Photo by ArtsySF and used with her permission.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Guest Blogger -- Richard Blais on Sweet Tea Ice Cream

This week's recipe for Sweet Tea Ice Cream comes courtesy of fellow Atlantan and guest blogger, Richard Blais. I have been a huge fan of Chef Blais's food from the first bite of the first meal I ever had from him. It was an amuse bouche on Valentine's Day, 2004 of caramel, asparagus and Parmesan cheese. It may sound strange, but trust me it was delicious and began my mouth's love affair with his food. Chef Blais now has his own company called Trail-Blais which does everything from creative development to public speaking.

A couple of comments about his recipe:
1. If you saw Chef Blais on Top Chef, then you know that he known for his integration of molecular gastronomy and traditional techniques. Locust bean gum is one of those industrial ingredients that can be hard to locate. You can find it at Tierra Spice Company.

2. Because the ice cream is frozen with dry ice, you should not use a ice cream machine. Instead, use a electric stand mixer (like the ones available from Kitchen Aid) with a whisk attachment. The point is to stir the ice cream as it freezes to help control ice crystal formation and let the dry ice do the freezing. I have not made this recipe, but I will try it and report back.

But enough from the Fellow, without further ado, here is Chef Blais's recipe and discussion:

SWEET TEA ICE CREAM from Richard Blais

I’d have to say that sweet tea ice cream has been one of those things we take with us from project to project. Especially being based in the South, we just really love what this recipe brings to the table. It’s mildly creative, I mean, I haven’t seen it anywhere else. It respects tradition, and finally, well, it just makes so much sense.

The birth of sweet tea ice cream, and maybe that sounds a little too serious, is a bit grey in clarity. It was definitely brought to the table by Jeff Sigler who was my pastry chef at Element, as an accompaniment to a lemon based dessert. I’d say it was the thought of lemon, what works well with it, the fact that featuring tea and regional items was something we did frequently ( at BLAIS, we often served a sweet tea amuse in 2 temperatures, and with capsules filled with dehydrated honey ), and Jeff’s spark that brought it to the original menu.

I love that it respects traditional refreshment, but shows it in a new way. And flavorwise I love that it isn’t too sweet at all, an issue I have with sweet tea in general. I also love, that as you look at the simple ingredients, you realize that certainly milk and tea are commonly combined.

The added show piece of freezing the ice cream with dry ice makes the dish even that more snarky, and well, Blaisian. I mean, dry-iced-tea?

3 quarts reduced to 1 pint -- sweet tea right from the fridge
Heavy cream -- 1 quart
Egg yolks -- 7 each
Locust bean gum -- 1 % of the weight of the cream base
Dry ice -- a pound or 2

1. Reduce the tea to thick syrup and cool
2. Warm the cream and tea syrup, then temper in the whipped egg yolks
3. Hydrate the gum in a touch of water, then mix in the cream egg mixture
4. Test for sweetness, and if necessary melt some more sugar into the base
5. Pour cooled ice cream base in the mixer with a whisk attachment
6. Gently drop in crushed small pellets of dry ice into the mixer as it spins on half speed
7. When the base is frozen to your likeness, serve freeze for later.

NOTE: Dry ice is not meant to be eaten on its own. And it’s important that the ice is crushed small enough to dissolve as it’s cooling the fridge. Having the ice cream sit over night will dissolve the dry ice. However, eating it straight from the mixture may leave it carbonated!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Come for the ice cream, stay for the revolution!

Check this out. These guys drive around New York City luring people with free ice cream and literature of their extreme left ideas.

The ICF maintains no political affiliations and likes to think that good comes from having many different schools of thought, but he wonders about the need for ice cream to disseminate their information. Is their message so radical that without the hook of free ice cream no one would listen? If that is the case, then perhaps they should take a close look at their beliefs. Ice cream is a perk, not a tool for societal change.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It has been too long

Sorry for the lack of recipes as of late. My latest concoction, although tasty, did not work out as well as I would have liked. I have mentioned before that Baby Fellow is allergic to milk. In my quest to make a treat that she could enjoy, I spent the last couple of weeks working on popsicles with limited success. The closest I came was the last batch of plum-orange. First off, it tasted exactly like apricots. Second, my proportion of fruit to water and sugar was off. Rather than end up with a hard, icy fruit pop, I got soft sorbet-like texture. It is still good enough to share, it just isn't what I had hoped. Maybe you can make something out of it.

