Peach and Bing Cherry Cobbler

Well, it certainly took me a while to get here but this is it, the end of this year’s peach recipes. And, as far as this blogger is concerned, I saved the best for last. You see, I happen to really like peach cobbler. I make them with a batter that rises through the peaches, creating a cake-like top. I make them with a biscuit placed on top and baked.  I eat them as they are, still warm from the oven. I eat them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a large spoonful of whipped cream. And there lies the problem. I eat them. All of them. Every last morsel of every last one of them. There just aren’t many recipes for peach cobbler for one. So, I make a cobbler and for the next week, my snacks and desserts are all servings of peach cobbler.  I know, poor me! Well, this time around, I decided to try something different. I divided the cobbler among 6 smaller dishes and froze all but the one I tested for “quality control”. (Thank you, Tanya.)  See Variations below to see what I did.

Oh, yes. I almost forgot about the cherries. Most will recall that a few weeks ago I shared 2 recipes for a blueberry and cherry pie. The final pie was so good that I’ve been thinking of combining other fruit in other pies. Well, this being peach cobbler season, why not  experiment? Last week at the farmers market, I purchased what would turn out to be the last of the season’s Bing cherries and a plan was born. Upon my return home, Google gave me the recipe.

Today’s cobbler combines Bing cherries with fresh peaches and is crowned by a biscuit, of sorts. There’s nothing complicated about it, though pitting the cherries can be a bit tiresome. Even so, once the fruit is prepared, the rest of the recipe is a snap. And once you taste this cobbler, you won’t remember anything about pitting cherries — unless you wore a white t-shirt. When will I learn?

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This post was written prior to my departure for Michigan and scheduled to post now. The trip went as planned, Zia’s freezer is filled, and we took turns cooking dinner. I hope to have a “vacation” post written by the weekend. Internet service was deplorable and, as a result, it will take me a while to get caught up with all of your posts and comments but I’ll get there. Thanks for your patience.

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Peach and Bing Cherry Cobbler Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3½ lbs peaches, peeled and sliced or chopped  (about 6 large peaches)
  • 2 lbs Bing cherries, pitted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

for the biscuit topping

  • 2 cups all-purpose (AP) flour
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp whipping cream, divided
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ice cream for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Liberally grease a 9 X 13″ baking dish. Pre-heat oven to 425˚ F (218˚ C)
  2. In a large saucepan over high heat, combine peaches, cherries, and sugar. Stir carefully, bring to a boil, and simmer for 1 minute.
  3. Remove filling from heat and pour into prepared baking dish.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the AP flour,  ⅓ cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Using knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until a very coarse mixture results. Stir in ¾ cup whipping cream and knead only enough to create a dough. DO NOT OVER-WORK THE DOUGH.
  6. Place dough on a floured surface and roll to a ½ inch thickness. Use cookie or biscuit cutters to cut shapes in the dough. Place the shapes on the filling in any pattern you wish.
  7. Combine cinnamon with remaining sugar and whipping cream. Use a pastry brush to coat the tops of all the pasty cutouts.
  8. Bake in a 425˚ F (218˚ C) pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Filling should be hot and bubbling.
  9. Serve warm with optional ice cream.

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Variations

As I mentioned, I used 6 small baking dishes for this recipe rather than 1 large dish. 4 of these dishes each held 500 ml while the other 2 were a little smaller at about 400 ml. I greased and filled each one, using biscuit cutters for the topping. Once they were baked and cooled completely, I wrapped each in plastic wrap before sealing them again in aluminum foil. They were placed on a baking sheet and frozen. To serve, remove the plastic wrap and recover using the foil before placing it in an oven pre-heated to 350˚F (177˚C). After 30 minutes, remove foil and continue heating until filling is bubbly, about another 15 minutes. Cooking time will depend upon size/amount frozen.

I think next year I’m going to try this recipe using tart cherries instead of Bing and with a little almond extract in the biscuit instead of the cinnamon. It’s not that there is anything wrong with this cobbler, I just happen to prefer tart cherries and want to see if they’d be at least as good.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Peaches are all but gone from our farmers markets and though a few berries, plums, and pears remain, apples have started to take over the vendors’ stalls. It’s the time of year for apple pies, muffins, crumbles, and sauce. If you choose your apples wisely, your pie will be as tart, and your apple sauce as sweet, as you like.  As proof of the latter, last year I shared a recipe for apple sauce that does not call for any sugar whatsoever. You can see the recipe by clicking HERE.

