Posts filed under: ‘Custards and Pudding‘

Serendipity 3, Part 2 Homemade Ice Cream

So I’ve been looking around for Homemade ice cream recipes. One of my fondess foodie memories was when I was 10 years old.  I was at a girl scout camping sleep over and we made our own homemade vanilla ice cream.  I think I can safely say this was before the days of readily available home ice cream makers.

We poured a concoction of cream and sugar into small coffee cans. Carefully sealed the lid shut.  Put the small can into a large coffee canister (one of our leaders must have drank coffee by the gallon considering there were 12 pairs of us.) Added ice and rock salt.  Then each pair of girls rolled a can between each other on the floor.  20 minutes later each of us had made our very own vanilla ice cream (or chocolate if we chose to add the syrup.)

I got this fun little cooking timer at the gift shop at Serendipity 3. Fitting for this post no?


To add to the recipes inspired by my and my boyfriend’s adventures at Serendipity 3 I found myself craving ice cream and feeling a little nostalgic for my girl scouting DIY days.  Sans ice cream maker and large coffee canisters I searched around the internet and found some interesting recipes.

Here are a few factoids I wasn’t aware of: Most ice cream recipes call for egg or egg yolks.  Many times its cooked into a custard before freezing. This is a custard recipe or a “french custard” recipe, hence the term “French Vanilla.” “Philadelphia” style recipes call for cream and sugar, no eggs and are not cooked.  I’ve only seen it in upstate New York, but if you are an upstater like me you are familiar with Stewart’s Shop’s brand of “Philadelphia Vanilla.”

I was looking for the easiest possible recipe, no cooking, no ice cream maker. I searched around and put together the following. You will need:

3 c heavy cream

1 c milk (I used 2%)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine ingredients in a shallow dish like a pyrex pan.  I used a bread pan since room in my freezer was limited.  Freeze for an hour then stir– you’ll find the edges frozen but the center still runny.  Continue to stir every 30 minutes until you have the consistency you’d like– soft or some people like their ice cream more firm.  Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve. I found that after stirring once or twice it was a lot like soft serve.   If you want to try and keep it from getting icy– the milk has a higher water content- throw the ice cream in you stand mixer, then back into the freezer.

Make sure to cover with plastic wrap, and seal in a tight container to keep from getting freezer burnt.


Add a comment January 19, 2011

Martha’ Mascarpone Semifreddo

It is officially the Holiday Season.  First off, my copy of Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book has arrived.  My grandmother gave me her copy when I was 12. I cherished it and used it pretty regualrly as a kid especially when it came to bake sales.  After searching my parents house recently I realized that somewhere between college and now (and all the apartments in between) my copy is in someone else’s hands.  Let’s hope they realize what a treasure it is.  This book has some of the best cookies around and its absolutley clutch during Holiday Season, so starting this week its cooky time! 

But today I’m trying a recipe in Martha Stewart’s Magazine, Holiday Edition.  Its a version of ice cream called Semifreddo.  I played around with the idea of “SemiFreddo”, convincing myself having studied only Spanish and French in High school– that Freddo meant frozen, but Alfredo sauce indicates cheese, so I’m pretty sure this recipe’s title muses the use of Mascarpone Cheese.

Mascarpone is a word I love to say pretending I know how to actually pronounce anything in Italian other than Spaghetti.  If I was a ganster my nick name would include the word Mascarpone.  Which brings me to this lovely dessert which I will be eating tonight as I watch the last episode of Boardwalk Empire– chuck full of gansters.

Cherry Port Sauce:

1 c port wine

3/4 c sugar

3/4 dried cherries

Simmer Port and Sugar until it reduces by half.  Add cherries. They will plump.  Simmer another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.  You can store in the fridge– it will continue to thicken, or I recommend leaving it out and allowing it to be slightly warm and a little more syrupy.


1 c + 1 Tbsp of Mascarpone Cheese

1 c heavy cream

1Tbsp confectioner’s Sugar

Pinch of coarse Salt

Beat until stiff peaks form.  Careful not to over beat as texture can become crumbly.

