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Cover: Founding Flavors

Recipes with Ice Cream

31Mar 13

Use Your Five Senses To Become a Dessert Connoisseur

I have recently been retraining myself to slow down when I eat for the purpose of truly appreciating what I’m consuming.  I’m not talking about enjoying the act of eating.  Rather, I’m referring to the use of all my senses to taste food, more specifically desserts, so that my awareness of the texture, color, smell, flavor, and ingredients used enable me to recall them later on when I’m experimenting in the kitchen.

It’s amazing how taking a little extra time to savor a dessert helps you discover a new level of complexity in something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie.  All of sudden, you realize that your taste buds pick up something salty before the sweetness of cookie dough and chocolate spread across your palate.  Or, you realize that the reason you enjoy the cookie so much is that it is a little crunchier from the outside and gooey on the inside.

Even though, at first, I felt silly analyzing my dessert-as I impersonated a wine connoisseur looking for notes of Madagascar vanilla and hints of toasted almonds-the extra effort paid-off when I decided to make pistachio ice cream.

A few months ago, I walked into an ice cream shop and had the most extraordinary pistachio ice cream I’ve ever eaten.   That’s pretty much all I remember from my first visit because by the time I thought to use my senses, it was too late.  But each time I went back to the ice cream shop, I’d take a moment to inspect the ice cream.  It had a soft shade of green that instantly left you feeling calm.   And, what I originally thought were pistachios, actually ended up being bits of pistachio paste.  Finally, the biggest surprise was that the slightly crunchy texture I felt was not pistachios but white chocolate.  Who would have known!  Especially, since it was exclusively labeled as pistachio ice cream.

Well, this past week I recalled the various aspects that made the pistachio ice cream so memorable and incorporated them into my own version, which is listed below.  The result was identical to the one I had eaten at the ice cream shop.  And, I have to admit that the one ingredient that made a world of difference was the white chocolate.  That’s right, the one ingredient that would have gone unnoticed had I not taken a second to contemplate and discover why I enjoyed the ice cream so much in the first place.

Whether you are a pro or just starting to learn to use your senses to appreciate what you consume, I would love to hear about your discoveries and creations.  So, leave a comment or send me an email with any stories or recipes you’ve mastered.

Enjoy!
Sonia
www.foundingflavors.com

Pistachio Ice Cream Ingredients:
Egg yolks: 4 / 80 grams
Heavy cream: 1 ½ cup / 337 grams
Pistachio paste: ½ of the block
Skim milk: 1 ½ cup / 337 grams
Sugar: 1 cup / 225 grams
Vanilla powder: 2 tablespoons/ 14 grams
White chocolate shavings: 4 -5 tablespoons / 30 grams

Pistachio Paste Ingredients:
Pistachios: ¾ cup / 100 grams
Powdered sugar: ¾ cup /100 grams
Simple syrup: 3 tablespoons / 54 grams (To make simple syrup, place equal parts of sugar and water in a saucepan and allow the mixture to come to a boil.  Allow the simple syrup to cool completely before using it. )

Instructions:

1. Combine milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Combine egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla powder into a mixing bowl.
3. Once the milk and cream mixture have come to a boil, add half a cup of it to the bowl containing the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla powder.  Make sure you are constantly mixing the ingredients as you add in the milk and cream mixture so that lumps are not created.  This process is referred to as tempering.  Then, pour the combined mixture into the saucepan containing the remaining milk and cream mixture.
4. Reheat the saucepan and use a thermometer to ensure that the mixture reaches 170-180°F.
5. Place the mixture in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.
6. To make the pistachio paste, simply add all ingredients to a food processor.  Then, shape the paste into a rectangular block, cover, and refrigerate.
7. After at least 6 hours, remove the ice cream mixture from the refrigerator and pour into the ice cream maker.
8. Add one to two drops of green food coloring to the mixture.  Continue to add food color to get your desired shade of green.
9. After 25 minutes, use your hands or a grater to create pistachio paste shavings and add them to the ice cream maker.
10. Finally, use a grater or knife to create the white chocolate shavings and add them to the ice cream maker.
11. After 30 minutes, pour the ice cream into a container and place in the freezer or serve.

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02Dec 12

Heavenly Dark Chocolate Gelato

For the past two weeks, I’ve been on a quest to make a flavorful homemade gelato that maintains the creamy texture of store-bought brands.  I tried endless recipes, which called for various combinations of skim milk, whole milk, heavy cream, and half-and-half.  The results ranged from flavorless to icy to a soft custard and then finally to a heavenly dark chocolate gelato that made the frustrations of the past two weeks well worth it.

