Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

For something that starts life as burnt sugar, caramel adds a sticky allure to oh-so-creamy ice cream. This caramel ice cream is beautiful, buttery toffee-brown; looks and tastes absolutely wonderful!

I adapted this from Tess's Falling Cloudberries. You can practically use any plain vanilla ice cream and adapt it to a caramel ice cream. It's the method that differentiates it rather than the recipe. I've also added just half a vanilla bean simply because I love them in all sorts of ice creams. Tessa didn't put it in. I also modified the steps a bit to suit my liking so what you see below is what works best for me.

Try it and let me know whether you like it or hate it, though you probably cannot hate such divine-tasting scoops.

And the caramel sauce is absolutely optional but adds a good kick and boost to the already very caramelized ice cream!

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream
serves 2

6 tbsp vanilla castor sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup thickened cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 a vanilla bean (optional)

Put the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and let it melt away and burnt itself into a luscious golden, dark, deep colour of caramel. Don't stir, just tilt the pan from time to time.

Meanwhile, in another milk pot, pour in all the milk. Scrap the vanilla bean into the milk pot and throw in the pods as well. Bring it to simmer until it is warm to touch. Let it infuse until needed. When the caramel is a dark golden colour, slowly and carefully add the warm milk, standing back as it will splash up. Add the cream and mix well.

Whip the egg yolks in a small cup with a hand whisk until fluffy or you could use an electri cmixer which I find totally unnecessary. It's just two yolks anyway. Temper the yolks with the mixture. It basically means add the caramel cream mixture, tablespoon by tablespoon into the egg yolk whilst the other hand of yours is whisking it vigorously so they don't curdle. When they are about the same temperature, pour them in, in a steady stream whilst still whisking constantly.

At this stage, you can choose to return them back to the pan and cook them on the lowest heat setting until they are slightly thickened but why bother really. The egg yolks are cooked when tempering. Maybe not cooked through but I'm always using fresh eggs so I'll be fine. I still live here to tell the tales. I used to be really paranoid but yeah, I couldn't care less now.

Cool them by stirring from time to time in the fridge. When completely cool, transfer to a bowl and cover and chill it overnight or until very very cold.

Churn it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

Serve scoops of these drizzled with warm caramel sauce.

Quinn's Easy Peasy Caramel Sauce
Doesn't make much but enough for drizzling purpose

1 tbsp castor sugar
1/2 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp cream

This is simple but divine. You can use Dulce De Leche anytime for drizzling if that's what you have in hand. Thin it down with a dash of milk and ad a pinch of salt to it. Mad heaven!!!! Caramelize the sugar with the water in a small pan. When it turns dark golden brown, add in the cream and whisk until combined. Pour into a cup and cool it a while before pouring over. It will thickened as it cools down. I like pouring them over warm.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Philadelphia Style Ice Cream (Eggless)

Here is the Philadelphia style ice cream as promised. This is the base to a lot of good flavoured ice cream such as chocolate chips and chocolate mint and Hokey Pokey. I manage to churn some of these plain old-fashioned ones to pair with my Flourless Chocolate Cake.

I've made this so many times and 9 out of 10 times they are fine (well maybe not 10 but definitely a lot of times!) however the only time when I wanna take a picture of them, they are grainy. You really gotta stand there and be patient and whisk the sugar until they all dissolved, can't skip that! Note: they look really rainy but taste exceptionally smooth!!!! I don't know why and don't know what's the problem. You can't see the graininess when they are frozen and scooped into rounds. No pictures sorry. I'll try get some shots next time!

From my previous post of Hokey Pokey, I have described them to be light tasting, perfect as an accompaniment alongside tarts and flourless chocolate cakes. They could be rock hard when freezed since it is purely sugar, cream and sometimes milk. Just thaw it in the fridge like 20minutes before serving and it'll be as good as freshly churned.

Philadelphia Style Ice Cream (Eggless)

There are tonnes of recipe for Philadelphia based ice ream out there but if you have observe close enough, they are proportions rather than recipe. It is always 1 cup of liquid, let it be milk or cream to 1/4 cup of sugar so stick to that and add flavourings; usually vanilla is the case according to liking.

