Ice Cream + Sorbets

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DID YOU KNOW? Ice cream melts. The recommended storage temperature of this frozen treat is around -20° and is best served straight from the freezer. If left at room temperature for more than a few moments it will return to its liquid state. SCIENCE.

I’ve recently been reading The Food Stylist’s Handbook and, amongst the pages of wonderful lies of tall burgers hinged on unseen scaffolding and hidden blow-torches and paint brushes behind closed sets, lies this sentence:

“… fake ice cream is basically just powdered sugar and a solid fat of some sort… some stylists add corn syrup… your [fake] ice cream should have the texture of pastry dough of Play-Doh.”

Cream at Sassafras very kindly sent a jar of saffron + pear figlettes to play with, little did I know developing an ice cream recipe in conjunction with these little gems would send me into a melty spiral questioning the integrity of ice cream photography.

Here’s a thing some people don’t realise when gazing into a publication; when taking food photos the reality is ice cream melts. My personal reality is; I have no assistance and am often balancing on one leg to both take a photo and manoeuvre a reflector. My reality is; I have an incredibly small space to work with and even smaller backgrounds and surfaces. My reality is; by the time I stage the shoot, scoop the ice cream, position it properly, drizzle some syrup, clean my sticky hands and resume position behind the camera quick-as-a-flash (hehe pun) everything has already begun to topple. The texture of commercial ice cream we are so used to is lost in a matter of seconds; time is the nemesis of those who work alone, at least in this instance.

While I’m at it here’s absolutely everything there is to tell about these photos. The background is the back of a couch in the living room, the table is (I believe) an IKEA Lak I bought for $2 from The Bower; originally an offensive orange I painted it white but since the paint has begun to peel I’ve intentionally scratched it up for more character. I don’t have a macro lens; these were taken on my 85mm meaning I had to take a fair few steps back which, in turn, meant capturing areas outside of the table and background (couch). I wanted to keep my camera at f/2.8 (ish) for a bokeh explosion of shimmering pewter in the background however working with lights in a small space means they couldn’t be pushed back any further. The ice cream is sitting in what I can only describe as rusty canisters or filters I bought from Reverse Garbage ($1 for 10 of them as I remember), as were the pieces of fabric. The utensils in the background were purchased as part of my display at the COFA Annual late last year and that stein has been perched, untouched, on my coffee table in my bedroom ever since.

So, I became fed up with what ice cream should look like in the real world since I don’t operate in a real studio and decided to keep it as honest as possible. I stacked it high and watched it burn (melt) to the ground (restored IKEA table) and enjoyed it for a perverse thirty seconds. Hahahahaaa! I’m so zany I just don’t know what to do with myself. Some people rage at photoshopped images of women in magazines while I’m raging at faked ice cream.

Onto the recipe itself; the goat curd ice cream is a little different but great, probably not to everybody’s taste especially if they’re not into goats cheese. Don’t serve it by the bowlfull but instead as a course inbetweener or generous taster. It works perfectly with the figlettes and its syrup, though they’re definitely not essential. It’s not entirely sweet; just resounding flavours of goaty cheese and honey. It probably even warrants a quinelle. Whack it beside a soufflé and bask in the fanciness of it all.

Goat Curd + Honey Ice Cream
(an original recipe)

200g fresh goat curd (I used Meredith Dairy)
300ml cream
250ml milk
3 egg yolks
60ml (1/4 cup) honey
Tsp of salt
1 tbs sugar
1 vanilla bean
Jar of figlettes (optional)

1. Combine cream with goats curd until lumps are removed. In another bowl beat egg yolk with sugar.
2. In a saucepan heat milk, honey and split vanilla bean over low-medium heat until hot. Stir into egg yolk mixture slowly to temper then return to heat for a few minutes, whisking constantly until it begins to thicken like a custard.
3. Strain mixture into cream and goats curd mixture and stir well until combined. Place in fridge to chill and later churn as per your ice cream maker’s instructions. Serve with figlettes if you have any handy.

See the mess this stuff makes?! The concept of imperfection-as-perfection is far from revolutionary but goshdarnit melted ice cream is cool as heck. Cool and real.

And speaking of keeping it real, thanks again to Esme, Mark and Laura at Cream for the figlettes and please check out their online store or in person if you’re around the Dandenong area. My brief soap box moment of the day: supporting small businesses is very, very important; if you’re not already on that bandwagon get on it immediately, please!

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I’m terrible with anecdotes so to spare everyone a long-winded and poorly written story here’s a super condensed version; I was hanging with my friend Mel last week at one of our favourite establishments when I received a text message from home explaining a bag of fresh papaya was just delivered. I’m one of those annoying people who read text messages aloud and Mel must’ve seen the question marks pouring out of my ears so she began to explain all the wonderful benefits of papaya, saying she’d read somewhere its seeds are apparently peppery and delicious. Cool, right?

