Frozen Dessert Tutorial

In discussion with some of my gentle readers, it became clear to me that many of them would like a way to experiment with various frozen treats like ice cream, gelato, Italian Ice, and sorbet. So here, in this tutorial, I will give you hints on how to produce all of the above, in your home, without the aid of an ice cream making machine.

Each recipe will indicate materials and give general information.

Floral Ice Cream, a recipe

Ice cream is, as the name implies, frozen cream. By using condensed milk, we are cutting out a step, but it is the step that requires the equipment, so I don’t think you’ll mind.

This recipe can be used for any edible flower species. There are many! Roses, lavender, fuchsia, orange blossom, hyacinth and so forth. floral ice creams are a lovely addition to tea time, or as a compliment to a fruit tart.

Tools:

  • Hand held or standing mixer (standing mixer is easiest, but not required)
  • large mixing bowls
  • plastic wrap
  • shallow steel pan that fits into the freezer (if using a standing mixer, merely use the metal mixing bowl and freeze it in advance of all use)
  • fine mesh strainer
  • pot

Ingredients:

  • flowers/petals  (about six cups will do to make the syrup, which will last beyond this one application)
  • several cups of sugar
  • 3 1/2 c. water
  • 2 c. Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (one of the few cans i can abide)
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. In the pot, place the flowers and the water. Boil for 15 minutes
  2. Strain the liquid into a bowl and measure
  3. Add an equal amount of sugar to the liquid and return to the pot
  4. Stir until everything is dissolved, and until it comes to a boil.
  5. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool
  6. Whip the cream until it comes to peaks and then set aside
  7. Combine your condensed milk, salt, and floral syrup and mix well
  8. Fold the mixture into the whipped cream until well incorporated
  9. Scoop into a container and cover. Place this in the freezer. It will be solid within a few hours.

 

Nutella Gelato, a recipe

Gelato is a custard-based frozen milk. Custard means eggs.

Yet again, the flavor was chosen as a type of universal element (and also, my readers wanted something nutella flavored) But you can do this with almost any topping.

Tools:

  • Much the same as the above

Ingredients:

  • 2 c milk
  • 3/4 cup nutella
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Instructions:

  1. Separate the egg yolks and beat them with the sugar. Set aside.
  2. Using low heat, bring the milk slowly to a boil, but remove just before.
  3. A little at a time, spoon the milk into the yolks while mixing furiously. When you’ve incorporated half the milk, reverse the process and put the egg mixture into the milk a little at a time until it is all thoroughly mixed.
  4. Put this back over heat and stirring occasionally, allow to come to the boil.
  5. Remove from heat as soon as the boil is reached.
  6. Incorporate the nutella
  7. Spoon into the metal freezing container and allow to sit in freezer for two hours
  8. Every 45 minutes to an hour, stir to break up any ice crystals. When you’ve done this a few times, You no longer need to but do allow it to fully freeze, about 8 hours.
  9. When it is finished, I recommend you give it an incredible stirring. Smash the hell out of it. Don’t serve until you have.

 

Lemon Lavender Italian Ice, a recipe

Both “Ice” and “Sorbet” are made up of syrups and fruit juices, the primary difference being that sorbet tends to use more starchy purees, while ice is merely a frozen liquid.

This dessert is ideal for those who cannot enjoy dairy, and works well with acidic ingredients that don’t lend themselves to dairy.

