Passion Fruit Baked Alaska (Best Creamsicle Ever!)

Passion Fruit Baked Alaska | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Passion Fruit tastes like a combination of lemon, peach, pineapple and kiwi. It can be quite sour on its own, but adding it to a sweet and creamy ice cream is like biting into an exotic creamsicle, only way better. The tart ice cream matches beautifully with meringue and makes this passion fruit baked Alaska look fancy and festive.

If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh passion fruit, by all means use it, pulp and all. You may have best luck finding it in Asian or Latin American markets. But, I made due with juice concentrate and it worked great. You can find pure passion fruit juice at some co-op freezers or from Perfect Puree on the web. The shipping is expensive, because they pack it in dry ice and ship it overnight, but for a worthy occasion you may want to splurge.  (more…)

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Philadelphia-Style Chocolate Ice Cream (no-eggs)

Chocolate ice cream cone | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

When I was little, about 2nd grade, I lived in Philadelphia with my dad. As you may have gathered, from my various childhood food memories from Vermont, California, Connecticut and Massachusetts, we moved a lot. Our time in Philly was brief, but a memorable stop on our journey. My strongest recollection was the local ice cream parlor, just steps from my house. At the time I didn’t know what Philadelphia-Style ice cream was, nor would I have cared, all I knew was that it was cold, creamy and delicious. Fast forward almost 40 years and I am brought back to this memory by a request from one of you for chocolate ice cream. A couple of weeks ago I got a comment from a dad who wanted to make ice cream for his daughter’s birthday, chocolate with orange to be exact. I went hunting in the archives of Zoe Bakes and was stunned to find out that I have never done a post about this basic and essential dessert.

I’ve done several ice creams over the past years on this site, all of them using my favorite “French” custard base, which results in a rich, creamy, luscious ice cream. It requires making an egg custard and then adding flavors. But, this is by no means the only way to make fantastic ice creams. The eggless version is often referred to as Philadelphia-style, which is just cream, sugar and lots of flavor. The texture is a bit lighter, but no less delicious, and it is so simple to put together. I really wanted to tell you the history of this method, but it is a bit murky and I’d have to make up some mythical story to explain the name.  I’ll do more research and report back about the origins Philadelphia-style ice creams, unless one of you can enlighten me?

I’m a little late for the dad who wanted this recipe for his daughter’s birthday, but hopefully they will now make it together. (more…)

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Honey Rhubarb Ice Cream

Honey rhubarb ice cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Rhubarb is one of those ingredients that people either adore or avoid. I fall into the former, and use it as much as possible during its rather short growing season. I’ve made it into crisps, pies and even eaten it raw, dipped in sugar (which is admittedly hard core). Combining the mouth-puckering sour flavor of rhubarb with sweet, creamy, honey ice cream base may just be the perfect marriage. I think this may have the power to turn even the most ardent rhubarb haters, into its biggest fans.  (more…)

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Ice Cream Sandwiches for a Heatwave! (Oatmeal Rum Raisin Cookies with Wildflower Honey Ice Cream, and many more!)

Ice cream sandwiches | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

There is a rule in my house, I am only allowed to complain about one MN season, and I have chosen winter. This leaves me in a bit of a conundrum this week when it is going on the 3rd day of 95°, with humidity to match. Do I give up bitching about winter in place of this, or just adopt an all ice cream diet? I have settled on the latter, because griping about winter is the only thing that gets me through it and I love ice cream, so this won’t be much of a sacrifice. I’ll eat it in a bowl, on a cone, in a shake, with or without malt, on top, underneath or inside a dessert (baked alaska), but one of my all time favorite ways to eat ice cream is between two cookies. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, ginger snap, graham crackers, honey tuile, chocolate meringue, and rosemary shortbread have all been made into ice cream sandwiches in my house.