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And another thing or three …

Aside from the recipes I’ve posted, the Kitchens have been busy trying out recipes from two great blogs. Thanks to David, The Gastronomic Gardener, I have jars of brandied figs and 2 kinds of pickled peppers on my shelf. And thanks to Richard, REMCooks, my tasters and I all have jars of  peach preserves with jalapeños and cardamom. Both guys have great blogs and I hope you take some time to check them out.

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Peach Ice Cream – Revisited with Custard and Nectar

 

Yes, I know it’s getting a little late for ice cream recipes and peaches are all but gone from the farmers markets, but I just couldn’t let this one sit around until next year. My previous peach ice cream used sour cream for its base. Today’s recipe uses custard for a base but it, also, uses peach nectar for added flavor.  That peach nectar also affects the ice cream’s texture. One of my tasters said it was like a cross between sorbet and ice cream. Despite its great taste, though, you may prefer a more traditional, custard only, ice cream. Lucky for us all, Betsy has already shared her recipe for peach ice cream on her blog, Bits & Breadcrumbs. (Do take a few minutes to check out both her recipe and her blog. You won’t be disappointed.)  So, you now have 3 peach ice creams from which to choose but if you think I’m done with peaches, you’d be mistaken. Next week I’ll share a recipe for peach cobbler, with a twist.

This ice cream will have a better “mouth feel” if you fully purée the peaches.  Although you can process the peaches until merely chunky, I find it better if they are puréed until completely smooth. This recipe will make 3 quarts of ice cream. That’s quite a bit if you’ve a smaller machine like mine. The saving grace of my machine is that I purchased it on Amazon during a sale in which I received an additional freezing canister for free. That additional canister means that I can get all 3 quarts made and put away in one night. To see how it’s done, be sure to check out the Notes section below.

Now, I’m already in Michigan, where Zia and I have plans to stock her freezer with ravioli and sausage, that is if we can keep Max occupied elsewhere. So, I’ll keep the posts for today and next week on the short side. Given the sorry state of that area’s internet coverage, I hope you’ll understand if I’m not quick to respond to your comments or to leave a remark on your blogs.

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Peach Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled and chopped peaches (about 3 lbs or 6 large peaches)
  • 1 cup nectar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • sliced fresh peaches and toasted pecans for garnish (optional but strongly advised)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar, and nectar. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Working in batches, use a food processor or blender to fully purée the peach mixture until smooth. Refrigerate.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and milk until fully blended. Add the egg mixture to a heavy-bottomed pan or double boiler (my favorite). Heat over a med-high heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and a custard forms, about 20 to 25 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.
  4. Once thick enough to coat the back of a wooden smooth, remove from heat and pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into the reserved peach purée. Add the half-and-half, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt, whisking until fully combined.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  6. Make your ice cream using this peach custard and following your machine’s instructions. Place in freezer until frozen to your liking.
  7. When ready to serve, garnish with sliced peaches and toasted pecans. (See Variations)

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Variations

This is a good ice cream recipe but it is so much better when served with sliced fresh peaches and toasted pecans. To prepare the peaches, just peel and slice a ripe peach, putting the slices in a resealable container. Sprinkle a little sugar on top, seal the container, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, giving the fruit a chance to macerate. In the meantime, toast the pecan chips in a small frying pan over medium heat. Be attentive or they’ll burn before you know it. Add a little of both to your ice cream cup for a dessert that is just about perfect.

Notes

As I’ve mentioned, this recipe will make enough peach custard to make 3 quarts of ice cream. That is 2 quarts too many for a single machine like mine and even though I’ve got a 2nd canister, that still leaves me with one quart of custard too many. Since it takes a full 24 hours to freeze my canister, this recipe could stretch out over 2 days, at least. Here’s what I do to get around the problem.

Once the custard is chilled and ready to be put into the machine, I put it into the canister and refrigerate the excess.  When it’s ready, after about 25 minutes, I quickly dump the newly formed ice cream into a container, place it in the freezer,  and quickly refill the canister with more custard. If there’s leftover ice cream in the canister, all the better. After 25 minutes, I will not have ice cream but I will have a thicker, chilled custard.  I then pour this custard into the unused frozen canister, which I’ve kept in the freezer until now. No need to let the machine process for all the 25 minutes, 15 minutes will do. Quickly remove the ice cream, use it to fill another quart container, and place it in the freezer. I then pour the remainder of the custard into the same canister and let her rip! Surprisingly, after about 30 minutes, I’ll have another quart of ice cream ready to be frozen. And what do I do with 3 quarts of ice cream? I give 2 quarts to my tasters and keep one for me.

