An Ice Cream Dessert for Fall

11 11 2011

photo by Nick

Treacle toffee ice cream, spiced hot toddy poached pear, speculoos.

The ice cream comes from Beyond Nose to Tail, and I’ve been wanting to make it since getting the book two and a half years ago.  The pear, poached in what basically amounted to a hot toddy (in part because I ran out of sugar – here’s to happy accidents) with whole cinnamon, allspice, clove, black pepper, and star anise, makes a marvelous accompaniment.  And who doesn’t love a crisp speculoos cookie?

On this day in 2010: Céleri Remoulade (a narrative recipe)





Around Paris: 7th: Coutume

11 09 2011

Coutume from the street

Though it’s only a couple of blocks from the much-lauded Grande Epicerie, Coutume‘s location on a nondescript portion of the rue de Babylone makes it feel further off the beaten path than it actually is.  Combine that with the mostly Anglophone staff and the artfully unfinished, postmodern-meets-neoclassical décor, and you’ve got a Parisian coffee shop that would be equally at home in New York or London, if not more so.

Coutume interior

I, for one, am glad that it’s here in Paris.  It’s pretty well documented that I am a tea-drinker, and the selection of organic teas here make me very happy.  They also take great care, serving each tea in its own individual teapot, with instructions about how long to let it steep for optimum flavor.  But I can appreciate a well-made cup of coffee, too, and Coutume has those in spades.

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Lavender’s Blue…

12 08 2010

Can't you just smell it?

Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, mint is so green
Together they, dilly dilly, make good ice cream.

What of chocolate, dilly dilly, is there no place?
Swirled through in chips, dilly dilly, get in my face.

Looks can be deceiving

I’ve been wanting to make this ice cream for over a year.  I wish I could say I came up with it while I was frolicking in a field of lavender in Provence, but the truth is much more banal.  My post-shower routine, especially in the summer, involves a cooling lavender-scented foot cream, which is lovely after a long, hot day on my feet.  Combine that with the minty-fresh post-toothbrushing-session breath, and it occurred to me one day how not-unlike each other lavender and mint really are.  I thought about different dessert applications for this revelation, and naturally, ice cream sprang to mind. 

At the time, I had neither an ice cream maker nor a good source of lavender flowers.  But times have changed.  I found some fragrant organic lavender in the Indian spice shop across the street, and almost immediately upon returning home whipped up a batch of my new favorite summer ice cream.  Mint chip has always been a favorite flavor of mine, but the subtle hint of lavender turns a childhood favorite into something far more sophisticated, and possibly even more delicious.

It almost feels like I’ve been doing you a disservice by keeping this one under my hat for so long.  So here you go:

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We Can Probably Add “Glacière” to The Résumé Now

29 07 2010

It should come as no surprise when I tell you that I love making ice cream.  Sorbet and granita, too.  And let’s not forget frozen yogurt.  So today was kind of my dream day at work.

Like many parisian pâtisseries, mine makes an assortment of ice creams and sorbets to sell in the summertime.  The chef’s been on vacation, and the vendeuses have been pestering me to replenish their ice cream supply.  There were a few problems with this.  First of all, we’ve been undergoing some minor remodeling at the shop, and our ice cream machine got relocated to the pantry closet in the shuffle.  Someone seemed to think that was an ideal place for it, but as the pantry lacked the proper electrical and water hookups, the machine has been collecting dust most of the summer.  The electrician finally showed up on Monday and the machine was, in theory, ready to go this week.

In theory, communism works.

First there was the mystery tube to nowhere.  It turned out to be the exit tube for the water.  (Why this machine needs so much water, I’m not sure.  I asked, and everyone just seemed surprised by the question.  The main response I got was along the lines of “Well, you shouldn’t ask yourself those kinds of things.”  Welcome to France.)  The tube was not long enough to reach the drainpipe.  So we had to remove it, take it across the street to the hardware store, and get another one, similar but longer.  Then install it.  This was yesterday.  Obviously, no ice cream got made.

