Archive for the ‘Ice Cream and Dessert Sauces’ Category

A Perfect Balance

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

I don’t have a romantic Valentine right now. I have lots of love, however. Friends, family, and my dear little dog Truffle (with the prospect of a kitten later this month) fill my life and my heart.

I tried this Valentine recipe out on my brother David, his wife Leigh, and my nephew Michael. Like most 11 year olds, Michael is fascinated by fire. So he was tickled by the idea of flambéing up some Bananas Foster. This dessert was so quick he didn’t have time to get bored.

The recipe below isn’t original—at least, it isn’t original to me. It comes from Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, where the dish was invented in 1951 by Chef Paul Blangé. It was named after Richard Foster, a friend of the restaurant’s owner.

The Dutch-born Chef Paul is said to haunt the restaurant to this day, banging pots and pans and supervising the kitchen workers. He is particularly likely to look over their shoulders when they are making Bananas Foster.

I hope he doesn’t decide to haunt me. My version of his signature dish was a tad inelegant since I didn’t have the right pan with which to flambé. Most of my skillets are nonstick, and I had a feeling their coating wouldn’t like flames. So I used a stainless-steel pan with sides that were a little too high. As a result not quite all of my rum burned off.

The thing still tasted pretty darn wonderful. In fact, young Michael requested it for his birthday party. When I explained that we couldn’t legally serve a dish with alcohol (albeit flambéed alcohol) to his young friends he decided he would just have it for his FAMILY birthday party. “It balances hot and cold perfectly,” he pronounced. We are obviously teaching the child well.

Being cheap, I almost omitted the banana liqueur since I had to go out and buy it. Valentine’s Day falls only once a year, however, so I went to the liquor store. In any case, if Michael has his way, the liqueur won’t go to waste. I will be hauling it out to make Bananas Foster on a regular basis.

And I have sympathy for the child’s viewpoint. I have never seen the point of a banana split. Why would the texture of a banana add anything laudable to a sundae? Take that same banana and add a little butter and brown sugar and booze to the mix, however, and I swoon when it’s put on ice cream. A perfect balance, as Michael pointed out.

If you don’t want to make this dessert for Valentine’s day, wait a couple of weeks. As a New Orleans standard it makes idea fare for Mardi Gras. Let the good times—and the bananas—roll!

By the way, before I leave you with the recipe, please let me introduce … MY NEW BLOG! Since my blog about caring for my mother is winding down, I am starting What’s a Girl to Do, which will enable me to keep communicating with my readers. Of course, this blog will continue as well. How can I communicate if I don’t eat? I hope readers will read and subscribe to the new one as well, however.

Bananas Foster

Courtesy of Brennan’s Restaurant

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (a really nice touch; the cinnamon is there but subtle)
1/4 cup banana liqueur (I still think this could be optional!)
4 slightly under-ripe bananas cut in half lengthwise, then halved again
1/4 cup dark rum
vanilla ice cream

Instructions:

In a stainless-steel flambé pan or skillet combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the brown sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur; then place the bananas in the pan.

When the banana pieces soften and begin to brown carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot; then remove it from the flame, tip the pan slightly, and ignite the rum. (I used a long lighter for this; be careful!)

When the flames subside serve the bananas over ice cream and ladle sauce over all.

Serves 4.

Cranberry Delight

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Things have been very busy in our household, not entirely in a good way. My mother (who appears with me on the masthead of this blog) passed away just after a week ago, followed by the cat. Both were very old, and both died very peacefully. Nevertheless, the house is startlingly quiet, and I have a bit too much to do.

Consequently I am DEFINITELY in the mood for a little Christmas cheer … and this recipe fits the bill. I love cranberries. The idea for making ice cream with them came to me in a dream. I need more dreams like this one!

My family tried the recipe over Thanksgiving, not on Thanksgiving Day (because my relatives are fixated on pie on Thanksgiving) but later in the weekend.

My nephew Michael was not at all sure he really wanted to churn ice cream, but we had no choice. My electric ice-cream maker was missing a critical part so we got out the old hand cranker.

It took a while … but even Michael decided that the result was more than worthwhile. I do not exaggerate when I say that moans filled the room as we ate.

In fact, this is one of the last treats my mother enjoyed.

Feel free to experiment with the recipe. I almost added a little orange rind to the mixture. I’m not sure the ice cream could taste any better than it did, however.

Merry Christmas to all!

Cranberry Swirl Ice Cream

Ingredients:

for the ice cream:

1-1/2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2/3 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pinch salt

for the cranberry swirl:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
12 ounces cranberries

Instructions:

First, make your ice-cream base. Heat the milk until it is steamy but not boiling. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is thick and light yellow (about 4 minutes).

Whisk a bit of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Then whisk more, up to about 1/2 or 3/4 cup. Whisk the milky egg yolks into the remaining milk.

