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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cherry Almond Ice Cream Torte

My almond and cherry mood continues with this extremely time consuming recipe. Trust me this one is worth it. I brought it to a friend's dinner party for six people and five guests had seconds. I am guilty of this overindulgence. Please don't tell my doctor, she would renounce her Hippocratic oath and attempt to kill me because I am on a special diet to lower my cholesterol.

This recipe is derived from my own ice cream recipe, the ice cream torte from Dorrie Greenspan's "Baking," and Very Cherry Sauce from "A Passion for Ice Cream" by Emily Luchetti. So as you can imagine there are a few parts to this. None of them are complicated or difficult to perform, but it takes a lot of time to freeze. Each layer must set before the next one is added. This means at least 30 minutes for each chocolate ganache layer and another 20 (or so) minutes for each ice cream layer. My total freeze time took about 4 hours this does not include the time to make the ice cream mix or the cherries.

The cherries are amazing. You will use them all, but will have left over syrup which should keep for a few weeks. Use this syrup as a drink flavoring, or a dessert sauce.

The ganache has eggs in it. These eggs don't really cook. If you are worried about eating undercooked eggs, than please try to find pasteurized ones.

The recipe below is a good example of the necessary progression you need. I will do my best to show you simultaneous steps.

For the Candied Cherries:

2 pounds of fresh sweet cherries
2.5 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of water
1.5 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt

  1. Stem the cherries, but don't pit them.

  2. Put cherries, sugar, and water into a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil.

  3. When the water turns clear, all the sugar has been absorbed. Set a timer for 5 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer the cherries.

  4. Drain the cherries, reserving the liquid. Spread the cherries out on some foil in a single layer to cool

  5. Put the liquid back into the saucepan with the lemon juice and salt and reduce to 2 cups. It will be very dark and syrupy. Cool the liquid to room temperature. Use an ice bath if you want, but note it will make clean up harder.

  6. When the cherries have cooled, pit them by squeezing out the pits. Then place them in the completely cooled syrup and refrigerate.

For the Cherry Ice Cream:

3/4 of the Candied Cherries
1/4 cup of of the Cherry Syrup
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup of sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream

  1. Place the cherries and the syrup in the blender and puree. When you do this, the cherries will retain a lot of the syrup. Don't count that extra syrup as part of the 1/4 cup of required syrup.

  2. Put the milk and cream in a saucepan and heat over medium heat to about 150F, where the milk/cream is hot but not boiling.

  3. While the milk and cream heats, put the yolks in a bowl with the sugar and beat until the sugar is fully incorporated.

  4. When the milk is at temperature, take about 1/3 cup out and temper the eggs. Add the eggs to the saucepan and cook stirring constantly until the temperature is 175F.

  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Incorporate the cherry puree, being sure to mix thoroughly. Strain the custard then cool to room temperature. if you are not going to use an ice bath and stir the mixture during cooling, be sure to cover the custard with plastic wrap directly on the surface to avoid forming a skin on the surface. Refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours until cold.


For the Ganache:

9 oz 70% bittersweet chocolate
1 3/4 sticks of butter
1/2 cup sugar
8 eggs

  1. To facilitate easier melting cut the butter into chunks and the chocolate into small pieces. Put the pieces in a double boiler and completely melt, stirring occasionally to ensure the ingredients become incorporated. Set the mixture aside to cool for five minutes. PLEASE NOTE: Dorrie Greenspan warns that overheating will cause the chocolate and butter to separate and not be able to reincorporate. So please be careful.

  2. Whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture one at a time, ensuring each one is fully incorporated before adding the next one. This mixture will get thick.

  3. Lightly grease an 8 or 8.5 inch springform pan. I used cooking spray. You could use butter, but I wouldn't recommend it. If you use too much, the butter will freeze and attach itself to the torte. No one really likes to eat frozen butter.

  4. Pour one third of the ganache (about 1 1/3 cups) into the bottom of the spring form. Bang the pan on your work surface to remove any bubbles. You may need to use a toothpick to pop some them. Set the pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to allow the ganache to set. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the remaining ganache to avoid creating a skin.

Final Assembly:

2 cups slivered or sliced almonds

  1. As the ganache is setting, freeze half of the ice cream according to your ice cream machine's directions.

  2. Toast the nuts and cool them to room temperature. Chop them into small bits.

  3. At this point, wait for the ice cream to finish freezing if the 30 minutes for the ganache has expired. If the ice cream finishes before the 30 minutes for the ganache, put it in the freezer. The ice cream should be the consistency of soft serve so it is easy to spread. If it is too frozen, leave it out to loosen up.

  4. Remove the ganache from the freezer, put down a layer of the nuts. Add the ice cream, smoothing it so the top is as flat as possible. Place this back into the freezer for at least 20 minutes until the ice cream is set.

