Star Spangled Apple Pie

Star Spangled Apple Pie

We had a great 4th of July weekend with friends in the woods. We stayed in a tiny town called Dorrington, near Arnold, in a woodsy community that hasn’t changed since 1972. Our friend Keith’s birthday is July 3rd, so I made him a Star Spangled Pie with vanilla ice – his request. The vanilla is my new favorite simple recipe and the pie always changes. It’s not apple season but we have started to see some of the early varieties here at the farmer’s market. I used a combination of  Dorsett Golden and Gala which made for a very juicy pie. Someday I’ll make the perfect apple pie with the perfect amount of bubbling juices but until then, we’ll just keep stuffing our faces with pie and ice cream and watch while the pie attempts to set us on fire.

Old Fashioned Vanilla

keith sparks

You can click on the images above to see the rest of our trip. It was pretty much like adult summer camp with the addition of cute babies and Michael got to take some amazing night photos at Alpine Lake. Oh, and please feel free to comment and send recipes of your favorite apple pie. I need extra practice (and probably extra tasters too).

Ice Cream Month Continued…

I’m churning some ice cream tonight and hope to share the new recipe and technique mid-week. Until then, I thought I’d share some recipes I’ve done in the past with you. I’m tempted to make them again, but don’t want … Continue reading

July: National Ice Cream Month: Chocolate Hazelnut Chip Ice Cream

I never realized there was a whole month dedicated to ice cream until last year, and it was too late. Raegan declared July as National Ice Cream Month, the third Saturday National Ice Cream Day, and encouraged people to celebrate “with appropriate ceremonies and activities”. I really can’t believe I didn’t know. I was almost one year old when this declaration was made in 1984, so I’ve had a lot of time to find out. Anyways, to make up those lost years, I thought I’d try and make as much ice cream as possible during the month of July. My Kitchen Aid is going to get her workout (and I’ll be working out extra too with all this ice cream in the house).

First up is Chocolate Hazelnut Stracciatella (Chip) Ice Cream

Michael picked this for his birthday. We were in Texas/Belize on his birthday so I didn’t make him a cake. Instead when we got back he asked if I’d make some ice cream instead. And then we celebrated our anniversary, studied for ARE exams, bought some hazelnuts (so expensive), and finally got around to making it about one month after his birthday. Strike One. Sorry love! Lebovits calls this one Gianduja. I call it Chocolate Hazelnut with chocolate chips. Michael calls is Gelato alla Nocciolo. Really everyone should just stop trying to pronounce all of these words and eat some. It’s good and thick and creamy. I asked Michael why he picked this one. He said he couldn’t request chocolate chocolate chip again and needed to change things up a bit so adding nuts was key. I love this guy.

I tend to split ice cream making into a two day process. One day for custard making; one day for churning and freezing. It takes about 9 hours (including chilling and freezing) to make ice cream. I made this custard on a Sunday night and unfortunately Michael was daydreaming about eating ice cream all day Monday, only to find out I hadn’t churned it yet. Strike two. So We churned it Monday night and taste tested the bowl. It was yummy.

In honor of Ice Cream Month, I’m going to try and make as many ice creams as possible. Wish me luck. I’m also going to try and not gain 30lbs this month, so please come over and eat some Ice Cream. I’m sure there will be a hearty supply in the freezer.

Chocolate Hazelnut Stracciatella (Chip) Ice Cream
adapted slightly from The Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz

  • 1 C 2% milk
  • 1/2 C + 2T sugar
  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 C hazelnuts, toasted and ground
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 4 oz milk chocolate, melted
  • 3 oz dark chocolate, melted

Melt 4 oz of milk chocolate in a large bowl and set aside with a fine mesh strainer on top. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, one cup of cream and sugar until hot to the touch. Add hazelnuts and cover. Let the milk steep for one hour. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks. Strain the hazelnuts from the milk and put the saucepan and infused milk mix on medium heat. Once heated, temper the eggs by pouring the hot milk in a tiny steady stream into the eggs while whisking constantly. Do this slowly or you will cook and curdle the eggs. Pour the eggy milk back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat until the custard coats the back of a spoon (your finger will make a clear line to separate the cream on the spoon). Pour this through the strainer into the melted chocolate and stir in an ice bath until cool. Cover and chill for four hours minimim. Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

To make the chocolate chips: heat the remaining 3oz dark chocolate until melted. When your ice cream is almost finished churning, pour the chocolate slowly into the side of the ice cream maker in a thin ribbon. The dasher will break this up into little pieces = chocolate chips. You can also do what I had to since my ice cream froze quickly… Layer the ice cream into a bowl alternating with the chocolate. Stir each layer to break up the chocolate.


Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

Today I was assured, “It’s soooo good.” This is possibly one of the most unhealthy desserts I’ve made in a while, but who am I kidding – all dessert should be unhealthy! I’m referring to the most decadent chocolate ice cream with brownie chunks. Mmmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about it… silky chocolate ice cream with loads of pecan-studded, fudgey brownies. I had to keep myself from eating some every night this week. I left most of the ice cream for Michael and my father in law (visiting SF for a nerd conference as he likes to say) but I did cut myself a rather large slice of brownie one of those nights. Shhh, don’t tell.