Enjoy!
Sonia
www.foundingflavors.com

 

Equipment:
Ice cream machine

Ingredients:
Chocolate shavings, preferably with 65% cacao content: ½ cup
Cocoa powder, unsweetened: ¾ cup
Cognac: 2 tablespoons
Egg yolks: 4
Half-and-half: 2 cups (2 cups of whole milk can be substituted but it will not be as creamy.)
Heavy cream: 1 cup
Powdered milk, skim: ¼ cup
Sugar: 1 cup

Instructions:
1. Place sugar and one cup of half-and-half in a medium saucepan and let it simmer on low heat for one minute, stirring occasionally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Whisk the four egg yolks in a bowl.  Then add a little bit of the heated sugar and half-and-half mixture to the eggs and stir for ten seconds.  Now, pour this mixture into the saucepan containing the sugar and half-and-half mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Add the cocoa powder to the mixture and allow the mixture to simmer on low to medium heat.  You can use a jam and sugar thermometer to wait for the temperature to rise to roughly 170-180°F.  If you don’t have a thermometer you can let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The mixture might start to splatter so lift the saucepan from the heat, as necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Now, stir in the remaining cup of half-and-half, the heavy cream, and powdered milk. Stir mixture for 2 additional minutes on low heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Strain the mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Once the strained liquid gelato mix has been collected in a bowl, add the cognac and stir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least six hours.

8. Now, add the chilled mixture into your ice cream machine and let it run for 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. During this time, use a chocolate shaver or a vegetable peeler to collect ½ cup of chocolate shavings from the best quality dark chocolate bar you can find.  I used Felchlin’s Grand Cru Maracaibo 65%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. 15 minutes into the mixing of the ice cream, pour in the chocolate shavings and let machine run for the remaining 15 minutes.

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21Oct 12

If You’ve Got One Shot, Go With Vaniglia in Tel Aviv

Have you ever traveled somewhere and played what I like to refer to as the culinary roulette?  You know, it’s that moment in your vacation when you look through your travel guidebook and browse for restaurant recommendations.  Knowing that you have limited time and calories to spare, you go back and forth between suggestions worried you’ll pick the wrong choice.  Then, after finally deciding on what you hope is the best option, you pray your selection will not let you down.  Well, recently the Founding Flavors ventured off to Tel Aviv, Israel in search of unique, local, sweet establishments that will take you straight to dessert heaven.  The outcome was two must try sweet shops: Vaniglia and Said Abuelafia & Sons bakery.  Today, I’ll focus on the former.

Before departing for Israel, I searched for places that were recommended by several tour guides and online articles.  While several bakeries and bread shops popped up, my attention was caught by an ice cream and gelato store called Vaniglia.  What particularly attracted me to Vaniglia was that the reviews I read indicated the owners not only took great care in purchasing their ingredients but also listened to their customers’ wishes by incorporating healthier alternatives like soy or rice milk into some of their offerings.

So when I arrived in Tel Aviv, it was only a matter of hours before I made my way up to 98 Ibn Gvirol Street from the seashore in search of Vaniglia.  As I walked through the city, I was tempted by the various chocolate, pastry, popsicle, and frozen yogurt stores.  When I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, I finally saw a crowd of people around a glorious white sign.  I had arrived at Vaniglia!  Exercising absolutely no self-control, I pushed and shoved my way up to the gelato display cases.  Oh the colors, the smell, the creative decorations used to denote each flavor, and then…silence.  The labels were all in Hebrew!  After I got over my moment of panic, I realized this was actually wonderful news.  It was proof that I’d found a shop that truly catered to locals.  And for my fellow travelers, fear not because the entire staff was attentive and ready to assist any English speaker in selecting their flavors.

As I browsed through my options, I decided I’d opt for two gelato flavors that I’d never tried before: poppy seed and alfajor- a rich cookie made with dulce de leche.  As with most food I tasted in Tel Aviv, Vaniglia has mastered the art of flavorful food…this time in the form of gelato.  Both flavors are delicious in their own way.  The poppy seed has a subtle, sweet taste that is perfect if you want a lighter option but something that is still creamier than a sorbet.  Its color is powdery white, which contrasts very nicely with the black poppy seeds.  From a distance, it reminds you of a perfectly blended vanilla bean ice cream.  The alfajor, on the other hand, is definitely a thicker gelato with a much sweeter taste.  The tint is an elegant golden caramel color and Vaniglia manages to create a creamy flavor that makes you feel like you are actually biting into an alfajor.

Whether it is your first or tenth time in Tel Aviv, there is so much to see between museums, stores, galleries, the beach, or cafes.  But, whatever you decide to do, make sure to leave room for dessert at Vaniglia.  It will add a sweet memory to your vacation.

Cheers!
Sonia
www.foundingflavors.com

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