chocolate ice cream with pumpkin seed brittle (and olive oil and sea salt)

I thought you all might want something sweet for Valentine’s Day. Oh, Valentine’s Day. I like Valentine’s Day because it’s a free pass to eat chocolate. I used to make truffles for Valentine’s Day. But I got a little lazy this year and thought ice cream would be better. Because you can make it in advance. And who doesn’t love ice cream?

I’ll let you in on a little secret – I very rarely crave ice cream. If ice cream is nearby, like if I happen to be in a certain neighborhood and I pass a certain ice creamery, I wont say no. But I typically don’t buy it at the market or keep it stocked in my freezer. Of course, now that I’m the proud owner of an ice cream maker, I don’t really have to. In case you were wondering, an ice cream maker is a sure way to get yourself into some dietary trouble.

So, back to chocolate ice cream. This one is great. It’s custard based so it’s rich but somehow sort of light at the same time.  And perfectly chocolatey (use the best chocolate and cocoa you can get your hands on). It’s really nice on its own. But it’s even more fantastic topped with a few hunks of pumpkin seed brittle. And a drizzle of olive oil. And a sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Get ready to fall in love. xo.

chocolate ice cream with pumpkin seed brittle (and olive oil and sea salt)

from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

makes 1 about quart

2 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of salt

5 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pumpkin seed brittle (see recipe below)

extra virgin olive oil, for garnish (I like Stonehouse Olive Oil)

coarse sea salt, for garnish  (I like Maldon or fleur de sel is nice, too)

In a medium saucepan, whisk the cocoa powder into 1 cup of cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

Prepare an ice bath in a bowl/basin large enough to hold your mixing bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the warmed egg yolks into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Place in the ice bath and stir until cool.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

pumpkin seed brittle

adapted from MarthaStewart.com

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup pepitas

Line an 11×17-inch rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and honey. Bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until mixture is medium amber and a candy thermometer registers 280°F, about 6 minutes. Stir in pumpkin seeds. Cook until mixture reaches 300°F, about 2 minutes. Pour onto prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely. Break into pieces.


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peach ice cream

Summer almost always arrives late in the Bay Area. This year was no exception. We finally had a few real-live summer days the last week of August; it was a record breaking 95° in San Francisco! Needless to say, it was pretty spectacular, especially considering that this summer has been a bust as far as the weather is concerned. So spectacular, that I did whatever I could to make the most of the heat (and find relief from my non-air conditioned house). I ate cold oysters on the half shell. I drank delicious beers and had what Sara and I refer to as “das burger” out on the patio of one of my favorite bars. I slept with an ice-cold water bottle in my bed which, by the way, is genius if I do say so myself. And I made ice cream.

Earlier this year I popped into Sur la Table to buy a cake pan. I came home with an ice cream maker. This is very typical of my behavior. It remained in the box for months just waiting patiently for someone to put it to use (also very typical). Meanwhile, I had been dying for an excuse to make ice cream. But it never got hot enough. And I’ve been preoccupied with other projects. So in the box it stayed. Until this little heat wave came along.

I requested a copy of David Lebovitz’ The Perfect Scoop from the library at the beginning of summer with the intention of putting my new ice cream maker to good use early in the season. I’ve recently adopted the practice of checking out cookbooks from the library before adding them to my permanent collection. I’m a bit of an impulse buyer(see above), so I think of it as a preventative measure. After weeks of waiting, the book finally arrived just as it was starting to get warm out here.

I love David Lebovitz. His blog is my favorite of all the food blogs I follow. It’s full of information about food and restaurants and Paris and Parisians (and their quirks) and sometimes the most random yet fascinating topics are addressed. I also find him hilarious. Seriously, the man is a riot and reading his posts always puts a smile on my face. I wish we were eating/drinking buddies or pen pals.

When several pounds of peaches magically appeared at my house, I took it as a sign to make peach ice cream. The combination of peaches and cream really is a no-brainer. One of my favorite summer time snacks is sliced peaches dipped in sour cream (don’t knock it till you try it). So I was pleasantly surprised to find that David’s peach ice cream calls for sour cream in addition to the usual heavy cream found in most recipes.

This ice cream is everything ice cream should be: sweet, creamy, refreshing and good to the last drop. The peach flavor was perfectly pronounced and the lemon juice and sour cream really tie it all together. I am seriously contemplating making a few more batches while peaches are still in season. But there are so many other flavors I can’t wait to try! Looks like The Perfect Scoop will be joining the permanent collection.

peach ice cream

from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

makes bout 1 quart (1 liter)

1-1/3 pounds ripe peaches (about 4 large peaches)

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

a few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice

Peel the peaches (see below), slice them in half, and remove the pits. Cut the peaches into chunks and cook them with the water in a medium, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, covered, stirring once or twice, until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat, stir in the sugar, then cool to room temperature.

Puree the cooked peaches and any liquid in a blender or food processor with the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice until almost smooth but slightly chunky.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

*An easy way to peel peaches is to cut an X at the bottom and then lower them in a pot of boiling water for about 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to a colander and shock them with cold water, then let them cool. Afterward, the peel should slip right off.