Today, I spent all morning making the various ice cream and sorbet bases, aided in part by an apprentice who will henceforward be referred to as “Lil’ Hipster.”  While I made the anglaises for vanilla, praliné, pistachio, coffee, and chocolate ice creams as well as mixing up lemon, pear, passionfruit, and banana sorbet fodder, he made the bases for apricot, pineapple, white peach, and coconut sorbets.  (This was, of course, after three of us – me, Lil’ Hipster, and the baker – searched high and low for the powdered glucose and eventually had to call the chef and wake him up to find out where it was hidden.)  I relished having the chance to tell the kid to leave the kirsch out of the pineapple sorbet, because rum makes much more sense.  I was delighted to be able to make calls like “let’s use toasted coconut in the sorbet, instead of the white stuff!”  Up until lunchtime, everything was going swimmingly.

Then I decided to put one of the sorbets in to churn.  Twenty five minutes later, it was still liquid.  (Usually, the machine freezes a much larger batch of ice cream in about twenty.)  After wasting my time asking the baker and bugging the chef again, I noticed that the valve on the water input pipe looked closed.  I opened it, and was rewarded with a splash of water on my feet.  Yesterday’s new pipe had not been properly attached.  At this point I found myself asking the Universe, “Why?  Why don’t you want me to make ice cream?”  I knelt down in the puddle and tightened the fastener until opening the valve no longer produced a gush of water on the floor.  And tried one more time.

This time, the lemon sorbet froze in a record six minutes!  Hooray!  I can still get all the sorbets done this afternoon!  And I did.  The ice creams will be done tomorrow, plus I ordered more fruit purée so I can make strawberry, raspberry, and sour cherry sorbets.  In case you’re wondering, and want to stop by for a scoop, the best flavors so far are coconut, passionfruit, and white peach.  Banana is my least favorite.  The lemon is super tart, if you’re into that kind of thing.

One last thing, about the title.  Glacier is the French word for someone who makes ice cream.  As per usual, there is no feminine form of the word as such.  Glacière means icebox.  Although I like the second definition given here, translated into English it reads: “machine for making ice cream.”*  That’s me.

*Ok, I’ve done a little creative translation – the words for ice and ice cream are the same in French.  Confusing much?  Also, big bonus points to anyone who can tell me the Homer Simpson quote I am thinking of now.

On this day in 2009: Put the Lime in the Coconut

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





The Maiden Voyage of La Sorbetière

26 02 2010

Caramel Apple Ice Cream with Bourbon-Pecan Caramel Sauce

Today’s gray, rainy, and windy morning somehow managed to turn into a still windy but wonderfully sunny, blue-skied afternoon.  Since it was Friday, and I already had the pictures edited and recipe typed for today’s post, I thought I’d take a walk up in Montmartre after work.  I mean, what’s the point of living in Paris if you can’t take some time to get out and enjoy it every now and then?  Besides, I’M ON VACATION!  (WHOO-HOO!  Excuse me.)  It just seemed like an appropriate celebration of a sunny, almost-Spring day to take a walk in one of Paris’ hilliest, most convoluted neighborhoods.  Oh, I had a reason, and a purpose to my visit, which you’ll learn about soon enough, but I resolved not to just head-down, look-at-the-Google-map-on-my-phone my way to where I was going.  No, I wanted to get a little turned around (which I definitely did), look at some beautiful architecture (I think my favorites are the elaborate apartment buildings built in the first decade of the 20th century), and maybe even get some exercise (thank you, rues Lamarck and Caulaincourt and your intervening staircases).

Custard, left; caramelized apples, right.

Sorry, none of this really has anything to do with ice cream.  I made ice cream.  I’ve done it before.  But not in my own ice cream maker in Paris.  I wanted to try something new to christen the new appliance, and I wanted to use apples, because that’s the only fruit we get in the CSA this time of year, and they tend to pile up.  So I caramelized a whole bunch of them, and pureed them with a standard, less-sweet vanilla custard, to which I’d added a soupçon of bourbon.  The sorbetière worked its magic, and now I have a big container of original ice cream in my freezer.  I wanted a sauce to go with it, so I whipped up a quick caramel sauce with toasted pecans.  I didn’t write the recipe, because it’s too simple: caramelize sugar, add cream, stir in toasted pecan pieces and salt.  Spoon over ice cream and eat.

Digging in

Click on through for the ice cream recipe, if you want it.

