18 minutes. Stir a few times so that the apples cook evenly.

Straining the apples and syrup created from boiling the apples and riesling

Remove from the stovetop and pour the liquid into a heat-proof bowl. You’ll notice that a lot of apple pulp and skins will remain, and it looks a bit like apple sauce. Put the remaining chunky mixture into a blender (or you can use an immersion blender or food processor) and puree. Whisk the thicker, apple-sauce type puree into the liquid mixture. While it’s still hot, pour in the sugar and whisk until it dissolves. Cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, pour the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 20 minutes). Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for 2 hours before serving. When ready to eat, scoop into a bowl, drizzle with a little bit of honey (optional) and enjoy!

Here's to a sweet new year. Dig in!

The Verdict: While I don’t have input yet from the official taste-testers (my entire extended family!) I do know that this was one of the best sorbets I have personally tasted. It was so creamy you would think it was ice cream, and interestingly enough, the wine cooked off leaving behind a sweet, flavorful taste. In fact, the wine actually augmented the flavor of the fruit – it was just delightful and refreshing. I’m definitely going to make this again!

Happy New Year. Dig in!

Cappuccino Chip Ice Cream

14 Sep

One morning, a grandmother was surprised to find that her 7-year-old grandson had made her coffee! Smiling, she choked down the worst cup of her life. When she finished, she found three little green Army men at the bottom. Puzzled, she asked, “Honey, what are these Army men doing in my coffee?” Her grandson answered, “Like it says on TV, Grandma. ‘The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup.

Two cups of cappuccino chip ice cream. One for me. One for The Husband.

Kids say the darndest things!

When my sisters and I were little, we loved watching America’s Funniest Home Videos and Kids Say the Darndest Things (probably because we were forbidden from watching 90210, Friends, anything on Fox or MTV, in other words, anything that wasn’t G-rated). Irony of all ironies, Bob Saget, who we loved from Full House, hosted America’s Funniest Home Videos, but boy does he have a potty mouth these days. See mom and dad, that’ll show you! You should have just let us watch what we wanted – it would have avoided tons of fights. But, alas, we were pure and untainted by the trashy 80’s/90’s TV shows and I suppose we’re better people because of it…

Must. Have. Cappuccino. Now.

In my older years, I’ve started re-watching the Cosby show. I have to say, that show is outrageously funny. The other night I was watching it on my iphone in bed, when I began belly laughing. I woke up The Husband. He was pissed. I felt badly, but honestly, Bill Cosby is too funny for words. Now that’s a good wholesome show worth re-watching!

Mixing the coffee granules and cinnamon into the hot milk mixture

Onto the ice cream. I promise this post is about more than strict TV schedules and funny 80’s sitcoms. Fast forward 20 years and instead of watching innocent, harmless TV, I sit at a desk all day and drink coffee. Well, the sitting at a desk part is true, the all day drinking coffee is a slight exaggeration. You see, I love coffee. Unlike most people who drink it only for caffeine, I actually drink it because I like the taste. In fact, I can’t actually drink caffeine because it makes me so jittery and insane. I’m already Type A enough, I don’t need a dose of caffeine to keep me going! So, instead, I drink decaf coffee and savor the flavor.

Oooh look at that beautiful frothy swirl

If you recall, I can’t really have all that much dairy, and so while I love me a good cappuccino the milk doesn’t love me back, and by the end of the day, I’m paying for it. But, like any stubborn food lover, I ignore my belly aches and drink the coffee anyway. So, during a coffee-less morning last week, I began daydreaming about cappuccinos when boom – this flavor came to me. Cappuccino Chip. It’s the perfect mixture of coffee, cinnamon and cream. The chips add a great extra layer of texture and because they are infused with coffee and cinnamon, they match the ice cream’s flavor profile perfectly.

Tempering the egg mixture by slowly adding in the coffee cream into the eggs

In short, this is a great ice cream and it’s even more delicious when served in a coffee mug. The Husband and I loved it. Dig in!

