Monday, June 21, 2010

Make Your Own Ice Cream Cake

As I've mentioned before, my husband loves ice cream cake.  And for ten years I've dutifully purchased said ice cream cake for all his celebratory occasions.   But it kills my foodie sensibilities to buy one at the grocery store.  So, sorry honey, the honeymoon is over because I just can't restrain myself anymore.  MUST. MAKE. HOMEMADE. ICE CREAM CAKE. 

I'm keeping all the elements he loves, a crunchy cookie bottom, a fudgy layer and a creamy, marshmallowy layer on top.  This Father's Day I'm hoping to convert him over to the dark side.  If it doesn't work, we've got a stack of presents to make it up to him.  Update:  He loved it even more than the store bought ice cream cake of his childhood.  My evil plan has succeeded.  Today ice cream cake, tomorrow the world!

I went with an Oreo theme with my crust and ice creams.  I may try a Coffee ice cream and Butter Pecan combo next time around.  Even a Neopolitan would be cute, one layer each of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.

Recipe Note: I did not frost the sides of my cake but I think I may next time.  Also, once you unmold and cut the cake: keep the cake on the springform bottom but put the whole thing inside of a 10 or 11 inch round cake pan to keep any leftovers to the freezer. In other words, you won't be able to reattach the sides of the springform pan and the cake pan will catch any melting ice cream.

Do-It-Yourself Ice Cream Cake
Serves 12

1 9 oz. pkg of chocolate wafer cookies
4T salted butter, melted
2t sugar
2 gallons of ice cream (I used Mint Cookie and Cookies and Cream)
1 14.5 oz. jar of Dove fudge sauce
8 oz.  of marshmallow fluff
1 pint of heavy cream
1/2 pkg. of Oreo cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. Process wafer cookies in a food processor until reduced to crumbs.  Add in sugar and melted butter.  Stir with a fork to combine. 
3. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake crust in oven for 8 minutes.  Let cool.
4. Soften first flavor of ice cream.  I used the paddle attachment and my stand mixer.  (Please note, this turned my mint cookie ice cream sort of grayish in color from the cookies mixing throughout the green ice cream.  Lesson learned: If you care, use a spatula and do it by hand instead.) You want the ice cream spreadable, but not melted.  Layer ice cream over cooled crust.  Add a layer of crushed Oreos and freeze for 30 minutes.
5. Warm the fudge sauce by placing a jar of it in a small pan of simmering water on the stove.  You want the fudge sauce merely spreadable, not hot!
6. Working quickly, spread fudge sauce over bottom ice cream layer.  Refreeze for at least 30 minutes.
7. Soften second flavor of ice cream in mixer and spread it over the fudge layer. Refreeze. 
8. Using the whisk attachment, whip the pint of heavy cream until you have stiff peaks.  Gently fold in the marshmallow fluff until well combined.
9.  Spread the marshmallow fluff/whipped cream layer over the last ice cream layer and return to freezer.  You will have leftover fluff/cream.  If you wish, you can use this to frost the sides of the cake after you unmold it from the springform pan.
10. When ready to serve, defrost for 5-10 minutes.  Then run a sharp knife around the edges of your springform pan and release sides of the pan. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gin and Tonic Sorbet

Nothing says summer like a Gin & Tonic.  Well, sunburn, mosquito bites, humidity, those say summer too.  But a G & T says summer in a better way.

I've done sorbets with white wine, red wine, with limoncello, so why not gin and tonic?  This could not be simpler but is such an unusual surprise to any one who tries it.   This sorbet can be a dessert, a slushy cocktail or a refreshing palate cleanser between courses during a dinner party.

Gin and Tonic Sorbet

1/2 c water
1/2 c sugar
1 lime zested, then juiced
2 1/2 c tonic water
4 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin

1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan.  Heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved into the water.  Set aside to cool.
2.  Once sugar syrup is cooled, add lime zest, lime juice, tonic water and gin.  Taste and see if you want more lime or more tonic, etc.  Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
3.  Use your ice cream maker as directed.  The consistency will still look slushy when it is done mixing. Transfer into a container and freeze until ready to serve.

*Note: If you don't have an ice cream maker, freeze the liquid in a wide, shallow container and every half hour take two forks and scrape them across the frozen top to create a granita-like consistency.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Fruit Pavlova

Don't you just want to dive into that face first?  Or maybe that's just me.  This is a great summer dessert because it's light and you can use any kind of summer fruit.  You can even do it without the sauce, just fruit, whipped cream and meringue.

This is also a great solution for how to use up those eight egg whites you have leftover from the latest yolk-only baking project.  Or maybe that's just me.  And it's purty.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.  I love her.  Her recipes always work and they are elegant enough for a dinner party but still homey, comforting and delicious.  I want to be her when I grow up.  Or at least inherit her house, after all she has no children to pass it on to.  Hi Aunt Ina!

One note: Meringues do not do well on a humid day.  Yah, I know I just described most summer days.  Anyway, keep in mind you'll be tempting fate if you try to execute this on a muggy day, ya rebels.
Because of tempramental meringue, this is a "eat it the day you make it" dessert.  I guess that means you're just going to have to polish off whatever is left at midnight.  Or maybe that's just me.

Summer Fruit Pavlova
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
 Serves 6-8 
4 extra-large egg whites, at room temp 
pinch of kosher salt 
1 c sugar
2t cornstarch
1t white wine vinegar
1/2 t vanilla
4 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups blueberries

Whipped Cream:
1 c heavy cream
1T sugar
1t vanilla

 Fruit Sauce:
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 c sugar
12 ounce jar of red fruit jam, I used cherry

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Using a pie or dinner plate, draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment with pencil.  Turn parchment over.  You will be able to see your circle through the paper.  Set aside.
3. Place egg whites and salt in bowl of mixer using the whisk and beat on high until firm, about 1 minutes.
4.  While still mixing on high speed, gradually pour in sugar to egg whites.  Beat until you have firm shiny peaks that stand up, 2-3 minutes. To test this,  detach the whisk then dip it into the meringue and turn upside down.  If your egg whites hold their shape and don't droop you're done.
5. Sift cornstarch into beaten egg whites and add vinegar and vanilla.  Gently fold ingredients with a rubber scraper until mixed.
6. Transfer meringue into to your drawn circle on the parchment. Use an offset spatula to spread meringue to the edges and smooth.
7. Bake for 90 minutes then turn off oven and leave meringue in oven with the door closed for another hour. 
8. Transfer to plate.

Egg whites before baking
Whipping Cream:
9. In mixer beat heavy cream at high speed until it starts to thicken.  Add in sugar and vanilla and continue beating until firm. Chill until ready to serve.

Fruit Sauce:
10.  Mash chopped strawberries with 1/4 c sugar.  Transfer to a small saucepan.
11. Add in fruit jam and bring to a boil.  Simmer over low heat until mixture is bubbly and fruit has softened.
12. Once cooked, pour the mixture into a food processor and process until smooth.  Chill.

To Assemble:
13. Spoon whipped cream onto meringue disk, leaving a one inch border of meringue all around.
14. Mound your strawberries and blueberries on top of whipped cream.
15.  Spoon chilled fruit sauce over the pavlova.  Serve immediately.

Cooked meringue topped with whipped cream

With berries and sauce