Alcoholic ice creams are weird. Because alcohol doesn’t freeze, it’s difficult to get the ice cream to actually not turn into slush (or worse), so the first step is removing egg yolks. Egg yolks lower the temperature required to freeze ice cream, so an all dairy version is more likely to stay solid. But even then, you still have to try to get rid of the alcohol — without getting rid of the flavor. Bringing to a boil seems to do the trick, or so I tell myself.
In the proper light, the syrup layer seems almost translucent.
My dear friend Nate, a fan of Fernet Branca and Indian food, suggested that I make a Fernet ice cream. For those who don’t know the Bay Area’s obsession with Fernet, it’s an Italian amaro that you can drink straight (eek), on the rocks (still eek), with Coke (if you’re Argentine), or with whiskey and simple syrup (in what’s called a Toronto, a delightful cocktail). Mixing it with ginger — which, as we know, is one of my favorite flavors — adds a nice bite to the medicinal tinge of the amaro. Nate’s birthday is coming up again, so it seemed like a good time to make another batch. He’s a smart guy, but this was one of his best ideas.
Serve in a cocktail glass — if you want to drive the point home.
I’ve combined it with a syrup of Fernet, sugar, and ginger as well — to mirror the flavor of the ice cream, and to compensate for a potential lack of Fernet flavor in the base. You can never be too careful. The general technique here will work for most alcoholic ice creams as well. More such recipes TK.
I first started making ice cream, as mentioned previously, by following the recipes in The Perfect Scoop and the Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book towards the end of my law school years. And so I was blithely content to merely reproduce other people’s recipes until, about a year after I graduated and was living in D.C., a friend asked me to come up with my own flavor.
The first GH flavor.
Scott once made the mistake of telling me that as a kid he was nicknamed Scooter, and because, like Dubya, I love nicknaming my friends, I have referred to him as Scooter ever since. He suggested I try my own flavor, and I asked him what he wanted. “I don’t know, goat cheese and some kind of fruit?” And thus the first flavor was born. Thanks brah. I wouldn’t have done it without you.
I’ve become more adept at doing the swirl these days.
A slight detour from ice cream. Because ice cream usually requires egg yolks but not egg whites, I frequently have leftover whites. I’m ashamed to say that I often just tossed them down the drain, but I’ve subsequently reformed my ways. I’ve been making pasta lately (more on this at another time, I’m sure), which also requires egg yolks but not whites. However, because of the sheer number of yolks required (as many as ten for a half batch of Flour + Water’s basic egg dough), the prospect of wasting that many egg whites was too much to bear. Keep in mind my mother told me recently that she didn’t want to throw out the simple syrup I had made a few months ago because when she was a young girl in India, sugar was rationed and the idea of discarding sugar was anathema to her. I guess in my family we try to avoid waste.
But what to do with egg whites? Someone suggested egg white omelettes, but I’ve always thought they’re kind of sad. I could spice nuts, but give that you only need one egg white for almost two cups of nuts, that seemed inefficient. So I decided to do meringues. I have some friends who don’t eat gluten, and thus my cookies are often off-limits to them. But meringues don’t use flour, so meringues are perfect for then. And, frankly, they’re pretty pleasant — a light treat for when one doesn’t want to be too indulgent.
Light, crunchy, and slightly rose.
The New York Times featured a recipe for alfajores (Argentine sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche and coconut) a couple weeks ago that also discussed making one’s own dulce de leche. This reminded me of a recipe I had come up with a few years ago, in part due to my love of food from Latin America. It’s got two classic flavors from that cuisine creating a mix of tart and sweet.
After three hours of boiling and two hours of cooling, what treasures lie within?
My friends Arianna and Matt just had a very cute baby boy and, because most people with six-month-old kids don’t have time to cook, I brought them some of the latest batch. And not just because they lived in Argentina for a while.
Oh, and the alfajores turned out pretty well too.
Two great tastes that taste great together.
Ari and Matt’s Dulce de Limeche Continue reading
I have been absent for longer than I had planned — a trip to New York and work busyness has prevented me from writing up all the installments bouncing around my mind. Happily, I have been able to make some new recipes, so we’re not lacking in ideas around here.
Lauren’s favorite lemon curd.
The New York trip was in celebration of my dear friend Lauren’s baby shower. I’d never actually been to one so it was a novel experience, and a relaxed one (no stupid games, very little pomp). Lauren has always loved my lemon curd, which I frequently add to cakes and cookies, but I’d never actually done it as an ice cream swirl. The trip got my mind going — you’d want a basic flavor, but with a subtle flavor to make it not just lemon + vanilla. Enter the chilies. They add a kick, but not an unwelcome one. People who hate spicy food probably shouldn’t try this, but the mix of spice, sweetness, and tart — complete with the richness of the vanilla, use seeds and good extract if possible — make it an unusual, addictive combination. The friends who tried it while watching the Oscars very much enjoyed it. Continue reading