Last week, it was ice. This week, it was gobs of light fluffy snow that alighted on my window sill. Despite the freezing temps outside, I’m undeterred for my love of ice cream.
I have been absolutely swamped with *life* since the new year and I’m finally getting a chance to catch up on posting recipes for two of my ice creams that I promised readers in December. The first is a fig and Pedro Ximenes ice cream, the second is for a caramel cinnamon-blackpepper ice cream.
Figs & PX Ice Cream
Makes approximately 1 1/4 quart
This recipe was inspired by the prune and armagnac ice cream that I had at Jean Georges in New York. While prunes go well with armagnac, figs pair particularly well with Pedro Ximenes, a Spanish sherry with a complex deep caramely-figgy-walnut flavor. I made this ice cream a few times before I was satisfied (not to worry, none of the experiments went to waste). Figs and chocolate is one of my favorite pairings, so I served this along with a molten chocolate cake for my New Year’s Eve dinner.
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
6-8 oz. dried figs (preferrably Black Mission figs), finely chopped
3/4 cup of Pedro Ximenes (preferably, Alvear, Solera 1927)
1/3 cup sugar
1. Macerate (soak) the dried figs in the PX overnight (or, at least four hours) in an airtight container.
2. In a sauce pan, heat milk with sugar over medium heat. Be careful not to scald the milk. Stir frequently to thoroughly dissolve the sugar into the milk. When sugar has fully dissolved, stir in the heavy cream and let the mixture simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
3. Carefully transfer the milk and cream mixture to a blender. Add 1/2 macerated figs, reserving the the rest of the figs and any leftover extra Pedro Ximenes. Holding down the lid with a damp towl, blend on high for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture has turned a shade of light purple. Transfer the blended mixture to an airtight container, allow to cool, and then refrigerate overnight.
4. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions. When the mixture is nearly frozen, add the remaining chopped figs and PX to incorporate. Churn until frozen. Transfer immediately to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 3 hours before serving.
Caramel Cinnamon-Black Pepper Ice Cream
Makes approximately 1 1/4 quart
This was an experiment that went all the right ways. I’ve always found caramel to be rather boring on its own, so I decided to add some of my favorite spices – cinnamon and black pepper. The key to this recipe is to watch the caramel closely to make sure that it browns evenly. You should let the caramel brown until it just passes an amber color. If it burns anymore, don’t worry, you’re ice cream will just have a more bitter burnt sugar taste, which I find delicious as well.
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 large cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons of whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. In a non-reactive sauce pan, heat sugar and water over medium heat. Swirl the pan around to distribute the sugar and water. (Do not stir with a utensil) Watching carefully, reduce the simple syrup until it starts to brown. If you must, gently swirl to make sure the mixture browns evenly. When the carmel has just passed a shade of amber (a light brown), carefully add the milk – the mixture will spatter and bubble vigorously and the carmel will harden and then dissolve. Stir the mixture together until the caramel is incorporated and turn the heat down to low. Add the cinnamon stick, cinnamon, and black peppercorns. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Stir the heavy cream into the caramel-milk mixture and allow it to come back up to a simmer. Allow the mixture to reduce for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the ingredients to steep until the mixture comes to a room temperature.
3. Strain the mixture to remove the cinnamon stick and peppercorns. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
4. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer immediately to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 3 hours before serving.