Ice Cream

ice_cream_truck.jpg Summer brings long days, hot weather, and a symphony of seasonal sound. Crickets. Baseball ball games.  Steaks sizzling on the grill.  Children playing.  And the unmistakable music of ice cream trucks.  With tinkling melodies pouring forth these motorized Pied Pipers roll through the streets, and children come running from all directions. Clutching fistfuls of coins, they surround the truck like honeybees around a flower, then straggle away blissfully licking their favorite ice cream treats.

Frozen confections come in many forms. Cones piled high with teetering scoops. Soft slurpy swirls.  Popsicles.  Cookie sandwiches.  Sodas and shakes.  Fruit juice bars. Gelatos and granitas.  Sherbets and sorbets.  Luscious sundaes swimming in sweet sauces, dusted with toppings and crowned in whipped cream. We can thank modern refrigeration techniques for the myriad of choices available, but the desire to cool off with a refreshing cold treat on a hot sweltering day has been around since antiquity.

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icecream.butter.pecan_.cup-sm.jpgA few weeks back, Patricia and I made this angel food cake which was delicious. It also left me with 9 egg yolks. 9 I say! I gave Eli the choice of what to do with the yolks; pot de creme, lemon curd, custard, ice cream. He, of course, chose the ice cream. He and I sifted through David’s book, The Perfect Scoop and it was a toss up between two flavors. I have made a lot of David’s ice creams and I really didn’t want to repeat a recipe. The Butterscotch Pecan got the final vote. And I am so glad it did.

The key word in this recipe is “butter”. The butter mixed with the brown sugar is the flavor profile that resonates on the back of your tongue, long after the ice cream has left your mouth. Mind you, I am not a huge ice cream fan. Generally, I pass on this decadent dessert and go for the apple tart with caramel sauce or a piece of chocolate or the gourmet doughnut (fried-yes, I love a really, really good doughnut). This ice cream is like no other. It is in a class all by itself and this ice cream could send me to a Weight Watchers meeting each week: confessing that my daily points were consumed with a scoop of this ice cream.

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cherryicecreamEver since making coconut ice cream, well, I am in love with the stuff. It's so refreshing and addicting! It makes me feel like I'm on a tropical vacation. I knew I wanted to make different versions of that ice cream very, very soon. 

Then, my friends at Republic of Jam just happened to stop by our tasting room (okay, they are right next door) with 6 quarts of freshly picked, sweet Pacific Northwest cherries. After eating about 2 quarts myself (swear), I decided to make ice cream. And chocolate needed to be involved...it just did.

In my adventures around the internet (I could read food blogs all day), I found OXO has a new cherry pitter,...and wait for it...it has a splatter screen. Yes folks, it's the little things. I have no other choice but to get this, like NOW. While I love my cherry pitter, it sprays juice, the seed goes flying, the dog chases it and swallows it. It's a mess and I've ruined quite a few articles of clothing. I need the screen and I'm getting it.

Anyway, what I love about this ice cream...there is no-custard, but you do have to make sure your ingredients are cold. In other words, some planning is necessary. 

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rhubarbsorbet.jpgWhen pretty pink rhubarb stalks show up at the market, you know that summer isn't far behind. Strawberries, too. Known as the pie fruit, rhubarb isn't just for pies. As one of my favorite vegetables (yes, it's a vegetable), I try to take every opportunity to make a unique dish every year when it's in season. Cobblers, crisps, compotes, and pies are all traditional. But this time I made sorbet.

This dessert couldn't be any more refreshing or palate-cleansing. Rhubarb has a tart, slightly astringent taste. That's why usually rhubarb desserts have a lot of sugar. But rhubarb's tartness is best tamed by its buddy, the strawberry. The two are a match made in dessert heaven. Strawberries keep the sorbet on the slightly sweet side, without the use of too much sugar, and brighten the pink color, making it appealing in taste and in beauty.

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peachicecream.jpgIf anyone asks what my favorite fruit is, I always answer peaches, but not just any peach. White peaches are my absolute favorite fruit. Besides eating peaches as they are, my other favorite ways to enjoy them are in desserts. I love this peach galette, a foolproof fruit tart recipe that I rely on every summer. But I also love to make sorbets, ice creams, and sherbets. What could be a better dessert than a cooling scoop or two? This summer it's white peach sherbet all the way.

Just think of the sherbets from when you were a kid and the ones available in the supermarket. Don't you ever wonder what those fluorescent colors are actually made of? They're hardly fruit. Though as a kid I too loved eating them, but not anymore. This recipe couldn't be easier. Sherbet is unlike ice cream in that the milk or cream is not cooked. In ice cream you almost always need to make a custard from eggs and milk and simmer it until thick. Sherbet is simply puréed fruit mixed with milk and then frozen.

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