Category Archives: Ice Cream

Baked Alaska

My favourite feeling is being satisfied.

It’s this warm, fuzzy hug that something’s been accomplished.

You’ve gotten somewhere.

You’re going somewhere.

You waited.

And good things are about to come.

You know they say fake it til you make it? Like when you’re in a room full of people you aren’t dying to be mingling with; fake the friendly smile til it starts creeping up from within. Something along those lines. I think I read too much Cosmopolitan psychology. The kind they coat with colourful words and throw a celebrity on the front cover of. But as much as I’d like to feel that I’m better than the regurgitated words of wisdom, thing is, positive reinforcement always works.

So what is it comes along with a perfectly slim, gorgeous specimen of nature which I’ll never be? I think these covers sell magazines, but the content isn’t always the worst. Sure, there are only so many times you can be told that if you use your finger to smudge your eyeliner pencil you get an instant smokey eye; but sometimes those silly Top 10 Ways to Get What You Want features do a little magic for someone who’s feeling a little down.

There, I admit it, I’m a magazineaholic. Grab your fork, eat your ice cream (and brownie) and curl up with a magazine. Promise you’ll leave with some new knowledge whether its a tip on how to pair boyfriend jeans with heels or a great breakfast idea. I should be doing that more often now…since I finally got a job…and will have to start wearing pants again in a couple of weeks!!!

Baked Alaska by Sweets by Vicky

1 pint of ice cream (I has raspberry ripple)
1/2 x Meringue recipe (use the rest for a Swiss Meringue Buttercream)
1/2 x Brownie recipe

To Assemble

1) Line the bottom and sides of 2 small loaf tins with plastic wrap. Pack the ice cream firmly into the tins, ensuring to fill up any gaps. Leave a 2 cm distance from the ice cream and the top of the tin.

2) Measure the size of the brownie that is needed to cover the ice cream and trim a piece accordingly. Press firmly onto the ice cream and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

3) When ready, make the meringue. Un-mould from tin and turn out onto a large piece of parchment so that the brownie is on the bottom. Immediately cover a thick layer of the meringue over the entire cake. Use the back of a spoon to make peaks in the meringue. Freeze for 30 minutes or until ready to bake.

4) Preheat oven to 220°C. Place the Baked Alaska on a baking tray and bake for 5-6 minutes until the peaks and edges start to take on a golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Meringue

4 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1) Mix all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, without letting the base of the bowl touch the water. Beat with a whisk constantly until it reaches 60°C. Remove from heat and immediately attach to the stand mixer and start whisking on high until the meringue is cool to touch and holds stiff peaks. Use immediately.

2) You’ll end up using about 2/3 of the meringue for ONE of the Baked Alaskas, so beat the remaining meringue with 180g of unsalted, softened butter for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Flavour as desired. Store in the fridge.

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Caramel Parfait with Candied Popcorn

Making something icy cold during a hot, sunny day sounds like a swell idea. It is a genius plan. Who wants to walk outside and get some sweat patches just for ice cream. Okay, I would but we’re being hypothetical here.

So my super idea was to serve caramel parfait bars. And I spent 3 days preparing it, from the sticky caramel popcorn to the parfait filling to finally, dunking it in chocolate. That was, up until the point when the parfait started to melt before I could get round to dunking, and then the chocolate kind of just…sliding off. Disaster. Delicous, but still disastrous.

In comes sheer improvisation spirit! I thin out the ganache even more with whipping cream and once the bars have firmed up in the freezer again, I spread the ganache over the top. Not quite what I wanted (they were meant to resemble biscotti dipped in chocolate) but hey, you’re getting dessert after all.


Caramel Parfait with Candied Popcorn (from Gourmet Traveller Australia, September 2010)

Ganache
150g dark couverture chocolate, finely chopped
45g vegetable shortening (I used butter and added 3 tbsp of warm whipping cream)

Candied Popcorn
1) Follow instructions and once popcorn has been made, divide popcorn between two lightly oiled 20 x 12 cm cake tins. Stand cool (30 minutes) then remove from tin.

Caramel Parfait
400ml pouring cream (I used whipping cream)
Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
180g caster sugar
6 egg yolks

1) Combine 75ml cream and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan over low heat, stir occasionally until warm. Whisk yolks in an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and doubled in volume.

2) Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over high heat until hot. Add sugar (it should start to melt then colour) and swirl pan occasionally until sugar is dissolved and amber in colour. Do not leave unattended as sugar burns very easily.

3) Gradually add warm cream (it may sputter), stirring to combine.*

4) Decrease mixer to medium low and slowly pour in hot caramel down the side of the bowl. Increase speed to medium-high and whisk until cool. Whisk remaining cream in a bowl until stiff peaks form then fold in caramel yolks. Pour into a 20 x 12cm cake tin lined with baking paper. Place one sheet of candied popcorn on top and freeze until firm (3-5 hours).

5) After that, turn out and press on the remaining sheet of candied popcorn. Freeze until very firm (3 hours) before cutting into sandwiches and freeze until required.

6) Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave (30 second bursts, stirring between each). Add butter and cream, stirring until melted. At this point, you can dip each sandwich into the ganache or spread it over the top of the bars and freeze until ready to serve.

*I didn’t do a good job with the caramel and some of the sugar crystalised so I added in the cream nonetheless, mixed it until most of the kinks were out and sieved it to remove the crystalised bits. Worked fine. And I also got ALOT of caramel parfait, enough to make two trays of sandwiches I reckon. So my sandwiches were less finger like and more… BLT.

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Filed under Caramel, Chocolate, Ice Cream, Recipes

I dream of Taiwan

Lemon Sorbet

When I think of Taiwan, images of night markets, bubble tea and fried shilin chicken are the suppose to pop into my mind. And yet, all I think of is a tangy, sweet, refreshing, thrist-quenching lemon sorbet.

One of the gorgeous sights to visit in Taiwan is Yang Ming Shan, a beautiful mountain covered in lush trees, perfectly paved footpaths, bright pink cherry blossoms and all sorts of candy colored flowers. On my trip there this year, Mom and I had the pleasure of visiting this great place. But there’s a funny thing about weather, it changes. It starts off all promising to be cold and windy but ends up sunny and warm, without a single cloud in sight.

So there we were, in all our thick warm clothes, trekking up the mountain, trying to seem like it didn’t matter, but it did! And by the time I reached the top, all i wanted was a big scoop of something. Lemon sorbet was the perfect thing. And there was this one lone gelato shop right there. It was owned by a cute Taiwanese man who shared with us his story of going to Rome and learning the ways of true gelato making. And whilst his story was fascnating, the icecream spoke for itself. It was sour, lemony, sweet-ish and most definitely refreshing.

Til this day, I have yet to find another that makes me feel quite as recharged as that. Perhaps it’s the fact that I don’t go around climbing up mountains before having a gelato. Either way, one scoop was one scoop too little for the both of us.

Creamy Lemon Sorbet from Dolce Italiano

2 lemons
1/2 cup simple syrup (1 part water, 1 part sugar, dissolve)
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used a little less)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp limoncello (optional)

1) Grate the zest of 1 lemon. Squeeze the juice of both lemons in a small bowl and strain to remove any seeds or pulp. You should have 1/2 cup juice

2) Place juice and grated zest in a blender. Add the yoghurt and sugar and blend on medium speed to liquefy the yoghurt, about 20 seconds (there should hardly any sugary grains when you rub it between your fingers). Add the syrup, water and limoncello and blend to combine.

3) Freeze sorbet immediately in an icecream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions

Enjoy! there’s enough to go around the room, even after you’ve trekked a mountain. :)

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