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The Land of Chocolate

25 08 2009

It seems ironic that the day I finally sit down to post my chocolate ice cream recipe is the first rainy day in a couple of weeks.  Especially since I created it in Seattle, back in June when I was still on vacation, where we had nothing but beautiful sunny weather.

writing the recipe - photo by Nick

It was a chocolate-intensive day (and sandwich-intensive, too, I might add) that started with a tour of Theo Chocolate.  While I admire their commitment to organic and fair trade production, I though the presentation got a little preachy on those topics, to the detriment of explaining, say, how ganache is made.  Not for my benefit, mind you, I make the stuff for a living, but I doubt anyone on the tour with me that day left with any real understanding of the difference between the production of a bar of chocolate and the production of a chocolate confection.  Still, it wasn’t a total wash.  We got to taste several different chocolates, from single origin bars to novelty bars to the aforementioned ganaches.  I couldn’t leave without picking up some of the Ghost chile chocolate and a box of single-malt scotch ganaches.

You can't make ice cream without cream

One of my missions while in the USA was to gather up some American artisan chocolate bars.  I was looking in particular for Patric, which my former boss can’t praise highly enough, and Askinosie, which I was turned on to by David Lebovitz.  Upon hitting the ground in San Francisco, I was on the lookout for chocolate shops.  I found Bittersweet without much trouble, and they did carry a handful of chocolate bars.  I walked out of there about $35 poorer and four chocolate bars richer, but I was a little disappointed that it was more of a café/coffeeshop than a true chocolate shop.

Whisking the chocolate into the custard - photo by Nick

Fortunately, Pete, our host in Seattle, is a chocolate enthusiast.  He had spotted Chocolopolis and wanted to check it out.  Having a couple of chocolate-loving houseguests was the perfect excuse.  So following the Theo tour (with a little lunch break) we headed to Chocolopolis.

And it was there that I found what I was looking for:

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Bringing All The Boys To The Yard

23 05 2009

One of the appliances I miss the most in my Parisian kitchen is my ice cream maker. Ice cream is absolutely one of my favorite things to make – it’s relatively easy and the possibility for mixing and matching flavors is endless. Recently, after receiving rhubarb in my CSA panier and scoring some fragrant, juicy strawberries at the market, I was overcome with the urge to make ice cream. Rich, creamy vanilla ice cream, with a thick swirl of sweet-tart strawberry-rhubarb compote.

Rhubarb and strawberries - before and after

Still on my Nose to Tail kick, I decided to use Justin Piers Gellatly’s base recipe for Ripple Ice Cream, since that was what I was hoping to accomplish.  It’s a pretty straightforward anglaise, with a heavy dose of vanilla (or maybe that was just me, trying to use the vanilla beans I keep buying – it’s a bit of a compulsion).

Steep, Temper, Strain, Chill

But these are the easy parts.  No special equipment is required to cook a custard or bake some fruit.  I had a trick up my sleeve, though, courtesy of the internet’s favorite ice cream guru, David Lebovitz.  Turns out you can make ice cream completely by hand if you have a cold freezer and a little patience.  (Two Lebovitz recipes in one post?  Again?  Yep.)

Churning Ice Cream.  Very.  Slowly.

Here it is after a few hours of freezing with me stirring every 45 minutes or so.  I tried the immersion blender , but it just liquefied what frozen bits there were, thus setting me back an hour or so.  So spatula and whisk it was.  When it was starting to get late and the ice cream was still quite soft, I folded in the cooled strawberry-rhubarb compote anyway.  The result was a more homogeneous ice cream (no swirl to speak of), but really.  It was bedtime.  The next day, I checked the freezer to find the ice cream on the icy side.  Not terribly so, but not the creamy spoonful I’d been dreaming of.  Luckily, it tasted great.  So what does one do with overly hard ice cream?  Make it into a milkshake, of course!  (Here’s where the immersion blender shines.)

Strawberry-Rhubarb Milkshake

It may not be the deliciously marbled red and white scoop I’d originally planned, but it was luscious just the same.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.


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I’m Not Stalking David Lebovitz…

29 08 2008

…But I did have the pleasure of meeting him last Friday at Grom, an awesome Italian gelateria which has just opened its doors in Paris.  He was very kind and let me jump into his conversation with Guido, the guy running the show.  Guido was extremely enthusiastic about his ingredients and products, which is great to see and even better to experience.  (It doesn’t hurt that he’s an attractive Italian man.)  He gave us tastes of several different gelati, including his amazing gianduja made with dark chocolate and crunchy bits of hazelnut – fresh out of the ice cream machine!  Just about everything I tried there was fantastic, from the cornmeal cookies that go into their very unique “cookies and cream” gelato, to the nearly sorbet-like coffee gelato made with Italian roast coffee (sorry, France, sometimes your coffee isn’t up to snuff).  If there’s a Grom in your town, I highly recommend it.