Baby Fellow enjoyed them very much. I think her exact words were "yummy yummy!" Here is a picture of her and her popsicle:

Plum-Orange Popsicles

10 - 12 ounces of plums, peeled and pitted
One medium to large navel orange, zested and sectioned, membranes removed
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar

1. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Add the plums, orange, and zest into a saucepan. Return to a boil then reduce the temperature to simmer the fruit. Cook, stirring frequently, until the plums become very soft.
3. Puree the mixture.
4. Cool to room temp, then chill for four hours or until everything is cold.
5. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds or Dixie cups (if you do this, you need to add sticks during the freezing process.
6. Freeze until frozen solid.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Frozen Cherry Cokes

This is a dessert consisting of layers of cherry ice cream and coca-cola sorbet. And yes, it tastes just like a cherry coke, only better because it is ice cream. I apologize for the lack of a picture. My digital camera is behaving badly. I have half a mind to take a hammer to it.

Originally, I tried to adapt a recipe for root beer sorbet that I found on the Internet. It was a strange recipe using gelatin and corn syrup. The end result was a granita. It was too hard and therefore wouldn't work when combined with the ice cream. After some experimentation, I determined that the trick to making the sorbet is to cook the coke down to nothing. The end result has the right texture. When tasted alone, you may not think the sorbet has enough coke flavor, but do not fear it works perfectly in the final product.

The cherry ice cream is a variant of the previous recipe I posted a while back. In the original recipe, it annoyed me to no end that I had to supplement the cherry flavor with concentrated cherry juice. So I changed the recipe a bit. By reducing the amounts of milk and cream and using more in-season cherries the flavor worked out. My measurement by weight for the cherries is taken post-pitting. So be sure to have plenty on hand.

Lastly, I am not including the recipe for the brownies I made, but I had made some cinnamon-chipotle brownies earlier in the week that were very spicy. Surprisingly, the ice cream and the brownies worked pretty well together. This fellow suggests you make a batch of your favorite brownies and serve them alongside or make ice cream sandwiches.

Here is the sheet:

Coca-Cola Sorbet:

2 cans of coca-cola
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1. Pour the coke saucepan. Turn the heat on high, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

2. Simmer the coke until it reduces to 1/3 of its volume.

3. Stir in the corn syrup

4. Chill in the refrigerator until cold. Then freeze in your ice cream machine.

Cherry Ice Cream:

1 lb. pitted cherries
1 tsp lemon juice
1 ¼ cups cream
1 ¼ cups whole milk
½ cup sugar + 35g to sweeten the fruit
3 egg yolks

1. Place cherries in a sauce pan, turn heat to medium low and slowly cook them for about 15 minutes. The cherries will get hot and break down a little. Puree them. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Use some extra sugar to make the fruit a bit sweeter if necessary. Set aside.

2. Combine, milk, cream, ¼ cup of the sugar in another saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.

3. While the cream/milk is heating, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until it is incorporated.

4. Once the cream mixture is at ready, remove it from the heat. Temper the eggs by mixing in a small amount of the cream, stir thoroughly, and repeat three times. You should use about 1/3 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. Add the cherry puree.

7. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

9. Cover the bowl and chill overnight.

10. Freeze in your ice cream.

11. Layer the ice cream with the sorbet, starting and ending with the ice cream, making a total of 5 layers. Freeze the container overnight to ripen it. When you scoop it the next day, you will have cherry ice cream with a coke ripple.
An alternative presentation is to make a terrine by lining a bread pan with plastic wrap. Layer the ice cream and sorbet then cover and freeze. The next day, use the plastic wrap to unmold the terrine and cut it into slices.