Photo by ArtsySF and used with her permission.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Update: The Next Flavor in Development

Peanut butter wins. This is exciting! My mind is swimming with recipes. The next poll will be up shortly. Expect to see the all the losers plus one more.

BTW, The Ice Cream Fellow lives in the Atlanta, GA area and is always looking for tasters. Any locals want to help the fellow out? Drop me a line.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cumin Sorbet

Before the Ice Cream Fellow was the Ice Cream Fellow, he was the Sorbet Fellow. Ten years ago, I began my love affair with making frozen desserts. It all started with sorbets. Well actually they were granitas. I did not have an ice cream maker so I froze blocks of ice and scraped them into small cordial glasses.

Cumin was my first flavor. Bobby Flay on the Food Network originally inspired me. His flavors are Southwestern, big and bold loaded with chilies and spices. Great stuff, but the meal can leave ones palate overwhelmed before dessert. So I thought it would be great to have a palate cleanser that mimicked the flavors of the meal. This palate cleanser would also be just a little sweet to help transition you from that boldness of the spices to a sweet dessert.

This sorbet is adapted from that granita. It is a great palate cleanser, but it can work as an element of a dessert. For me a little of this goes a long way so I wouldn’t recommend eating a lot of it by its lonesome. Partner cumin sorbet with Latin or Asian flavors such as coconut, pineapple, limes, and mangos.

For this recipe I made 2:1 simple syrup – 2 cups water to 1 cup sugar. The recipe only calls for 1-½ cups of syrup.

Cumin Sorbet:

Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 3 limes
Juice of 1 lemon
1-½ cups of 2:1 simple syrup
¾ tsp cumin

1. Strain the fruit juices to remove the pulp
2. Mix with the warm simple syrup.
3. Add the cumin and stir thoroughly to incorporate all the flavors.
4. Chill overnight, and then freeze.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ben and Jerry's Pistachio Pistachio Ice Cream

Pistachio Pistachio Ice Cream

A couple of weeks ago, Jules from Tamara’s Sweet Treats Yahoo Group asked me for a copy cat recipe for Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio Ice Cream. Having never really tried it before I bought some to determine if it was worth the challenge.

When Mrs. Fellow saw my purchase, I had to endure a 10 minute diatribe about why Pistachio Pistachio was not the flavor to pick and how I would have been better off with any of her other favorite flavors. Much to her chagrin, she really liked it. I must admit it was very tasty. I enjoyed the pistachio pieces and the flavor was reasonably pistachio.

This is surprising because the Fellow is not a fan of pistachio ice cream. I always find it to be too sweet and lacking in pistachio flavor. I am not alone in this view. Caroline Liddell & Robin Weir, the authors of Frozen Desserts, also find it to be insipid, describing the various ice creams they tried as “so bad they beggar description.”

The big reason for this is that pistachio ice cream rarely contains 100 percent pistachios. These little nuts are expensive and hard to skin making it fairly cost prohibitive to manufacture and painful and time consuming for the home cook. Most commercially available pistachio ice creams that are made with almonds as opposed to their namesakes. In fact, when researching recipes most of the ones I found called for either some quantity of almonds mixed with the pistachios or almond extract. Upon reading the B&J ingredients I noticed that they use pistachios and of course the mysterious “natural flavors” listed on the container. Not a good sign for sure. Anything can be hidden in the “natural flavorings.”

In my recipe, I do not skin the pistachios because it is a very difficult chore. The nuts have to be blanched to loosen the skins. Because of their irregular shapes this can lead to raw fingers. When I inspected the B&J’s ice cream it occurred to me that they did not skin the pistachio pieces. So if unskinned nuts are good enough for them, they are good enough for me.

Now for the bad news. The Fellow could not entirely replicate the flavor, but do not fret because the good news is that my recipe is far superior. If you really want ice cream that tastes like pistachios you will love my recipe. When we tasted my version against the Ben and Jerry’s it became apparent that they use some sort of almond flavoring. Not very much, but in comparison to my straight up pistachio version, the flavors were different.

I have two alternatives for you to try if you like B&J’s flavor more than my recipe. First, replace ¼ cup of the pistachios with almonds for steeping in the base. Second, add ¼ teaspoon of almond extract to the base. If those ideas do not work, then try adding a very small quantity of coconut oil. It is one of B&J’s ingredients.