Thanks to my clever friend and a little dehydration action I’ve come up with this Papaya Pepper Sorbet. It’s times like these I wished I owned a little café or restaurant (my ~FOOD DREAM~) because this is one killer palette cleanser. And shout outs to my vegan pals ‘cos this is one for you! So long as you have some waiting time on your hands this is one of the easiest desserts to create; all you need is some papaya purée, coconut milk, sugar syrup and a spritz of lime. Throw in some ground papaya pepper too for a little something-something, too. It’s pretty great. And can also be made with pawpaw, or a mix of both fruits!

This makes around 8 palette-cleansing serves of papaya sorbet. If you’d prefer to serve this as a full blown dessert dish then I humbly suggest you double the recipe.

Papaya Pepper Sorbet
(an original recipe)

500g papaya, including seeds
65g (1/3 cup) sugar
80ml (1/3 cup) water
60ml (1/4 cup) coconut milk
30ml (1 shot) Malibu, or coconut rum
1 lime

For the papaya pepper
1. Preheat oven to 80°C. Halve the papaya and scoop out seeds. Spread evenly on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and dehydrate for an hour, or until the seeds are dried. Once cooled blitz them in a spice grinder.

For the papaya pepper sorbet
1. Purée papaya flesh in a food processor. Remove and place into a bowl and combine with coconut milk and coconut rum.
2. Prepare sugar syrup by combining sugar, water and juice of half a lime over medium heat until dissolved. Simmer for a few minutes until thickened slightly. Add to papaya mixture along with a squeeze of the remaining lime half. Place in the fridge for a few hours to cool completely, but ideally leave overnight.
3. Add 2 heaped teaspoons of ground papaya pepper into the sorbet mixture and prepare in ice cream maker, as per instructions. Serve immediately, garnishing with a few whole peppercorns.

Thanks to Impact Communications and Australian Papaya for the papaya and pawpaw! You guys are rad!

PS. I’ve been typing this up over the last few incredibly rainy days; the sun has finally decided to show itself today which makes me feel a little less weird about posting a sorbet. AND SPEAKING OF RAIN (clever segue), has anybody managed to get along to Vivid Sydney? Every single evening I’ve been free it has absolutely poured, last night included, but since yesterday was the finale of the festival I threw on many, many layers and braved the cold to enjoy the lights. Lovely stuff (and I’ll take any excuse to throw up a gif).

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No Churn Iced VoVo Ice Cream

Making a no-churn ice cream has been on my to-do list since the dawn of time so I’ve decided to go out on a limb and dedicate this frozen experiment of convenience to some delicious Australiana. Enter: the Iced VoVo. It’s proper grouse. Ace. A real corker. ONYAAAAAA MATES.

No Churn Iced VoVo Ice Cream

The Iced VoVo has been around for over 100 years (for a relatively new country like us I’m sure that’s some sort of historic achievement, right?). Breaking it down it’s basically a buttery biscuit topped with fondant, strawberry jam and coconut – naturally an inviting combination for the base of any ice cream. I never really liked them when I was younger (I had a thing with desiccated coconut) but obviously times and palettes change! This recipe is a bit ridiculous, but lots of fun. Be warned though it’s super creamy and really sweet so give your dentist a heads up before throwing this in your freezer.

No Churn Iced VoVo Ice Cream
 No Churn Iced VoVo Ice Cream
(an original recipe)

1 x 395ml can sweetened condensed milk
600ml thickened cream (around 2 cups)
300g Iced VoVo biscuits (1 1/2 packtes)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup strawberry jam
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold cream into the condensed milk. Crush Iced Vovo biscuits in food processor (or with a large, heavy kitchen utensil) and combine with cream mixture along with the coconut.
3. Place jam in a small heat proof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Mash with fork to remove lumps (discard any large chunks of strawberry that do not budge). Drizzle over ice cream and gently swirl through. Freeze for a few hours, ideally overnight.

For those who don’t have access to these across the other side of the world I ask you, is there any sort of vague equivalent? Do tell!

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I hate Summer. I hate, hate, hate it. What’s there to like about the heat, sweatiness and general discomfort? Ever since I was young I’ve had an irrational fear of sand (true story) so I find the beach unbearable too. That’s so un-Australian, right m8?! I should probably trade passports with an English backpacker as I’m constantly avoiding Australia’s (apparent) greatest features in the search for air conditioning and fashionable Winter accessories. I am the original Summer Scrooge.

After waking up frustrated from the tropical temperature in my room this morning I knew I had to prepare something refreshing lest I immediately purchase a one way ticket to Europe; my only option was to turn to the freezer for inspiration. Frozen raspberries in hand I picked a fresh lime from the tree in the backyard and convinced myself I was going to make the most delicious, refreshing thing I had ever tasted. Or I would cry.

With only five ingredients and three steps is one of the easiest recipes I’ve posted here; it involves preparing a simple syrup and combining it with some crushed frozen raspberries. Try adding a variation of frozen berries or even upping the amount of booze on this if you’re in the mood to get your buzz on!

 

Raspberry Sorbet (with Lime and Cointreau)

(an original recipe)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1 lime

3 1/2 cups frozen raspberries

2 tbs Cointreau

 

1. Combine sugar, water and juice from half a lime into a saucepan over medium heat. Allow sugar to dissolve, then boil gently for 5 minutes to form a sugar syrup. Once prepared decant into a heatproof bowl and place in the fridge/freezer to cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, place raspberries into a food processor and churn until crushed. Place into a bowl and add the juice of the remaining half a lime and the Cointreau.

