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Archive for Ice Cream/Sorbet/Yogurt

TIP OF THE DAY: Snow Cream (Snow Ice Cream)

AN ANCIENT TREAT

Although the crank ice cream freezer wasn’t invented until 1843, and the first large-scale commercial ice cream plant in 1851, research shows that ice cream was first created in the cold regions of China more than 4,000 years ago. There, milk and cream, perhaps some overcooked rice, and spices were packed in snow to harden.

Fruit ices were also developed, prepared with fruit juices, honey and aromatic spices. Snow and saltpeter served as an ancient ice cream maker to freeze ingredients in a container.

Through trade routes, the frozen desserts were introduced to Persia about 2,500 years ago. The Persians called the frozen concoction sharbat, “fruit ice” in Arabic and the origin of sherbet, sorbet and sorbetto.

Alexander the Great, who battled the Persians for 10 years before finally toppling the Persian Empire in 330 B.C.E., discovered fruit “ices” sweetened with honey and chilled with snow. He returned to Greece with the knowledge; and within three centuries, Emperor Nero was serving fruit juices mixed with honey and snow at his banquets.

Here’s more on the history of ice cream.

Turn history into fun: With the next fresh snowfall, you, too can make sharbat—or snow ice cream, also called snow cream. Transport yourself back to ancient China, or to Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia. (Nero’s banquets? Maybe not so safe!)

First up is a simple recipe from Julie Blanner for strawberry snow cream, ready in just three minutes.

RECIPE: SNOW ICE CREAM (SNOW CREAM)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Strawberry Nesquik*
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups clean snow
  • Optional garnish: fresh or frozen/thawed strawberries
  •  
    *Instead of Nesquik, you can purée frozen strawberries and add sweetener as desired.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the Nesquik and milk, and pour over the snow. Blend as desired.
     
    RECIPE: SHARBAT

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • 2 cups clean snow
  • Optional sweetener: agave or honey
  •  
    Prepare as above.
     
    Variations

  • Sweeteners: try whatever you like, from honey and maple syrup to lower-glycemic sweeteners like agave and sucralose (Splenda).
  • Flavors: Instead of fruit or juice, add an extract to the snow: coffee, lemon, mint, vanilla, etc.
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    Ice Cream

    Making Snow Cream

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    Top photos: An ancient recipe with modern decorations, and the preparation process, from GimmeSomeOven.com. Bottom: Strawberry snow ice cream from Julie Blanner.

  • Milk type: You can use almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and other nondairy options; and can add more flavor with the flavored varieties (chocolate, coffee, green tea, vanilla, etc.).
  •  
    DIFFERENT TYPES OF FROZEN DESSERTS

    Ice cream and sorbet are just two types of frozen desserts. Discover more in our Frozen Desserts Glossary

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Easy Rum Raisin Ice Cream

    Haagen-Dazs Rum Raisin Ice Cream

    Haagen-Dazs Rum Raisin Pint

    Look for it in stores or make your own Rum Raisin ice cream. Photos courtesy Häagen-Dazs.

     

    Our favorite Thanksgiving ice cream flavor is not Pumpkin, but Rum Raisin. It’s an old-fashioned flavor that seems very American (as rum was produced close to home, in the Caribbean). Actually, its roots are in Sicily; the history is below.

    It’s easy to make Rum Raisin from basic Vanilla ice cream:

    Marinate the raisins overnight in rum and sugar. Drain and stir the raisins into softened vanilla ice cream. Return the ice cream to the freezer to harden.

    Even easier: Use the rum-soaked raisins as a topping on vanilla ice cream, or interspersed in a parfait.

    TIP: We usually have a jar of rum-soaked raisins in the fridge, and give jars of it as gifts. It’s better visually to mix purple and golden raisins (sultanas). For Christmas, we add some dried cranberries; and also make a separate concoction of dried cranberries in a mix of rum and cranberry liqueur. All versions are delicious in a cup of hot tea.

    If you want to make Rum Raisin Ice Cream from scratch, here’s a recipe from Saveur.
     