Tools:

  • See above
  • Blender or food processor

Ingredients:

  • 1 c water
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • Several Tbsp Lavender syrup (see the first recipe to learn to make this yourself)
  • The zest of two lemons

instructions:

  1. Chill your shallow metal pan by storing in the freezer.
  2. Combine the water and sugar in a pot and simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  3. Add the zest, syrup, and juice and mix thoroughly
  4. Pour this into the metal dish (If using a standing mixer, use the mixing bowl)
  5. Put into freezer
  6. Ever 30 minutes, remove and stir thoroughly (the standing mixer breaks up the crystals until they are much smaller, increasing the smoothness and decreasing the coarse texture)
  7. Do this at least 5 times
  8. After several hours, it should be completely frozen

 

Blueberry Beet Sorbet, a recipe

This is another recipe perfect for your lactose intolerant friends. It is essentially identical to the above recipe, but the Italians prefer to have their “ice” actually a bit course, while sorbet can be creamier. Sorbet is also mostly a puree. It is excellent with banana, avocado, and so forth. When crafting flavors for this type of treat, try combining one “creamy” or denser fruit with a more juicy fruit. For example, banana and orange, or avocado and lime.

Tools:

  • See above
  • Blender or food processor
  • wax paper

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 2 c. blueberries
  • 2 c. beet (peeled and chopped)

Instructions:

  1. Combine water and sugar in the pot and bring to the boil
  2. Remove from heat
  3. Add the blueberries, and juice and run through the blender or food processor.
  4. Run this through the fine mesh strainer
  5. Line the shallow metal dish with wax paper (So you can get the solid block out)
  6. Pour in the juice and allow to freeze
  7. Remove and run through blender, and allow to freeze once again.
  8. Repeat as many times as it takes for you to be happy with the consistency, But it likely won’t take more than two times (We use this technique because we are working with absolutely no fats of any kind, just syrup and ice. We are relying on the starches and sugars in the fruits to bind together. and it is just far easier with a high powered means of breaking up the crystals as they form)

 

All of these recipes are easily altered. The measurements aren’t necessarily precise, and everything is essentially to taste. If you want more toppings, then add more. If you want plain vanilla ice cream, just add vanilla. Or if you want a key lime pie with the crust in, add lime and graham crackers. You want a sweet potato and ginger ice cream? Have at it. The possibilities are actually endless.

 

 

 

The BAD RECIPE Contest, And Their Prize

Several days ago, I became very bored. This is not surprising, as you might imagine, gentle reader. Social media has presented me with many things to occupy me in these moments, and it all came down to a conversation about horrifying recipes. You know them. I am certain that all of you have your own story about the casserole your aunt brings to the Thanksgiving feast with the tuna in it, or the fruitcake made with skittles. Perhaps your father is simply inexcusably bereft of culinary skill. Ramen is usually involved. Tinned tomatoes. You take my meaning.

In any event, it got me to thinking, that some of these appalling crimes really do deserve recognition for sheer audacity alone, and so, I began a friendly contest on Tumblr. In the future, I will perhaps hold more of these, and this trial run will provide the framework, but for now, I can tell you that there were many revolting entries. The winning dish?

Grandma’s “You are so ungrateful” lasagna:

@youcantseebutimmakingaface – “Lasagna noodles, cans of tomato paste, 5 lbs Italian sausage, 3 pork chops, ground beef with no fat content, FUCKING. RAISINS, 1 pinch each salt and pepper… flavorless white cheese…Burn ground beef into kitty litter like granules, inexplicably mix with raisins…Make sauce…Boil sausage, pork chops, tomato paste, and salt and pepper until flavorless and slightly burnt. Layer noodles, cheese, meat/raisin hell, using approximately a shot glass of sauce…Bake until burnt. Use…to make a firepit or decorative patio”

I found this recipe utterly irredeemable, and so of course, it must be redeemed. This, however, involved some heated debate, and resulted in a secondary competition between myself and Chef, who staunchly opposed my notions of turning the dish from an entree to a dessert.

And so, as promised, I give you my recipe, and in a secondary post, his. Make them for yourself and be the judge. Which has won? No one at this end could truly decide.


