Date Orange Almond Ice Cream (#48)

9 02 2013

This week’s flavour features a sticky favourite: dates.  Dates are the fruit of date palm trees.  They are commonly used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking and often paired with orange, almond, and honey flavours.  How about rolling all of these flavours into one ice cream?  I figured an orange-honey base with chopped dates and toasted sliced almonds would be a fantastic combination.

dried dates, Medjool dates

Sweet sticky dates

Dates are a bit sticky to work with, so here are few tips:

1) To prevent the dates from sticking to your knife while chopping, lightly coat your knife with some oil or cooking spray.

2) To prevent the chopped dates from sticking together in one big clump when you’re churning them into the ice cream, soak them overnight in a bit of hot water and Grand Marnier.  (The Grand Marnier optional, but it will infuse the dates with a subtle orange flavour.)

Results?  Yum!  The soft, sticky dates contrasted really well with the crunch of the flaky almonds, and the orange-honey flavours were perfectly balanced.  Using honey as a sweetener also made the ice cream super scoopable.  Bookmark this recipe — it’s the perfect dessert to finish a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean-themed dinner!

Date Orange Almond Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

3/4 cup chopped dried dates
2 tablespoons of hot water
1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier (or substitute an extra tablespoon of hot water)
2 eggs
2/3 cup honey
A pinch of sea salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
Juice and finely chopped zest of one large orange
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

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Tawari Honey Ice Cream (#9)

10 05 2012

The other morning I came to work to find on my desk a paper bag with a sticky note: Enjoy!  Leah.  Ooooh, a surprise on a Monday morning!  My week is off to a great start already.

Monday morning surprise on my desk!

Inside the bag was a beautiful jar of Tawari honey.

Jar of honey, Tawari honey, New Zealand honey

What a gorgeous colour!

Leah (my co-worker) and I had gone for lunch on Friday.  That day, I learned that she is quite the honey connoisseur.  She typically has at least six different varieties of honey at home, each with a unique taste (e.g. floral, fruity, herbal, spicy, or earthy) and each intended for specific pairings or culinary uses.  Over the weekend, she had stopped at the Honeybee Centre, a honey farm in Surrey BC, to restock her pantry and she was nice enough to pick up a jar for me to enjoy.

Tawari honey is produced from the beautiful white flowers of the Tawari tree, which grows only in New Zealand.  It has a mild, sweet, butterscotch taste and is often used as a topping for ice cream.  But rather than using the honey as just a drizzle on ice cream, I figured it should work its way into the ice cream.

As noted in my earlier post on Calamondin and Honey Ice Cream, using honey as a sweetener results in an extremely scoopable, malleable, almost chewy ice cream.  With summer farmer’s markets now in full swing, why not pick up a few different varieties of honey and experiment?

Tawari Honey Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
2/3 cup Tawari honey, plus some extra for drizzling (or substitute any other honey of your choice)
A pinch of sea salt
3 cups half-and-half cream

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Calamondin and Honey Ice Cream (#3)

27 03 2012

Mystery ingredient of the week: Calamondin oranges

It’s harvest time in my boss’s office.  You will recall last week, my boss gave me a Meyer lemon off one of the plants in his office, which made its way into a batch of Meyer Lemon Ice Cream.  This week, I found a number of Calamondin oranges on my desk, also from one of his plants.  I feel like I’m on an episode of Chopped: here’s your mystery ingredient… now go!  Make some ice cream!

Calamondins are new to me.  Also known as Calamansi or Kalamansi, they are a small citrus fruit reminiscent of kumquats.  They have a thin edible rind, puckering bite, and are quite intense in flavour.  The fruit is indigenous to the Phillippines, where it is used in cooking as a flavouring, marinade, or condiment.  It is also often mixed with honey and served over ice as a refreshing drink — perfect inspiration for an ice cream recipe.

Using honey (rather than sugar) made for a lusciously smooth and scoopable ice cream — I will definitely try to incorporate honey into more of my ice cream recipes.  The flavour of the Calmondins was apparent, but not overwhelming.  If you can’t find Calamondin oranges, kumquats could probably be substituted with similar results.

Calamondin & Honey Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 quart)

For the Calamondin syrup:

2/3 cup water
1/3 cup mild honey
1/2 cup finely chopped Calamondin oranges, plus their juice

For the ice cream:

2 eggs
1/3 cup mild honey
Pinch sea salt
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup whipping cream

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