Red Velvet Ice Cream (#49)

13 02 2013

Red.  This week is all about red.  First off, we rang in the Year of the Snake for Chinese New Year on Sunday.  In Chinese culture, the colour red symbolizes good fortune and joy.  During the 15 days Chinese New Year is celebrated, red envelopes, red lanterns, red paper-cuts, and other red decor abound.

And then there’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  Definitely not a day I’m rah rah rah about, but an occasion that many enjoy.  Red hearts, red roses, red, red, red all around.  A red ice cream is befitting for this week.

Back in Week #39, I made the most gorgeous red ice cream: Beet and Orange Ice Cream.  I’ve been racking my brain all week trying to figure out what other intensely red ice cream recipe I can develop.  I was inspired by the idea of Red Velvet Cake — layers of red-tinged chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting — but after poking around online, I realized that Red Velvet Cake recipes typically call for a ridiculous amount of red food colouring to tint the cake red.  Some recipes call for a WHOLE BOTTLE of colouring!  Adding chemicals to my ice cream recipes is the last thing I want to do!  Fortunately, I came across Bake Cakery’s post on Red Velvet Cake made with beets.  This was the perfect inspiration to use beets in another ice cream recipe and in a way that will lead to a completely different taste.  Beets + cocoa + cream cheese = all natural Red Velvet Ice Cream bliss!

I used 1.5 cup of grated beets in this recipe (compared to the 2 cups used in my Beet and Orange Ice Cream recipe) to make sure the taste of beets would not be overwhelming.  A 1/4 cup of natural cocoa powder introduces just enough of a chocolatey taste to the ice cream, and half a brick of cream cheese pays tribute to the cream cheese frosting traditionally used to frost a Red Velvet Cake while adding a subtle tang.

grated beets

Instead of using red food colouring to tint the ice cream red, this recipe uses grated beets!

The ice cream turned out reddish-brown — definitely not the same luscious red as my Beet and Orange Ice Cream or the deep garnet colour of a traditional Red Velvet Cake made with food colouring.  I was a little disappointed in the colour, but it was a small price to pay to not add any food colouring to the recipe.  If you want your Red Velvet Ice Cream to have a more brilliant red colour, go ahead, add a few drops.  Your secret is safe with me!

Red Velvet Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

1.5 cups grated beets
1/2 cup water
125 g cream cheese
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
Juice of half a lemon
3 cups half-and-half cream, divided
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
Pinch of salt Read the rest of this entry »





Purple Yam and Coconut Ice Cream (#45-D/E)

18 01 2013

This week’s recipe features another tuber: the purple yam.  Purple yams are commonly used in the Philippines, where they are known as ube.  In North America, you can buy purple yams at most Asian green grocers.  You can also find them in some conventional grocery stores, alongside potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Purple yams have a reddish-brown skin and the most delightful purple insides.

purple yam, purple sweet potato, ube

Look at this gorgeous colour!

Purple yam and coconut are a common combination in Filipino desserts, such as ube macapuno cake and halo halo.  With this in mind, I thought I’d give purple yam and coconut ice cream a try.

This is a super simple ice cream recipe.  You puree peeled and boiled yams with some coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt and – ta da! –  your custard is done and ready for chilling.  Yes, finally, another dairy-free and egg-free ice cream recipe!

I had a bit of a chuckle as I was pouring the custard into the ice cream maker.  It was super thick and goopy because of the richness of the coconut milk and the starch in the yams, and the colour reminded me of McDonald’s Grimace character.  As for taste, the Official Taster claims it’s “gentle”.  Huh???  I will interpret that to mean “an ice cream with a soft, pillowy texture, wonderful coconut flavour, and subtle undertones of purple yam”.

Keep in mind this ice cream freezes up quite hard overnight.  Enjoy it as soon as it is chilled to serving consistency.  If you need to freeze it longer, give it a good 15 to 20 minutes on the counter to warm up before scooping.

Purple Yam and Coconut Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

2 cups of purple yams, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 – 13.5 oz (400 ml) can coconut milk
1.5 cup soy milk (or substitute dairy milk)
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of sea salt

  1. Place the yams into a medium-sized sauce pan, cover with water, and bring to boil.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the yams are fork tender.  Drain the yams, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Tip the yams and the reserved cooking water into a blender and puree until smooth.

