Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Ice Cream

I miss you. I really do. And I will be back - taking inspiration from you as soon as my wild-card July draws to a close. What I like about my kitchen is - there are no wild cards. Oh - an errant ingredient may go astray. I may get exasperated at a recipe for winking at me. But my kitchen is my private hazel wood of safety. And when 14 e-mails land in my inbox from "hair-gel man," I can roast Minnesota strawberries, sift sugar as I sift inane e-mails and anticipate a sundress-of-a-dessert. A dessert that lowers the heat index in your spirit. A creamy confection worth every caloric bite. And as you bring the rosy-tinged scoop to your lips, you know that "everything is coming up roses." And that's a promise.

Minnesota strawberries are small, berry-oozing delicacies with the smallest suggestion of tart. Before deciding to cook with them, we consumed 4 quarts of these sweet nothings every week for 3 weeks. No farm-to-fork here. It was farm-to-mouth. I can be excessive during berry season.

And then Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer visited my home. If you ever wished to embark on an Ice Cream Adventure, begin with this book. The book contains a hands-on primer in preparing your custard base, how to tell when your ice cream is done, how to store and how to play. Why roast the strawberries? So the berry-chunks don't freeze in the finished product. When roasted, some water droplets in the strawberries evaporate and a more intense berry flavor is produced.

Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Ice Cream Ingredients - makes 1 quart
(from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home)
Roasted Strawberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
1/3 cup sugar (I used less)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Ice Cream Base
1-1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
101/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup buttermilk

Strawberries: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the strawberries with the sugar in an 8 inch square or ceramic baking dish. Stir gently to mix. Roast 6-8 minutes - until just softened. Cool and puree in blender. You will have extra. Use it as a strawberry sauce for pies and ice cream ("The goat cheese ice cream!" I slyly suggest.)

Ice Cream Base: Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Separately, whisk the cream cheese and salt in a large bowl. Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to rolling boil over medium to medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

Gradually add the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese, whisking until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of the strawberry puree and the buttermilk and blend well. Jeni has you pour the mixture into 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bags and submerge the sealed bag in an ice bath for 30 minutes (adding ice as necessary).

I poured the cooled mixture into a bowl, covered it and let it cool for 24 hours. If you have ever seen me pour mixtures into Ziploc bags you will know why I did that. I wanted the ice cream and had no intention of feeding it to my counters.

Put cold mixture into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and process until thick and creamy (about 20 minutes in my kitchen.) Put ice cream in a storage container and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm - at least four hours.

Son-person who moved out last week kindly left me the ice cream book because the salty caramel ice cream beckons. As does the Gorgonzola Dolce with candied walnuts. And then there's the Olive Oil Ice Cream with Sea-Salted Pepitas...Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream.... and because ... he does not have an ice cream maker! 

Follow the link and explore this book. Jeni explains the science of creating ice cream - so you can substitute and create for yourself. And then she offers a myriad of eclectic, delectable pairings. I can vouch that the ice cream has magical powers. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Goat Cheese Ice Cream

I love the tang of goat cheese and I bet this would work equally well with mascarpone. In September, I may add figs. Or some roasted chestnut puree. I can make believe I am semi-sophisticated with the lush creaminess of the cheese and the surprise of the lemon. But I am really just a kid in an ice cream store playing with flavor.

Goat cheese ice cream - it's part thinking you're a grown-up and part childhood memory of churning ice cream and chasing fireflies barefoot in the still summer night. As I mixed ingredients, I was memory and anticipation. And as I waited for it to chill, process and chill again - I could slowly steer my heart back into my world and leave the busyness of June behind. I think everyone needs a dish that combines memory and anticipation, don't you?

Goat Cheese Ice Cream Ingredients
1 cup whole milk
1 cup cream
1/2 cup lemon honey
2 teaspoons lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
3 egg yolks - room temperature
6-12 ounces fresh goat cheese (depends on how much you like goat cheese - I actually used Soignon Spreadable Chevre - which is creamy and stops the ice cream from becoming grainy and I used all 12 ounces)

Goat Cheese Ice Cream - all melty and welcoming.

Goat Cheese Ice Cream Preparation
Custard Base:
Heat the milk, cream and honey in a large sauce over medium heat until simmering, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. In a medium-large bowl, beat the egg yolks until well blended and light. Slowly pour in the hot milk combination while continuing to whisk the egg yolks. Return mixture to saucepan and heat over medium heat stirring constantly under the back of the spoon is coated and the custard thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in the goat cheese and the lemon zest. Put into an ice bath to cool or put mixture in the fridge for about 6 hours.

Process in ice cream make until mixture becomes thick and pulls away from the sides - about 20-30 minutes. Freeze for 4-6 hours. Remove from freezer 15-20 minutes before serving.

Or forget about it for 45 minutes as I did and have a dessert soup. Really, it's the latest trend among busy, forgetful people.  With pureed strawberries over it. Frozen or melted, it was mighty fine. And it prepped me for phase 2 of the summer that began today: the teenagers and theatre!