Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.

Archive for the ‘Ice Creams/Sorbets’ Category

May 2nd, 2012 by Clarabella

Pistachio Ice Cream

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I have been meaning to make pistachio ice cream for AGES. For as long as I can remember really. So, I finally go around to it. Finally got the nerve to fork out the dough for the pistachios (those little green babies aint cheap!) and finally got the fingers up for the task of much nut shelling. For some reason shelled pistachios are harder to find than the ones in the sharp little shells. Typical.
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I don’t know what it is about pistachios that I like. Or that people in general like so much that they are willing to pay the large price demanded for silly little bags. So here’s a bit of trivia about the pistachio: its originally from Iraq/Iran and has been a food source since 6750BC. The pistachio was supposedly grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon around 700 BC, so its seen some history and been part of an ancient wonder of the world. Impressive. Also, human studies have shown that 32-63 grams per day of pistachio nut can significantly elevate plasma levels of luteinalpha-carotenebeta-carotene, and gamma-tocopherol. No idea what that mans, but hey. It sounds impressive.

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Its pretty much a typical ice cream recipe, consisting of a custard made with cream, milk, egg yolks and sugar. Lots of gentle stirring while the eggy, bubbly mixture slowly turns into a velvety, rich base which could really be used for any ice cream flavour. Just a hint, the mixture expands a lot once the egg yolk mixture has been added to the hot creamy milk, so use a big saucepan to avoid you having to switch over half way through cooking like I did. Its messy. But worth it.

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The roasted, pureed pistachios are added to the custard and the the mix is sieved to smooth it out a bit. It is still a slightly coarse mixture, but with that amount of nuts in it, that isn’t surprising. And I liked the slight texture sensation. It is a gorgeous creamy, nutty ice cream. The only thing I might change next time is that amount of the sugar. I do think it could be dialled back some. Maybe from 400g to 350g, or even 300g. Next time…

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Pistachio Ice Cream

What you will need:

200g unsalted shelled pistachios
400g caster sugar, plus an extra 80g
700ml full-cream milk
300ml double cream
10 large eggs, yolks only (freeze the whites in a couple of batches and use them for meringues)

What to do:

Roast the pistachios by putting them into a dry frying pan over a medium to low heat. Watch them carefully and shake the pan so that the pistachios brown very lightly on all sides. Don’t let them burn.

Put the roasted pistachios into a food processor with 80g of sugar and pulse-chop them as finely as possible.

In a large thick-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk and cream to just below boiling point (you will see bubbles beginning to form at the very edges of the pan). Remove from the heat.

Put the egg yolks and 400g of sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for about 8 minutes, until pale and thick and doubled in volume. Wash the saucepan (this is to remove any milk residue that might be a bit scorched).

Add the warm milk and cream to the egg and sugar mix, beating on the lowest speed.

Return this custard mixture to the clean thick-bottomed pan and cook slowly over a very gentle heat until it coats the back of a spoon; this will take at least 15 boring but worth it minutes.

Remove the custard from the heat, stir in the pistachio paste, and then pour and rub the whole thing through a fine sieve into a bowl.

Leave to cool, then churn in an ice cream machine (in two batches if necessary, as it was for me) until frozen.

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February 24th, 2012 by Clarabella

Caramelised White Chocolate

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I’m back. With a new look, and a new style. Style as in look, and style as in content. My blog is all about me, my food, my work, and my running. I have struggled to keep my blog active over the last few months as my work has kept me busy and after baking all day (I made 19 sponges in 4 hours the other day) I just didn’t feel like all the food-based blogging when I got home. So I have decided to vary things a bit. Blog about food and cooking and baking still, but add variety with work stuff, running stuff and any other stuff that comes to mind. So I hope thats ok. Let me know what you think. I do it for you, my invisible audience.

