I always say, when life gives you melons and mangos, make frozen desserts. I bought a great big watermelon the other day, only to find it overly ripe inside. It tasted pretty good, but the flesh was sopping wet, and bordering on mealy. The prospect of eating it that way was less than tempting, so I decided to follow Gourmet Veggie Mama's lead and make some Agua Fresca.
Holy hell, does one watermelon go a long way. After finishing a 2 gallon jug of Agua Fresca, we'd just about had enough. (My nephew RJ, and I, that is. He's been visiting this week, and helping me out in the kitchen.) We made an ungodly mess while de-seeding and pureeing all that watermelon. He got a good laugh out of watching me scramble with towels, trying to keep the sticky pink mayhem under control. I'm messy. It is known.
Anyway, we mixed 6 cups of pureed watermelon with one cup of simple syrup (you could totally use ginger-lime simple syrup for this, btw) and the juice from 4 limes. After chilling the mixture for about an hour, we popped that stuff in the ice cream maker, and boom! Sorbet.
The sorbet was light, fresh, and delicious, but I couldn't resist scooping some Mango Lassi Ice Cream into the bowl. The combo was killer. I had almost forgotten that I had this sweet little recipe up my sleeve. Aren't you lucky I remembered?
Mango Lassi Ice Cream
Makes about three pints
Ingredients for Mango Sauce
- 6 cups fresh mango, diced and peeled
- 3 tablespoons palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
Ingredients for Ice Cream
- 1/2 cup mango sauce
- 2/3 cup, 2 tablespoons sugar (divided)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
Directions for Mango Sauce
- Combine the mango and orange juice in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, and add sugar.
- Mix well over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat, and allow the sauce to cool for about ten minutes. Add the lime juice.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture for the ice cream. Save the rest for another purpose. Maybe Mango Mole Enchiladas?
Directions for Ice Cream
- Combine the mango sauce and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small saucepan. Raise heat to medium, and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the milk in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the remaining milk and sugar to a saucepan, along with the heavy cream and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. (Watch it, or it will boil over.)
- Simmer for four minutes, then remove from heat. Whisk in the cornstarch and milk, then return the pan to the stove, and bring back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and hold there for 2 minutes.
- Place the softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot milk mixture over the cheese, a little at a time, whisking the cheese and milk together completely. When all the milk mixture has been added, whisk in the mango sauce and the yogurt.
- Chill the mixture in an ice bath to cool it as quickly as possible. I usually pour it into a ziplock bag, and submerge the bag in a bowl of ice. Be careful not to get any water inside the bag. Once the mixture has come down to room temperature or below, pop it into the fridge to finish chilling.
- Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least two hours before churning the ice cream. It should be completely cold. Follow your ice cream maker's directions to churn. The ice cream is done when it firms up and pulls away from the sides of the tumblr.
- Freeze the churned ice cream for at least four hours before serving.
Makes about three pints
Ingredients for Watermelon Sorbet
- 6 cups pureed watermelon (seeds removed)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 limes, juiced
Directions for Watermelon Sorbet
- Make simple syrup. (Directions follow) Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then set aside until it comes down to room temperature. Chill the simple syrup in the fridge for about an hour, or until cold.
- Mix the simple syrup, watermelon, and lime juice together, then pour half of the mixture into your ice cream maker. Churn until icy and firm.
- Repeat with the second half. (You may have to wait for your tumbler to freeze again.
- Freeze the sorbet in your freezer for several hours to make sure it is nice and hard before serving.
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What's warm, spicy, and annoyingly fibrous? I bet you were thinking of Pickles the Cat. Good guess, but I'm actually talking about ginger. While I personally believe that Mr. Pickles is good for my health, the benefits of ginger are more widely accepted. This knotty little root can help boost immunity, increase circulation, and even reduce inflammation.
Ginger loves being played against sweet and sour flavors, so it feels right at home in a madras recipe. The madras cocktail is a blend of cranberry and orange juice probably invented to disguise the taste of vodka for folks who just don't cotton to the flavor of distilled potatoes. (I know. Weird, right? What's not to love about fermented potatoes?) Anyway, the classic madras is much improved by the addition of ginger. Now instead of something that is just sweet and sour, you have something sweet, sour, and spicy. Three tastes is a charm. Isn't that more or less what they say?
Try this recipe over ice with a fat shot of vodka or tequila. Or, for something more family friendly, pop the concoction (sans alcohol) in a popsicle mold and freeze until solid.
Makes about 12 ounces, enough for three cocktails or six popsicles
- 1/2 cup Ginger Lime Simple Syrup, divided
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1/8 cup vodka or tequila (optional)
Note: Try this recipe over ice with a fat shot of vodka or tequila. Or, for something more family friendly, pop the concoction (sans alcohol) in a popsicle mold and freeze until solid.
- Combine 1/4 cup of simple syrup with the orange juice.
