Pistachio gelato

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In the matter of ice cream flavours I am not, never have been a strawberry-vanilla-chocolate kind of person but a faithful pistachio lover. Ever since the day I could make my own gelato choice from the sleek, shiny case behind the espresso machine and food elevator at the end of the central bar in the restaurant. The prospect of the delicious after-dinner treat made me forget my toddler timidity and march alone through the dining room to choose amongst the flavours (classic Italian gelato varieties and special ones like Stracciatella and Pistacchio– we are talking 1970s!) and always choosing the one. Continue reading

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Mascarpone ice cream

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Somehow I ended up with a (giant) tub of beautiful white Mascarpone in the fridge and no idea what to do with it. It was there as a back up plan (aka raspberry tiramisu) in case the dessert intended for a big dinner would fail terribly – it didn’t and I needed a new plan for a rather large amount. Mascarpone is a fresh triple-crème cheese in fact, basically thickened cream, and cream is really, really good in ice cream – ICE CREAM! There were fragrant strawberries in the house, so are a few bottles of sweet woodruff syrup and they were just begging for a classic egg custard ice cream with an extra jolt of cream Continue reading

Sweet woodruff syrup – Waldmeistersirup & Maibowle

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It is near impossible imagining Germany in May without Waldmeister, sweet woodruff. The faint vanilla-sweet smelling herb infuses the traditional Maibowle (may wine punch), imparts its astounding fresh aroma onto vivid green coloured jelly, ice creams and green gummy bears. Waldmeister syrup mixes with sparkling water for a herby-sweet spring lemonade and flavours a refreshing Berliner Weisse (beer). But drizzle it onto a perfect ball (or two) of mascarpone ice cream, add the best strawberries and you might as well find yourself in paintings by Watteau or Boucher: Continue reading

Black sesame ice cream

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Black ice cream for Halloween! Schwarzes Eis zu Halloween (dt. Rezept unten)!

Last summer I had the most marvellous inky-black sesame ice cream and got hooked: delicately nutty, creamy & sweet with a hint of vanilla pudding (I am guessing cornstarch played a role). Roasted black sesame seeds give this ice a wonderful toasted aroma and deep nutty flavour while the egg custard base provides the creaminess. I used quite a lot of sesame for a concentrated taste and a darker colour, admittedly boosted by a few drops of black food colouring for Halloween. Continue reading

Pedro Ximénez Sherry raisin ice cream

I have been dreaming about this ice cream since I read the recipe in the formidable Diana Henry’s book Crazy Water Pickled Lemons. How can one resist a book by this title, full of wonderful recipes from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa, brimming with fragrant, exquisite ingredients and flavours?

There are many different sherry styles around and with rediscovery of the Spanish cuisines comes a renewed appreciation of the fortified wine, pairing the different styles of sherry with different dishes, cooking with other than “cooking sherry”. If you like to find out more, I thought the short introduction to the different styles and brands of sherry in Sam & Sam Clark’s Moro. The Cookbook very helpful and it provides a lot of sherry-based recipes, too.

This ice cream is made with the sweet, raisiny, almost treacly Pedro Ximénez sherry where the name giving sun-dried grapes add complex brown sugar notes. Raisins have soaked it up and both are mixed into a custard base for a really luscious ice cream that stays soft because of the small amount of alcohol. This ice cream might be called a relative of the Malaga ice cream of distant days (after all these years still my Mum’s favourite variety; mine will be forever Pistacchio but that is a entirely different story). A close relative but a more gutsy one: the Daphne Guinness or Isabella Blow to your shy second cousin. Pedro Ximénez anyone?

Pedro Ximénez sherry raisin ice cream
adapted from Diana Henry’s Crazy Water Pickled Lemons
makes 0.7l  ice cream (with a little testing…) = 3 cups

85g (a heaped ½ cup or 3 oz) raisins
120ml (½ cup or 4fl oz) Pedro Ximénez sherry
420ml (1¾ cups or 14fl oz) of milk
1 vanilla pod
5 egg yolks
100g (½ cup or 3¼ oz) caster sugar
300ml (1¼ cups or 10fl oz) cream (single or whipping cream)

Previous day: Measure the raisins in a jar with a lid and pour over the Pedro Ximénez sherry. Close the lid and keep until needed. Could be made several days or weeks in advance but I would hide it to prevent excessive “tasting”.

Pour the milk into a saucepan, split the vanilla pod and scrape with the back of a knife blade the seeds out and add both seeds and pod to the milk. Heat the milk until it is just about to boil, take of the hob and leave to infuse for at least ½ hour or until needed.

Make the custard in a bain-marie: Beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl to a pale yellow cream and add the reheated vanilla milk while constant stirring with a wooden spoon. Move the bowl over a pan with hot water, careful not to have the water touch the bowl. Gently heat the mixture and keep stirring until the custard has thickened slightly and is covering the back of the spoon. Leave it to cool.

Add the sherry raisins and liquid to the custard and fold in the (lightly whipped says the recipe, I just added it in its liquid form) cream. Keep in the fridge to cool down further and churn in your chosen ice-cream maker (mine is an Italian Gaggia). Pour the soft ice cream into a container and keep in the freezer to ripen and firm up a little more. Since it contains a little alcohol the ice cream does not become totally hard in the freezer, so it can be scooped out immediately – a bonus if for a party.