    Purple yam puree, purple sweet potato puree, ube puree

    Purple yam puree

  3. Add the coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and salt into the blender.  Puree until very smooth.
  4. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  5. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Purple yam coconut ice cream, purple yam ice cream, ube ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Gentle.”





Sweet Potato and Kahlua Ice Cream (#44)

10 01 2013

Ahhh, sweet potatoes!  Packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibre, these bad boys are one of my favourite superfoods.  They were on sale last week, so I bought a big pile.

Yams

Sweet potatoes are one of my favourite superfoods.

I baked the sweet potatoes with every intention of eating them plain as I usually do, but then I thought, hey, why not incorporate them into this week’s ice cream recipe?  I’ve tried a few veggie ice cream recipes now — Mint and Peas Ice Cream, Carrot Cake Ice Cream, and Beet and Orange Ice Cream — so Sweet Potato Ice Cream should hardly be considered weird!

Baked sweet potato, baked yam

Fresh out of the oven and oozing with sweetness!

So I peeled them, tipped them into the blender, and stirred the silky orange puree into a basic custard along with a few spoonfuls of Kahlua.  Results?  This was an interesting one.  The taste of the sweet potato and the Kahlua were both fairly subtle, emerging only after the third or fourth bite.  As with the Beet and Orange Ice Cream, I found I really had to focus to figure out what flavours I was tasting.  The ice cream was also surprisingly not very sweet, considering I used my standard 3/4 cup of sugar and also had the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes.  Depending on your tastes, you might want to the increase the sugar to 1 cup or give the ice cream an extra drizzle of Kahlua or maple syrup.

Sweet Potato and Kahlua Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

3 medium or 5 small orange sweet potatoes (enough to yield 1.5 cups of baked sweet potato puree)
3 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Scrub the sweet potatoes under cold running water.  Prick the potatoes a few times to let steam release while baking.  Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until soft when pierced with a fork.  Let cool.
  2. Peel the skin off the sweet potatoes.  Tip the potatoes into a blender and puree until smooth.  Measure out 1.5 cups of puree.  Set aside.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  4. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream and the salt.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  6. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining cup of the half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  7. When the custard is cool, whisk in the sweet potato puree and the Kahlua.
  8. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  9. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Sweet potato and kahlua ice cream, sweet potato pie ice cream

The Official Taster says: “This is a slow-release taste ice cream. “





Beet and Orange Ice Cream (#39)

6 12 2012

Nature creates some pretty amazing things  Take beets for instance.  A humble root vegetable with an impossibly beautiful fuschia colour.  Surely it’d make gorgeous ice cream.

If the idea of beet ice cream sounds downright weird to you, it’s probably because you are thinking of pickled beets.  No, no!  This recipe uses fresh beets, which have a fresh, natural sweetness.

beets, beetroots, farmers market

Fresh beets at the farmers market earlier this year.

Chopped beets are gently simmered, whirled into a luscious puree, then mixed into a basic custard along with some fresh orange juice and orange zest to brighten the flavour.  The taste of beets in the finished ice cream is rather subtle.  Unless you’re told or unless you have a very discerning palette, you might not even know there are beets in this recipe.  I brought samples to work and one taster thought the flavour could have passed for cherry.  Another thought it tasted like a Creamsicle.  The Official Taster LOVED this ice cream, mainly for its complex flavour.  Personally, I was more interested in the colour of the ice cream than its taste.  The custard is a glossy hot pink (I want to paint a feature wall with this colour!) and freezes to an intense, matte red.

If you’re a beet lover, you should definitely make this ice cream.  If you’re not, try this recipe anyway for the novelty factor!

Beet and Orange Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

2 cups finely chopped beets
1/2 cup water
3 cups half-and-half cream, divided
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
Juice of one orange
Finely chopped zest of one orange

  1. In a small saucepan, simmer the beets in the water and 1/2 c cup of the half-and-half until they are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Tip the beets and the liquid into a blender and puree until smooth.  Set aside.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  4. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  6. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining 1/2 c cup of the half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  7. When the custard is cool, whisk in the beet puree, orange zest, and orange juice.
  8. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  9. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Beet orange ice cream

The Official Taster says: “I LOVE it!  It starts off citrusy and sweet, and then you can taste the beet.”