Vietnamese-inspired Cheese Course, a recipe (Or raisin lasagna done with pinache, if you prefer)

Tools:

  • Small casserole dish, about 4” square
  • Sieve
  • Food Processor
  • several pots
  • skillet

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb ground pork (Make certain to get an even balance of fat)
  • 1 package ricotta cheese
  • 1 package of soft goat cheese
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 small package of mascarpone cheese
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. currants
  • 3 sugar dates (pitted)
  • 1 package of small cherry tomatoes (Please perform the “sniff test” and choose one with the best tomato sweetness)
  • port wine
  • balsamic vinegar
  • several large lasagna noodles (Mine were hand made, but you may purchase dried pasta, as we are going to fry them anyway)
  • olive oil
  • brown sugar
  • mint (for garnish)
  • sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to about 350
  2. Boil your tiny tomatoes, until their skins begin to split, then blanch with cold water, and gently shrug them out of their red coats.
  3. Place in a food processor with raisins, dates, currants, about 1 cup of port, several tablespoons of balsamic. Pulse until nicely blended. Pour back into the pot and boil
  4. You must achieve a thick, tangy, but sweet flavor profile, and so please add or diminish as you like. Once your sauce has cooked off all the alcohol, and is about the texture of tomato paste, run it through the sieve, by pressing it through with a spoon.
  5. Return to the put and continue to add wine, vinegar, or whatever you would like. When you believe it has achieved the proper taste, you should set about 1/3 of it aside, and then continue to reduce the other 2/3, stirring constantly, until you have created a dark syrup. Set this aside
  6. Start your noodles boiling.
  7. Brown your pork, very lightly seasoning with salt. Set aside.
  8. Once the noodles are finished, drain. Sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar. Add some oil to the pork fat in the skillet and fry the noodles lightly, until they begin to brown a little, or fold up at the edges. Lay these aside to cool.
  9. Throw your meat and the thinner sauce into the food processor, and turn into a paste
  10. Mix about 1/2 the ricotta with 1/2 the goat cheese. (You would ideally wish to have a somewhat gamey flavor.) Whisk the egg and then beat into this mixture.
  11. It is time to assemble your “lasagna”. Carefully oil the inside of the dish. put a spoonful of your stronger sauce at the bottom and work this around into a thin layer. Line the bottom with one of your fried noodles. Spread a generous layer of your goat cheese mixture until the noodle is covered. do the same with the meat mixture, and another spoonful of your stronger reduction. Repeat as many times as fills your dish or uses up your ingredients, making sure to finish with noodles.
  12. Cover in foil and bake for as long as it takes the thing to boil for about ten minutes (We are merely cooking the egg, so do not overcook your dessert simply for a little raw egg. It is a cheesecake, not a brick.) Let us say 45 minutes?
  13. Allow to cool, and then upend on a plate. It should pop free, but if not, run a knife around the sides.
  14. Cover with the sliced almonds, pipe fresh mascarpone on top as you would whipped cream, and drizzle with your stronger reduction.

Garnish with hefty amounts of mint. Serve in small cubes, and ideally, pair it with a tawny port. I do believe you will no be disappointed.

Lemon Meringue Pie, a recipe

This pie recipe has gone through several iterations, refining it for maximal citrus flavor. It is not to be taken lightly, as it employs many more difficult aspects of cooking science. I highly recommend attempting it, only if you are well-versed in baking, or pies in general. And by this, I do not mean eating pies. You may eat as many chocolate cream tarts as you like, it does not make you proficient at baking.

Tools:

  • pie pan
  • saucepan
  • several glass bowls of varying sizes
  • standing or hand held mixer/ whisk and considerable endurance
  • microplane or cheese grater
  • plastic wrap
  • fork or pastry cutter
  • metal wisk
  • silicone spatula (for scraping)

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 1/3 c flour
  • 1/4 c. butter flavored vegetable shortening (You may use lard if you can find it, but for most, it can be quite difficult. However, this is the ideal element.)
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp of ice cold water

For the filling:

  • 4 very large eggs (six small)
  • 1 c corn starch
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 c. lemon juice (I highly recommend Mayer lemons)
  • 1 Tbsp zest (You may use the zest from the lemons, or add in some more interesting zest from another citrus relative, if you wish. Buddha’s Hand has a lovely floral note.)
  • cream of tartar and extra sugar (for the egg whites)

