this is the fancy-pants dessert i made to go with the lamb tagine from the other week.
the cake was pretty good. it was an olive oil cake.
i spent at least fifteen minutes in the olive oil section at the whole foods, reading the back of olive oil bottles. trying to decide how crazy i really am. am i $20 for a 10 ounce bottle crazy? turns out, i'm $15 for a 16.9 ounce bottle crazy. which is still pretty crazy. but the bottle promised "fresh herbal aroma and delicate fruity flavor."
i needed herbal. i needed fruity. it needed to go with my candied cara cara orange slices.
its a lot of cake for an ice cream post, of this i am aware. the cake just ended up being so much prettier than it was yummy.
the ice cream, though? out of this world.
salted, roasted pistachios. not actually moroccan. persian. close enough?
does it count if i know persia is iran? only a slight cultural competence fail.
and does it really matter where they came from when they are so tasty when roasted and slightly salted, so fantastically lime green?
i ended up having to buy unshelled pistachios because that was what target stocks and i'd hit my shopping limit for the day, but maybe we can just say it was because unshelled nuts are supposed to be fresher. it took awhile to get them out of their pacman shells, standing at the kitchen counter, but it had its rewards. by the end, my fingers were wrinkled from the salt, like after a day a the beach, only mostly because i couldn't stop a downward spiral of nut-cracking, finger-licking, and hand-washing. the container yielded the half cup needed for the ice cream and garnish, but just barely. snacking may have also occurred.
let me now impress you with my mad photography skills.
for this ice cream, the pistachios get pulverized. they add just a hint of texture to the ice cream. i subbed the sugar and corn syrup out of the ice cream for an orange blossom honey (see! fancy pants!) and not just because i forgot to buy corn syrup.
it worked out. the flavors were both nicely earthy. the honey added a deep sweetness. the pistachios were just a bit salty. kind of like a peanut butter honey sandwich.
another great ice cream tip from jeni's cookbook was employed – melting chocolate to add as a mix-in. you pour the chocolate into the ice cream maker near the end, when the ice cream is pretty well set up, but slowly, ever so slowly. it freezes on contact into tiny little shards – what jeni calls freckles – of chocolate that melt on your tongue.
if you are less patient, and ready to be done getting melted chocolate all over your ice cream making station (aka the bathroom counter because the door can be closed and that thing is LOUD), pour the chocolate fast and it will clump into larger bits that are fun too. and still less likely to break a tooth than chopped, frozen chocolate.
more amazing photography. isn't that ice cream just . . . totally devoid of focus? and the cake, so sparkling clear?
i really did think i was going to share the cake recipe. it was good – honest! light, with an interesting crumb from semolina flour. but it's drenched in orange cardamom syrup. turns out, i much prefer orange cardamom syrup in prosecco, not cake.
plus, then i tried the ice cream. wow. you should make this.
Pistachio Honey Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
- 1/2 cup shelled, roasted lightly salted pistachios
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 1/2 oz (or 3 tbsp) softened cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup cream
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 – 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
If your pistachios aren't roasted, toast them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until fragrant and brown. Let them cool for just a minute, then throw them in the food processor and pulse until they form a paste.
Mix 2 tbsp of milk with cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk cream cheese, pistachio paste, and salt in a medium bowl. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Bring the remaining milk, cream, sugar and honey to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Bring back to a boil and stir until the mixture slightly thickens.
Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour into a gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge in ice bath until chilled, about half an hour.
Pour ice cream base into ice cream maker and start churning.
Melt dark chocolate in the microwave (carefully, in small time segments, stirring between) or in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water (poor woman's double boiler).
When the ice cream looks nearly done – maybe 20 minutes in, slowly, slowly pour chocolate into the mixture. It should freeze as it hits the ice cream.
When ice cream is done, try not to eat it all. Pack into a storage container and freeze until firm.