‘Hello, spring! Yes, you are here sweet friend, and that means I am ready to indulge in all your yumminess, your sexiness and your enticements. I’m going to have fun with you this season, especially since I have lots of edible goodies begging to be tickled.’
That’s how I feel right about now. The weather has been stunning in Atlanta and with that comes bountiful blooms, full-throttle exhibitionists and the desire to plan outdoor mid-day trysts. I’m particularly thinking about what the season’s harvest is starting to bear (and what shoes will be added to my existing collection) and what I’ll be most intrigued to cook with. In the meantime, I’m still basking in the fresh winter truffles I was given by my friends at the National Truffle Fest in Asheville and the intoxicating aroma they’ve given my fridge. If you didn’t see the truffle flan, check it out here and be prepared for your toes to curl up.
And I’m still playing with them before they go bad; because it would be outrageously sacrigileous for me to waste them. I unwrapped them from rice jar I’ve stored them in and went to work. Over the weekend, I shaved some truffles on farm fresh eggs which two truffle “newbies” fell in love with and then browsed the net and cookbooks for bonafide recipes. Nothing really jumped at me so I lost a slither of interest in packing them into everything I had already planned on making.
But then my oh-so-genius light bulb went off!
Ice cream. Helado. Glace. Something cold! Si, si, si! Because what better way to welcome spring than to make some homemade ice cream? Ice cream is the spring and summer sweet personification. It makes everything better and okay and sometimes acceptable.
It’s no secret I’ve become a food snob in the last 3 or so years and it’s even a lesser surprise that I have an insatiable appetite for desserts. The irony is that I’m not a baker. I make flan. And I make it pretty fast. But, when it comes to making pastries and most desserts, I leave that up to the real pro’s that are well versed in ratios and exact measurements and bear the the ultimate trait of a true passionate baker: patience.
My instant gratification type personality is a huge set back when I do want to spend time creating dishes requiring me to turn my oven on, or to wait during the “cooling period.” The universe knows what it was doing when I was introduced to and instantly in love with the pressure cooker!
My established inadequacies in making decadent sweets is only advantageous when I can call on ol’ faithfuls like Christina. She and I can go a few weeks without seeing each other or even chatting (thank goodness for Twitter, FB and smart phones where we can throw a few lines here and there). But one of us can say “hey, let’s make some food,” and we’re on it. Within a matter of hours we’re planning and scheming our next cooking tryst.
After feeling dismayed (though momentarily) about not finding suitable recipes to infuse my truffles in, I called Chris and told her I wanted to make ice cream. Oh wait, this was via text. She wrote right back, offered to bring her ice cream maker and the date was set.
It took no longer than 24 hours before Chris showed up with her whip appeal, eggs, creme, sugar (I hope she didn’t think I was short on these flan essentials) and appetite.
I offered up milk, vanilla and the the most important ingredient–the one that was going to do all the singing.
Our chemistry in the kitchen seems to work seamlessly. In this case, Chris mixed and whisked while I marveled at my little gems before finely chopping some up. I briefly debated how much truffle flavor I wanted the ice cream to have and decided 1 tbsp. would suffice.
Not so much. So we tinkered a bit more until we got it right. The ice cream machine had barely stopped churning before Chris and I were licking tasting spoon after tasting spoon oozing with the softest and creamiest ice cream I think I’ve ever had. ”Damn!,” “oh.my.word,” is this for real?,” and “man I make a good ice cream” quickly ensued.
The bits of truffle were perfectly present and made a profound statement. They didn’t over power and show off, though they would have been fully entitled; rather they did their job and turned dreamy vanilla ice cream into the most heavenly and beautifully delightful treat.
But, this is when my instant gratification “disorder” kicked in. Are you seriously telling me this thing has to chill and freeze over night?!
Yeah, okay. Chris and I divided our share and I went to sweet ol town on my half. I just couldn’t resist. Oh my gosh! For the first time, ice cream was inducted into my kitchen and it was a smashing hit. I’m not saying that just because we made it. I’m saying that because we really did kick ass and ended up with an ice cream I predict will become a staple in both our dessert repertoire!
That’s if we can get our hands on more truffles. We figured out and suggest if you don’t have access to the fresh perigord trufa, use black truffle oil. It gives it a nice punch and does the lack of fresh truffles some worthy justice.
Chris went home a happy gal and I went to bed feeling all kinds of kiddish.
As I got ready to plate the ice cream, I realized I needed something else. Bits of truffles in the ice cream was heavenly, no doubt, but I was looking for something to top it off with. Something orgasmic and one that would cause me to make a few calls and lose all professionalism and beg for more fungus.
I made salted truffle caramel. Oh, yes I did. I did. I’m very familiar working with sugar. It can be tricky and this is no different. It’s a game of time for the most part. I’ve made caramel before and just adore it. I can eat it right out of a jar, suck a spoon til tastes of the stainless steel finally make me put it down and have no shame eating it as it’s cooling — no, no, that’s that instant gratification issue again.
My friends, if only I could share with you what I experienced over here yesterday! It was a double-dipping and super double dose of truffles. I swirled some room tempered caramel into slightly melted ice cream and refroze it. The outcome left me speechless. Few things incite that kind of reaction, but this deserved a moment of reflection and sinful gluttony.
As if having the caramel swirl weren’t enough, I drizzled another generous amount on top and had the most luscious afternoon licking my spoon and martini glass.
It was viciously delicious (my new term for describing food that is just too good for layman’s verbiage) and my day ended with no worries.
Not even the fact that I’m now down to only two truffles.
Have I intrigued you enough? I hope to have left you drooling!
* the recipe below is only for the truffle ice cream. I’ll share details and the recipe for the caramel in a separate post because it was just that divine!
** visit Christina’s blog, Mele Cotte, for her recount of our successful experiment!
BLACK TRUFFLE ICE CREAM
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cups whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp. black truffle, minced
- 1 tsp. black truffle oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ¼ tsp. salt
Over medium-high heat, warm milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan, stirring to combine. When the milk just begins to bubble around the edges, remove from heat. Stirring constantly with a whisk, pour some of the hot milk into beaten eggs to temper. Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan. Over low heat, stirring constantly, heat until a custard thickens (and will coat the back of a metal spoon with a thin film, approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
Add vanilla, truffles and oil. Stir to combine. Let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in the heavy cream, cover, and place mixture back in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Stir, then add to the ice cream maker, freeze the custard accordingly to the ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s instructions.