Adapted from Southern Living, July 2005

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Well, with today’s recipe being an ice cream, what better recipe to pull from the past than the one for pickles, Bread & Butter Pickles? These are not preserved but are kept in the refrigerator, where they will keep for weeks. You needn’t worry about that, though. These pickles will disappear long before freshness is an issue. You can read the recipe by clicking HERE.

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The parting shot …

For the past 13 weeks, I’ve ended each blog entry with a photo. Well, I’ve no more roses to share but I didn’t think it right to abruptly stop the practice. So, I give you this last photo and, although this may have nothing to do with roses, it is, in its own way, every bit as memorable. With thanks to Chris.

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It’s Mom’s Birthday and I’ve Got a Peach of an Idea!

As you may, or may not, recall, August is the birthday month for a number of people in my life, with today, August 15th, being Mom’s birthday as well as that of her Mother, Grandma Bartolini. Zia’s husband, “Uncle”, was born on the 11th  — and we’re just getting started. My Friend, one of the Kitchens’ tasters, had a birthday on the 7th, while another, my Friend the Entertainer, will be celebrating on the 20th.  And we mustn’t forget the kids. My Grand-Nephew’s birthday was the 1st, my not-quite-a-nephew Nephew will be blowing out candles on the 24th, and the Oldest of the Boys Upstairs has a birthday this Saturday, on the 18th. That’s a lot of birthdays!

So to celebrate, last August I posted 3 separate ice cream recipes that I combined for the finale. The first was taken from a recipe book that Mom gave me shortly after I moved to Chicago in 1980.

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Pistachio Nut Ice Cream

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Next on that month’s agenda was an ice cream based on Mom’s own chocolate recipe.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Ice Cream

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Then came the third recipe. Again, using Mom’s recipe as a base, I created this “pretty in pink” ice cream.

Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream

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Well, with those 3 recipes laying the ground work, I had little choice but to put them together.

Spumoni Ice Cream (It’s da Bomba!)

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Now, having mentioned those 3 ice cream recipes and a Bombe, I might as well finish off this little round-up by sending you to the hands-down favorite ice cream recipe of all the Kitchens’ tasters, family, and friends. It may not be a frozen custard nor traditional ice cream but, I have to say, it’s damn good!  (Pssst! It’s the crumbled graham cracker crust.)

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

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As great as that all sounds, this year I was in quite a pickle. What should I do for this year’s Birthday Month? How could I possibly top a Spumoni Bombe? Well, I can’t and won’t even try. What I will do, however, is share a recipe for an ice cream flavor that Mom loved. Yes, when it came to ice cream, Mom had a number of favorites. Frankly, I doubt that Mom ever tasted an ice cream that she didn’t like — and we haven’t even mentioned sherbet yet.

So, with that monkey off my back, I decided to take full advantage of the bounty in this area’s farmers markets. Today’s recipe will be for peach ice cream. It’s a simple recipe that results in a peachy frozen delight.  It’s Mom’s birthday, however, and “peachy” just won’t do. Directly following the recipe is a serving suggestion that Mom would have surely enjoyed. I hope you will, too.

Now, if you’ve no experience working with peaches, this paragraph is for you. In the first place, you may not be able to find fruit that are perfectly ripe, even in your farmers market. Just place the best you can find in a paper bag, place it on a counter, and check them every morning. In a couple of days, your peaches will be exactly how you like them. So, once your peaches are ripe, how do you peel them? Bring a large pot of water to boil. In the meantime, fill a large bowl with iced water. Take each peach and use a paring knife to cut a small “X” into the fruit’s bottom. Place the peaches into the rapidly boiling water and leave them there for about 30 seconds. Transfer them to the iced water bath to cool and to stop them from cooking. After a few minutes, simply peel off the skin beginning at the “X”. You may need a paring knife to trim a stubborn spot or two but, basically, that’s all there is to it.  And that’s the last of any possible problems you might run into.

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Peach Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds peaches — about 4 large fruit
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt

For Serving

  • 1 peach. peeled & sliced — more depending upon the number of servings
  • sugar
  • toasted chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Once the peaches are peeled, cut each into chunks, removing the pit in the process.
  2. Place the peaches and water into a non-reactive sauce pan and cook over a medium heat until the peaches are soft — about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, add the sugar, stir well, and set aside to cool.
  4. When the peach mixture has reached room temperature, place it in a food processor or blender, along with the sour cream. whipping cream, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Purée until blended but still a little chunky.
  5. Place the peaches & cream mixture into the fridge until thoroughly chilled — about 4 hours, more or less depending upon your fridge.
  6. Add the chilled peaches & cream to your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to create your peach ice cream.