    FAVORITE PAIRINGS WITH RUM RAISIN ICE CREAM

    It’s so much more special than vanilla ice cream, with:

  • Apple pies and tarts
  • Sundaes and waffle sundaes with caramel or hot fudge
  •  
    Use the marinated raisins themselves as a topping on:

  • Bread puddings
  • Poached pears, compotes and other cooked fruit dishes
  • Rice pudding and other puddings
  •  

    THE HISTORY OF RUM RAISIN

    In Sicily, where it originated, what we call Rum Raisin is known as Málaga. The Sicilians were the first to create Rum Raisin gelato, which was originally made with the local Marsala wine instead of rum.

    The raisins were soaked overnight in the wine and then mixed into vanilla gelato*. The sweet Málaga raisins with a burst of alcohol were a hit, and led to Rum Raisin/Málaga flavors in other desserts. Bread puddings, cakes (especially fruit cakes and pound cakes), cookies, custards, pastries, pies and puddings were all enhanced with rum-soaked raisins.

    A grass originally from the the Pacific islands of Melanesia and Polynesia, sugar cane was introduced to the Caribbean in 1493 by Christopher Columbus [sugar history and source].

    By the 17th century, the Caribbean had become the major source of sugar for the West. Molasses is a by-product of refining the cane juice into sugar. Rum was first made from fermented and distilled molasses, most likely on the island of Barbados, where plantation slaves discovered that molasses could be fermented into an alcoholic beverage and then distilled to remove its impurities.

    Fast forward to ice cream: As flavors proliferated in the U.S., rum-soaked raisins were as much a hit as they had been in Italy (the history of ice cream).

    According to FoodTimeline.org, alcohol and ice cream were “pondered in the 18th century; commercially achieved in the USA during the 1930s.” A 1932 newspaper display ad in the Ardmore [Oklahoma] Daily Admoreite of January 14, 1932 declared, “Extra Special. Rum Raisin Ice Cream. Entirely New.” In 1970, President and Mrs. Richard Nixon gave a dinner in honor of President and Madame Georges Pompidou of France, which included pistachio and rum raisin ice creams in the shape of a melon.”

    In the early 1980s, Häagen-Dazs made sure almost all Americans could taste Rum Raisin, by launching the flavor—its fifth, after chocolate, coffee, strawberry and vanilla. It became a hit, but the company now has 24 basic ice cream flavors plus 9 gelato flavors, 7 artisan flavors and 4 sorbets. As a result, Rum Raisin has become a fall season flavor.

    But, just keep that jar of rum-soaked raisins in the fridge and vanilla ice cream in the freezer, and you can have it whenever you want.
     
    *The difference between gelato and ice cream.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Meyer Lemons

    Meyer Lemons

    A profusion of Meyer lemons at Good Eggs |
    San Francisco.

     

    You should start seeing Meyer lemons in stores now. The no-pucker lemon’s season is November through March.

    A cross between a true lemon and either a sweet orange or a mandarin, Citrus × meyeri was named for Frank Nicholas Meyer, who brought it back from China in 1908. Meyer worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an “agricultural explorer,” traveling the world to find new foods that might be desirable in America.

    The Chinese had long been growing the lemon variety in pots, as ornamental trees. Meyer lemon trees thus were planted in California yards, and the fruit was enjoyed by the home owners.

    Meyer lemons became a hot food item when they were “rediscovered” by Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in the 1990s. Other chefs and personalities like Martha Stewart began featuring them in recipes; groves were planted and the fruits began to arrive in markets.

    The benefit is yours.

     
    THE DELIGHTS OF MEYER LEMONS

    Meyer lemons are much sweeter and more flavorful than the Bearss and Lisbon varieties commonly found in American grocery stores (here are the different types of lemons). They have much less acid, which is why the juice is sweeter and brighter.

    While they are smaller than the Bearss and Lisbon lemons, they are much juicier with a very thin (and edible) peel, and can even deliver more juice per lemon.

    And their fragrance is beguiling.

