We’ve arrived at the last day of Ice Cream Week and today’s theme is Original Recipe.
Though this is the last ice cream recipe I’m posting in this series, it’s actually the first one I made. When family came to visit in late June, we had the idea of making a Greek feast for the first night.
Deciding what to serve for dinner was easy, especially when my sister offered to pick up dolmas, hummus, and fresh pita from one of the Armenian groceries outside of Boston. But dessert had me a bit stumped. I wanted to make baklava, but I knew this crowd was going to be in the mood for a light dessert. I wanted something less than full-on baklava, but something more than a bowl of fruit.
When Phyl suggested Ice Cream Week, it occurred to me that I could make a baklava ice cream and serve it in tiny scoops so that guests could choose to have just a bite and still feel like they had something special.
When I didn’t find a baklava ice cream recipe that I liked (in particular, I wanted the ice cream to incorporate the delicate rose-flavored syrup of my favorite baklava recipe), I decided to create my own by combining components from other recipes to make a vanilla-cinnamon-honey base, drizzled with rose-water syrup and sprinkled with chopped walnuts.
I love how this one turned out. The ice cream has exactly the flavor and texture I was hankering for, and the tiny pre-made phyllo shells that M found at the grocery store turned the mini desserts into finger food. Just the right ending to our Greek dinner, and to Ice Cream Week. Thanks for the fun idea, Phyl!
Here’s a recap of the ice creams from the week:
And here are the original ice cream recipes that the rest of the gang has churned up:
Baklava ice cream
Makes about 1 quart
for the ice cream base
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup honey
for the rose syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon rose water
1 cup walnuts, chopped
mini phyllo shells (mini puff pastry shells or mini waffle cups will also do)
- In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the milk and the cornstarch and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt together, and set aside.
- Combine the remaining milk, the cream, the split vanilla beans and seeds, and the cinnamon sticks in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a low, rolling boil, and cook for four minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in the cornstarch mixture and the honey.
- Return the mixture to a boil, and cook, stirring, until the mixture is slightly thickened, for one or two minutes (note: if it doesn’t thicken much, don’t worry).
- Gradually whisk the hot milk/cream mixture into the cream cheese.
- Chill the mixture overnight (or use Jeni’s quick-cool method).
- Make the syrup by combining the sugar and water and bringing to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add the rose water, return to a boil, cook for 3-4 minutes, then let cool.
- Remove the vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks from the chilled base.
- Freeze the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
- In a freezer-safe container, add a layer of the ice cream base, then drizzle in a layer of syrup, then add a layer of chopped nuts, then another layer of ice cream, and so on, until the container is full.
- Cover with a sheet of parchment cut to size, seal container tightly, and freeze for several hours until hard.
- To serve, warm the phyllo shells according to package directions. Use a teaspoon or small cookie or ice cream scoop to make a tiny scoop of ice cream and place it in the crisped shell. If you have any syrup or nuts left, you can add a final drizzle or sprinkle to the top of the ice cream. Serve 2-3 mini scoops/shells per person.
A repeated fond memory.
It’s a heat-thickened summer evening—July or August—and the sun is going down, in the quiet hours between dinner time and bed time.
My sister and I are sitting on the tiny front porch of our grandparents’ house, the porch they called the “veranda”.
The veranda is just big enough for three blue plastic chairs, squeezed together so that you are in contact with the person you’re sitting next to. But it’s plenty big for two little girls keeping tabs on the neighborhood as kitchen lights go off and porch lights come on.
The front door is open and through the screen door we can hear dishes clinking in the kitchen.
Moths are fluttering about, drawn over and over again to the ceiling light.
The television is on in the living room and its light flickers randomly through the curtains of the front window.
Crickets are chirping.
Neighborhood kids are riding their bikes home in the last of the day’s light.
Grandpa comes out with two small blue bowls of ice cream. In Canada, we do things differently than we do at home. For instance, we buy ice cream in small cardboard boxes and cut slices of it rather than serve scoops. On special nights, we have ice cream sandwiches made of a slice of ice cream between two toasted (previously frozen) waffles. But more often, we have the slice in a blue bowl.
When grandpa serves ice cream, it’s always chocolate. Plain chocolate. Milky, sweet, and just right. Chocolate at home ever tastes as good as Canadian chocolate. Silverwood’s chocolate milk, like a melted candy bar in a glass. Jersey Milk chocolate bars, creamy, with a touch of vanilla. Candy-coated chocolate Smarties, warmed and melty from sitting in the sun all day, that we carefully sorted by color and savored piece by piece after swimming all afternoon.
And the slice of chocolate ice cream at the end of a perfect day. Just me and my sister, scraping the bowls with our spoons, sharing the secrets of our childhood, the only two who hold that specific, sweet memory of a summer night on the veranda.
This Nutella gelato is far fancier than that long ago dish of store-brand ice cream, but its rich, smooth chocolateyness, sandwiched between two butter cookies is a close approximation. It’s almost a time machine back to summer nights when what mattered most was a slice of ice cream and staving off bed time just a little bit longer.
Theme for Friday: Original recipe
Take a look at the nutty recipes from other Ice Cream week participants:
from Giada De Laurentis
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish (optional)
In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes.
Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir.
Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves.
Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions to freeze. To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls (optionally, top with hazelnuts).
Today’s Ice Cream week theme is Simple.
Actually, the theme is Sorbet or Non-Dairy Frozen Treat, but I really prefer Simple. Especially during a week that feels so otherwise complicated.
This really is about as simple as a recipe can get. You don’t even need to mess with finding whole mangoes. Just heat some bottled mango juice (or mango nectar) with sugar and salt until the sugar dissolves. Add more mango juice and a little fresh lime juice. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish and then put it in the freezer. Every hour or so, give the mixture a couple of brief stirs. After a few hours, you’ll have mangolicious slushy ice.