3. Once the sugar syrup has cooled completely pour into your raspberry mixture and stir to combine. Prepare in ice cream maker as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Okay, okay, maybe there is one redeeming quality about Summer; eating lots and lots of raspberry sorbet.

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Some people eat their emotions.

Some people fall into a pit of despair so deep however they’ll go out of their way to create some ungodly concoction to cry over; behold, my peanut butter pretzel ice cream with chocolate covered salted pretzels. This, my friends, is misery personified. Mmmm, misery.

The concept is simple: make ice cream, throw peanut butter in the creme anglaise, churn, add salted pretzels shards, coat more pretzels in chocolate and assemble. ENJOY. Easy! This is ridiculously good.

 

Peanut Butter Pretzel Ice Cream

(an original recipe)

1 cup milk

100 g sugar

2 egg yolks

1 1/2 cup cream

3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

3/4 cup crushed salted pretzels

Chocolate covered pretzels

chocolate and whole salted pretzels (too easy!)

 

1. Heat milk in a small saucepan while beating your egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl.

2. Once warmed, slowly pour the hot milk over the yolk/sugar mixture whilst stirring constantly. This is to temper your eggs.

3. Pour the mixture pack into the saucepan, add peanut butter and whisk until it has dissolved. Continue to heat and whisk until mixture has become thick like custard.

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool then place in refrigerator to cool overnight, or at least 6 hours.

5. Prepare in ice cream maker as per manufacturer’s instructions – as ice cream is churning pour your pretzels into the machine.

6. Melt chocolate either in a microwave or over a double boiler. Coat your salted pretzels, dangle and allow excess chocolate to drip off (I employed the use of two chopsticks for this step) and place on baking paper to cool in the refrigerator.

7. Once everything is prepared scoop ice cream into cute ramekins and adorn with your chocolate pretzels.

Sweet ice cream, salted crunchy bits, chocolatey coating; this dessert is a walking contradiction but believe you me it may just be the most delightful comfort food you’ll make this Summer. And if this what pours out of me when I’ve had a bad week, well… maybe I should keep to my bad moods a little more often. Emotional eaters unite!

PS. I’ve started a facebook page so drop by and say hello! I might just become a little less ~emo~ if you do!

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Inspired by the impending Summer whilst witnessing Heston Blumenthal hurl an entire cherry pie into his creme anglaise on tv I thought – how hard could this be to create a pie-infused ice cream? The answer: NOT VERY. But perhaps I got lucky as this trial-and-error experiment came out pretttttty, pretty good.


Unfortunately the ice cream making process is nowhere near as exciting as Masterchef makes it out to be, no blast chiller means there’s a lot of time spent waiting so if you’re planning on having people over for an ice cream party I suggest you allow a day or two for everything to be prepared, lest you end up with a bowl of slushy, chunky custard. In the meantime however get your patient pants on and prepare a few garnishes like I have below.

 

APPLE PIE ICE CREAM

1 cup milk

100 g sugar

2 egg yolks

1 medium sized apple pie (from your local bakery or frozen)

1 1/2 cup cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp ground cinnamon

CARAMEL SAUCE (adapted from the Women’s Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook)

70 g butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tbs golden syrup

1 tsp (heaped) cornflour

2 tbs cream

CANDIED CORNFLAKES

2 cups cornflakes

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbs corn syrup

For the icecream

1. Heat milk in a small saucepan while beating your egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl. If the apple pie your using is frozen this is a good time to place it in the oven.

2. Once warmed, slowly pour the hot milk over the yolk/sugar mixture whilst stirring constantly. This is to temper your eggs.

3. Pour the mixture pack into the saucepan and heat, whilst stirring, until it becomes a thick custard. Ensure you do this slowly or you’ll end up with sugary scrambled eggs (eww).

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool for half an hour. Add the vanilla, cream and stir to combine. Crumble your pie into the mixture.


5. Put in the refrigerator to cool overnight, or at least 6 hours.

6. The following day strain your mixture to separate the creme anglaise from the apple pie pieces. With a fork, mash the leftover apple pie pieces into a very vague puree and combine once again with creme anglaise. This is entirely optional but I find the pieces of pie in the ice cream create a lovely texture.

7. Prepare in ice cream maker as per manufacturer’s instructions.

 

For the caramel sauce

1. Combine butter and sugar in a saucepan and stir over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to bowl then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

2. Combine water, golden syrup and cornflour in a separate bowl. Add to brown sugar mixture and stir to combine. Bring to boil, reduce heat and summer for 2 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in cream.

 

For the candied cornflakes

1. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until combined and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add cornflakes. Stir until cornflakes are completely covered in syrup and turn out onto baking paper and allow to dry. Once dried, break into shards as a lovely garnish.



 

For the assembly

1. With a warm ice cream scoop, place a few spoons of ice cream in adorable bowls. Top with generous servings of caramel sauce and adorn with candied cornflakes.


And here I was thinking “transeasonal” was a term only used to describe fashion.

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