     

    GROW YOUR OWN MEYER LEMONS

    You can buy ornamental dwarf Meyer lemon trees to keep in pots indoors or on the patio. Planted in the ground, they can grow to heights of eight feet. Check out the options at:

  • BrighterBlooms.com
  • LemonCitrusTree.com
  • NatureHills.com
  •  
    The trees produce lovely white blossoms before they fruit, and have glossy leaves year-round. Consider one for your own home or for gifting.
     
    HOW TO USE MEYER LEMONS

  • Lemonade without the pucker (and just a bit of sugar required)
  • Cocktails, spritzers and lemon water
  • Cakes, pies and other baked goods
  • Ice cream, sorbet, pudding
  • Marmalade, lemon curd
  •  

    Meyer Lemon Tree

    This fragrant tree can grace any home. We’d love to receive one as a gift. Photo courtesy BrighterBlooms.com.

  • In any recipe that calls for lemon juice and/or peel: chicken, ham, fish and seafood, vegetables, salads, etc.
  •  
    Here are 30+ ways we use Meyer lemons, plus a recipe for Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc. You can also peruse these recipes from Sunset.com.

    Perhaps our favorite Meyer lemon recipe:

    RECIPE: MEYER LEMON SORBET

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ZEST all the lemons and save the extra (it freezes well). You can add it to salad dressings, baked goods, anything.

    2. BRING the sugar and the water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice and zest; stir to combine.

    3. POUR the mixture into the canister of a 1-quart ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 25-30 minutes). Transfer to a freezer container and freeze for 4 hours or longer.

    4. SET the container on the counter to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

      

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    PRODUCTS: Biscotti & Ice Cream In Holiday Flavors

    This time of year, supermarkets are filling with limited edition seasonal items, from Red Velvet Oreos to Starbucks Holiday Blend to Pumpkin Spice Coffee-Mate.

    We don’t indulge in any of them; but here are some of the treats we look forward to each holiday season:

    HOLIDAY ICE CREAM & SORBET FLAVORS

    At Ciao Bella, you can sink your spoon into three holiday flavors.

  • Honey Almond Nougat Gelato blends honey almond torrone and roasted almonds in a base that does approximate torrone flavor. It’s great idea, but our pint seemed to be lacking in the almond torrone. There were plenty of almonds, however.
  • Mulled Apple Cider Sorbetto is a very cinnamon-imbued apple cider sorbet. This tasty sorbetto called out to us to be made into some kind of cocktail. We took the easy way out and scooped it into glasses of hard apple cider—a hard cider float.
  • White Chocolate Peppermint Gelato churns crushed peppermint candies into white chocolate Gelato. Peppermint ice cream is one of our favorite seasonal foods. We could have wished for more crushed inclusions; although those who like a less heavy dose of peppermint will be satisfied.
  •  
    Discover more a CiaoBellaGelato.com.

    From Talenti, get your fill of:

  • Pumpkin Pie Gelato: brown sugar, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices with real pieces of pie crust. It inspired us to spoon the gelato into tartlet shells for even more crust. (Ice cream tartlets is a good idea for any of these holiday flavors.)
  • Old World Eggnog Gelato is pretty close to a frozen eggnog experience, laden with nutmeg. We enjoyed it from the pint, spooned into hot chocolate, and in a cocktail made with rum and ginger beer, a kind of Dark & Stormy Eggnog. Did we mention it tastes great with hot fudge?
  • Peppermint Bark Gelato puts all the peppermint into the gelato, and studs it with flakes of semisweet Callebaut chocolate. It’s so refreshing, we ate the whole pint.
  •    

    ciaobella-2015-mulledapplecdersorbetto-239

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    TOP PHOTO: Holiday sorbetto from Ciao Bella. BOTTOM PHOTO: Peppermint Bark gelato from Talenti. Talenti has styled the top of the gelato with tiny edible evergreens and sleds.

     
    Discover more at TalentiGelato.com.

     

    Nonni-Pumpkin-Spice-Biscotti-popsugar-230

    Pumpkin Spice biscotti are a seasonal hit.
    Photo courtesy Nonni’s.

     

    HOLIDAY BISCOTTI FLAVORS

    Nonni’s Biscotti, which produces delectable seasonal biscotti in limited edition Gingerbread and Pumpkin Spice, has added two new holiday flavors this year.