Instructions

  1. I know this seems strange, but separate your eggs, placing the whites into a large bowl in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°
  3. Mix flour and salt for the crust in a bowl, forming a small well in the center.
  4. Cut the shortening and butter into small cubes, keeping them as cold as possible.
  5. Place these into the well, and then incorporate flour with fork or pastry cutter until mixture resembles the texture of peas. Do not use your hands as the heat from them will melt the shortening, causing the pastry to be “heavy”, not light and flaky.
  6. Once mixture is the right texture, add the ice water and combine with a fork. It may appear as if it needs more water, it does not. Quickly gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap this in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  7. Remove dough disk from refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until dough is cool but malleable.
  8. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the disk on a lightly floured surface from the center out in each direction, forming a 12-inch circle. Please recall that if it falls to pieces, this means that the pastry will be flaky. If you wish it to hold together more, simply work it more, however, this increases its chewiness.
  9. To transfer the dough, carefully roll it around the rolling pin, lift and unroll dough, centering it in an ungreased pie plate. (Or you can fold dough in quarters, then place dough point in center of the pie pan and unfold, whatever is easiest for you.)
  10. Prick the dough all around with a fork. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool before filling.
  11. Gather your filling ingredients and begin by whisking the yolks in a small bowl. Set these aside.
  12. In the saucepan, combine your water, sugar, corn starch, and salt. Heat this on medium until comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute or until it thickens into a translucent sludge.
  13. Ladle by ladle, add ½ of filling mixture to the bowl of egg yolks, whisking it furiously as you do so.
  14. Once incorporated, add this egg mixture back into the pot of remaining filling mixture. This is called tempering, and prevents the eggs from cooking, and turning into egg chunks
  15. Heat this on low heat for another minute more, then stir in the butter, lemon juice, and zest, incorporating fully. If this mixture is too runny (not the texture of a thick pudding) then you may need to play with chemistry a bit more. I advise taking a tablespoon or two of corn starch and making a rue in a cup, with as little water as possible. Add this to the pie filling mixture, stirring constantly, and heat until it begins to thicken. Immediately remove from heat and stir until it is cool.
  16. Add this to your cooled pie shell and set aside
  17. In your icy bowl, or in the bowl of your standing mixer, beat the egg whites, adding pinches of sugar and cream of tartar as you go, until they form stiff peaks. What does this mean? Try turning the bowl upside down. If it falls out, it is not a stiff peak. However, you cannot magically make this happen. If you have been at this for several minutes, and the peaks simply refuse to rise, add a bit more sugar, and if this doesn’t work, resign yourself to a flat but tasty meringue.
  18. Shovel this atop your pie, being careful not to smash it down. Picture a fluffy cloud. Use the back side of the spoon to create the little points by allowing the meringue to stick and pulling upward.
  19. Place this in the oven at 375 for about 12 minutes, or until the meringue has become a toasty brown at all its highest points.
  20. Cool before serving

This pie is tart, and very lemony. I suggest plating with a sprig of mint, and pairing it with gin. It is excellent as a breakfast dish, minus the gin, of course.

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In this image, you can see that I have made the pies smaller. It is identically the same recipe, doubled, and rather than bake the pie shells in a pie pan, I have merely made them in a greased cupcake tin, paying careful attention to their condition, as they baked.

Candied Pork Chicharrones and Ice Cream, A Recipe

Today is National Eat What You Want Day — when humans concerned about their waistlines must schedule a day to cheat on their diets. I would point out the humor in this prearranged lapse in discipline — since the entire point of discipline is to be disciplined — but I won’t. So eat what you want. I certainly do. Though, you are bound by the confines of law and order.

It is also the publication date of my journal, such as it is. I thought I would celebrate by doing something different.