  5. Remove the pan from the freezer, pour half of the remaining ganache (1 1/3 cups) over the ice cream. Bang on the table again to remove air bubbles. Again you may need a toothpick, but you have to work fast so the ice cream doesn't melt. Put this back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes until set. Put the plastic back over the remaining ganache.

  6. Freeze the remaining custard. Again minding the texture.

  7. While the ice cream is freezing, remove the remaining cherries from the syrup and chop them.

  8. Remove the ganache from the freezer once it has set and the ice cream is at the right texture. Spoon the cherries over the ganache. Include some of the syrup Put the ice cream on top of the cherries. Smooth the surface of the ice cream. Put this into the freezer for at least 20 minutes until it sets.

  9. Feel free to start cleaning up you have a few minutes to spare. If you want, toast some more nuts to put on the top as decoration.

  10. Once the ice cream is set, remove the pan from the freezer, pour over the remaining ganache. Bang out the bubbles then place the pan back into the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving.

  11. At serving time, unmold the torte, slice and serve. I had no problems removing the pan sides because my friend's freezer was a bit too warm. If you have problems, Dorrie Greenspan suggests using either a warm towel or a brief application of a hair dryer to the sides of the mold.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fig Almond Ice Cream

This was a last minute recipe I developed for a dessert for my friends who are babysitting tomorrow night. The honey and almonds are classic flavor affinities to figs.

This recipe is a little different than the base I usually use. There is no milk. Also, the ratio of eggs to cream is very high. When you take it out of the refrigerator before freezing this will be the consistency of a tight pudding. This means you will have the most outstanding texture when frozen.

I want to warn you that the recipe I made is slightly different than the one posted below. I included almond extract, which was a bit overpowering. You would be better off using 1/2 cup of chopped toasted almonds.

Pick the ripest figs you can find because once picked, figs do not continue to ripen.

Fig Almond Ice Cream

1.25 pounds fresh figs
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup honey
6 egg yolks
scant teaspoon orange zest
2 cups cream
pinch of salt
1/2 cup rough chopped toasted almonds

  1. Clean the figs, slice them into quarters.

  2. Place the figs and water in a sauce pan (the larger, the better so the figs are in one layer). Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook the figs for 10 minutes. By this time, the figs should be very soft.

  3. Add the orange zest and honey to the figs. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors incorporate.

  4. Transfer the figs and their liquid to a blender. Puree until smooth. Leave it in the blender.

  5. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan until tiny bubbles form at the edges (about 150 degrees F). You may have to give it a stir or two to make sure that a skin doesn't develop on the surface. Whatever you do, DO NOT let the cream boil. If it does, you will have to throw it out and start over again. The fat will separate and not reincorporate no matter how hard you might try.

  6. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the sugar.

  7. When the cream comes to temperature, use a large cooking spoon to take a few spoonfuls to temper the eggs. Then, add the eggs to the cream. Stir until your thermometer reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

  8. Remove the custard from the heat, and add it to the blender with the figs. Add the lemon juice and blend until everything is incorporated. Be careful here - you are blending hot ingredients. If you try to blend too quickly, the blender will lose its top and the contents will spill out all over the room. I suggest holding the top firmly and pulsing on low for about 10 pulses before trying to gradually increase the blender speed.

  9. Put pour the contents into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard. Cool to room temperature, chill overnight, then freeze according to your ice cream machine's instructions.

Like chocolate candy?

Please go check out my new friend Anne at Chamberlain's Chocolate Factory in Norcross, GA. Today I sampled the dark chocolate with Marcona Almonds. It was great.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cherry Sorbet

My two year old is almost three. She is now able to make requests for food that need to be taken seriously. For the past four days she has been on my case to make cherry sorbet. The poor girl is allergic to milk and nuts so she can't have ice cream. It's just plain cruel.

Here is a very basic cherry sorbet recipe. I would think you could gussy it up in a ton of ways. For example - add 1/2 teaspoon of almond or vanilla extract. Maybe mixing in some kirsch or chocolate liqueur. You can also try spices like cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. I found some pomegranate molasses in the fridge, it might be a good substitute for some of the sugar or the corn syrup. Play around and have some fun.

I am in a cherry mood. I will be making a cherry ice cream soon to incorporate into an ice cream cake. The recipe will hopefully be up by the end of the weekend, but no promises.

Cherry Sorbet

About 3/8 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 pound cherries
Juice of 1/2 small lime

  1. Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil. remove from the heat.

  2. Pit the cherries and put them in a blender

  3. Put the fruit, lime juice, sugar water into a blender and blend for 30 seconds or so, until everything is liquid.

  4. Chill over night then freeze in your ice cream machine the next day.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Some great Ice Cream Links

I have updated my links including a real newbie to the scene - The Ice Cream Geek. He has just started but it looks like a promising new site.

BTW, I have a couple of weeks break between semesters ahead of me and I think there is at least one recipe in me, plus the one I still owe you for the ice cream cake.