Archives for posts with tag: ice cream

There comes a point during winter where enough is enough. Winter-fatigue comes in stages. First there is the surprise that this, winter, has happened yet again. We watch the leaves change colour and slowly fall off the trees. We feel the sun sink lower in the sky, appear less often to warm our faces, and the days grow shorter. It feels like a suitable end for summer, quiet and colourful, but I tend to forget that the grey winter months lie ahead.

Next comes the envy directed at those in the northern hemisphere who are wondering how to use the bounty of vine ripened tomatoes; their red, green, black or stripey skins glistening in the sun; or the endless piles of summer corn. Then I feel an almost physical pain, like an itch you can’t quite reach, in my desperate longing for heat and summer; for long evenings (you still must wear a jacket, possibly two, in Wellington), and light meals, for new season potatoes and stone fruit and for big, blue skies.
This ice cream is the perfect bridge between seasons here in Wellington. Lemons lend themselves well to winter; their bright acidity adds a little pop to all sorts of dishes. This ice cream is similar to the rather unsuccessful batch I made several months ago, as it really is just sweetened frozen whipped cream. The difference here is I know this recipe to be good.

This was my first taste of home-made ice cream as a child, perhaps a reason for my deep-seated love of cream. The recipe comes from our friend Jill, a fantastic cook. I remember meals at her house with carrot sticks, olive bread, baba ganoush, zucchini cake, barbecue lamb cutlets, and this lemon ice cream. I’m sure we saw Jill and her family during winter, but I seem to only have memories of summer nights playing in their backyard. Lemon ice cream seems to suit these days.The fat of the cream coats your lips and the spoon in this gorgeous slick, and the lemon hovers, constant, smooth and sweet. The zest adds little pin pricks of yellow. The heavy slick is lovely, but perhaps not for everybody. This week I wanted something new, something for these days now. I have been looking for an opportunity to drain yoghurt – to wrap it in muslin and extract the whey. After 24 hours in the fridge the sharp taste of yoghurt remains but the texture is transformed into something closer to cream cheese.It seems a shame to break up these beautiful soft curds with a beater, but whipped through the mix they sharpen the lemon and cut the heaviness of the cream. This ice cream is best after it has been out of the freezer for 20 minutes or so. It becomes softer, more like a frozen parfait or semifreddo. In summer it would be well matched with roasted peaches, or a berry soup. In winter perhaps a rhubarb galette, caramelised pears or apples; something warm to loosen the ice cream further into smooth lemon dribbles.

Even this cute thing thinks it sounds blissful. No matter the weather, she is content.

Lemon Ice Cream

Plan ahead for this recipe – it takes a couple of days.

300ml plain yoghurt
muslin/cheesecloth

300ml cream
4 lemons
1 cup icing sugar

Place a colander or sieve over a bowl and line with the muslin/cheesecloth. Pour in the yoghurt and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When the yoghurt has thickened and the whey has been extracted, beat the cream until softly whipped. Add the zest of 2 of the lemons and the juice of all 4. Add the icing sugar and break in the yoghurt. Beat until smooth and more firmly whipped, but still silken looking.

Pour cream into a freezer container and freeze for 2-3 hours or overnight. Remember to remove from the freezer 20-30 minutes before serving.

Chocolate flavoured whipped cream doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But what if I say that this chocolate whipped cream is frozen and somehow meant to be ice cream.

The process of making this imposter ice cream is quite lovely. It feels like you are doing something good, something exciting. With the heart-stopping quantities of cream required it surely is going to be the most lush of desserts, you think to yourself. Firstly, you whip the cream until quite thick – “slovenly folds” as Nigel Slater wrote. Then mix through some icing sugar and a drop or two of vanilla essence. You place the cream in a shallow container in the freezer for 30 minutes or until a sort of thin, icy crust begins to form at the edges.

Meanwhile, melt chunks of chocolate with a slosh more cream in a bain-marie. Once glistening and luxuriously smooth, let cool. Remove the cream from the freezer and place in a bowl, add the chocolate. Begin to fold through; rich dark streaks swirling through the white. Until they swirl no more. The cold cream has in fact hardened the chocolate into grainy, pebbley bits. You must smash through the mix with a fork. Return the chocolate cream to the freezer for a few hours. At this point I had a few doubts.

It almost resembles chocolate covered dirt...

Eating the frozen chocolate cream is what I imagine eating cold sand could be like. Your spoon seems to ricochet off the many minuscule ice shards. It does not delicately curl the contours of your spoon, nor does it tenderly roll through the contours of your mouth. The fine grains of hard chocolate and the tangy taste of cream and the bitterness of dark chocolate jar and clash. It is not the sort of cream to hold on your tongue and allow the flavours to introduce themselves, like the freshness of raspberry or lemon ice cream, or the pleasing familarity of vanilla or strawberry. Instead, you are left with the kind of discomfort that comes from too much chocolate and cream, a head or a stomach discomfort I can never be sure, but either way, you need a lie down.

I had grand ideas for this post. I was going to write about the day I bought this little book for €5 from a stationary shop in Annecy, France. I was going to begin with a description of the weather – a clear and crisp day in late January, how we were wrapped up in hats, scarves, gloves and coats. I would have told you that my friend Ivan and I spent the day walking around the lake ripping off pieces of baguette and eating ham and Swiss gruyère from their paper wrappings. And that we had crêpes for afternoon tea with caramelised bananas, chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Afterwards we walked into the stationary shop and I probably picked up and put back down this petit livre several times. It is called Desserts with the sub title, trop bons. It all looks trop bons too; almond and pear tart, apple and red fruit torte, pears stuffed with figs and then wrapped in pastry, a red rice and sauteed grape risotto, apricot soufflé, tiramisu made with white chocolate and raspberries, peaches poached in Marsala, honey and banana ice cream and yoghurt and pistachio semifreddo. I could make it all.

And yet, of all the desserts, page 172 was selected: glace au chocolat. This post is my entry into the One Year Anniversary of Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipe Challenge, even though the recipe, or my execution of it, needs some serious work.

Glace au chocolat
Original recipe in French, translated par moi

I am wondering if mixing through the chocolate before freezing would have produced better results.

300ml cream
2 tablespoons milk
50g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons cream

Beat the cream and the milk until thick- not so much that peaks form but just softly whipped. Incorporate the icing sugar and the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a shallow container and place for 30 minutes in the freezer, until the ice begins to take the outer edges.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie with the second measure of cream. Heat until the mixture is combined then let cool.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer and pour the cream into a bowl. Incorporate the chocolate and work énergiquement with a fork. Pour the chocolate cream back into the plastic container, cover and place back in the freezer. Remove the ice cream from the freezer 30 minutes before serving.

Serve with chocolate sauce.

Bon courage!

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