To Serve

Peaches are in season and we shouldn’t let this opportunity slip away. About 45 minutes before you serve your peach ice cream, peel and slice a ripe peach, more depending upon how many servings are to be prepared. Place the slices in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar, stir gently, and set aside. When ready to serve, divide the peach slices and juice among the servings of ice cream. Garnish with toasted chopped pecans.

Inspired by David Lebovitz, “The Perfect Scoop”

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By any other name …

“Bella’Roma”

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Spumoni Ice Cream (It’s da Bomba!)

As you already know, a number of people in my life have birthdays in August. Mom, Grandma, Uncle, my Friend the kitchens’ Taste Tester, my Friend the Entertainer, my Grand-Nephew, and the Oldest of the Boys Upstairs were all born in August. Well, in their honor, and since this is the last day of their collective birthday month, why not go out with a bang? Today’s recipe is the Spumoni Bomba.

These past few Fridays, I shared recipes for pistachio, chocolate, and cherry ice cream. Not so coincidentally, these are the 3 flavors used to create spumoni ice cream, Mom’s favorite. Dad often brought home boxes of spumoni from the restaurant, with each individual serving conveniently wrapped in paper. Klondike bars? Who needed ice cream sandwiches when we had boxes of spumoni in the freezer? Anyway, if we’re going to celebrate the end of Mom’s birthday month, spumoni is the only way to go.

Before offering instructions for creating the Bomba, as well as the traditional “loaf,” a few things should be mentioned. First off, I knew all along that I would be making spumoni ice cream and that’s why I chose to use the same base for all 3 flavors. I wanted all 3 ice cream layers to have the same creamy texture on the palate. Using a custard-based chocolate layer with a yogurt-based cherry layer and Mom’s pistachio layer, for example, just wouldn’t work. Secondly, “authentic” spumoni recipes call for a variety of candied fruit pieces to be added to the cherry layer. For me, these chunks do not freeze well and consequently ruin the texture of the ice cream. So, I dropped ’em! Moving beyond the rejected candied fruit, this recipe will use 3 batches of home-made ice cream, with each batch equaling 1 1/2 quarts. Of course, the amount of ice cream required will depend upon the size of the bowls you use to create the bomba. If you don’t wish to make home-made ice cream, store-bought can be substituted. You’ll need to let the ice cream soften a bit before you add any fruits or nuts, if desired, and before you use it to make either the loaf or bomba. Lastly, unless you have 3 canisters for your ice cream maker, this is going to take more than 1 day to create.

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Magic happens when you slice into a bomba!

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Spumoni Bomba Recipe

Special equipment: a set of 3 nested mixing bowls, each decreasing in size. Mine were approx. 10″, 8″, and 6″ in diameter, and/or 1 bread loaf pan.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. While the chocolate-chocolate hazelnut ice cream is being made, cover the exterior of the middle-sized bowl with plastic wrap, place it in the largest bowl, and place both in the freezer until needed.
  2. When the ice cream has been made, reserve 1 cup of it and pour the rest into the largest bowl. Place the plastic-covered middle bowl into the first and press down, causing the ice cream to flow upwards between the 2 bowls. Stop applying pressure when the ice cream reaches the top of the outer bowl. Place both bowls back into the freezer for a few hours.
  3. Remove the middle bowl and plastic wrap. With an offset spatula, use the reserved ice cream to fill any cracks that the plastic wrap may have created in the surface of the chocolate layer. Cover the ice cream-covered bowl with plastic wrap and return it to the freezer.
  4. As soon as the ice cream maker’s canister is ready, begin making the pistachio ice cream.
  5. Cover the exterior of the smaller bowl with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
  6. Once the pistachio ice cream has been made, reserve 1 cup and pour the rest into the chocolate ice cream-covered bowl. Place the smallest bowl into the semi-frozen pistachio and press down, causing the ice cream to flow upwards between the 2 bowls. Stop applying pressure when the ice cream reaches the top of the chocolate-covered bowl. Place both bowls back into the freezer for a few hours..
  7. Remove the small bowl and plastic wrap. With an offset spatula, use the reserved ice cream to fill any cracks that the plastic wrap may have created in the surface of the pistachio layer. Cover with plastic wrap and return it to the freezer.
  8. As soon as the ice cream maker’s canister is ready, begin making the Maraschino cherry ice cream.
  9. When completed, use the cherry ice cream to fill the remaining cavity. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until fully frozen.
  10. To serve, place the bowl in a hot water bath briefly while running an offset spatula or knife along the outer edge of the molded ice cream.
  11. Quickly invert the ice cream bomba onto a chilled serving plate, sprinkle with the chopped nuts, top off with cherries, and serve. (See Notes below.)