Cook over medium heat until the custard begins to thicken but does not boil (about 2 to 3 minutes on my gas stove!).

Remove the custard from the heat, and strain it into a heatproof bowl or pot. Cool thoroughly.

As it starts to cool make the cranberry sauce. (It’s basically jellied cranberry sauce, but avoid using the canned stuff if possible.)

In a medium saucepan combine the water and sugar and bring them to a boil. Add the cranberries, and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and boil the sauce for 10 more minutes. (If it gets too fuzzy, add a tiny bit of butter.)

Remove the sauce from the heat, and push it through a stainless-steel strainer. You’ll end up with about 1-1/2 cups of sauce and a small amount of solid matter; you may discard the latter.

Cool the sauce, covered, at room temperature; then refrigerate it until you are ready to make the ice cream.

When that time comes, use a mixer or whisk to break up the jellied cranberry sauce into a thick liquid (instead of a solid). Measure out 1 cup. You may reserve the rest to put on top of your ice cream if you want extra cranberry flavor.

Go back to your ice-cream base and whisk in the cream, vanilla, and salt. Place this mixture in your ice-cream freezer and begin the churning process.

When the ice cream looks about ready, add the cup of cranberry sauce and continue churning just until you have a pleasing swirled effect. Serve immediately.

This recipe makes a little more than a quart of ice cream.

By the way, if you find yourself in need of my Pudding Hollow Cookbook to give as a Christmas gift (or to use yourself over Christmas), never fear: copies are DEFINITELY available. If you order by Wednesday noon and live in the continental U.S., the book should arrive by December 24. To order, click here.

Maple Butterscotch Sauce

Monday, March 28th, 2011

 
I’m a little late to the party celebrating Massachusetts Maple Month—but at least I can offer a small contribution.
 
Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. Sometimes they’re also the only ones for which a home cook has the time and the ingredients.
 
I originally hoped to share my friend Pat’s prize-winning recipe for maple lace cookies. Our extended family was coming to dinner Saturday evening, and I was all set to make these wafers—or so I thought.
 
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the key ingredient in my pantry: maple sugar!!
 
So I punted and made a maple-based sauce for ice cream instead.
 
Very rich and very sweet, it works beautifully poured in small quantities over ice cream. Toasted walnuts or pecans make a festive garnish. 

As for the cookies, well, I can make them NEXT March……… 

My nephew Michael had no trouble finishing his maple buttersotch sundae.

 
The Sauce
 
Ingredients:
 
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
 
Instructions:
 
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat melt the butter, stirring constantly. Add the brown sugar and stir until it melts. Continue to stir or whisk as the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
 
Whisk in the maple syrup. The mixture will look a little weird at first, but it will come together eventually! Return the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil it (still whisking!) until it coats a spoon. This took about 3 minutes on my weird electric stove.
 
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream. Let the sauce cool slightly before serving it with ice cream. (You may also let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it until you are ready to use it. At that point warm it slightly in the microwave.) 

Makes just over 1-1/2 cups.

A Sauce for Stress

Friday, August 13th, 2010

We hope Mother Jan will soon be back to her normal form.

 
I don’t usually reprint old recipes of mine OR spend much of a blog post linking to another blog. But some weeks are a little crazy—and this has been a crazy week for me!
 
As we were getting ready to move my mother out of Daffodil Cottage a few days ago she fell and hurt her back. Add to that injury the stress of selling a house and a minor infection, and we have ended up with one sick mother.
 
Yesterday the doctor suggested it might be time to move her into a wheelchair. (Mother Jan was understandably NOT very excited about this idea. Her gait improved almost immediately!)
 
A couple of things are getting us through this stressful time. First, we never lose our sense of humor. Even when Jan is a little out of things (as she has been a lot in the past few days) she finds time to laugh.
 
Second, we have family around. My young nephew Michael in particular is a joy. He has just started his own blog, My World by Michael. It is officially hosted by me since apparently 10 year olds aren’t allowed to have blogs.
 
Michael’s current post, “Swimming in the Dam at Singing Brook Farm,” is charming. It reminds me of my own recent post comparing our country surroundings to The Trip to Bountiful.
 
He dwells on the experience of plunging into our cold dam water, on the sights and sounds of nature, and on the cuteness and doggyness of our cockapoo, Truffle.
 
Check out his post. It’s short and very sweet!
 
Meanwhile, here is a short and sweet recipe from my Pudding Hollow Cookbook.
 
When we called the doctor to ask for advice about my mother, one of the first things he suggested was that she eat plenty of ice cream to help her bones heal. Michael immediately volunteered to help.
 
We tried to keep things healthy by consuming frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. And then we ruined the whole healthy idea by covering the yogurt with this sauce. It made everyone smile, however, even our invalid.
 