Cappuccino Chip Ice Cream

Ice cream base adapted quite a bit from Ben & Jerry

The chips are a 365scoops original!

Ingredients

The Ice Cream

3 1/2 tbs good quality instant coffee

1 tbs cinnamon

3 large egg yolks

2 1/4 cups half-and-half

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

After melting the chocolate, patting it down to form the chips

The Chips

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tsp instant coffee mixed with 2 tsp hot water

1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Heat the milk and half-and-half in a large pot on the stove-top. While the mixture is warming, whisk the three egg yolks together, slowly adding the sugar until well-blended. Once bubbles start to form around the edges of the milk, stir in the instant coffee and cinnamon. Remove from heat and slowly pour into the egg mixture. Add a little milk, whisk, and repeat. Congratulations, you’ve tempered the eggs! Now pour the liquid back into the pot and heat until it reaches 170 degrees F (so that the eggs are fully cooked). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before chilling completely in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Breaking up the chocolate, espresso, cinnamon chips before adding to the ice cream

While the mixture is cooling, make the chocolate chips. Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl, add the cinnamon and coffee. Melt in the microwave on high for 15 seconds, stir, and repeat until the chips are fully mixed. This should take no more than 30 -45 seconds. Alternatively you can heat the chocolate in a double broiler but since I don’t have one, the microwave worked just fine. Be careful not to burn or overcook the chocolate!

Behold, the power of cappuccino chip ice cream!

Put a piece of wax paper on a plate or baking sheet. Scoop the chocolate onto the wax paper, and working quickly, flatten out the chocolate. You can either use your hands (as I did) or you can cover the chocolate with another piece of wax paper and use a rolling pin to methodically and evenly roll out the chocolate. Put the chocolate into the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

Once the ice cream mixture is completely chilled, pour into the bowl of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and break into small pieces. Approximately five minutes before the ice cream is done churning (which for me was after 15 minutes) add in the chocolate chips. Let the mixture blend thoroughly before transferring to a freezer-safe container.  Freeze for approximately 2 hours before enjoying!

One delicious cappuccino chip ice cream, coming right up!

The Verdict: Tastes just like a cappuccino! Success. The chips are a must for this flavor. Next time, I might cut the cinnamon a bit, especially because The Husband complained that it was too cinnamon-ey. Otherwise, it was really creamy and lasted quite well in the refrigerator. A real treat. A must eat. Grab a spoon and dig in!

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!

The BEST Plain Frozen Yogurt

28 Jun

“I opened-up a yogurt, underneath the lid it said, ‘Please try again’ because they were having a contest that I was unaware of. I thought maybe I opened the yogurt wrong. …Or maybe Yoplait was trying to inspire me… ‘Come on Mitchell, don’t give up!’ An inspirational message from your friends at Yoplait, fruit on the bottom, hope on top.” ~ Mitch Hedberg

I recently got a comment on 365scoops from a lovely woman (who shall remain nameless) that read:

Although my sister, who shall remain anonymous, thinks plain yogurt tastes like “butt-crack”, I hereby request it with berries. Can you make this happen?
-Mama Z.

Well Mama Z – your wish is my command!

The BEST plain yogurt. Ever.

It all began one summer day in 2008. I had just finished a fun half-hour of free kayaking on 72nd street. Much to my chagrin, I got soaked while paddling in the Hudson River and to be frank, I didn’t smell all that hot. Actually, I stank. Hudson River water smells really bad. Being that it was 95 degrees out, my friends and I needed frozen yogurt to cool us off a bit. And we needed it stat.

All the new, hip frozen yogurt places had not really started popping up on the Upper West Side so we decided to try the famous Bloomingdales Frozen Yogurt to see what all the hype was about.

