Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blackberry, Lavender & Goat's Milk Ice Cream

When my mom came back to the U.S. for the summer, she was dying to get back in the kitchen and we were both feeling pretty ambitious. We had plans for dinner parties, pickling, jamming, making our own butter and after an incredible dinner at Sean's Panorama in Syndey, a hankering to make some homemade goat's curd.

Trader Joe's happens to sell goat's milk and we thought the battle was already won but some Internet research showed that to make goat's curd or goat cheese, you can't really use the Ultra Pasteurized kind. Not wanting to let carton go to waste, we had to find something else which was unnaturally easy when Alinea at Home posted an "at Home Adaption" of raspberry, goat's milk, red pepper taffy, pistachio.

This ice cream was pretty phenomenal. You can really taste the lavender (if it's still fresh!) and the goat's milk makes for a very creamy custard. It's the kind of treat that takes people off guard because although it sounds fancy and complex, the flavor combo is very accessible- especially if you pair it with the pistachio brittle (which I will definitely make again for Christmas).

Blackberry, Lavender & Goat's Milk Ice Cream
Adapted from Alinea at Home who adapted from the Alinea Cookbook

  • 2 cups goat milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tblsp food-grade lavender buds
  • 1 quart blackberries
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • dash vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, warm the goat's milk, sugar and salt just until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the flame, add the lavender and let steep, covered for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the cream in a large bowl with a strainer set over it. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs.
After the milk has been infused, strain the liquid into a saucepan and discard the lavender buds. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat and then add a few ladles to the egg mixture, stirring to incorporate. Add another ladle or so, whisking and stirring the whole time and then add the milk/egg mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat. Keep stirring the mixture until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Poor the mixture through the mesh strainer, into the heavy cream. Add a dash of vanilla. Let the mixture cool completely and then chill in fridge before continuing.

Before churning the ice cream, mash up the blackberries a bit- I spread them onto a cookie sheet and used a potato masher. Add these to the mixture and then churn the whole thing in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Pistachio Brittle

Adapted from the Alinea Cookbook, page 92


  • 165g (5.8 oz.) pistachios, roasted and salted!
  • 465g (1 lb. .4 oz.) sugar
  • 72g (2.5 oz.) water
  • 5g (.2 oz.) baking soda

Heat the sugar and water to 342F degrees (172C), then turn off the burner. Add the baking soda which will cause the mixture to foam and bubble- then add the pistachios. Pour the mixture onto a silpat lined baking sheet or if you're lucky enough like me, pour it straight onto a granite counter top. Let it harden to room temperature. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. Try not to eat it all at once.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lime Chiffon Cupcakes

Good grief do I have a doozy of a recipe to share! And it all started with a wedding. Oh no, not me! But one of Kris's close friends is getting married next year and it got me thinking about what I would maybe one day want should I ever decide to get hitched. The first thing to consider of course, is the food. I think some good ol'country food would be grand. Maybe with a French twist as an homage to my heritage. Smithfield ham and Dijon Moutarde? Sweet potatoes would have to make an appearance, as would corn. This is starting to sound like Thanksgiving... Holiday food aside, my biggest pickle would actually be the wedding cake. Although I love to bake and decorate, I never wake up in the middle of the night hankering for some cake. Weird, I know. Most of them are too chocolaty or dense and sweet. Buttercream is delicious- one teaspoon at a time.

This theoretical problem stayed with me for a few days until I just had to sit down and think about it and came upon a Lime Chiffon Cake recipe. Not too dense or sweet! A departing intern at work was the perfect excuse to try it out. And it was very good. Very pretty too. But I could do better...

The lime filling was delicious but there wasn't enough with each bite and I didn't like Cooking Light's frosting which was made with Cool Whip. Also, not enough frosting in general. The Solution? Cupcakes! For the frosting I went with a whipped cream frosting that has a block of cream cheese in it to keep it sturdy and delicious. A bit of lime juice and ginger essence thrown in for good measure and we were good to go. Did I mention delicious? Because these were DELICIOUS. Just about perfect in every way I could conceive of for a cake OR cupcake. At least, to me.

Lime Chiffon Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 36 cupcakes
Adapted from Cooking Light


Lime Filling:

  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Lime Chiffon Cake:
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour (7 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 tbls canola oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 3 tbls water
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 8oz block of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger essence
  • 4 tbls lime juice
  • 2 cups whipping cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees

To make the cake, in a large bowl combine 2 cups cake flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk well to remove any clumps. In another bowl, whisk to combine the oil, lime juice, water, lime zest, lemon extract and 3 egg yolks. Add the oil mixture to the flour mixture and whisk well until it is smooth.

In the bowl of a mixer, whisk the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue mixing at high speed. Once the whites have reached the soft peak stage, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time. Keep beating until the egg whites are stiff.

Fold 1/4 of the stiff egg whites into the cake batter. Once incorporated, add the remaining stiff egg whites, carefully folding the mixture until homogeneous.

Fill your cupcake liners almost full and bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are starting to turn golden brown and the cake is receding from the sides. Let them cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile make your lime filling by combining the sweetened condensed milk, the lime juice and lime zest. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of a mixer, add the softened cream cheese, sugar, ginger essence and lime juice. Mix on high until smooth and fluffy. On medium speed, slowly pour in the whipping cream. Mix on high until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.

To assemble- with a small sharp knife, cute a cone out of the top the cupcake and cut off the the bottom of the cone. Fill the cupcake with lime filling and replace the cupcake top. Frost the top of the cupcake to cover the cut and garnish with blueberries and mint leaves.

If you are making these on your own, it will probably be easiest to fill all the cupcakes at once and then frost them. If you have a partner in crime, an assembly line will be easiest where one person fills the cupcakes and the other frosts. Just be sure to let everyone decorate!