Fold in 1 oz bittersweet (or semi sweet) chocolate chopped coarsely. Place in pyrex bread pan and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in freezer 30 minutes – 1 hour.  Edges will be frozen.  Scoop and serve with sauce.

You can usually make substitutions should you not be able to find mascarpone cheese.  Cream Cheese and Sour cream combined can stand in for the authentic.  If this is the case, I will venture to say your peak will not stiffen the same way as with authentic Marscarpone, considering cream cheese is slightly softer.

Add a comment December 6, 2010

Traver’s Day and Creme Brulee

Photography by Michael Golding

In the summer upstate one of the biggest attractions is the Saratoga Race Track.  Established in 1863 the track is the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the States.  It garners your typical summer tourists to your big city high rollers.  The Travers race is the oldest thoroughbread horse race in the country, named for the tracks builder John Travers, and though it is not apart of the Triple Crown races is equally famous within racing culture.

Photography by Michael Golding

I, for one am no gambler, and though watching racing Thoroughbreads is absolutely a magnificent experience, I just don’t really like the danger involved with the sport.  I do find enjoyment out of people watching in Saratoga during the summer.  Being the oldest sporting venue in the country comes with some old traditions. The race track perpetuates big hats and fancy dresses for the ladies, and summer suits and cigars for the gents.  I spent most of the Travers weekend perched on the patio watching a parade of hats walk by. So for a fancy weekend comes a fancy dessert…That is soooooo simple make despite what you may think!  Below are two versions of Creme Brulee: the easy easy way  which is a simplified variation on the second creme brulee recipe just beneath it. This method originates from Alton Brown’s Good Eats which requires a little more prep.  You will be the toast of the party with this dessert, even if its just a backyard summer barbeque.

Creme Brulee

The Easy way: you will need ramekins.  The recipe calls for 6 -7  8oz ramekins– these are relatively large so feel free to use 12 smaller ramekins. Don’t have ramekins?  You can easily improvise with shallow but sturdy coffee mugs that are heat safe.

1 quart heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 large egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

2 quarts hot water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Boil heavy cream and vanilla in a saucepan.  Remove from heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes.  Combine egg yolks and sugar with a whisk just until the color lightens.  Slowly pour heavy cream into egg mixture constantly whipping with a heat safe whisk.  This is called tempering the eggs.  By increasing the temperature slowly the eggs will cook without curtling.

Pour the mixture into your ramekins.   I recommend beating the egg-sugar mixture in a large pyrex measuring cup and then combining cream in the same bowl to allow for ease of pouring.  Place ramekins in 2-3″ tall cake pan.  Slowly pour hot water around the ramekin dishes. Water should reach about half way up on the ramekin.  Carefully place in oven and cook for 40-45 minutes.

The custard will look slightly bubbly on top.  It will be set but will tremble when you move the pans.  Remove ramekins from water and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.  Will store for up to 3 days.   When ready to serve use 1/2 c sugar to sprinkle across tops of ramekins, place on cookie sheet and place under preheated brolier to crisp sugar tops…

Or for the very best results try a slightly fancier way

You will need the same ramekins, cake pans, and a chef’s torch. These are available at any specialty cooking store for about $30 or around the holidays try Target.  For about $20 Target typically carries a torch and ramekin set especially for gift giving.  Unfortunately its only available around the holidays.  Also make sure to purchase butane fuel else your torch won’t work.

So this recipe is the same as above with 2 exceptions

1 quart heavy

1 vanilla bean sliced

Boil heavy cream and vanilla bean together, remove from heat for 15 minutes. Remove vanilla bean.

Whisk 6 egg yolk with 1 c *Vanilla Sugar.

**Vanilla sugar is one of the easiest things to add to your cooking repertoire.  Slice one vanilla bean and bury 2c granulated sugar in a sealed container.  Some people use within a few days but for peak flavor infusion, store for two weeks before using.  You can use your vanilla sugar in just about anything the same way you would use standard granulated.