  • Caramel Apple Biscotti is a bit on the sweet side. We’ll stick with the Salted Caramel Biscotti, a year-round flavor and a favorite.
  • Cranberry Cioccolati Biscotti adds bits of dried cranberry to the year-round chocolate-dipped Cioccolati Biscotti. We’re a fan, but next year, Nonni, please add more or bigger cranberry pieces.
  •  
    You can give eight-piece boxes as holiday gifts, enjoy them with your holiday ice cream, or with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. We won’t put into print how many we’ve polished off in the writing of this article.

    Discover more at Nonnis.com.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Café Liégeois

    We made this recipe yesterday, for National Coffee Day.

    Instead of our favorite after-dinnner coffee—a steaming cup of French or Italian roast with a shot of coffee liqueur, substituting for dessert—we celebrated with a Café Liégeois (lee-eh-ZHWAH). It’s a parfait with layers of iced coffee, ice cream and whipped cream (which is called chantilly—shon-tee-YEE—in French).

    We highly recommend it as an easy-to-make dessert for coffee (and especially iced coffee) lovers.

    While the original recipe does not contain alcohol, no one is stopping you from adding a shot of coffee, chocolate or vanilla liqueur.

    If you don’t have parfait or sundae dishes, use what you do have: beer glasses, wine goblets, any tall glasses, glass mugs. You can even make the recipe in conventional coffee cups, although part of the eye appeal is looking at the layers through glass.

    RECIPE: CAFÉ LIÉGEOIS

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 1 cup iced coffee, black or lightly sweetened
  • 2 scoops coffee ice cream
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Optional liqueur
  •    

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    A modern variation of Café Liégois. Photo courtesy Benoit Bistro | NYC.

  • Optional garnish: crushed roasted coffee beans or chocolate-covered coffee beans, shaved chocolate
  •  
    Variation

  • Add a layer of cubed brownies, pound cake, or crumbled cookies.
  • The Chocolate Liégeois replaces coffee ice cream with chocolate ice cream for a mocha effect.
  • In the photo above, Philipe Bertineau, pastry chef at Benoit Bistro in New York City does his own take: coffee granité, chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
  •  

    chocolate-Liegeois-keehuachee.blogspot.com-230

    Chocolate Liégois. Photo courtesy Relais de l’Entrecôte | Hong Kong via Kee Hua Chee.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the coffee and refrigerate. Also refrigerate or freeze the dishes or glasses. When ready to serve…

    2. FILL each dish or glass with ice cream and pour over the iced coffee and the optional liqueur. Add the whipped cream, garnish as desired and serve immediately.

     
    THE HISTORY OF CAFÉ LIÉGOIS

    According to Wikipedia, Café Liégeois did not originate in Liège, Belgium; it was originally known in France as Café Viennois (vee-en-WAH), Viennese Coffee.

    Following the Battle of Liège in World War I, in which the city of Liège put up a resistance to the advancing German army with its Austrian-made guns—Paris’s cafés changed the name of the dessert from Viennois to Liégeois. Curiously, notes Wikipedia, in Liège itself, the dessert continued to be known as Café Viennois for a while.

     
     
    PARFAIT VS. SUNDAE: THE DIFFERENCE

    In the U.S., both ice cream desserts are made from the same ingredients. The difference is in how the ingredients are presented.

  • An American parfait shows its ingredients in layers: ice cream, syrup, fruit. It is traditionally served in a tall, narrow, short-stemmed glass, and topped with whipped cream.
  • A traditional sundae dish is a wider, tulip shape with a scalloped rim. First ice cream is scooped into the dish, and it is topped with syrups, fruits, wet walnuts and crowned with whipped cream a maraschino cherry (today a fresh strawberry is often substituted). Crushed nuts and sprinkles can also be added. The sundae was invented in the U.S. Here’s the history of ice cream.
  • A French parfait differs from the American version. It is a frozen dessert made by folding fruits, nuts and/or other ingredients into whipped cream or egg custard—more like a semifreddo or frozen soufflé. See the different types of ice cream.
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