If you have been following my work, or if you are a new reader, it will become clear that I never eat the skin. I am not entirely happy with the idea of eating a fried meat-sack, since that is really the best preparation of the integument. Neither do I much go in for sweets, but I will never be accused of being myopic. I have decided to branch out, to expand my horizons.

And so, I offer up this treat, a savory dessert.

Tools:

  • Baking pan with inset wire rack
  • Sharp knife
  • Dredging bowl
  • Mixing bowl
  • Two medium saucepans
  • Mixer (Hand held or standing, whisk or electric)
  • Frying pan
  • Ice cream making kit for a KitchenAid standing mixer (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs pork back fat with skin (As may be obvious, I do not use pork. Instead I choose a specimen with a particularly high body fat index, and a fairly wide torso. I have adjusted the recipe to fit your tastes, however,  this ingredient may be difficult for you to find in a normal grocery store. If you go up to the butchery counter and ask them if they have any sitting around, you will probably be in luck. Asian grocers, specialty butchers, and even farm-to-table place may have it.)
  • Brown sugar
  • White sugar
  • Cinnamon (You may use pre-ground spices, for expediency, but fresh is best)
  • Cardamom
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • Chocolate ice cream (I will not include the instructions for making your own ice cream. If you have the standing mixer and the attachment, it comes with a recipe guide. Simply make up a batch of your favorite ice cream and freeze over night.)
  • 1 package raspberries
  • Chambord (Raspberry liqueur. Optional, but a very good option)

Instructions:

  1. Make your ice cream the night before. If not making your own, skip this step and purchase a dark chocolate, organic variety. We want to keep the savory-sweet profile, so less sugar is better.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200.
  3. Cut your pork into thin strips, about two inches wide, and carefully remove the subcutaneous fat. The best way is to lay the pork skin-side down, and resting the knife flat, slide it across the strip away from yourself, as if scraping or shaving. Remove as much fat as you can, as it will interfere with the crispiness of the skin. Set fat aside.
  4. Cut the skin strips into 2-3 inch segments. Lay these on top of the baking rack, and put into the oven. The low temperature will dry out the skin over the course of the next few hours. When the skin is completely dried out, Remove and set aside to cool completely.
  5. Take the fat you have set aside and render in your frying pan by cooking at a low temp for a couple hours, while your skin is drying out. (I mean the pork skin of course. If your skin is drying out, please indulge in a moment of moisturizing at this time.)
  6. In  medium saucepan, combine raspberries, 1 cup white sugar, and 1/2 cup Chambord (Or juice or water) and allow to cook down to a syrup. Strain the seeds from this when it is liquefied, and set aside.
  7. When the skin is close to being fully cooled, combine 2 cups brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamon to taste in your dredging bowl, with just a pinch of sea salt.
  8. Heat your rendered fat or lard in your pan until it is perfect frying temperature, and spits a bit.
  9. Using tongs, drop the skin pieces into the oil and fry until they puff up and get crispy. Immediately remove, give a cautious shake, and then dredge in the sugar spice mixture. Set aside to cool.
  10. Whip your cream until it is perfect whipped cream texture, adding a sprinkle of sugar here and sea salt there. We want this whipped cream to be savory, not sweet, so only add the sugar to bring out the cream, not to mask it. It should taste something like salted butter.
  11. In a small saucepan, heat one cup of white sugar and 1 teaspoon of sea salt on medium heat, stirring constantly. The sugar should begin to melt and turn a light golden brown. When it is completely liquefied, it is finished. Remove immediately or it will harden.

To serve, scoop a small amount of the ice cream into a bowl or cup, add a generous stripe of raspberry sauce. Another scoop of ice cream. A dollop of your savory whipped topping. Drizzle all over with salted caramel. Stack the chicharrones atop like a cookie, or serve in a separate dish for dipping.

If you are so inclined, you may now find my published diary, entitled The Creature’s Cookbook, online, or via the Tapas Media app. I do hope you will enjoy.