Walking into Bloomingdales I was hoping for something sweet, when one of my friends informed me, “you know this is tart yogurt, right?”. Um, what? I’m here for sweet, I thought to myself, pondering why I had schlepped all the way across town in my Hudson-River-splashed clothing. This was my first entree into plain frozen yogurt, and I have to say, I was petrified. In case it hasn’t been made clear through this blog I want my desserts sweet. Fruit doesn’t count, and neither did plain frozen yogurt.

Or so I thought.

After ordering a small (which was actually quite huge) and eating the whole thing (plus 1/2 of my friend’s) I promptly proclaimed, “this stuff’s addictive!” and the rest is history!

For the past three summers I’ve been feeding my habit by going out to ice cream quite frequently, if not daily. This started becoming an expensive habit and so I took matters into my own hands, and made tart frozen yogurt instead. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as Mama Z did!

The BEST Plain Yogurt. Ever.

Adapted from 101Cookbooks (who adapted it from David Lebovitz)

Ingredients

2 cups 2% Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)

1 cup 0% Greek Yogurt

3/4 cup sugar

The ingredients...pretty basic stuff!

Method

Vigorously whisk the yogurt and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved in the yogurt. Cool completely in the refrigerator.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most of the time it takes 20 minutes to make an ice cream, but for some reason this only took 15 minutes and it was done. I recommend eating this as soon as it comes out of the ice cream maker (if you even make it that far) because once you freeze it, it gets a bit hard.

Serve drizzled with the Triple Berry Sauce or smothered with fresh berries. Yum.

The Verdict: Mama Z said it was the best damn frozen yogurt she’s ever hard. If that’s not a glowing report, I don’t know what is… Oh, it was so good that I ate the rest for breakfast with raspberries the next day. Is that embarrassing?

Apologies for not having a photo, you’ll just have to try making it yourself…

‘One Sunny Night’ Ice Cream

30 May

“The Project Sunshine volunteers not only bring smiles to the faces of our patients, but they are also a vital part of the healing process, enabling children to heal through play. “~ Nuria Claramunt Miami Children’s Hospital

Last week was Project Sunshine Week, an annual week dedicated to Project Sunshine’s mission and services that raises awareness and funds for the organization.  As many of you know, I have been working for Project Sunshine for the past five and a half years. Project Sunshine’s mission is to empower a dynamic and dedicated corps of over 10,000 volunteers to bring programming – recreational (arts), educational (tutoring and mentoring) and social service (HIV and nutritional counseling) – to over 60,000 children facing medical challenges and their families in 150 major cities across the United States and in five international satellite sites: Canada, China, Israel, Kenya and Puerto Rico.

Project Sunshine volunteer Bar Refaeli reads with hospitalized children

Project Sunshine’s volunteers selflessly donate their time to relieve the anxiety of young patients and in a context of fun and play, foster in them the courage and coping skills necessary to confront procedures that lie ahead. Project Sunshine volunteers spread sunshine, restoring a crucial sense of normalcy to the pediatric healthcare environment.

Ever since starting 365scoops, my coworkers have been wonderful guinea pigs for my many flavor concoctions. In fact, the Project Sunshine team was the first to support this ice cream project. So, it is only fair to them – and to the children and families that we serve – that I dedicate this ice cream to Project Sunshine!

A little about this lovely flavor. My mother makes an outrageously delicious lemon meringue pie. Personally, I turn my nose up at lemon meringue pie because, well, it tastes really fake and airy. Not this one. This one, ah, it’s perfect. First, you start with a beautiful meringue crust, then you fill it with home made lemon curd, whipped cream, lemon zest, and top it off with delectably sweet raspberries. The flavor combination is perfect, and this dessert is gorgeous too.

Project Sunshine volunteer, NY Yankee Brett Gardner, high fives a young boy after a hospital event

Being that this dessert is also yellow, I felt that it was a no-brainer to make it the (official) Project Sunshine ice cream. Oh, and one more thing, this year Project Sunshine’s benefit celebration (which culminated the spectacular Project Sunshine week) was called One Sunny Night – and so this ice cream is it’s namesake.

