Wow, it has been over a month since I last blogged…I missed the entire month of July!! But how appropriate that I chose today – August 15th – to re-emerge on the blogging scene. Happy Birthday, Julia Child!
Lately, I have been experimenting with gelato and ice-cream recipes. I have always wanted to perfect homemade ice-cream, but found the recipes tended to be less creamy and dense than I prefer, and often the final product was a bit grainy. I came across a recipe for a classic gelato on Epicurious.com and it was the base I have been searching for! My first go at the recipe I added a vanilla bean and cherries to the base. The cherries were fresh organic cherries which I pitted and chopped. I added a touch of Grand Marnier, nutmeg and a spicy syrup (simple syrup infused with red pepper flakes, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg). The end result was a delicious creation of creamy icy goodness!
Yesterday I made a different gelato. My son requested a coconut-banana-rum ice-cream, so I added shredded unsweetened coconut and about one tablespoon of dark rum to the base. I left the coconut in because I like the texture it creates, but if you want a completely smooth base you can strain out the coconut when it is ready to go in the ice-cream maker. I pureed two frozen bananas and when they were completely smooth and creamy I added a scant tablespoon of dark rum and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. I had planned to swirl this into the coconut base when it was almost frozen, but it ended up getting completely mixed in. No matter…on bite and I was transported to a tropical paradise! Next time I will top it with a caramel sauce.
I have some other flavor combinations to try. I’m planning to make a strawberry gelato with black pepper and possibly anise. I have had the strawberry-black pepper combo in the past and want to recreate it at home. I think the anise would add another dimension, but I am not sure if it would be a good dimension. I also have plans for a peach-chipotle-honey combination. When peaches are at the peak of their season I love to slice them on top of a healthy scoop of vanilla ice-cream. I pour a little brandy over the ice-cream (to taste), and follow it up with honey, chopped pecans and a touch of chipotle powder. As a side note: perfectly ripe peaches are also delicious halved,a little goat cheese added to the center, and drizzled with honey (and maybe a chiffonade of mint)…makes a wonderful appetizer and pairs well with a crisp white wine or glass of champagne.