Sunday, October 3, 2010

Adventures with the Ice Cream Maker: Flavors of Fall

One of the best recipes we have ever made from Dorie is Applesauce Spice Bars, which are unbelievable and perfect for fall. You know what else is perfect for fall? Ice cream. But no, Sarah, you insist, ice cream is perfect for summer. To which I reply, Shut up, ice cream is for all seasons, you fascist.

I got an ice cream maker this month. Great excitement, except that it has not really been functioning as expected. The problem is that it doesn't churn the ice cream, which I guess defeats the purpose of having an ice cream maker. I'm going to try one more time, since I promised my friend Emily some coffee ice cream, and then I'm going to send it back to the manufacturer if it doesn't work. But enough griping, on to the recipe.

What would go well with applesauce spice bars? I wondered. Perhaps something that brings out the subtle caramel-y flavors in the bars. Burnt sugar ice cream! Leave it Dorie to improve on perfection. Even though the ice cream didn't churn to my satisfaction (at all) and it ended up with a more sorbet-like texture, it was amazing. Dorie describes the flavor as "intense," which is precisely the right adjective, and though she recommends pairing it with something bland for that reason, I found that it went beautifully with the bars. My one note for the recipe: when she says not to worry about the caramel sticking to the bottom of the pot, listen to her! I spent so much time trying to scrape it off the bottom with my spoon as I mixed and ended up splashing custard all over the kitchen! Oh no! Trust me, once you taste this ice cream, you'll want to have as much custard as possible.

Rebecca also made this ice cream and you can check out her post here.

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream
From "Baking From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Stir the sugar and water together in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil, without stirring, until the syrup turns a deep amber color--from time to time, brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and swirl the pan. (Depending on the size of your pan and the intensity of the heat, it could take about 8 minutes for the caramel to color properly.)

Stand back--things can get a little wild--lower the heat and add the milk and cream. Don't be concerned when everything bubbles and seethes and the caramel hardens; it will calm down and smooth out as you heat and stir. Continue to heat and stir and when the mixture is smooth, remove the pan from the heat.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks and salt together until blended and just slightly thickened. Still whisking, drizzle in about one third of the hot liquid--this will temper, or warm, the yolks. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining liquid. Pour the custard back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring without stopping, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon; if you run your finger down the bowl of the spoon, the custard should not run into the track. the custard should reach at least 170 degrees F, but no more than 180 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the custard into a 2-quart liquid measuring cup or clean heatproof bowl. Stir in vanilla extract.

Refrigerate the custard until chilled before churning it into ice cream.

Scrape the chilled custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pack the ice cream into a container and freeze it for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop.

Makes about 1 1/2 pints.

Serving: If the ice cream is very firm, allow it to sit on the counter for a few minutes before scooping or warm it in a microwave oven using 5-second spurts of heat.

Storing: Packed tightly in a covered container, the ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

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