- In a second container, combine the remaining syrup with the cranberry juice.
- Divide the lime juice and zest (and alcohol, if you are using it) between the two containers of juice.
- Stir the cranberry juice mixture right before pouring it into the popsicle molds. Fill each mold about halfway.
- Freeze for two hours, then pour in the orange juice mixture. Freeze for four hours, or better yet overnight to allow the pops to become completely hard.
P.S. Technically, I don't think that this would be a madras anymore if tequila were added. I suspect that drink has its own name. Anyone know what that might be?
Before living in China, I would have found it almost impossible to imagine what corn flavored ice cream would be like. While corn most definitely has a characteristic flavor, it isn't very striking. It's a sweet, mellow taste that is so familiar that it's often taken for granted. That is, it's taken for granted by the American pallat. In Beijing, corn is worshipped with a passion that is usually reserved for deities or movie legends.
There are corn statues, corn paintings, and corn paintings scattered about the city, almost invisible to the not-so-careful observer. Beijingers eat corn on the go, cob and all. It's not at all strange to see someone gnawing on a cob on the subway, or popping kernels on a busy street. Corn flavor is used in instant ramen, hard candy, and yes, even ice cream. One of my favorite treats while living there were corn ice cream pops. They were corn-shaped, of course, with a sweet creamy center encased in a crispy corn shell. Here's a photo, if you are curious.
So what does corn ice cream taste like? Imagine eating a bowl of corn pops on a lazy Saturday morning. You take your time, distracted by cartoons, in no hurry at all being off from school that day. By the time you finish your pops the remaining milk has been totally saturated by the sweet, grainy flavor of corn. That's what corn ice cream taste like, cereal milk.
OK, so this is one of those ridiculous sounding recipes that you'll be all "Is she for real?!" about, but I am telling you, the silly amount of work that goes into it is totally worth it. While smoked chocolate sounds a little strange, it tastes surprisingly good. If you didn't know that it was made with smoked chocolate, you would probably find yourself unable to place that mysterious element that gives this ice cream a sort of ethereal, hot cocoa flavor. Top this bad boy with some nuts and marshmallows, and you'll have yourself a heavenly hash that totally knocks it out of the park.
Hello my darling internet! I hope that you all are having a lovely Spring, and that you enjoyed your respective Spring holidays. Though I am not personally religiously affiliated, my family comes from a Catholic and Christian background, so they celebrate Easter every year. I participate, happily. Easter has always been a favorite holiday for me. I love the colors, the shapes, and the spirit of joy and renewal that surrounds the festivities. Pastel pinks, greens and yellows make me giddy. It's an extent of girliness that I never could have imagined enjoying when I was younger. I was always a tom boy or a punk rocker. Then Me would probably cringe to see the state of Current Me, surrounded in white fluffy kittens, pink mermaid quilts, and walls full of butterflies. I'm not exactly sure when the transformation began, but at some point I transformed from embodying Halloween to Easter. Can't say I'm bummed about it though, there are chocolate bunnies over here.
Last year I entered my first cooking competition, The Austin Pork Experiment. I had a blast, and I learned a lot, but when it came time to award prizes I walked away empty handed. One year later, I came back for another shot at victory. I dreamed of taking home the grand prize, but I knew that my competition would be steep. People in this town love to cook, and they aren't afraid to mix things up. So, I decided to focus on what I do best, and that is making ice cream.
The star of my entry was a very unique ice cream made with sweet roasted tomatillos, and tangy buttermilk. To transform it into a taco, I slathered it in avocado frosting, and sandwiched it in between two corn tortillas. I topped each cute, scalloped sandwich with candied jalapenos, and hoped for the best. My biggest struggle was in the shell. I tried everything from cookies to chips to tortillas, but nothing seemed to work. I have theories on corn flavored pizelles or macarons, but time escaped me in the end and I went with the best option I had.
It was the ice cream itself, I think, that won the heart of The Food Experiment, and bestowed upon me the honorable title of "most experimented". I placed! I won prizes! It might not have been the grand prize, but when my name was called I was in seventh heaven, and apparently behaved like the grade-A jackass that I am upon acceptance of my prize. Look at this.
I mean really. Something must be wrong with me. Who acts like this?
Anyway, the ice cream was BOSS, and I was asked repeatedly whether or not I was selling it. The answer is both yes and no. I have decided, after about two years of consideration, to open my own small time, artisan ice cream business, but it will still be a while before it is all legal and operating. In the mean time, I am more than happy to spread the love through classes and recipes. I can even make you some ice cream in exchange for bartered services or donations. Drop me an email and we'll talk. By the way, if you think this ice cream is good, this is just the beginning. I can make something awesome out of just about anything. Seasonal, special diet, bring it on. I am an ice cream ninja.