Proceed the same way: Slowly add the hot cream to the eggs.  Pour into ramekins, place in water bath and bake. Chill for at least two hours.  When ready to serve remove from fridge (its ideal to remove the creme 30 minutes prior to torching the sugar) Then sprinkle sugar across tops with remaining 1/2 c sugar– you can use the vanilla sugar for extra depth in flavor. Remember its only a teaspoon or two of sugar on each though  I like to be a little more generous with the sprinkled sugar to ensure a real crunch factor when eating the creme brulee.  Heat sugar with the torch holding 3-5 inches away.  Sugar will bubble then brown.  Don’t be afraid to let the sugar get to a dark  brown– it won’t taste burnt rather candied and the sound of the cracking sugar and the texture of the sugar melting in your mouth as you eat it is to die for.

4 comments September 5, 2010

Miracle on Ice

Lake Placid Olympic Arena

I spent this past weekend in Lake Placid, New York.  Famed for both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.   Lake Placid, population 2,800 would be a sleepy town if it weren’t for the Olympic training facilities, and Hockey Tournaments.  The mile high sky jumps can be seen towering over the winding highway as you make your way to the downtown strip of Mirror Lake (sister lake to Lake Placid).  There are tons of cute shops, restaurants and even if you aren’t a Hockey Fan you have to take a quick stroll through the famed “Miracle on Ice” hockey rink, otherwise known as the Herb Brooks Arena.

I find it funny that more than a few of my posts have to with sports because truth be told, I’m not athletic and I’m not someone you’ll tuned in to ESPN or any other sports channel for the most part, that is of course until it comes to hockey.

Love of hockey goes way back in my family to when my grandfather was a dashing young student in New York city.  He regularly went to see Rangers’ games at the Garden, for 25 cents, as he often bragged.  Whether or not you are a die hard sports fan, an occasional observer, or totally hate the fact that I’m tying yet another recipe to sports, everyone LOVES a good underdog story.

Herb Brooks Arena

Lake Placid was just the setting in 1980, when a young scrappy team of college hockey players took on the elite Soviet club on home ice.  If you haven’t seen the movie Miracle, I strongly suggest you Netflix it.  Its the perfect feel good flick.  Which brings me to the New York Rangers.  The big-hearted blue shirts, the team I love,  and for many seasons the underdogs…without the happy ending as of yet.  There were 54 long years between the last 2 Stanley Cups (1940, and 1994).  They have 4 total, which is embarassingly low for a talented team that is member of the Original Six.  (The Rangers, Blackhawks, Maple Leaves, Red Wings, Canadiens, and Bruins are the original 6 teams that started the NHL in 1926.)

The New York Rangers are currently in a tight race to make the playoffs.  As the weather outside gets warmer, the race on the rink, namely between the Boston Bruins and the Rangers gets hotter too.  One point could make the difference in who actually gets to contend for Lord Stanley’s Cup.  The Rangers and Bruins won’t actually face each other again, as the season ends, but none the less the competition is fierce. I will state here and now that should the Rangers pull it out and knock Boston out of contention, AND go on to win the cup or even just make it through the second round of the playoffs, I will make a replica Stanley Cup cake.

So in the spirit of high hopes and miracles, heres a cup cake recipe.  CREAM BOSTON! cupcakes, I mean Boston Cream  Pie Cupcakes, courtesy of Martha Stewart, because I’m hoping the Rangers cream Boston.

No paper liners needed for Boston Cream Cupcakes!

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes:

1 1/2 c Flour (plus more for pans)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c whole milk

6 TB unsalted butter softened (plus more for pans)

3 large eggs

1 c sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

(Filled with Vanilla Cream, and topped with Chocolate Ganache)

Butter and Flour your cupcake tins like you would for a cake.  You won’t be using capcake papers to bake with.  Combine Dry ingredients (flour, powder, and salt). Set aside.

Combine milk and butter in a sauce pan over low heat.

Beat  eggs and sugar for about five minutes.  Mixture should look pale and thick.  Add dry ingredients.  Bring milk and butter to a boil, then combine with batter using mixer on low. Add vanilla.

Fill baking tins half way ( I usually use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to keep my cupcakes uniform looking).  Bake for 15 minutes or until a golden.  Cool for 10 minutes, then slice in half horizontally.  Fill with Vanilla Cream.