Rhubarb and Reine Claude plums

Anyway, the reason I feel compelled to insist that I’m not a stalker is because I’ve been making a lot of David Lebovitz’ recipes lately.  First there was the individual chocolate cakes.  Then, on his recommendation, I bought some Reine Claude plums.  Following that, on a weekend trip to Orléans, I had a delicious jam made from rhubarb and Reine Claudes.  I wanted to try to recreate it at home, but I have no idea how to make jam.  So who do I turn to?  David Lebovitz, of course!  Following his guidelines, I produced a ridiculous amount of jam.  (I think I mentioned the jam when I was making it, and busy writing about Bulgaria.)

Future Jam

Leaving me with the challenge of finding something to do with all that tasty homemade jam.  Luckily, I had been eyeing a recipe for a jam tart with a cornmeal crust, written by you-know-who.

The finished jam tart

Mine didn’t come out as pretty as his did, but the flavor was excellent.  The slight crunch of the cornmeal in the crust makes for a nice contrast with the gooey jam.  Thanks, David!  I must also admit that his recent posts on hamburgers have given me the craving, too.  So today I made brioche buns, Nick’s making potato salad, and we’re having good, old-fashioned burgers.  And onion dip.

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





La Marquisette

4 08 2008

Yesterday Nick and I ventured all the way over to the 17th arrondissement to visit an artist friend of ours in his apartment/studio.  (It feels like such a cliché to be hanging out with the painter who used to live downstairs from our Parisian apartment, but at the same time, very cool.)  Since we were going to be in an as-yet-unexplored  neighborhood, we decided to have a little wander around and stopped for refreshment at La Marquisette.

La Marquisette

It wasn’t exactly a hot or sunny afternoon, but the promise of caramel au beurre salé (salted butter caramel) gelato was too tempting to pass up.  We each ended up getting a two-flavor cup, Nick’s with caramel and stracciatella, and mine with caramel and Bulgarian yogurt.

Sweet, delicious, handmade gelato

The caramel halves even got an extra drizzle of buttery caramel sauce.  The gelato itself was excellent – creamy with a good sweet-salty balance, deep caramel flavor, and the unmistakable mouthfeel of good handmade caramel sauce.  As for the other flavors, the Bulgarian yogurt was delightfully tangy and made a great foil to the rich caramel nestled up next to it.  The stracciatella (Italian-style chocolate chip made by drizzling melted chocolate into churned ice cream) had a sweet, creamy flavor with minimal vanilla so as not to detract from the quality of the cream and the tasty chocolate bits.  (None of that waxy, stick-in-your-teeth “chocolatey” garbage here!)

Another point in La Marquisette’s favor: unlike certain other Parisian glaceries who shall remain nameless, they close from November to February, when it makes sense for an ice cream place to be closed.  And they’re open all summer, except Mondays.  Hooray!

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Apricots and Ginger and Butter, Oh My!

20 06 2008

I know I just posted about clafoutis on Monday, but, as Loulou recently pointed out, it’s clafoutis season!  So maybe I’ve got clafoutis on the brain, but when I saw this month’s Royal Foodie Joust ingredients – apricots, ginger, butter – I knew that this would be the perfect vehicle to showcase them!  (This is a monthly contest hosted by Jen (aka The Leftover Queen), and it’s my first time entering, so if you are a food blogger and want to vote for me, head over to the forum and sign up.

That’s a lot of links for one paragraph!  Still here?  So apricots in clafoutis are almost a given, but what is the best way to incorporate the ginger?  I decided that adding fresh grated ginger to the batter would give the most vibrant ginger flavor. 

Grating fresh ginger

In order to enhance the flavor of the butter I went ahead and browned it.  Because who doesn’t love the nutty richness of brown butter?

Mmmm... brown butter

I also roasted the flour before incorporating it into the batter, adding to the fullness of flavor imparted by the brown butter.  I first read about this technique on Chocolate and Zucchini a couple of months ago, and have been intrigued ever since.  (Note: I did attempt the Squeeze Cookies, and they were tasty but ugly, which is why you never saw them here.)  The batter made, I set about arranging the apricots in an attractive manner in the baking dish.  They were not exactly ideal specimens, a little worse for wear after the manhandling they received at the hands of the guy selling them.  But I did my best to make them look cute for the camera.

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