Merry Lion Hot Fudge Sauce
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon sweet butter
5 ounces evaporated milk (a small can)
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
Instructions:
 
Combine the sugar and cocoa in a saucepan and heat them until they are warm to the touch. (This is the only tricky part of the recipe; make sure you stir them, or they’ll burn!)
 
When they’re hot but not melting, add the butter and the evaporated milk. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute. 

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. You’re ready to have a sundae party! Serves 8. 

Michael can make a toy out of just about anything.

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Local Peach Ice Cream (Read It and Crave!)

Monday, September 21st, 2009
icetryweb
 
The mixing room at Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream in Greenfield, Massachusetts, isn’t large–just spacious enough for machinery and a few people. Three of them were manning the machines on September 10. All eyes were on “Little Tommy Snow,” the silver-and-blue cylinder that mixes the ice cream for both Bart’s and Snow’s ice cream.
 
On this special day Tommy was blending a new flavor. Into the creamy basic ice-cream formula “he” was whipping air and an orangey-yellow mixture made with peaches from Apex Orchards in nearby Shelburne.

Little Tommy Snow web

 
The other people in the room were Barbara Fingold and Gary Schaefer, the mom-and-pop owners of Bart’s and Snow’s ice cream; their Flavor Maven, Bob Jaros of Shelburne; and yours truly, a longtime fan of both ice cream and peaches (with the hips to prove it!). All eagerly awaited the first taste of Bart’s new CISA Local Peach Ice Cream.
 
Barbara is the president of Bart’s so it was only fitting that she was given the first creamy spoonful. As she sampled the still soft custard she widened her eyes and then smiled. Gary, Bob, and I tasted the next cups. The judges’ unanimous verdict came swiftly: the new flavor was peachy keen.
 
The ice cream’s intense peach flavor hits the tongue right away. The little chunks of peach distributed throughout complement the custard–and reinforce the taste of peaches and cream in every mouthful.
 
After our initial tasting we repaired to Gary’s office with a pint of ice cream. There we discussed the genesis of Bart’s latest product as we noshed.
 
Barbara and Gary explained that both the peach ice cream and the CISA Berry Local Blueberry Ice Cream that debuted this summer stemmed from Gary’s involvement in the board of CISA, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.
 
Gary celebrated the peach ice cream as “a collaborative community event.” The peaches came from Apex. The Franklin County Community Development Corporation food processing center blanched, skinned, pitted, and pureed the peaches.
Barbara and Gary try some peach ice cream. Barbara and Gary try some peach ice cream.
And of course the ice cream was mixed right in Barbara and Gary’s small factory on School Street.
 
The pair have been involved with CISA for most of the nonprofit entity’s existence. “We’re crazy, passionate about local food,” said Gary. If all goes well, he added, Bart’s is “going to think about an apple [ice cream] and then whatever other crazy fruits grow around here.”
 
I asked Bob Jaros about his role at the ice-cream plant. A retired physician, he works on quality-assurance programs for a number of companies. It was clear from his contented demeanor that Bart’s and its products have a special place in his heart and mouth. “You need a palate for ice cream,” he told me. “I’ve learned with the tutelage of my friends.”
 
Gary explained that Bob’s work is important to Bart’s quality and reputation. “If you work in your kitchen and you mess up your cake, you mess up A cake,” he told me. “If we mess up our formula, we mess up a whole batch of ice cream.”
 
“Everything is tested,” Bob Jaros added, “and if it’s not right we find out before it’s sent out.”
Bob Janos

Bob Jaros

 
Like Gary and Barbara, he is a firm believer in local production and supports the idea as well as the flavor of the new ice cream. “In essence the whole circle is one that supports the community in local products and local manufacturing,” he said.
 
Gary interrupted Bob to remind him that the milk in Bart’s and Snow’s is not yet completely local: it is processed in a small farming cooperative in New York State. He said that one of his dreams is to establish a local dairy-processing plant. “It’s this winter’s project … along with our roof,” he remarked with a wry smile.
 
Bob declared that one of the reasons he likes Bart’s and Snow’s ice cream so much is the high quality of the product.
 
“We make it the same way we did 15 years ago, which is not the case with big multinational ice creams,” explained Gary Schaefer. “They’ve all change their formula to make it less expensive.
 
“We didn’t have to do anything to get better,” he said. “We simply had to not change. That’s kind of a symbol of what’s going on in the whole industry. All that corporatizing of America has been really good for us.”
 
Bart’s CISA Local Peach ice cream is available at local stores now–until this year’s crop runs out!
 
Bart’s lists all the locations that sell Bart’s ice-cream pints on its web site.
 
“Not all [of these] will have the peach,” Barbara Fingold told me, “but most will since we’re mentioning it to all our customers and everyone seems very excited about it.”
 
Happy scooping………….

Tinkyicecreamweb