Carrot Cake Ice Cream (#21)

2 08 2012

The last few weeks have been all about light and fresh summer fruit flavours, so a warm and cozy flavour like carrot cake might seem a little bit out of place in August.  But this flavour is in honour of my co-worker Greg, who is getting married this weekend!  When I learned a few months ago that he and his fiancee were choosing carrot cake as one of their wedding cake flavours, I pre-scheduled Carrot Cake Ice Cream for Week #21.  It’s an unusual ice cream flavour, but with carrots as cute as these at the local markets, who can’t resist picking up a couple of bunches and creating some carrot cake ice cream awesomeness with them?!

bunches of fresh carrots

Carrots galore!

Similar to my Hot Cross Buns Ice Cream recipe, the challenge here was to mimic the taste of carrot cake without churning actual bits of cake into a basic vanilla ice cream.  The recipe needed to balance the myriad of flavours of carrot cake — sweet carrots and raisins, a touch of cinnamon, subtle notes of vanilla, toasty pecans, and tangy cream cheese frosting.  After some tweaking, I arrived at the recipe below.  Out of season or not, it’s delicious.

The Official Taster is taking a break from tasting this week.  Though he enjoyed Week #19’s Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, he has declared he does not want to sample any more ice creams containing cream cheese  (???!!!)  So, this week’s Guest Taster is the groom-to-be himself.  Congratulations Greg, and all the best to you & Darlana!

Carrot Cake Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.5 L)

6 to 10 carrots (depending on size; you’ll need enough to yield 1.5 cups of cooked carrot puree)
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2.5 cups half-and-half cream
125 g cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

  1. Peel and dice the carrots and place into a saucepan.  Add enough water to just cover the carrots.  Add a pinch of sugar.  Bring to a boil and let simmer until the carrots are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Strain the carrots, reserving the cooking water.  Puree the carrots in in a blender with two or three tablespoons of the cooking water until smooth, scraping the sides down as necessary.  Measure out 1.5 cups of carrot puree.  Let cool.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  4. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  5. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly to room temperature.
  6. Place the carrot puree and the cream cheese in the blender.  Add one third of the custard and blend at medium-low speed to combine.  Scrape down the sides.
  7. Add the remaining custard and give everything a good whirl, until the mixture is smooth.
  8. Add the raisins to the mixture and chill overnight in the fridge to allow the raisins to plump up and the flavours to mellow.
  9. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  10. In the final stages of churning, add the toasted pecans.
carrot cake ice cream

Greg, this week’s Guest Taster, says: “Two thumbs up!”





Fresh Mint and Spring Peas Ice Cream (#14)

13 06 2012

Earlier this week, my co-worker Andrew brought me a bunch of fresh mint from his community garden in East Vancouver.

garden fresh mint

Garden fresh mint

Seeing that I had already used mint (albeit in extract form) in a classic ice cream recipe just a couple of weeks ago (Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream #12), an unusual ice cream recipe was once again in order.  Mint and peas can be whirled into a wonderful soup… so, why not in ice cream?

You can buy fresh mint at most produce and grocery stores, but use garden fresh mint for this recipe if you can.  Inhale deeply and it smells so amazingly cooling.  Mint also grows like a weed.  If you don’t already have some in your backyard, chances are, your neighbour does and will gladly invite you over to harvest a bunch.  Fresh shelling peas tend to be a bit harder to come by, unless you hit up your local farmers market at the right time.  If you can’t find any, frozen peas will do just fine.  Frozen vegetables are picked at their peak of ripeness and then immediately flash frozen — they can be more delicious and nutritious than “fresh” veggies that have been sitting around for weeks.

peas

Fresh peas at the Saturday Farmers Market in Portland, Oregon. Sadly, I wasn’t able to bring any back with me to Vancouver.  A trusty bag of Green Giant peas worked just fine for this recipe.

The resultant ice cream is a gorgeous bright green colour that screams Hello, Spring!  Still raising an eyebrow at this flavour?  Don’t.  I assure you it’s a wonderful combination on the palette.  Subtle flavours, refreshing, and with an ever so slightly grainy texture, somewhat reminiscent of Matcha Ice Cream #7.  Try it out for yourself!

Fresh Mint and Spring Peas Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

3 cups of peas (enough to yield 2 cups of puree)
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2  cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 cups half-and-half cream, divided

Read the rest of this entry »








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