Pistachio Ice Cream

1 ¼ cup of raw pistachios
1 cup sugar
2 cups cream
2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
c teaspoon salt

1. Spread the pistachios in one layer on a tray and put in a preheated 350F oven until they are slightly toasted. This should take about 8 minutes depending on your oven. The best way to tell that they are toasted is that you should be able to smell them. Remove the nuts from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Then put 1 cup of the pistachios in a food processor and chop to medium coarseness. Reserve the remaining whole nuts as add-ins to the custard once it is frozen.
2. Put the milk, cream, ¾ cup of the sugar into a pot and bring to a slight simmer stirring occasionally.
3. As the milk and cream are heating, place the egg yolks into a bowl with the other ¼ cup of sugar and salt and beat until all ingredients are well combined.
4. Once the milk/cream mixture is simmering, remove it from the heat and temper the egg mixture by adding a small amount of the hot milk/cream and stirring thoroughly. Repeat this process a couple of more times to ensure that the eggs have warmed up. You should use about a of a cup of hot cream mixture in total. Then pour the complete egg mixture into the cream pot.
5. Return the pot to the heat and stir constantly until the custard reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Put the chopped pistachios in a bowl. Pour the custard over the nuts. It is not necessary to strain the custard because it will be done before freezing. Stir in the vanilla. Cool, then cover and chill for 24 hours.
7. Strain the custard to remove the pistachios. Discard the nuts. Freeze and add the reserved pistachio nuts in the last minute of freezing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Next Flavor

You voted, and cumin sorbet will be the next flavor after I post my recipe for pistachio. I am excited about every flavor on the list, but in my limited capacity I can't develop them all simultaneously. It is up to you to prioritize them for me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ice Cream. Is there anything it can't do?

American stuntman, Robert McDonald has used 15 million recycled ice cream sticks to build a replica of a Viking ship. He has just set sail from the Netherlands to England. He hopes to sail all the way to the United States. Check out the full story here

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Curried Pineapple Sauce

So my first failed attempt at pineapple ice cream has yielded this recipe. I had tried to make a curried base and add the pineapple. As I mentioned in a previous post, this was a colossal failure, but it did give me the idea for this sauce.

As Mrs. Fellow pointed out curry is a savory ingredient. It makes this dessert hard to imagine. From perspective this is a natural extension of Asian flavors. Pineapple holds up well to curry and is also a dessert. Why not create an ice cream topping that uses both flavors?

Curry without accompaniment is probably too savory. That is why I added ginger and cinnamon -- two common dessert spices that also pair well with both pineapple and curry. The end result is something that is very yin and yang. It is simultaneously sweet and savory. When you taste it you get three very contradictory sensations - sweet from the sugar and the pineapple, tartness from the lemon juice, and the spices with just a twinge of heat. My serving suggestion is with vanilla or coconut chip ice cream.

To further work on this recipe I think there is real possibility to create a curried caramel or to add coconut (shredded, toasted, milk, or cream). I also would suggest you play with lime and fresh ginger as opposed to powdered.

Curried Pineapple Sauce for Ice Cream

20 oz can of pineapple chunks in unsweetened pineapple juice
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger

Drain the pineapple and reserve the juice.
Put the pineapple juice and lemon juice into a saucepan with the sugar, curry, ginger, and cinnamon. Bring to boil.
Add the pineapple to the saucepan, return to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until a light syrup forms with the liquids.
Serve warm or cold.

Flavors in the Works

I have two flavors in the works right now. One is a copycat recipe for Jules from Tamara's Sweet Treats Yahoo Group. She is requested a recipe for Ben & Jerry's Pistachio Pistachio. The other was for pineapple ice cream.

Do you ever wonder why you rarely see pineapple ice cream? I did, until I tried to make it. This recipe is killing me. There is a whole science to this about some enzyme in the pineapple that curdles milk. My first attempt was great out of the machine, but very icy after ripening in the freezer. It may take a while to figure it out. Luckily, it has given me an idea for a sauce.

With some luck, both the Pistachio recipe and the sauce will come out next week.