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So I was home this afternoon. I worked this morning, then I took the pooch running in the woods. 10k later and my legs are feeling it. I am not as fit as I used to be. Its a shame. But I still love it. It was warm today too. Like a whole 12 degrees. I had actual sweat in my hair and all over my t-shirt. could it be the first vestiges of spring? Or is it just mother nature teasing us with the wonderful warmth, just to dump a foot of snow on us again at easter? Who knows. I will enjoy it while it lasts and try not to speculate.  Read the rest of this entry »

October 10th, 2011 by Clarabella

The Best Chocolate Ice Cream in the Universe

No matter how old I get, there is something comforting about ice cream. Something in its cool velvety creaminess that calms my very soul. A little melodramatic you say? Well, it does. And this chocolate ice cream is the epitome of comfort food. I don’t have chocolate ice cream very often. Its never the first flavour that I’ll choose when faced with an ice cream parlour full of options. Normally the vanilla raspberry, the pistachio or the creme brulee flavours get the first look in. But when I came across this recipe quite accidentally while browsing online, something about it spoke to me. It said ‘make me. you won’t regret it’.

Apart from the completed deliciousness of the finished product, the actual making of this ice cream is a divine process. The chocolatey mixture bubbling on the stove will fill your entire house will the blissful aroma of deep, rich, chocolate. It does this to such an extent, that the nice lady coming to pick up her birthday cake, will walk in, sniff, and goo ‘ooooohhhhh, what IS that gorgeous SMELL?’. Its true. It really happened.

 

So, being the rushed-off-my-feet self-employed mad workaholic that I am now, I neglected to take any photos of the making of the ice cream. I am sorry. Truly. Very. Please forgive me. So please settle for a few images of the finished product, and let me assure you that the making of this ice cream, is silly easy, and every sublime scoopful of it will make you smile and forget your worries for as long as it touches your tongue. I promise.

 

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Chocolate Ice Cream

Slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t call for eggs, which makes it suitable for people who are avoiding eggs for various dietary reasons. For best results, sift the cocoa powder to remove any lumps and use good chocolate, one in the range of 55 to 70% cocoa solids.

What you will need: 

1 cup (250 ml) full cream milk
4 teaspoons cornflour
1 cup (250 ml) double cream
1 cup (250 ml) evaporated milk
2/3 cup (130 gr) sugar
1/3 cup (35 gr) good quality cocoa powder
3 ounces (85 gr) dark or milk chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 generous shot of creme de cacao (dark or light)

What to do:

1. Mix a few tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour in a small bowl, until smooth.

2. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the rest of the milk, cream, evaporated milk and sugar. When the mixture comes to a gentle boil, whisk in the cocoa powder, then let it cook at a modest boil for 4 minutes, whisking regularly.

3. After four minutes, whisk in the cornflour/milk mixture then continue to cook for one minute, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened.

4. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate and salt, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla and liqueur.

5. Transfer the ice cream mixture bowl then sit that bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice and a bit of water, and let sit until cool, then refrigerate until cold.

6. Pour the mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker, then freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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April 27th, 2011 by Clarabella

Ginger Ice Cream in a Pecan Cashew Cup

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

So, I have made ice cream and not mousse to go in my cashew and pecan nut containers. I was a disorganised unlucky last minute baker this month. I don’t know how the date snuck up on me. So when it came to tonight and doing it late-ish, I discovered that the maple syrup stocks were pitifully low. Almost non-existant. oops.

Luckily I had planned to make ice cream this week, which is the perfect thing to put in my little pecan/cashew cups, so all was not lost. Read the rest of this entry »

April 8th, 2011 by Clarabella

Friends, and Strawberry Sorbet

Today, I’ve been thinking about friends, a lot. Not the TV series, but personal friends. I am not someone who has ever had loads of friends. I remember one day in high school, when the teacher was off, my class spent the lesson on the steps of the pool. All around me kids were laughing and chatting and being normal, and I sat there feeling alone. I even remember writing it down. How its possible to be surrounded by people, but still be completely alone. In fact, I generally spend my life feeling like I am an alien from another planet and therefore speak a different language and am on a completely different wavelength to the rest of the world. Occasionally I meet someone who must be from the same planet because I find that I can communicate with them, they don’t find me weird, and we get along. But that doesn’t happen often.

Maybe that is whay I have resported to talking to the black hole of the itnernet through this blog. If anyone is reading this, and if you don’t think I’m weird, then thank you. You’re great.

Read the rest of this entry »