Here is a recipe for my Oatmeal Rum Raisin Cookies which I paired up with Wildflower Honey Ice Cream. (I have also made this honey ice cream with 3/4 cup slightly crushed, lightly toasted, sunflower seeds and it is outrageous. A little something I picked up at the MN State Fair.) With this combo I can endure the heatwave. For the recipes and more ice cream sandwich combos… (more…)

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The Best Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream – roasting is the secret.

Strawberry ice cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Last weekend my folks presented me with a container of fresh strawberries they picked up at an Amish Farmer’s Market. They were ruby red and absolutely gorgeous, in a not-from-the-supermarket way. Their shapes were slightly distorted, their sizes uneven, and yet, they smelled like pure strawberry, in a way Bonne Bell Lip Smackers can only wish for. The beauty of growing your own fruits and vegetables or buying local is that they have a certain ugly beauty, which is not an oxymoron at all. The Japanese call this gorgeous imperfection “Wabi-sabi” and it is what makes a piece of pottery (or fruit) special and clearly not mass produced.

My husband’s favorite ice cream is strawberry. In fact, it can be a point of frustration between us when we go to Convention Grill for dinner. We always split a malt, and it always has to be strawberry. Their malts, even a 1/2 order are fit for a family of 4, so I can never finish one on my own and prefer to share, but does it ALWAYS have to be strawberry? Yep, married for 20 years in August and that is what the man likes, so be it. When I saw the container of strawberries from the farmer’s market I knew instantly that I would use them in ice cream. The color was outrageous and they just begged to be dipped in cream, but not until I roasted them in a touch of balsamic to add even more character. I roasted them to concentrate the sugars and to get rid of the excess water content before mixing them in the vanilla custard ice cream base. This produced a more intense strawberry flavor and a much smoother, less icy consistency. I like to leave some chunks in my fruit ice cream to add texture and drive the favor home, but not if those chunks are hard as a rock. Roasting the fruit first created the perfect flavor and texture. I even made a malted milk shake for my husband with it, which was CRAZY good! (more…)

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Ice Cream 101 – One Simple Custard Base, Several Flavors! (Roasted Banana and more…)

Roasted Banana Ice Cream Recipe | Photo by Zoë François

Last week I did a post on the tricks to creating Sorbet and it got me thinking about ice cream. I always tend to make a big batch and then mash other ingredients into it. This way I can tailor the flavor to the dessert I am serving it with or the mood I am in. You have to start with a really great ice cream base, which for me means lusciously smooth, with a dense and silky texture. The flavor should be rich, but not too buttery (greasy) and I always start my “French custard” ice cream base with vanilla, there really isn’t a flavor that it doesn’t compliment.

When the first frozen dessert was created by the ancient Chinese, it was just a mixture of fruity syrups and snow, basically a sorbet. Not until the 18th century in England did you find the first ice cream made with milk, cream and eggs, no snow. Today homemade ice cream is still made this simple way. The secret to getting the perfect texture and flavor is not only the ingredients, but the technique of creating a custard and then freezing it.  You want to cook the cream, yolks, sugar and vanilla until the eggs thicken slightly, known as creme anglaise (English cream), and then chill the mixture overnight in the refrigerator, about 6 to 12 hours. This last step is a bit of a mystery, but it works to create the best mouth feel. I have heard the overnight chill described as “maturing,” “ripening,” or “aging.” You get the picture, it gets better with age. I find when I do this extra step my ice cream is smooth and less ice crystals form. The way big manufacturers get past this step is to add gums, starches, or gelatin. I’d rather not, so I just wait.

Once you have the base, you can freeze it as vanilla ice cream or add other flavors. For this recipe I am adding roasted bananas, which I just used in a banana bread post I wrote for the Cooking Channel. Roasting the fruit not only concentrates the sugars, but it also expels some of the water in the bananas, which can cause the ice cream to be icy. I don’t stop there, I also mash in toasted maple-pecans, brandied cherries and chocolate ganache into the roasted banana ice cream, for a total of 4 flavors.  What can I say, I like variety! (more…)

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