So, raise your ice cream bowls and cheers this wonderful organization! To the 60,000 children and family members served by Project Sunshine each year, this one’s for you!

The creamy ice cream base...yum

One Sunny Night Ice Cream

Inspired by my mom’s famous lemon meringue pie and created by moi!

Ingredients

Lemon Curd

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream (whipped)

Ice Cream Base

1 1/2 cups lemon curd/whipped cream mixture

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tbs lemon zest

Egg whites (before they become the meringue)

Meringues

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

Method

First make the meringues since they take quite a while to cook. Separate the egg yolks and whites (reserve the yolks for the lemon curd) and using either an electric hand mixer or a mixmaster begin mixing the egg whites until they start to get foamy. Little by little, begin adding the cup of sugar into the egg whites. Pour in a little sugar, and continue mixing. Repeat this process until you have used up all the sugar and the egg whites form small white peaks. This, at least, is the technical way to make meringues. But, if you grew up in my household, the true test to see whether the egg whites are ready, is to hold the bowl upside down over your head, and if they don’t move or fall on you (and heaven help you if they do, it’s a big fat mess to clean up!) they’re ready! Whatever you do, don’t underbeat the eggwhites.

A meringue dollop before it's cooked...

Before baking the meringues, cut two pieces of paper from large brown paper shopping bags (you know, the kind you get a wholefoods if you forget to bring your own bag!) Cut off the handles and cut the paper bag into two sheets, one for each cookie sheet. Again, most people use parchment paper, but I swear that brown paper bags is the best technique. My mom has been been doing it forever in her house, and I’m telling you, it makes these meringues perfect.  Spoon dollops of the meringue batter onto the cookie sheets and bake at 200 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to two hours. When checking to see whether the meringues are ready, never open the oven door, you’ll lose all the heat. Instead, turn the oven light on. Once the meringues are ready (they’ll brown slightly on top) take them out of the oven and let them cool completely.

Meringues fresh out of the oven (Notice the brown paper bag!)

Now it’s time to make the lemon curd (bear in mind that you’re doing this while the meringues are baking). Combine egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until thickened. Remove from heat and cool for one hour.

While the lemon curd is cooling, beat the whipping cream in a small bowl until stiff peaks form. Using the same beaters, beat the lemon curd filling until smooth. Fold the whipped cream into the lemon filling until blended.  This is the first time in any ice cream recipe that I’ve pre-whipped the whipping cream, and I must say, this made the ice cream extremely airy and soft and the resulting consistency was something very special. More to come on that soon…

The lemons and fresh lemon zest

And finally – the piece de resistance – the ice cream base! Now that you have the lemon curd/whipped cream mixture ready, you’ll use this as one of the main ingredients for the actual ice cream. In a large mixing bowl stir together 1 1/2 cups of the lemon curd/whipped cream mixture, 1 cup of half-and-half, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbs lemon zest. Once the mixture is completely stirred and the sugar is dissolved, let cool completely in the refrigerator.

Once chilled, pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which for me was 22 minutes. The resulting ice cream will be very creamy (much creamier than any other ice cream to date, and I think that’s because I used whipping cream that had already been whipped, thereby adding more air into the mixture, making it supremely creamy and delicious.)

Drumroll please...the final product...One Sunny Night!

Sigh. Now it’s time for the assembly. Scoop yourself a few heaps of the lemon ice cream. Crush up one meringue on top and garnish with raspberries.

The Verdict: I may be slightly biased here, because the lemon raspberry meringue pie is one of my favorite desserts, but when turned into an ice cream this recipe is super creamy, airy, delicious and refreshing. You’ll see specks of lemon zest beautifully woven throughout the ice cream, and the combination of sweet meringues with tart lemon ice cream and fresh raspberry is truly perfect. This is an excellent summer dessert, and a perfect way to top off any meal – it truly makes for One Sunny Night!