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Variations

If you wish to go the more traditional route and create a spumoni loaf, use a bread pan as your ice cream mold. Fill to 1/3 with chocolate ice cream and place in freezer until firm. Next, fill another 1/3 with pistachio ice cream and return to freezer until firm. Lastly, use cherry ice cream to fill the rest of the bread pan, cover with plastic wrap, and return to freezer until firm. When ready to serve, follow the same instructions for unmolding the bomba.

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Notes

Looking at the pictures, you may have noticed that the bomba’s cherry ice cream center is larger (thicker) than the other 2 layers. If you want your layers to be more consistent, you can either use a set of smaller bowls or make/buy more chocolate ice cream to form the outer layer. As it was, I used the entire quart-and-a-half batch made by my ice cream maker.

As you also may have noticed, serving a bomba in a heat wave does have its risks and unless you’ll be dining in a walk-in freezer, you can expect some melting to occur. If possible, unmold the bomba onto an ice-cold serving platter and place it back in the freezer for a short while before serving.

Pictured was a “surprise birthday bomba, ” the recipient of which, my Friend the Entertainer, didn’t mind “the thaw” one bit and even waited patiently for the pictures to be taken.

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Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream

This is the third ice cream recipe in the series celebrating the birthdays of Mom, Grandma, Uncle, my Friend the kitchens’ Taste Tester, and my Friend the Entertainer, not to mention those of my Grand-Nephew and the Oldest of the Boys Upstairs. Just like its chocolate predecessor, today’s recipe uses the same cream base as was found in Mom’s pistachio nut ice cream recipe. Simple to make, I like its creamy texture and saw no reason to look elsewhere when developing this recipe. So, although today’s recipe was not in the recipe book she gave me, I still consider it to be her recipe and I think you’ll find that it’s pretty good.

When you look over today’s recipe, you’ll note that I strain the chopped cherries, press out as much of the liquid as possible, and then soak them in half & half. That’s an attempt to replace as much of the watery syrup with the thicker half & half, in the hope that the fruit pieces will not form ice shards when frozen. You see, probably my least favorite “features” of home-made ice cream are the ice shards that can result from using fruit in a recipe. I believe the water in the fruit is the culprit and if I can eliminate the water, the problem is solved.  My method may not be 100% effective but there are far fewer shards when the fruit is handled this way. If you are aware of a better way, by all means let me know. And, again, although the recipe calls for a raw egg, I always use eggs with pasteurized shells to eliminate any risk of contamination.

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Maraschino Cherry Ice Cream Recipe

yield: 1.5 quarts

Ingredients

  • 2 doz Maraschino cherries, drained, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Maraschino cherry syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp Kirsch liqueur (optional)
  • whipping cream, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 cherry per serving, for garnish

Directions

  1. Coarsely chop cherries, place in sieve, and use a spoon to press as much liquid out of the cherries as possible. Save liquid for later use.
  2. Soak cherries in half & half for at least an hour before proceeding.
  3. Once again strain the cherries and place the strained half & half into the blender along with the egg. “Stir” for a few seconds. Moisten the cherries with a tbsp or so of cream and refrigerate until later use.
  4. Add the reserved cherry juice, sugar, whipping cream, vanilla extract, and Kirsch, if using, to the blender and “Stir” until fully blended.
  5. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
  6. Pour both the cream mixture and the chopped cherries in cream into the ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. When completed, remove the ice cream from the canister to be either served or transferred to a sealable container to be frozen to your liking.
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Variations

Although there are many ice creams recipes made with cherries, I chose to make one with Maraschino cherries because it’s about as far removed from tart cherries as possible. Besides, as pink as it is, it’s sure to be a big hit among some members of the Barbie Set.

Notes

This being the last of August’s Fridays, one would think that it would mean an end to the ice cream recipes. Well, it’s not a “birthday 3 and a half weeks” but it is a “birthday month.” So, with this month ending on Wednesday the 31st, I’ve little choice but to offer one last recipe for an ice cream confection. See you next Wednesday.

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Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Ice Cream

This is the 2nd in my series of ice creams commemorating the birthday month of my Mom and a number of people in my life. Last week’s recipe, pistachio nut ice cream, was almost exactly the same as the one she gave me years ago. Today’s recipe may not be found in the recipe book that Mom gave me but I still consider it to be her own. To create this ice cream, I used the base of the pistachio and replaced the nuts with other ingredients. The result is a chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream with hazelnuts. Mom would be proud.

