Monday, July 6, 2009

You Scream, Ice Cream

We visited Brandon's parents this week, and my mother-in-law gave me her ice cream maker! Hours after returning home I was at the local bookstore buying David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. For two days I poured over each luscious recipe - from Zabaglione Gelato to Olive Oil Ice Cream - before finally settling on Tiramisu Ice Cream as my first frozen foray.

Forget plain, ordinary vanilla!

Auntie Sharon and my cousin Liana were planning a visit, and I wanted to wow them with something rich and sophisticated. I decided to up the ante even more by making an ice cream tiramisu cake using ladyfingers soaked in espresso.

The ice cream itself was incredibly easy to make - just a matter of mixing all the ingredients in a blender, chilling the mixture and then pouring it into the ice cream maker. I particularly liked this recipe because unlike many of the other French-style ice cream recipes in the book, it didn't require six egg yolks or any tricky tempering.

While my mixture was chilling in the fridge, I tackled the Mocha Ripple, an espresso-laced fudge sauce that only took five minutes to whisk together on the stove top. In fact, the only hard turned out to be using the ice cream maker. I carefully followed all the manufacturer's instructions from freezing the canister for 24 hours in a plastic bag, to turning the machine on before pouring in the creamy mixture. But even after letting it churn for more than 30 minutes the consistency was still too soupy.

I finally turned the machine off and dished my icy soup into a plastic container, hoping it would harden in the freezer. There wasn't any significant improvement by evening, and when I spooned a sample into Brandon's mouth, his response was lukewarm. It was time to switch gears. We'd just gone to the Farmers' Market and had plenty of ripe, organic peaches - perfect for peach ice cream.

I started by prepping the peaches, cutting x's into the bottoms and blanching them in boiling water for a few seconds before shocking them in a bowl of ice water. After that, it was a cinch to peel and pit the fruit before pureeing with the rest of the ingredients. (I won't post the exact recipe I used, but this one by the Neelys is pretty close.)

I stuck the peach mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes to thoroughly chill. While I was trying to make room in my overpacked freezer, I discovered an old, forgotten box of puffed pastry that probably dated back to Christmas. Although the used by date had long since past, I decided to make heart-shaped cookies and turn a bowl of ice cream into a frozen take on peach pie.

So while the mixture was chilling, I rolled out the puffed pastry on a floured surface and cut out nine hearts using a cookie cutter. I placed the cookies on a Silpat lined cookie sheet and brushed each of them with milk so they would turn a nice golden brown, then baked them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

By then it was time to make ice cream. To my relief, the mixture thickened noticeably within about 20 minutes, and this time Brandon's reaction to a spooned sample was instant pleasure.

I served my peach ice cream with puff pastry cookies dusted in powdered sugar rakishly arranged along with sprigs of mint for color.

Back at home later that night, I had cold, tiramisu soup garnished with Mocha Ripple.

Update: Auntie Sharon, Mom & Liana came over for lunch so I served my now-frozen Tiramisu Ice Cream drizzled with Mocha Ripple for dessert. I have another winner folks!

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