I’ve told you before how I adore David Lebovits. He’s witty and silly and an incredible writer. This time, I made his basic chocolate ice cream recipe and added some brownies (another recipe of his). If you have an ice cream machine, I highly recommend his book, The Perfect Scoop. It has so many different recipes I can read for hours without making a decision. A while back I posted a Pumpkin Ice Cream and a Mint Ice Cream, both originating from his cookbook – both delicious.

The Chocolate Ice Cream is no where near low-fat and it contains both cocoa powder and dark chocolate. I changed it to dark chocolate instead of bittersweet/semisweet which by definition is hard to decipher. Dark chocolate may have less sugar and more chocolate”liquor” than bittersweet which is somewhere near this definition but probably contains more milk or sugar. Some brands may try and trick you, but a true dark chocolate should be at least 60% and my personal preference is 72%. Anything less and your ice cream will be very sweet. I used dark chocolate for the brownies too, making this a sophisticated ice cream I suppose. The brownies stayed deliciously chewy after freezing and alone are one of the best brownies I’ve had in a while.

Chocolate Ice Cream
Adapted (very slightly) from The Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz

3 T cocoa powder
2 C heavy cream divided
3/4 C sugar
pinch of kosher salt or sea salt
5 oz dark chocolate chopped
5 egg yolks
1 C whole milk
1 tsp vanilla

Warm one cup of cream and cocoa powder in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, pour over the chocolate pieces and stir with a spatula until melted. Set a strainer over the top of this bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and prepare a bowl for an ice bath. 

Rinse the saucepan and add the remaining 1 C cream, and sugar over medium heat. Once warm, pour into the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to temper the yolks. Return the pan the burner with the eggy mix and cook over medium heat (stir constantly with a heatproof spatule) until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. To test, run your finger along the spoon vertically. If the custard runs back over your swipe, keep cooking. If not, it’s ready. Pour through the strainer into the chocolate mix. Stir over an ice bath until cooled. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours until the mix is very cold. If you let it go overnight your ice cream will have a pudding consistency and be quick to churn. DL says to whisk it until you can pour it into the machine but I did not and the ice cream was still tasty. Whisking just lends itself to a more airy ice cream, mine was a little more dense. 

Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. 

Chocolate Pecan Brownies
Adapted (very slightly) from The Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz
1/2 C butter
4oz dark chocolate chopped
1 scant C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C flour
pinch of kosher salt
1 C chopped, toasted pecans

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line an 8 inch square pan with foil. Spray the foil and set aside. 

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted. Add the sugar and then the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and stir, then the flour. Stir until the flour is just incorporated and add the salt and nuts. 

To toast the nuts, sprinkle them into a dry pan and cook on medium heat until they become fragrant or taste like you want them to (my preferred method for checking doneness). 

Spread the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Mine came out at 27 and I could have taken them out just a bit earlier. Cool in the pan. Remove the foil with the brownies and set on a cutting board. Chop the brownies into little pieces and refrigerate until your ice cream has churned. You’ll want about 2 cups roughly chopped for the ice cream and the rest is up to you. 

Pumpkin Ice Cream

I opened my copy of The Perfect Scoop and gasp! What? No pumpkin ice cream recipe? hmmm. Sweet potato ice cream just won’t do. David Lebovitz what were you thinking not including Pumpkin Ice Cream in your book? I’m glad I wasn’t the only one perplexed by this omission since you happened to post one on your blog in response to our madness…

Lebovitz has a magical way of combining cream eggs and sugar into the most delicious creamy treats. I was really happy to find a recipe he only ever so slightly changed from chef Karen DeMasco in her cookbook The Craft of Baking. You should read his blog post. It’s quite witty and apparently he got some stares while walking home with a rather large but thin butternut squash (subbed squash for pumpkins).

The original recipe used canned pumpkin which I adore. I have a plethora of pumpkin recipes using canned pumpkin, and it’s really my favorite. Fresh pumpkins don’t usually give you the thick consistency of the canned version unless you do a lot of straining. I can never tell a difference in the end product from fresh vs canned pumpkin. That said, I decided to stick to good ole Libby’s. She must have been quite the lady.

I have no idea why I never tried pumpkin ice cream until now. It seems to fit well into fall desserts and even though its cold outside, you can cozy up with a blanket and movie and enjoy some delicious spiced ice cream. Michael and I happen to do this often, and the tub of ice cream disappears at an alarming rate.

I absolutely loved this ice cream recipe. I’ll be making it at least once more this winter but next time I’ll have to place it on a warm slab of gingerbread cake topped with candied pecans. Yum. Good thing you can’t see me drooling.

If you don’t have an ice cream machine, you should at least try making the candied pecans. They are addictive and delicious and would make a great addition to your holiday cookie trays.

Pumpkin Ice Cream – David Lebovitz

Candied Pecans
1 lb Pecan halves (trader joe’s are great)
1 egg white
1 T water + 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 C sugar

Preheat the oven to 250˚F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Whisk egg white until frothy and water and pour into a gallon size ziplock bag. Add in the nuts and shake to coat. In another bowl/bag combine the sugar and cinnamon and add the nuts. Make sure they are evenly coated and spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 60 minutes stirring every 15 minutes. Make sure you taste one or two after 45 minutes because they could be done then. If not, keep cooking another 10-15. Cool on tray and store in an airtight container.