Not to bore anyone, but I feel I must reiterate my warning about the use of raw egg in this recipe. When a recipe calls for raw egg, I use eggs with pasteurized shells, which may be found in the egg case at your grocery. Beyond that, I used milk chocolate chips but you can use whichever kind you prefer. As for the hazelnuts, I toasted them lightly before freezing them, like I did with the pistachios. This is to prevent them from becoming soggy during processing in the ice cream freezer. Lastly, you’ll note that the recipe calls for “a heaping 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa.” That’s because on my first attempt at creating this recipe, I accidentally dropped a heaping measure of cocoa into the cream before I could level it off. (Thanks, Max.) The ice cream was delicious and I’ve been repeating the accident ever since. (No, really. Thanks, Max.)

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Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Ice Cream Recipe

yield: 1.5 quarts

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, roasted & roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, roughly chopped  (milk chocolate, semi or bittersweet may be used)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup half & half
  • a heaping 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp Frangelico liqueur (optional)
  • chopped hazelnuts, for garnish

Directions

My Baby

  1. Place the hazelnuts in your freezer before starting.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except the nuts and chocolate chips, into a blender and “Stir” until well-blended.
  3. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
  4. Pour cream mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. About 5 minutes before completion, pour the hazelnuts and chocolate chips into the machine and finish processing.   (See Notes)
  6. When completed, remove the ice cream from the canister to be either served or transferred to a sealable container until frozen to your liking.
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Variations

As was the case with pistachio ice cream, there are plenty of recipes for chocolate ice cream on the internet, or, if books are more your style, “A Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz is a good place to start. No matter where your recipe comes from, you’ll soon discover that no store-bought brand can rival the taste of good, home-made chocolate ice cream.

Notes

Your machine may not recommend adding nuts and/or chocolate chips to the cream while the machine is running. If that’s the case, process the ice cream per the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, add the nuts and chips to the semi-frozen cream, stir to fully combine, and either garnish & serve it or transfer it to a sealable container and place in the freezer.

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Pistachio Nut Ice Cream

Mom was a great lover of ice cream. In the Summer, it was she, far more often than the 3 of us kids, who suggested going out for ice cream after dinner. Dad rarely, if ever, refused her and, so, we’d pile into the car and off we went. Many years later, she and I would be in the car, returning to her home, when she would mention ice cream. The next thing I knew, we’d be standing at some counter waiting for our single scoop cones. Well, Mom’s birthday — as well as that of her Mother — was August 15th; Uncle’s birthday, Zia’s husband, was August 11th; the birthday of my Friend the kitchens’ Taste Tester was on the 7th; and my Friend the Entertainer’s birthday is August 20th — but wait, there’s more. In the Children’s Division, my Grand-Nephew’s birthday is the 1st and the Oldest of the Boys Upstairs has a birthday on the 18th. Well, with so many birthdays to honor, I’m going to post ice cream recipes for the next 3 Fridays of this, their “birthday month.” (My Friend the Entertainer believes that one’s birthday should be celebrated the entire month.) And whether you choose to make any of these 3 ice creams, make sure that on at least one of August’s warm nights, you get yourself a single scoop cone. You’ll soon discover what Mom knew all along: it’s a great way to end a day.

Today’s recipe, pistachio ice cream, is pretty much the same one that Mom gave to me in a recipe book years ago. It’s not a complicated recipe and there’s no custard to make. Still, there are a couple of things to consider. First, and most importantly, the recipe calls for 1 raw egg. Now, I am certainly not advocating the use of plain, raw eggs in this, or any, recipe. When a recipe calls for raw egg, I use eggs with pasteurized shells. You can find them in the egg case at your grocery and using them will eliminate any worry you might have when serving raw egg. Yes, they may cost more but the peace of mind is well worth it. With the “egg question” out-of-the-way, all that’s left is how to deal with the pistachio nuts. First off, I use roasted, unsalted nuts that I shell myself. It is much easier to remove the “paper” off of the nuts if you shell them yourself, and the less paper, the greener your ice cream. Still, even with every bit of paper removed, your pistachio ice cream will not be as green as store-bought. For that, you’ll need to add a few drops of food coloring. Whether to use food coloring is a decision for you to make. Secondly, while half of the pistachio nuts are ground in the blender, I freeze the other half in my freezer, based upon a comment by my Trusty Traveling Companion. Although he likes chopped pistachio nuts in his ice cream, he doesn’t like that they’re often a touch on the soggy side. By adding them to the ice cream already frozen, the problem is avoided.

