saffron ice cream

This is a gorgeous ice cream-- bright yellow with red saffron threads-- with a unique and highly addictive flavor. Sweet and saffron-savory, Lebovitz suggests pairing it with pine nuts, rosewater, oranges, cinnamon, and/or quince.

I find this preparation to be a touch too sweet, but others I've fed it to claim it's perfect as is. Your call.

Saffron Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop
makes one pint

1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
scant 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (affordable at Trader Joe's)
3 large egg yolks

Warm the milk, cream, and sugar in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the saffron. Pour in a small bowl (I used a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup) and steep in the refrigerator for 4 hours. (It was very, very late when I began this, so I let it steep overnight rather than stay up another four hours.)

Strain the saffron-infused mixture into a medium saucepan. Rescue the threads of saffron and put them in a medium bowl. Set the strainer over the top. (I did not strain my mixture. In fact I have no recollection of reading this step. It was early in the morning.)

Rewarm the saffron-infused mixture. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm saffron mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir to incorporate the saffron threads. Stir until cool over an ice bath (I did not do this.)

Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker. Make sure to get all the saffron threads off the dasher and mix them back into the ice cream when you remove it from the machine.

A NOTE on ice cream makers: do not try to use your machine more than once in a 24-hr period if it is the kind that has a frozen canister. No matter how cold you think that canister is, the second batch will not turn out as well as the first. My second batch (an olive oil ice cream) remained fairly soupy after churning and froze in the freezer to the density of gelato, but with ice crystals that marred the texture.


fresh mint ice cream

This mint ice cream tastes like no other mint ice cream I've ever had. It tastes *exactly* like my mint plant. It's bright and fresh and tastes downright healthy in a way no ice cream ever has before. I could eat it forever. Find some delicious mint (or grow your own!)

Fresh Mint Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup (250ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups (80g) lightly packed mint leaves
5 large egg yolks

Warm the milk, sugar, one cup of cream, and salt in a small saucepan. Add the mint leaves and stir until immersed. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for an hour.

Strain the mint-infused mixture through a mesh strainer into a medium saucepan. Press on the mint leaves to extract as much of the flavor as possible, then discard the mint leaves. Pour the remaining cup of cream into a large bowl and set the strainer on top.

Rewarm the mint-infused mixture. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mint liquid into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and into the cream.

Stir until cool over an ice bath and/or chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Freeze in your ice cream maker.


toasted almond ice cream

This ice cream has a fantastically strong almond flavor, and would go fabulously with fruit of all kinds. Suzanne Goin (Sunday Suppers again) pairs it with cherry-- I found this recipe because I desperately wanted to make the roasted cherry tart-- but as it turns out it was easier to get the ice cream done first. I'd also just made both the brown butter and the olive oil ice creams and I thought perhaps my roommates might like something more 'normal'.

When I do it again I may cut the amount of almond extract a bit, as the flavor is so strong some may think it borders on the artificial (do make sure you use pure almond extract!). This ice cream is full of toasted almonds, and is great for people that love chunky ice cream. You could add cherries or chocolate as well.

Almond Ice Cream
from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin

2 1/2 cups raw whole almonds
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
4 extra-large egg yolks (if you have large eggs, use 5 yolks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure almond extract (or less- definitely not more)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until they darken slightly and smell nutty. When they've cooled, chop them coarsely.

Place 1 1/2 cups of the chopped almonds in a medium saucepan and pour in the milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the flavors infuse for at least thirty minutes.

Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then turn off the heat.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Whisk a few tablespoons of the warm cream mixture into the yolks to temper them. Slowly, add another 1/4 cup or so of the warm cream, whisking to incorporate. At this point, you can add the rest of the cream mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pot and return to the stove.

Add the almond extract and cook the custard over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. When it coats the back of a spatula or spoon, it's done. Strain the mixture and chill at least two hours in the refrigerator. Process in the ice cream maker and stir in the remaining almonds when it's done.

This ice cream is best within a few days of when it's made.


brown butter ice cream

Jeffery Steingarten wrote an entire article extolling the virtues of brown butter in Vogue magazine, and included a recipe for ice cream. I committed a gym-magazine faux pas and tore the article out (I hereby admit to reading all the trashy magazines at the gym while on the elliptical machine) but promptly forgot it in Scott's car.

So. To my glee, Chez Pim read the same article, and was inspired to post her own brown butter ice cream recipe shortly after I got my ice cream maker. Since it was easier to drag my laptop into the kitchen than it was to go to the car and grab the magazine pages, I made the Chez Pim version.

I wish that I had browned the butter further, as I didn't think that the nuttiness came through enough in the final product, but this recipe certainly yields a very rich, buttery ice cream. If you're a fan of butter you must give it a shot. I like to sprinkle a bit of salt over the top when serving.

Brown Butter Ice Cream, Glace au Beurre Noisette
via Chez Pim

225g/8oz/1cup butter
350ml/12oz/1.5 cup milk
350ml/12oz/1.5 cup cream
110g/1/2 cup sugar
6 yolks
1teaspoon salt

Cut butter into cubes and place in a medium pot over medium heat. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently so that the butter cooks evenly. I got mine to the color on Pim's website, but I wish I'd gone further-- use your judgment and taste. Wait at least long enough for the butter to take on a nutty aroma.

