Saturday, August 17, 2013

pink ice cream duo

with the end of summer fast-approaching, it's time for more ice cream! this time around i made two summer fruit inspired flavors: raspberry and fig.
the raspberry ice cream came about as a way to save some seriously sad, almost-flavorless berries. the little red gems were so pretty, but one taste and i was bummed--so bland! where was the bright tang and juicy tartness? i couldn't just toss them out (waste!), so i looked through a bunch of recipes until i decided on raspberry ice cream from bi-rite's "sweet cream and sugar cones." it's a variation on their blackberry ice cream, which i also want to try (if only i didn't always end up eating all the blackberries in one sitting...). straightforward recipe using a custard base (watch those eggs!) and resulted in a nice pink and fruity ice cream.

the fig gelato was serendipitous. i had the exact amount of ingredients to make half a batch of gelato. i love when things work out so i'm not left with random ingredients sitting in the fridge. this recipe was super easy and simple--no eggs or cream. the rich jammy flavor of the figs really comes out in this gelato. i had a scoop of it with some honey ice cream that paired nicely--i think lily approved, if the kitten nose is any indication. hehe.
side note: i generally don't like the idea of warm fruit, but cooking down the raspberries and figs into a sort of jam was oddly satisfying. maybe i should give jam-making a shot ;P
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:: raspberry ice cream ::
(recipe from sweet cream and sugar cones) makes about 1 quart

for the raspberry puree
2 half-pint baskets raspberries (2 cups)
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, as needed

for the base
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk (i used whole)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

cook the berries
1. combine the berries with the sugar, using 1/4 cup if they are very sweet and 1/2 cup if less so (guess how much i used..), in a small nonreactive saucepan and stir well. put the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the berries are soft and the liquid they release has reduced somewhat, about 10 minutes.
2. let cool slightly, then transfer the berries and their juice to a blender or food processor. puree until smooth. strain half of the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much puree as possible. discard the solids. add the unstrained puree to the same bowl and stir once to combine. cover the bowl and refrigerate.

make the base
3. in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in half of the sugar (1/4 cup). set aside.
4. in a heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, salt, and the remaining sugar (1/4 cup) and put the pan over medium-high heat. when the mixture approaches a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
5. carefully scoop out about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. repeat, adding another 1/2 cup of the hot cream to the bowl with the yolks. using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
6. cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula, and holds a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
7. strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. set the container into an ice-water bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the base occasionally until it is cool. (i didn't do this and just let it sit to cool.) remove the container from the ice-water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight.

freeze the ice cream
8. whisk the raspberry puree into the chilled base.
9. freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. while the ice cream is churning, put the container you'll use to store the ice cream into the freezer. enjoy right away or, for a firmer ice cream, transfer to the chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours.

:: fig gelato ::
(recipe from foodwanderings)

1lb organic black mission figs
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups 5% milk (again, i used whole)
juice of 1 small lemon

snip tips of fig stems and quarter figs. add the sugar to the figs in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. mix occasionally for 20 minutes. take fig jam off the heat and let cool. once cooled refrigerate until chilled or overnight. 
pulse fig jam in a blender, add milk, teaspoon of vanilla, and lemon juice and pulse for couple seconds longer. pour mixture into chilled ice cream bowl and churn for 20 to 30 minutes or so or until fig mixture solidifies into soft serve consistency. scoop fig gelato into a container with a tight lid and keep in freezer until serving. gelato can be served soft serve as well directly out of ice cream machine.