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Pistachio Nut Ice Cream Recipe

yield: 1.5 quarts

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup pistachio nuts, shelled & roughly chopped – divided in half
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8  – 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • pistachio nuts, for garnish when serving

Directions

My Baby

  1. Place half of the pistachio nuts, the egg, and half & half into a blender and “Chop” until nuts are fully ground.
  2. Add everything but the reserved pistachio nuts to the blender and “Stir” until well-blended.
  3. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
  4. Pour cream mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. About 5 minutes before completion, pour the remaining pistachio nuts into the canister. (See Notes)
  6. When completed, remove the ice cream from the canister for serving or  transfer to a sealable container and placed in the freezer.
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Variations

There are plenty of pistachio ice cream recipes on the internet offering far too many variations to list here. One particularly interesting method can be found on the Brown Eyed Baker’s website. In addition to adding chopped nuts to the cream mixture, he begins by steeping some of the pistachios in milk, extracting as much flavor as possible from the nuts. If you’re googling pistachio ice cream recipes, be sure to check his out.

Notes

Your machine may not recommend adding nuts to the cream while the machine is running. If that’s the case, process the ice cream per the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, add the nuts to the semi-frozen cream, stir to fully combine, and either garnish & serve it or transfer it to a sealable container and place in the freezer.

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Affogati

So, dreaming of Sunday mornings spent sipping cappuccino and weekday afternoon espresso pick-me-ups, you purchased a beautiful espresso machine and gave it a place of prominence atop your counter. Now, two years later, you spend more time dusting it than you do making caffeine drinks of any kind, let alone espresso.  We’ve all done it and I’ve no magic words to prevent it from happening again. What I can do is offer a recipe that just might encourage you to use your espresso machine again. Today’s recipe is affogato, a relatively light dessert that I use to end many a summertime meal.

Actually, the full name of today’s recipe is affogato al caffè, which when translated means “drowned in coffee”. At its most basic, this is a combination of ice cream, espresso, and whipped cream — but who likes basic? I’ve included a couple of variations that may pique your interest and entice you to break out that espresso machine. Oh! And what if you don’t own an espresso machine? Not to worry. You can substitute some strong, black coffee for the espresso.

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Affogati Recipes

a) Affogato al Caffè

Ingredients

  • 4 large scoops premium or home-made vanilla ice cream
  • 4 shots espresso or very strong black coffee
  • freshly whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings (optional)

Directions

  1. Place one scoop of ice cream into each of 4 dessert bowls or large coffee mugs.
  2. Pour a freshly brewed shot of espresso or coffee over each scoop.
  3. Top off with a dollop of whipped cream.
  4. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate, if desired.
  5. Serve immediately.

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b)  Affogato with Almonds (Mandorle)

Ingredients

  • 4 large scoops premium or home-made vanilla ice cream
  • 4 shots espresso or very strong black coffee
  • 2 shots Amaretto Liqueur
  • freshly whipped cream
  • toasted slivered or sliced almonds (optional)
  • chocolate shavings (optional)

Directions

  1. Place one scoop of ice cream into each of 4 dessert bowls or large coffee mugs.
  2. Pour a freshly brewed shot of espresso or coffee over each scoop.
  3. Pour 1/2 shot of Amaretto over each serving.
  4. Top off with a dollop of whipped cream.
  5. Sprinkle with almonds and/or shaved chocolate, if desired.
  6. Serve immediately.

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c) Affogato with Hazelnuts (Nocciola)

Ingredients

  • 4 large scoops premium or home-made vanilla ice cream
  • 4 shots espresso or very strong black coffee
  • 2 shots Frangelico Liqueur
  • freshly whipped cream
  • crushed toasted hazelnuts (optional)
  • chocolate shavings (optional)

Directions

  1. Place one scoop of ice cream into each of 4 dessert bowls or large coffee mugs.
  2. Pour a freshly brewed shot of espresso or coffee over each scoop.
  3. Pour 1/2 shot of Frangelico over each serving.
  4. Top off with a dollop of whipped cream.
  5. Sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts and/or shaved chocolate, if desired.
  6. Serve immediately.

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d) Chocolate Affogato (Cioccolato)

Ingredients

  • 4 large scoops premium or home-made chocolate ice cream
  • 4 shots espresso or very strong black coffee
  • 2 shots Kahlua Liqueur
  • freshly whipped cream
  • 4 tbsp chocolate shavings, + 1 tbsp for garnish

Directions

  1. Place one scoop of ice cream into each of 4 dessert bowls or large coffee mugs.
  2. Pour a freshly brewed shot of espresso or coffee over each scoop.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of chocolate over each serving.
  4. Pour 1/2 shot of Kahlua over each serving.
  5. Top off with a dollop of whipped cream.
  6. Divide and sprinkle remaining tbsp of shaved chocolate over all 4 servings
  7. Serve immediately.

