Is there anything that amazes you so much that seeing it again is a little like seeing it for the first time? Your mind refuses to accept that it was as beautiful as you remembered, and you sort of forget…
This is how I feel about Lauren Treece’s work. I always feel a bit of astonishment and shock at how utterly enchanting and beautiful her pieces are, how they evoke fairytales and wonderment…
What is new in my kitchen this week is an ice cream maker. I am amazed that I lived so long without it. I LOVE ice cream, in the way that most people love chocolate or boy bands. I’ve waited in hour-long lines for a little tiny scoop. There have been points in my life when I’ve eaten ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If my mother allowed these periods to last more than a day, who knows what could have happened. Not even working at a Dairy Queen over Winter Break diminished my –>
I’ve already made two types of ice cream with it. I started off with David Lebovitz’s Vanilla Ice Cream (link to recipe here). It is delicious, the vanilla grabs you by the throat and the rich creaminess takes you to heaven.
But…what I really wanted to make my beloved creme fraiche ice cream. Creme fraiche is one of my current obsessions. Many people compare it to sour cream. However, sour cream is most commonly used to offset bolder flavors, and it is more one-dimensional and just plain sour. On the other hand, creme fraiche is tangy, rich, almost nutty, and can be the central focus of a dish. I had been dreaming of turning into an ice cream for months now.
So I waited impatiently for two days while my creme fraiche was being made by nature, and then I hopped to it. My first thought upon tasting the finished product was: CHEESECAKE! It tastes like a light, cool, more tangy – a summer version – of cheesecake.
Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
(Custard base adapted from David Lebovitz’s vanilla ice cream recipe)
1 cup milk
A pinch of salt
1/2 cups sugar
5 egg yolks
2 cup creme fraiche*
Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Do not allow the mixture to boil or simmer.
Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the creme fraiche, and beat with a whisk to combine. Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.
*To make your own creme fraiche, stir together 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 tbsp of buttermilk. Leave the mixture in a warm place (your kitchen counter should be fine) for 36-48 hours, stirring every 6 hours or so. Refrigerate after desired thickness has been reached.
After I made the ice cream, I wanted something to pair with it. I tried gingersnaps, but wasn’t completely happy with the recipe. Then, I thought of bananas – I’ve been working on making a satisfying roasted banana mini-cake recipe, but I had no bananas. Instead, I thought of my holiday cheesecake (caramel praline pecan one)…and I used those flavors in a mini cake. It was rich yet mellow, and best of all, it went wonderfully with the ice cream.
Caramel Praline-Pecan Cakes:
Makes 4 individual cakes
(my own recipe)
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 tsp butter
2 tbsp golden-brown sugar
1 tbsp cream
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375°f. Combine all of the ingredients, so that the pecans are coated with the other ingredients. Place on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until pecans are toasted. Half of this mixture will be used for the cake, reserve the remainder for decorating the cakes.
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp + 1/4 cup water
Combine the sugar and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar has dissolved, and wash down any sugar crystals from the side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water (I’d recommend keeping a small bowl of ice water next to the stove). Boil without stirring, swirling pan occasionally to ensure that the caramel colors evenly, until it is a dark amber color.
Remove from heat, and in a thin stream, pour the remaining 1/4 cup of water. The mixture may bubble. Remove from heat, allow it to cool. You should have just over 1/4 of caramel.
1/4 cup caramel
3 tbsp melted butter
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp granulated white sugar
1/4 cup of praline pecans, finely chopped
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the butter into the caramel. Whisk in the egg yolk and heavy cream. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, sugars. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the butter-caramel mixture. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet with your whisk. Fold in the pecans with a rubber spatula (or a fork).
Butter or grease four 6-ounce ramekins. Use the bottom of a ramekin to measure the diameter of your ramekins, and trace the outline on a piece of parchment paper. Cut your parchment, staying inside in the traced circle, and repeat three additional times. Use these to the line the bottom of each ramekin. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into each prepared ramekin.
I chilled the ramekins overnight, covering each with plastic wrap.
When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325°f. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the surface of the cake springs back when gently pressed. Allow the cakes to cool for approximately 10 minutes before removing from ramekins.
Serve cakes topped with one-two pecan halves, and any leftover caramel you may have (caramel will keep overnight).
P.S…If you click on the ‘recipes’ tab directly under my blog title, there is a list of links to all the recipes I’ve featured.