Sunday, February 20

chocolate & raspberry swirl ice cream


I've spent too many baking ventures being trumped by the heat and humidity this summer. Macarons have spent hours drying on my kitchen table, and pastry has been quickly shoved rather than rolled and neatly pressed into tart tins. No more! I have stopped fighting it. I am now - ugh - 'going with the flow'. 

I recently read a wonderful article in February's AGT, written Peter Gilmore and Adriano Zumbo, including their hilarious reviews of store-bought ice cream varieties. What I found interesting was reading about Gilmore's take on what constitutes a good, creamy ice cream, particularly in terms of cream to milk ratios and how people can achieve this at home. So, after reading that pure milk based ice creams are become too icy in home made, slow churners, I became curious with a recipe I've had bookmarked for a while. 100% milk base. 

Ingredients (makes approx 1.6L)
Recipe from AGT online
750 mls milk
5 egg yolks
275 gms caster sugar
150 gms chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
240 gms raspberries, plus extra to serve
2 tbsps raspberry liqueur

Place milk in a medium, heavy-based saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Place yolks and ¾ cup of the sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick and pale, then gradually whisk in hot milk. Return mixture to same pan and stir over low heat until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stir until melted, then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Allow to cool.

Combine raspberries, liqueur and remaining sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat for 10 minutes or until thick and jammy, then press through a fine sieve and discard seeds. Cool.

Freeze chocolate mixture in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions, add raspberry mixture and swirl through ice-cream, then place in freezer and freeze until firm. Serve scoops of ice-cream scattered with fresh raspberries.

Call my taste buds naive, but I love the result of this particular recipe. Yes, it's a little icy in spots, but not very grainy at all. With a milk base, it's chocolate flavour is also very distinct and by no means does it have an oily flavour as a high cream-based chocolate ice cream might. I ended up dropping some fresh raspberries in with the coulis, which meant with every bite you'd get a pocket of tart raspberries to cut through the chocolate. It's a quick and incredibly easy recipe using ingredients most cooks would have at home. And using frozen raspberries won't matter at all. 

Recommended 'baking' soundtrack: M. Ward - End of Amnesia. 

Monday, February 14

happy valentine's day

Happy Valentine's Day, my readers. I hope your days are filled with love. 

Recommended love soundtrack: Fran├žoise Hardy - Ma Jeunesse Fout Le Camp.

Sunday, February 13

raspberry swirl marshmallows

Valentine's Day is made for not Hallmark, but to induce motivation to bake. Or make. Of all of the rubbish the Valnetine's Day bring out in people, isn't baking what it's all about? Putting time, effort and love into creating something tasty for someone you love: now tell me there's any better gift.

The first time I made marshmallows for Chockylit's s'mores cupcakes during the height of my love affair with the little cakes that have since taken over the world. The recipe was perfect, made me a lot of new friends, and also surprised me with the miracle of the marshmallow. How so few ingredients  could take on such a fluffy, sticky form only further increased my awe of sugar. This following recipe is not Chockylit's, but one from Donna Hay's Christmas section of her Dec/Jan 2011 issue. I simply Valentine's-ed it with a heart-shaped cutter.

Recipe from December/January issue Donna Hay

250 gms raspberries
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsps gelatine powder
1/2 cup water
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water, extra

Lightly grease a 20cm x 30cm cake/slice tin and cover the base and longest sides with baking paper.

Place the berries and icing sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a fork, crush the berries and bring to the boil, stirring, for about 10 - 15 minutes or until thick and jammy. Remove from the heat and press through a sieve, discarding the seeds. Set aside.

Place the gelatine and water in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir to combine. Set aside for five minutes or until the water is absorbed. Make sure your mixer is fitted with the whisk attachment. Place the sugar, corn syrup and extra water in a saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil and continue to heat until it reaches 120C.

Start the motor on your electric mixer on a low speed, and slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatine. Increase the speed and whisk for 4 - 6 minutes until the mixture is white and fluffy and beginning to cool - it's quite incredible to watch this happening!

Spread the marshmallow into the cake tin evenly with a spatula. Pour over the raspberry mixture and swirl with a metal skewer. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for four hours, or until set - this make take longer on a humid day. When set, remove from the tin and slice/cut into shapes - my heart cutter was about 4cm wide and the mixture yielded about 15 hearts. I find it easiest to cut if your knife/cutter is sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

You can keep these in an airtight container for a few days ad they'll be fine, just don't leave them in sunlight and ensure they don't end up in the fridge.

They would be adorable in smaller versions to top cupcakes or even ice cream sundaes.

Recommended baking soundtrack: Okkervil River - Down the River of Golden Dreams.