1.5 cups thickened cream (Substitute with milk but no more than half of it.)
6 tbsp castor sugar (I use 1-2 tablespoon less because I am eating this with cakes and tarts)
3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

Many say it'll be grainy if the sugar is not dissolved properly over the stove but there is really no such need. I always whisk my sugar, cream and vanilla paste together until I feel that the sugars are all dissolved. Just make sure you use superfine or castor sugar. If you are using normal white sugar, pulse them in the food processor for 5 seconds and you'll get superfine sugar. Churn them in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instruction.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hokey Pokey

Who could ever resist saying okey dokey to a second helping of Hokey Pokey? Hokey Pokey, according to Wikipedia is New Zealand's second best favourite ice cream flavour after vanilla ice cream. At its core, Hokey Pokey is plain vanilla ice cream with honeycomb flecked in it.

Yes, Hokey Pokey is a flavour of ice cream. It doesn't really matter if you're using French Style ice cream or Philadelphia style ice cream. French Style ice creams are ice cream with egg yolk custard base. They are rich, smoother and more to my liking. Egg yolks are natural emulsifier so it thickens the ice cream a fair bit. Philadelphia style ice creams are eggless and doesn't require cooking. Philadelphia style ice creams are light tasting, perfect as an accompaniment alongside tarts and flourless chocolate cakes. They could be rock hard when frozen since it is purely sugar, cream and sometimes milk. Just thaw it in the fridge like 20 minutes before serving and it'll be as good as freshly churned.

After all that rambling and sharing with you my knowledge of ice cream, I don't even have a proper post of vanilla ice cream (both styles!) in this blog! I will churn some soon. Because this summer and weather is driving me nuts and short tempered and I need some of these to cool myself down. And also to wash it off as my desserts in many upcoming Christmas parties! And the picture below, that's me holding on to the cone and thinking of how I should photograph it. It's 39°C today and if I only start styling when the cone is topped, there is a big chance it would have melted away before I could say Hokey Pokey!

I've used Philadelphia ice cream base in this recipe for my Hokey Pokey ice cream. I have also go to the extent of making my own honeycomb. You can obviously use store-bought ones and they are equally good but you probably know me by now, I try to make everything from scratch where possible. You can use any other vanilla ice creams, French or Philadelphia ones and add honeycomb flecks to it and call it Hokey Pokey. Usually served in double scoops so here it is, my homemade Hokey Pokey. Kids love these stuffs! Make a large batch of these!

Philadelphia Style Ice Cream (Eggless)

One recipe of Philadelphia Style Ice Cream

Make them as usual and churn them in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instruction. Halfway through churning, add in all (you can reserve some for topping) the honeycomb speckles and churn until done.

Honeycomb Speckles
makes enough for this batch of Hokey Pokey

3 tbsp heapead castor sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tsp honey
Pinch of baking soda

Line a cookie sheet with a baking paper and generously grease it with butter. Place the sugar, water and honey in a smallish pan and caramelize it until it reaches a deep dark golden amber. Working quickly, use your finger and sprinkle over a pinch of baking soda and swirl the pan around. Stir it briefly and quickly pat everything out onto the prepared sheet. Let it cool well and become brittle. Gently peel it off the paper and break them up a bit. Place them in a Ziploc bag and crush them to speckles with a rolling pin.

To serve, scoop them out onto sugar cones, two generous scoops, one on top of another. Dress them up with remaining speckles and serve immediately.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Aussie Halo Halo

Halo Halo means mix-mix in Philippine. This shaved ice dessert is a cross of Malaysia Ice Kacang and Phillipine Halo Halo. I've used Thai Tub Tim Grob and lots of summer fruits to make up this glass of Halo Halo.

Tub Tim Grob is known as fake pomegranate seeds or little jewels or rubies. At its core, they are just diced and coloured water chestnut coated with tapioca starch and cooked to reveal its beautiful jewel/chestnut inside.

There is a lot of flavour going on in this glass of Halo Halo.Here, I've used Autralia summer fruits or practically any fruits that are in season now in Adelaide to make this. So, instead of papaya, jackfruit and other tropical fruits, I've used blueberries, grapes, mango, strawberry, pomegranate arils, red and green rubies.

I mixed all that together and layer them in a tall glass with shaved ice, mango sorbet and a coconut lime dressing. I top it off with more mango sorbet and serve this with a spoon. As the name says it all, mix it all up to eat it! The coconut lime dressing goes really well with my mango sorbet. Here, I could taste the fruits, the coconut, lime juice, mango and star anise all kept chilled by the layer of shaved ice.

