Adventures in homemade, budget aware cooking.

Posts tagged “Dessert

Homemade Ice Cream!

Frozen Caramel Custard

Have you ever tried to make ice cream in your freezer without an ice cream maker and ended up with a clump of ice crystals? Well, this recipe is not for that!

When I was five, I asked Santa Claus for an ice cream maker. He couldn’t find one, so I got a Teddy Bear instead. The next year, he succeeded and I got my ice cream maker. Needless to say, the Teddy Bear got lots more love and use that the ice cream maker. Now, I’ve learned that I don’t need one. Neither do you.

Frozen Caramel Custard (adapted from “Simple Secrets to Better Everyday Cooking”)

  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 5 beaten egg yolks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder (available in bulk food sections)
  • dash salt
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • caramel shards for a garnish

Caramel:

In a small heavy saucepan, cook the granulated sugar over med-high heat until the sugar begins to melt, shaking the pot occasionally.  DO NOT STIR.  Reduce the heat to low and cook until sugar is melted and golden brown.  At this point you can and should stir it with a wooden spoon.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Carefully stir in the 1/2 cup whipping cream.  If a large lump of sugar forms (it did for me) heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently until the lump dissolves.  This can take 15 min.

Ice Cream

In a medium saucepan, combine egg yolks, milk, dry milk powder, and salt.  Cook over low-med heat, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a metal spoon, or until the it is just beginning to look like a custard.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the 2 cups of whipping cream.  Add the caramel and brown sugar and vanilla.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Cool custard in the refrigerator until completely cool.

Place it in an ice cream machine, or in a large metal bowl.  Cover securely.  Place in the freezer.  Every 40 min, take the bowl out of the freezer, using a spatula or spoon, scrape the frozen edges, and beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.  Repeat this every 40 min for 5 to 6 hours or until the ice cream is firm.  Garnish with caramel shards.

Caramel shards

Cook 3/4 cup of sugar in the same way you did for the caramel above.  When it is melted, remove from heat and add in 1 tsp of water.  Immediately pour the sugar on a lined and greased baking sheet.  Spread it as thin as possible.  Let it set up for 30 min.  With the back of a metal spoon, break it into shards.

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Strawberry Fool

Sometimes I really want to be in the kitchen, but the thought of cooking another meal is very upsetting and overwhelming.  I open up my recipe books and my box of recipe cards trying to come up with yet another brilliant idea for dinner and am instantly bombarded with sweet treats and desserts and candies and chocolate.  All I want to make are treats.

Friday night, I attempted Marcus Wareing’s Strawberry Fool – which as it turns out is so easy a fool (aka me) could make it.  It’s a thick and creamy strawberry mousse and was nicely complemented by fresh leaves of mint from my mother-in-law’s garden.  I liked it, my husband liked it, and two siblings liked it too.  4 out of 4.  Pretty good percentages.

Strawberry Fool (adapted from Marcus Wareing’s “Cook the Perfect…”)

  • 2 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 package of gelatin
  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • Mint leaves

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.  Cook 15 min, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.  Mix gelatin in 1/4 cup ice-cold water until dissolved.  Pour strawberries into a blender and puree.  Pour into a large bowl.  Stir gelatin mixture into warm puree until gelatin is dissolved.  Cover and refrigerate 1/2 hour.  Lightly whip 1 cup cream.  Stir the yogurt into the puree.  Fold in the cream.  Divide among six glasses and chill overnight. Combine cream and icing sugar.  Top strawberry fool with whipped cream and garnish with mint leaves.


Arroz Con Leche

A few years ago, I spent a year and a half in Southern California serving a mission for my Church. I spend that time with the Hispanic population in the area, and came to love their culinary traditions (well, some of them).
I could never quite fall in love with Menudo (a traditional soup made from cow stomach) or anything that involved tongue – but this sweet rice and milk dessert gained a favourable place on my palate. I love the thick, hearty porridge-like consistency and the way the raisins soften as though they are slowly transforming back into grapes.

Rice is such a huge staple in Latin American cooking, but that doesn’t make it easy for us gringos to get right. Growing up, I remember joking about the fact that Mum’s rice was usually soupy. And perhaps to counteract that, my first endeavors to make rice resulted in hard, crunchy grains that my husband and I both pretended were fluffy and, well, cooked… Arroz con Leche scared me for a long time. My food cravings eventually overcame my food fears, and, I’m happy to report it turned out well!

Arroz Con Leche (rice with milk)
– 1/2 cup rice (short-medium grain)
– 4 cups milk
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 raisins
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 tbsp butter
– ground cinnamon to garnish

In a saucepan, combine rice, milk and cinnamon stick. Heat on medium-high just until milk starts to boil. Lower heat to low and let mixture simmer, stirring often (scraping sides and bottom of pot) for 45 min. Add the sugar and the raisins and continue cooking on low for another 15 min. Stir in the vanilla and the butter and cook another 5 min. Garnish with ground cinnamon. Serve hot or cold.

I like to eat some when it’s hot, refrigerate the rest and eat it cold the next morning for breakfast. Sabe muy rico!


Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

When I was little, to my mum’s chagrin, my culinary tastes weren’t quite as developed as they are now.  My hatred extended from onions and mushrooms (I haven’t quite got over my mushroom aversion yet) to milk, and I think even sporadically through my childhood, ice cream.   I was difficult to feed.  Needless to say zucchini was a long-time resident on my personal food blacklist.

While the delicate and subtle flavour that zucchini’s emit rarely penetrated my palette, I think I rather hated the idea of the zucchini: a long, green vegetable an oddly spongy texture. Yuck.

Imagine my surprise when Mum produced a delicious smelling, moist chocolaty loaf that tasted just like chocolate cake but had a foundation of nothing other than the formidable legume?  My surprise was great indeed.  I’m sure I tried to hate the loaf solely on principle, but chocolate has a way of over-powering most principles (at least for me anyways).

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf:

  • 1 cup chopped zucchini (mine was pretty mushy…)
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (or you can use oil if you want to)
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cups sugar (use less if you use sweetened apple sauce)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp backing powder

In a blender, blend zucchini, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Pour the zucchini mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula (if you use apple sauce instead of the traditional oil, the less you have to stir it to combine the batter, the better).  Pour batter into a greased loaf pan (9×5) and bake at 325F for 50 to 60 minutes.  Cool on a rack.