Once it’s frozen into slush, you can store it in a sealed container in the freezer. It’ll keep its nicely slushed texture for at least a week.
Serve it on its own, in little cups, or add a scoop to a glass of sparkling water. Or, best of all, add a scoop to a glass of prosecco, put your feet up, and watch the summer sun set while you sip.
Theme for Thursday: Nuts for ice cream
Take a look at the non-dairy frozen treat recipes from other Ice Cream week participants:
Tuesday’s theme for Ice Cream Week is Frozen Yogurt. I knew right away I wanted to use goat-milk yogurt because, well, you know: I have this goat milk obsession. And since you know me that well, you know my very next thought was cajeta.
I can’t keep anything from you, can I?
Then you also know that I had grand ambitions to make my own goat-milk yogurt and cajeta, but these past few weeks have been a mite busy. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with using nice, ready-made ingredients if you trust those ingredients. I’m not one of those people who always needs to make everything from scratch. (So writes the woman who is composing a post about making homemade frozen yogurt. Hmmmm.)
I sort of made up this recipe. I based it a bit on Jeni’s frozen-yogurt base, but I went with slightly different amounts of ingredients, used goat milk and yogurt, and substituted chèvre for the cream cheese.
The results were creamy and goaty and full of cajeta-y goodness.
If you don’t like goat flavor, you can still use this recipe to make a non-goat version. Just substitute cow milk (or camel or sheep or whatever milk you do like) for all the goat-milk products, and use a cow-milk dulce de leche in place of the cajeta (or use any favorite caramel sauce recipe).
I was hoping to link to my earlier blog post on how to make cajeta, but (you’re already ahead of me on this one, too, aren’t you?)… it turns out I’ve never written a post on that. I’ve shared pictures, but never the recipe. So.
I use the excellent recipe in David Lebovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop. If you don’t want to make your own, you might be able to find some ready-made cajeta at your grocery store or specialty food shop. It’s becoming more and more popular. For this batch, I used the cajeta made by Fat Toad Farm.
Theme for Wednesday: Sorbet or other non-dairy frozen treat
And take a look at the frozen yogurt recipes from other Ice Cream week participants:
Goat yogurt-cajeta ripple
Makes about 1 quart
1 quart goat milk yogurt
2 ounces chèvre (or cream cheese if you want to cut down on the goat flavors)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk (goat milk if you have it)
2/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-6 ounces cajeta
- Line a fine mesh sieve with two layers of cheese cloth, put sieve over a bowl, and put yogurt in the sieve to drain 6-8 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator. This should result in 1 1/2-2 cups of thick, drained yogurt.
- Put chèvre or cream cheese in a large bowl and whisk with the salt to combine.
- Combine the milk, sugar, and corn syrup (if you’re using it) in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a low, rolling boil. Continue to boil for 4 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the chèvre (or cream cheese).
- Add 1 1/2 – 2 cups of drained yogurt to the milk/cream cheese mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Add vanilla extract to the mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Chill the mixture overnight.
- Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
- In a freezer-safe container, add a layer of the frozen yogurt, then drizzle in a layer of cajeta, then a layer of yogurt, and so on, until the container is full.
- Cover with a sheet of parchment paper cut to size, seal the container tightly, and freeze for several hours until the yogurt has hardened.
Note I found that the frozen yogurt was creamy and smooth for the first several days, but developed ice crystals after a week or so in the freezer. I don’t know if this was a result of the method or ingredients, but you may want to eat this one quickly rather than let it linger in the freezer too long.
Awhile back, my friend (fellow BBA challenger and all around great cook and baker), Phyl suggested that several of us do an ice cream week: post a different ice cream recipe each day for five days, beginning this Monday. Which sounded great, until I realized that….
Today is Tuesday! Where has the week gone?! I’m late!
Wait. Relax, Rebecca. It’s summer. Things are allowed to be just a little late. Right?
Okay, so today is my Monday and the official start of my ice cream week. If I feel ambitious, maybe I’ll give you two recipes in one day and get myself back on track.
Today’s—er, Monday’s—theme is Summer Fruit, and my recipe is a riff off of the delicious strawberry-buttermilk ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home (if you want to make ice cream, you definitely need to get your hands on a copy of Jeni’s book). Note that fellow ice cream churner Abby chose to make the strawberry version, so if you’re interested in making that one, check out her post (see below).
The method for making this ice cream is all Jeni’s, so if you’re familiar with her technique, you’re already most of the way there. My only real changes were to use blueberries (and lots of ’em), and to roast them longer than the original recipe called for. If you use a pint of blueberries (fresh, if you can get them), you might end up with a bit more puree than you’ll need for the ice cream, but that’s okay. It makes a very nice sauce to drizzle on your scoop.
Theme for the real Tuesday: Frozen yogurt
Be sure to check out the summer fruit ice cream offerings from my fellow Ice Cream week participants:
Roasted blueberry and buttermilk ice cream
adapted from Jeni’s recipe for Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Makes about 1 quart
1 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Mix blueberries and sugar together, put in an ovenproof pan and roast for 25 minutes or until the blueberries are soft and broken down. Let cool.
- Put blueberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove skins and set aside.
- In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the milk and the cornstarch and set aside.
- Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a low, rolling boil, and cook for four minutes.
- Stir in the cornstarch mixture, return to a boil, and cook, stirring, until the mixture is slightly thickened, for one or two minutes.
- Add one cup of the blueberry puree to the base (reserve any extra puree for sauce).
- Stir in the salt and the buttermilk.
- Chill mixture overnight (or use Jeni’s quick-cool method).
- Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
- Place in a freezer-safe container, cover with a sheet of parchment cut to size, seal container tightly, and freeze for several hours until hard.