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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Buttermilk Ice Cream

I went through most of the year looking forward to my yearly stop at a book store near where I live to buy girl scout cookies. There were phone calls made to find out the date that they would be there selling the cookies. I put that date in my calendar, and totally like me, I completely forgot about it.
 When I realized it, I was distraught. I mean, come on. No Samoas? No Thin Mint cookies? 
Totally ridiculous, right?
 Today, I was on my way home from Big Lots, which I must say, is mostly junk. I was really disappointed, when out of the blue, I saw Girl Scouts, and that totally made my day!
 This got me thinking about ice cream, because I love frozen Thin Mint cookies with ice cream and hot chocolate more than anything in the world. 
I decided to make this buttermilk ice cream. It's really not that sweet. I'm one of those people who likes the taste of buttermilk on its own. But even if you don't, this ice cream won't disappoint. It has a custard base and is really creamy and delicious. We ate it right away very soft, but will have more tomorrow once fully hard.
Buttermilk Ice Cream

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream

1 1/4 cup sugar

12 large egg yolks
*
2 cups buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla or half a vanilla bean, scraped and simmered with the cream

Pinch of salt

Directions:
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream and one cup of sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and drizzle a small amount into the yolks, slowly, and whisking constantly to keep the eggs from curdling. Do this a few more times to warm up the yolks before pouring the yolk mixture back into the cream, whisking constantly.
Cook over low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture and whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and salt. Cool completely and freeze according manufacturer’s directions.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Tart

Really quick I’ll just tell you that I’m sorry I kind of dropped off the face of the earth the last month. I’ve been really sick. Really, really sick. 
On to better things…Join me.
So I’ve become sort of obsessed with this European magazine called Easy Bakes. I’m also now in love with the European section at Wegman’s (which I used to pass by without hesitation. Mostly because I was really confused by what a lot of it was for).Do you know what castor sugar is? What about Muscovado or Demerara? What about shortcrust pastry? Do you know how many different types of sugar this magazine has in it? Do you know how cool I think it is to have 6 types of sugar? I have to get to Europe, pronto. These people know what life is.
 There is only one problem. Everything is in measurements that Katie (I) cannot comprehend. I’m looking online, and things just don’t translate well. Things are in grams and degrees celsius, and I am confused, big time,

It took me a really long time to figure out how much chocolate to use.

Did I mention my food scale just flipped out on me a few days ago? Uh oh.
Don’t worry. I’m kind of a genius. 
I kind of figured out how much of everything to use. 
And I loved this tart/pie so much that I think I’ll make it again for Thanksgiving.
 What can be bad about pecans, chocolate, and shortbread crust?
Chocolate and Pecan Tart
Adapted from Good Housekeeping Easy Bakes and Puds

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, cubed
3 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/3 cup caster (or superfine) sugar*
7oz Lyle's golden syrup*
1tsp vanilla extract
4oz pecans, finely chopped
4 oz pecan halves, to decorate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4tbsp powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, put a baking sheet in the oven to heat it up.
Pulse flour, powdered sugar, and 3/4 cup butter in a food processor 5 to 6 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pat mixture evenly on bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven, then allow to cool.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, golden syrup, vanilla, and cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in the chopped pecans, then pour into the pastry crust. Decorate the top with pecan halves. Put the tart on the hot baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes until just set. 
Whip whipping cream in large bowl until medium peaks form, mix in 4tbsp powdered sugar. 

Serve tart warm or at room temperature with a large dollop of whipped cream.


*You can make superfine sugar by placing granulated sugar in a food processor. But I think using regular granulated sugar would work alright as well.
* You really need to use actual golden syrup. You can get it at Wegman's or any british food store.