This is really awesome and you don't need a recipe, just rough guidance really.

Ingredients: Serves 2

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp castor sugar

Place all the above in a glass jar with lid and chill until needed.

Mango sorbets

Shaved ice
Tub Tim Grobs (Recipe below)
Diced mangoes
Handful of blueberries
Sliced strawberries
Handful of baby grapes
Handful of pomegranate arils

Mix all the above except for shaved ice and mango sorbets. In two tall glass, place half the mixture of fruits and rubies evenly into the glasses. Top with a large scoop of mango sorbet on each glass followed by enough shaved ice to the brim. Pack them a little and fill up the glasses with remaining fruit and rubies mixture. Take the glass jar filled with coconut lime mixture and give it a good shake until it's foamy and all the sugar has dissolved. Pour evenly over the two glasses and serve straight.

Tub Tim Grobs
(Colourful rubies or fake pomegranate seeds)

This is best made on the day it is needed and not overnight else it will expand and you'll get skin flating with water chestnut all over. The reason it is called fake pomegranate seeds is because it is red traditionally but feel free to substitute red with many other colours as you wish. You can also feel free to use food colouring however on days when I feel like I'm in the au naturale mood, I'll use pomegranate juice or beetroot juice to soak the chestnuts to make it red and freshly blended pandan juice to soak the chestnuts and make them green. I will leave some plain too for colour sake.

10 to 15 pieces of fresh water chestnuts, peeled and cubed smallish
Water in a spraying mist can
Tapioca starch placed in a Ziploc Bag
Beetroot juice or pomegranate juice
Freshly blended and strained pandan juice (10 pandan leaves to 1/2 cup water)

Divide the chestnuts into 3 handfuls. Drop one handful in the pomegranate juice, just enough to cover them. Drop the other one in pandan juice and the plain ones, set them aside or feel free to drop them in sugar syrup like I did. Soak them overnight for best results.

Working with one color at a time, drain the juice and retain the juice. Place the coloured chesnuts into the ziploc bag. Shake well to coat and run your fingers through them to breakup any larger clumps. Strain them into a clean baking tray and spray them liberally with water. Return the wet chestnut cubes into the ziploc bag and shake well again. Run fingers through to break smaller lumps. Repeat the water spraying sequence twice or thrice depending on how big you like the rubies to be. Repeat with remaining two colours.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and drop the rubies in. They will cook and float and reveal its beautiful shades of colour when cooked. Drain and drop them in cold icy water for a while to prevent sticking and then drop them back into its respective coloured juice again.

When about to assemble, drain all the rubies and toss them around with all the diced fruits mixture.

Serve this on a hot summer day. They are so ever refreshing!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mango and Star Anise Sorbet

On days when I make custard base ice cream frequently, I'm left with a lot of egg whites. I could have make pavlova and macaroons (Never attempted even once!) but I chose to make sorbets instead simply because I like frozen treats and there's no cream or milk involved! I always cut down the sugar a fair bit.

Mangoes are in season now in Australia so I've churned some of these. Star anise adds star quality to luscious mango in this beautifully refreshing sorbet. I serve this with white chocolate wafer instead of honey macadamia wafers as provided with the recipe. Did I say I adapted this from Iced: 180 very cool concoctions?

And did I also mention that this recipe is a disaster? It's more like I cause the disaster, the recipe is fine. I bet you never know you can actually over churn ice creams do you? Didn't you wonder why my sorbet looks like mango ice cream with cream in it rather than a bright orange colour? I over churn it people!

The colour probably comes from the egg white when it's over churned and the air incorporated. It quadrupled its supposed volume and ended up tasting like soft serve mango ice cream with some sort of fake mango essence, where in actual fact, I've used real sweet good quality mangoes!

Oh well, if anyone pointed it out about the colour and texture, just give them a weird stare and point to the sorbet and say 'I meant to do just that!'

Mango and Star Anise Sorbet (Serves 4 to 6)

3/4 cup castor sugar (I use 1/2 cup)
1 1/4 cups water
2 star anise
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 large ripe mangoes, chopped
2 egg whites

Put the sugar, water and star anise in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Stir in the lemon juice. Puree the mango with the egg whites until smooth. Strain the sugar syrup into the mango and process until combined. Strain again to remove fibres from mango.

Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. I chill them overnight first before churning.

Serve with white chocolate wafers and spoons of course!

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