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Variations

Of course, the liqueur may be omitted from the variations listed-above. On the other hand, you may wish to use Framboise or Chambord liqueurs in addition to, or in place of, the Kahlua in the chocolate affogato recipe. And although fine if served as-is, you may wish to include almond cookies (amaretti) when serving affogato with almonds, or, perhaps some complimentary biscotti, — i.e., hazelnut, chocolate, etc. — with the appropriate variation. And if those aren’t enough choices, you can try adding a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg to the whipping cream.

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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

I’ve been making ice cream for some time. Quite a few years ago, I bought a fancy Italian gelato maker from (the now-defunct) Sharper Image. Considering the cost of that machine and how little it was used, quart for quart, that was some of the priciest ice cream … er … gelato that I’ve ever eaten.  I never did get the chance to make enough to bring the costs down because the machine was a casualty of the move to my current home. Undeterred, I dove back into the pool and purchased a model from Cuisinart, as well as an extra freezer canister. I love this machine and it’s definitely paid for itself. Not only have I made ice cream for my friends and neighbors but I’ve brought it with me to Michigan and made ice cream for Zia and her friends. As for the many recipes I’ve tried, we are all in agreement that today’s recipe makes the best ice cream.

It was almost 2 years ago, during another long and sleepless night, that I came across a recipe for cheesecake ice cream. It called for cream cheese and, although tasty, it was, as a friend (the Entertainer) said, “… more like a frozen piece of cheesecake.” I kept searching until I found today’s recipe, which was posted by Melissa Symington on AllRecipes.com. Far and away, it is the best ice cream recipe I’ve come across in quite some time. Granted, by using a pudding mix, it is not a true ice cream and some ice cream purists may find that objectionable. Luckily, I’m not a purist nor are any of my friends and family. This is one ice cream recipe that I’ll make again and again.

The recipe presented below is pretty much the same one I found that night. The only changes I’ve made are to add a pinch of salt to each of the 3 preparations and to replace the milk with half-and-half. The yield is about 2 3/4 quarts of ice cream, although I’ve seen versions of this recipe where the ingredient amounts are all halved. Of course, the results are every bit as good as the original but then you’ve little to give to your friends. Trust me. Once they taste this ice cream, they’ll be asking for more. Make a full-batch and you can make everyone happy — well, maybe not your cardiologist.

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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

Berry Swirl

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Graham Cracker Crumble

  • 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • pinch of salt

Ice Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Gradually stir in water until smooth. Stir in blueberries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in butter. Pat into an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in.x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the ice cream ingredients. Fill ice cream freezer cylinder two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. Whisk before adding to ice cream freezer (mixture will have some lumps).
  4. Crumble the graham cracker mixture. In a large container, layer the ice cream, graham cracker mixture, and blueberry sauce three times. Use a spoon handle, chop stick, or similar object to swirl the now-full container’s contents. Freeze.
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Variations

Although not a problem with the blueberries in this recipe, I find that large pieces of fruit or berry usually do not freeze well in home-made ice cream. The water content of the fruit turns to ice and the resultant shard-like texture interferes with my enjoyment of the luscious cream across my palate. (Yes, I’m fussy about my ice cream.) So, to avoid this, if I’m going to use another fruit or berry in this recipe, I’ll pass them through my Roma strainer or, at least, purée them before preparing them for addition to the frozen cream mixture. This way I get all the flavor but none of the ice shards. That is how I prepared the strawberry ice cream pictured above, as well as a black cherry version of this same recipe.

Notes

One of the things that sets this ice cream apart is the graham cracker crumble. Reminiscent of a cheesecake’s crust, you do not want to skimp or skip this ingredient. Still, the recipe makes a great deal of the crumble and, like me, you may find there’s too much. Use as much of the crumble as you like and store the rest in your freezer for next time. I’ve no idea how long is should be frozen because mine has never been in the freezer for more than a couple weeks. This is one very popular ice cream.

It is possible to make ice cream at home without an ice cream maker. (I know because I forgot part of my machine during a recent trip to Michigan.) Granted, it may not be as easy as pouring ingredients into a frozen canister and pushing the “on” button but you can still make ice cream. First off, combine the ingredients listed above in a sturdy glass or stainless mixing bowl. Mix well and place the bowl and its contents into the freezer. Remove the bowl after 45 minutes and give its contents a good stir. Work fast. You can use a hand mixer, stand mixer, immersion blender, whisk, or spatula. Place the bowl back into the freezer. After 30 – 45 more minutes, remove the bowl and give it another good stir. Repeat the process again and again and again. It will take a few hours but you will eventually have a mixing bowl filled with ice cream that is as “solid” as you would get from a machine. Not only that but, believe me, you’ll never forget part of your machine again.

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