Vanilla Cream, (If you have Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, she uses Pastry Cream to fill these cupcakes.  Its the same recipe roughly.  The Pastry Cream recipe  yields more.  You could just as easily make instant vanilla pudding, or really cheat and use pudding cups.  I suggest skipping the short cut at least once)

2 large egg yolks

1/4 c sugar

2 TB cornstach + 1/2 tsp

pinch of salt

1 c whole milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk yolks till smooth.  Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add milk in a slow steady stream and stir continually until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. (apprx 5 minutes)

Pour 1/3 of the milk into yolks mixing constantly and rapidly– this will temper the eggs without allowing them to coagulate– You don’t want the eggs to scramble in your pudding.  Stir in the remaining milk and return custard to saucepan cooking 2-4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in vanilla.

Martha suggests pouring the cream through a sieve– this will remove any coagulated eggs. Cover with plastic wrap across surface of pudding and refridgerate until chilled.

The cupcakes are topped with Chocolate Ganache.

Melt 1 c semi sweet chocolate , and 1/2 c- 3/4 c heavy cream in microwave or double boiler.  Allow to cool slightly so that frosting is spreadable, but not runny.

Eat to your hearts content!  Here’s to Miracles on Ice!

Chocolate Ganache Frosting!

1 comment April 8, 2010

Cheesecake Machismo

First of all what great assonance in that statement…Cheeeeeeesecake Machiiiiiiiiiismo.  Well I’m giving a shout out to a little shop in Albany that goes by this very title… I recently visited this unassuming spot, owned by Lynn Beaumont and Bam Lynch, because they like me utilize the talents of one wonderful graphic designer who doesn’t mind being paid incake.  (See the artwork below.


Cheesecake Macchismo has a quaint little locale with a punk flair right in the center of Albany where they make over 290–THATS RIGHT 290 different flavors of CHEESECAKE!!! What started out as a hobby for them has quickly become a growing business and obsession, well at least for me and anybody else who has ever sampled any of their various cakes!!!  (True Confessions: I ate 3 different slices of their cheesecake just this weekend…)

Frankencake...any combo of flavors you like all in one cake!

Lets be honest though, cheesecake…well its not cake.  Its actually custard, making it ridiculously easy to screw up!  First you need a pan that’s boobytrapped to unhinge, a springform pan that is.  It must be baked …while soaking in a bath.  It takes forever to cook (so the eggs don’t coagulate–no seriously thats why!) Then it takes its sweet time sitting in the oven while it cools.  Cheesecake is as eccentric as Marie Antoinette (pictured above), and I can attest to the fact that it takes Machismo to really nail it.

Unless…unless you find this Ohhhhhh so easy recipe here on this little sight o’ mine.

Mini Cheesecakes (this one comes straight out of my mom’s recipe box)

Nilla Waffers (12)

2 8 oz blocks of cream cheese softened

3/4 c sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and place 1 Nilla waffer at the bottom of each.  Cream the butter and cream cheese until nice and smooth.  Make sure you let the cream cheese soften else you will never beat the lumps out.  Add sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Scoop into cups.  I like to add a fruit topping.  You can thin down a jam or preserve by whisking with with a few tsp of orange juice. drizzle over the top of the cheesecake mixture.  Swirl a knife through to achieve an eye pleasing design.  Pop in the over for at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

If you’ve had a chance to sample Machismo, consider yourself lucky.  If not perhaps you can take some inspiration from the 290 Machismo flavors and spice up this quickie recipe with oreos, snickers, chocolate, ginger, boysenberries, apples, maple, chocolate stout, cinnamon, green tea…the flavor combinations go on for days.  What Lynn and Bam do to cheesecake is evil, sinful, just wrong…and I mean that in the most delicious way possible.   Machismo could go head to head with a Brooklyn slice any day of the week.  Thankfully I live pretty far away from their shop, else I’d have a serious weight problem.

2 comments March 8, 2010

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Sugar, Frosting, and Fondant: an artistic exploration of Cake and other Sweets