Without further ado, I give you the recipe I promised so very many people at The Austin Taco Experiment. This is an Ohio style ice cream, based on a strawberry ice cream recipe by Jeni Britton. I hoped that tomatillo and strawberry shared a similar enough sweet and sour vibe for this to work, and it totally did. Thanks to Jeni's genius, super emulsifying base, tomatillo ice cream was a success.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the tomatillos with 1/4 cup sugar and the juice of 1 lime. Transfer to baking dish and roast until the tomatillos are tender, about 20 minutes. Allow them to cool a little, then puree them in a blender or food processor. Reserve 1/2 cup for the recipe, and store the rest for another use. (You can make an awesome jelly or syrup from them.)
Mix the cornstarch with 1/2 cup of milk, making sure it dissolves completely. Put the rest of the milk, along with the heavy cream and the sugar in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the starch/milk mixture. Return the pan to the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
In a heat proof mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and salt. Slowly mix the hot milk/sugar mixture into the cheese, making sure that it all mixes evenly. Next, stir in the buttermilk and the tomatillo puree. Cool as quickly as possible, using an ice bath if you can, then transfer to the fridge. Chill the mixture for at least two hours, then churn according to your ice cream machine's directions.
By the way, to find out more about the folks who took home the big prizes that day, (all of which were stupendous) check out the following articles from around the web.
Also, I just want to say THANK YOU to my wonderful sisters, Sarah and Heather, who helped me cut tortillas, assemble sandwiches, and keep my cool throughout a very long, very fun weekend. You two are great! And pretty! And nice! Thanks!!
This unusually flavored sorbet is made with a coconut cream base, and flavored with cranberry juice concentrate and a touch of fragrant cardamom. Its taste is sweet tart, with a hint of floral aroma. It has a smooth, creamy texture, which is great served alone, or in a crispy sugar cone. This ice cream would taste awfully good wrapped in mochi. Mmmm... mochi.
Cranberry & Cardamom Sorbet
Makes a little over a pint
Combine 1/4 cup of coconut milk with tapioca starch and whisk together. Add the other 1/4 cup coconut milk to a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk the coconut and tapioca mixture into the saucepan. Whisk continuously until the mixture just begins to thicken. Add the apple juice, cranberry juice concentrate, and cardamom. Whisk until the mixture thickens a little more, than remove it from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then chill it in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
After the mixture has finished chilling, put it into your ice cream machine and churn for at least 20 minutes. Some machines may take more or less time. When the sorbet has become thick and fluffy, transfer it to an air tight container. Freeze for at least two hours.
The texture of this sorbet is a little "different". It will need to sit out for 5 - 10 minutes before it can be scooped. Keep that in mind when serving.
This cute little cupcake stand was a gift from my sister, made by WhitneySmith.Etsy.com.
My baby sister, Caitlin, turned twenty one this past weekend. Being the youngest of four girls, we three elders knew that we had to pull out all the stops for her coming of age celebration. The night before, we counted down to midnight with the help of some very special desserts.
My sisters, Heather and Sarah, whipped up an amazing booze cake made from Guiness and topped with Baileys Frosting and Whiskey Ganache. I believe the original recipe was from Smitten Kitchen. It tasted amazing. A dense chocolate cake with the sophisticated flair of liquor infused icing. To go with it, I made up a batch of very special ice cream. One that might just haunt my dreams until the next batch is whipped up.
Makes about 1 quart
For the Pecans
For the Ice Cream
To prepare the pecans, combine them with the amaretto, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid has reduced completely. Transfer to a dish to cool.
Combine milk, cream, sugar, and salt in a double boiler and cook over high heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl. When the milk mixture heats through, pour about 1/8 cup at a time into the egg yolks, stirring continuously until the egg mixture is heated through. Pour the egg mixture into the double boiler. Stir continually with a rubber spatula until the custard cooks through, becoming thick enough to trace or coat the spatula.
Cool the custard as quickly as possible. Transfering the double boiler insert to an ice bath is a great option. As soon as the custard reached room temperature, mix in vanilla extract, almond extract, and amaretto. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When it has set, transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and churn for 45 minutes, or the time indicated by the machine's instructions.
Meanwhile, heat the nutella in the double boiler until it is liquified. When the ice cream is done churning, mix in the pecans. The best way to add the nutella is by layering. As you are packing the soft ice cream into its freezer container, drizzle in layers of melted nutella. Once you have finished, allow your ice cream to set in the freezer for at least 3 hours. Ice cream that includes alcohol will be VERY soft. Make sure you allow it to deep freeze before serving.
I recommend serving this ice cream, and others that include rich alcohol flavors in small portions. A little will go a long way, so try serving it in one or two small scoop portions.
Hello. I'm Mary Helen
Comfort food, healthy cooking, and ethnic cuisines are my obsessions. As a cook, writer, and culinary instructor these worlds collide in my kitchen on a daily basis.
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