Archive for the 'ice cream' Category

24
Jul
11

Watermelon Granita

Complain about the weather and watch me roll my eyes. But this summer, I get it. I am complaining, too. It’s been a million degrees every day this past month in St. Louis. When the sun isn’t blazing, rain is pouring. And before it got hot, we had tornadoes every other week.

Yes, I am tired of it.

How hot was it this week? I’ll spare you the triple-digit heat index. It was so hot that a colleague of mine baked two dozen cookies in her car outside the paper. It was so hot that the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market was packed before 8:30 a.m. It was so hot that Gabi hasn’t gotten to splash around in her wading pool since the beginning of July.

When it’s 100-plus degrees, it’s almost too hot for ice cream. Sorbet or granita is better. Both are lighter, cleaner, stronger. This weekend, watermelon granita fit the bill.

Granita is an Italian semi-frozen dessert made from water, sugar, and fruit. First you make a simple syrup. Then puree the fruit in a blender. Combine the two in a metal baking dish, freeze, stir with a fork after a few hours and sha-bam. You have granita. If you need to,  put it on the counter for a few minutes to thaw a bit before serving.

I love this recipe. If you love watermelon like my toddler and I do, then you will too.

For extra indulgence,  drizzle a half-teaspoon of Campari over your bowl of granita. The result is an adult icee that will make you feel better about the heat.

Watermelon Granita
adapted from Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups watermelon,  cut into 1-inch cubes
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons Campari (optional)

Heat sugar and water in a heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cool.

Puree the watermelon in a blender. Measure out two cups of puree. Stir in sugar syrups and lime juice. Pour into 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Freeze 2 hours. Stir with a fork, then freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Using for, scrape granita to form crystals. Spoon into bowls. Drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Campari over each.

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30
Aug
10

Peach Riesling Sorbet

Two bags of fragrant peaches sat on my counter last weekend. They were too good to refrigerate, and too many to eat. They needed to be consumed ASAP or they were destined to wind up like too many peaches do in our house: mush. Icky, brown mush.

This peach sorbet was wonderful way to end the peach season. We may have another week of peaches left in St. Louis, if I’m lucky. If not, I’ll be at peace with it. It would be impossible to take a peach and top this, unless you simply take a bite of one, of course.

The explosion of peach, star anise and white wine is intense here. “Imagine the best white sangria you’ve ever had, and turn it into sorbet,” says the introduction in Gourmet Today. These final sweltering days of summer call for something cold, sweet and fruity. I just finished the last bowl of sorbet. I’m chalking this up as one of my favorite finds this year.

Peach Riesling Sorbet
Gourmet Today

1 pound peaches (3 large) peeled, halved, pitted, and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges [or use 1 pound frozen peach slices, not thawed]
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
scant 1/2 cup superfine sugar [this can be made by whizzing granulated sugar in a food processor]
1 whole star anise or 1 teaspoon star anise pieces
1 1/2 cups Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or other slightly sweet white wine
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Toss peaches with lemon juice in a 4-quart heavy pot. Stir in sugar, star anise, and 1 cup wine, bring to a simmer, and simmer, covered, until peaches are tender, about 5 minutes.

Discard star anise. Working in batches, transfer mixture to a blender and puree (use caution when blending hot liquids). Force puree through a medium-mesh sieve into a metal bowl, pressing hard on solids; discard solids. Stir in corn syrup and remaining 1/2 cup wine. Refrigerate, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate until very cold, 6 to 8 hours.

Freeze sorbet in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden for at least 1 hour.

Sorbet keeps for up to one week.

19
Aug
10

Sage Ice Cream

I once tasted this incredible gelato in Santa Fe.  It was our last day there and we stopped in a little gelateria near downtown. The owner offered us a taste of sage. He had about a half dozen herbal flavors  —  basil, rosemary and thyme — but sage was hands down the best, he said. He couldn’t have been more right. If you’ve never had sage ice cream, you must try it. It’s refreshing like mint, but more subtle. It’s an unusual ice cream flavor that now makes all the sense in the world. It’s as memorable as the cinnamon gelato we had in Rome.

Summer berries are waning, so I figured last weekend was the perfect time to experiment with ice cream and sage. I picked this recipe on Epicurious after scouring the internet for ideas. This one had more than 50 people raving about how good it was. The egg yolks make it slightly yellow with a slight tint of green. The result is refreshing, creamy and decadent.

So here it is! It’s better than anything Ben & Jerry’s has come up with. I’m making this again soon. For fall: a scoop of sage ice cream with a warm piece of pumpkin cake.

Sage Ice Cream
Gourmet, October 2001

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage
4 (2- by 1/2-inch) strips lemon zest
9 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Bring cream, half-and-half, sage, and zest to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Remove from heat and steep, covered, 10 minutes.

Whisk together yolks, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in half of hot cream, then whisk egg mixture into remaining cream in saucepan. Cook custard over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it coats back of spoon and reaches 170°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).

Pour custard through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally. Chill custard, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 3 hours.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

15
Jun
10

Sour Cherry Ice Cream

Every so often the following happens at our house: Jeff accompanies me to the market. We pick out something that has just come into season. Then he comes up with an idea that I don’t quite go along with. We try it, and it rocks. This past week, it was sour cherry ice cream.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cherry ice cream. I could eat my weight in Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia if given the chance. But Bing cherries, not sour ones, are for ice cream, I thought. Tart cherries are better in pies and clafoutis.

Wrong!

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten this excited about ice cream that came out of our kitchen. (Later this summer I plan to experiment with sage and rosemary ice cream — hoping to recreate some I tasted in Santa Fe.) I took a recipe from Williams-Sonoma and merely used sour cherries in place of Bing. The tartness of the cherries are fabulous here. The cherries REALLY shine. Just look at them.

Also, this ice cream is ready to scoop the minute it’s removed from the freezer. It doesn’t freeze rock solid.

Continue reading ‘Sour Cherry Ice Cream’




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