Set the butter aside and get the pot clean enough to re-use. Divide the sugar between the pot and the blender. I used a food processor and would not recommend it- it's not designed to hold as much liquid as you're going to have. Add the milk to the sugar in the pot and stir to dissolve over medium heat. Leave the pot on medium heat to bring the milk to a simmer.

Add the yolks to the sugar in the blender and turn it on. As the blender is running, slowly add the warm brown butter and blend until incorporated. When the milk/sugar mixture reaches a simmer, pour it into the running blender as well. Add the salt, pulse, and you're done.

Add the cold cream to the blender and blend, then chill the whole shebang until completely cool. Churn in your ice cream maker. Voila!

If you're a brown butter fan, you should also check out this hazelnut brown butter cake!


olive oil ice cream

And now begins the onslaught of ice creams. I'd been talking about getting an ice cream maker for well over a year, but even though they're fairly cheap as far as kitchen gadgets go (you can easily find one for under $50) it just seemed so... impractical somehow. After all, I don't eat ice cream that often, and the ingredients (heavy cream, eggs, fresh fruit) can be prohibitively expensive on my paltry pseudo-salary.

Then I was gifted with a machine, and I've done nothing but make ice cream (okay, and olive oil cake) for the last couple of weeks. I'll put each ice cream in its own post, because otherwise this would be ridiculously long, but they won't all have pictures. For some reason all of my ice creams are in the same color family and you'd swear I was just shooting the same pint container over and over again.

So let's start! I adore olive oil (see cake below) and so this ice cream was the first one I attempted. Try to find a fruity olive oil with a bright flavor- I've used both an Italian one and a Californian one from Trader Joe's. Use the best you can afford, because the flavor will be pure.

Olive Oil Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 1/3 c (330ml) whole milk
1/2 c (100g) sugar
pinch of salt
1 c (250 ml) heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1/2 c (125 ml) olive oil

Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping the sides and bottom as you stir (this is important so that the bottom/sides don't cook themselves solid), until the mixture thickens and coats the bottom of a spoon. You should be able to drag your finger across the spoon and the track stays clean- the sides won't run back together. Pour the custard through the strainer (this removes all the cooked bits) and stir it into the cream. Whisk the olive oil into the custard vigorously until well blended, then chill thoroughly in the fridge. (Lebovitz suggests stirring over an ice bath first, but I just put the whole bowl into the fridge straightaway).

When completely chilled, freeze it in your ice cream maker.


olive oil cake

This cake is from Sunday Suppers at Luques, one of the most consistently delicious and reliable books I have ever used. Quite literally everything that I've made from this book has been phenomenal, although some of the recipes require quite a bit of work. (Don't try to make a four-course meal for six people with two cooks and two hours.) This cake recipe is one that *isn't* a lot of work.

The only downsides are that it requires quite a bit of olive oil, which isn't cheap, and a LOT of eggs. 9. NINE EGGS. But the cake--oh, I could eat it every day. It's extraordinarily moist, not very sweet, with a distinct but not overwhelming olive oil flavor. It's mildly savory and thus can pair with anything-- olive oil ice cream, creme fraiche, fruit, you name it. I ate it for breakfast, for snack, and for dessert, and sent some to the staff at cafe piccolo. And I've been thinking about it ever since. I'll probably make it again this week.

And it really is that gorgeous golden color all on its own!

I just realized, as I was typing out this recipe, that I made the cake wrong when I made it. Upon revealing my mistake (I put the heavy cream into the batter with the olive oil) I was instructed to make it that way for all time, because the cake was that good. It's up to you-- make it as instructed below, or fold the cream and olive oil in together.

Olive Oil Cake, from Sunday Suppers at Luques
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup brandy (i omitted this because i didn't have any brandy)
3 extra-large eggs
6 extra-large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream (this should be whipped and served with the cake, unless you're me. If you're me, include heavy cream with "wet ingredients".)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Brush a 9" round cake pan with olive oil.

Sift the flour and baking baking powder together and then stir in the semolina and salt. Combine 1 cup olive oil and the brandy in a small bowl.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar at a high speed until full volume. (Pale and ribbons.) Remove the bowl from the mixer and alternate folding in the dry and wet ingredients, a third at a time. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Tap the pan a few times on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

Bake about 40 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake should be golden brown and spring back when you touch the center. I used a 10" pan and the baking time was markedly less. Cool the cake on a rack for 15 minutes before turning out of the pan.


pastry school: now, with meats!

These are just some assorted photos from the day I joined the second quarter students for meat production. Even though it was 8:30am, they were making bacon and duck confit and CARVING UP WILBUR and I just couldn't resist. I chose the program at Central over South in part because I would get to do these things- for a pastry program, it's very broad.

This is wilbur, carved open. Half of him was entirely delicious, but the other half wasn't done--the classroom wasn't dry enough. I can't wait to have a real charcuterie-hanging space after the remodel!

Duck confit-- 7lbs of duck fat poured over 8 duck thighs/legs and cooked sloooowly. When it was finished, it went into flaky pastries with some dried cherries. One of the best things I ever ate at school.

This spiced duck hung in the classroom for a while, but I have no clue what his fate was.

Sausages hanging in the classroom. Sad I didn't get to taste them.

I didn't get any pictures of the bacon because it was in the oven and then it was in the walk-in fridge, and neither location had great light for photos. Alas.