Tag Archives: nectarine

Brown Sugar Nectarine Ice Cream

21 Aug

As a child, I thought that making ice cream at home was the type of thing only early American pioneers did. Ice cream came from the store, or an ice cream shop, and it was packaged in a square container that opened up like an envelope from the front. (I cannot be the only person here who remembers ice cream being packaged in this manner, can I? The flimsy box, the tight corners that held onto the ice cream and resisted being nudged out by a rounded scoop? In terms of ice cream package technology, whoever thought to ditch the box with square corners and develop a more rounded package was a genius.) When, in the book Farmer Boy, Almanzo Wilder and his siblings were left to their own devices after their parents left town for a week and deemed the children to be in charge of the farm, what was the first thing the kids did? They made ice cream (and cake, and candy…and then more cake and ice cream). They made so much ice cream and sweet treats, in fact, that they almost completely emptied out the family’s sugar barrel.

Reading about this intense feat of sugar consumption practically gave me a contact high. Making ice cream at home? For dinner? You can imagine how compelling I found this idea (I was going to add in the words “as a child,” but, let’s face it, I sort of like that idea now as well). It seemed so rugged, and yet also so simple. I want some ice cream, so I’ll just make some. It was like reading about the secrets behind a magic trick.

Obviously, as I got older and became in charge of my own kitchen and what went on in it, I found out that making homemade ice cream was just about as simple as eating homemade ice cream. Once I was gifted an ice cream maker, it was like having a license to print money. Somehow, it seems almost sneaky to make your own ice cream , like you’re totally getting away with doing something that’s meant to be handled only by the likes of professionals. It is also, I have found, slightly addictive. Not just the ice cream itself, I mean, but making the ice cream. Every time I find myself in possession of some interesting chocolate or chilies (or both, because, man have you ever had spicy chocolate ice cream? SO GOOD), or a nice supply of super ripe fruit, my mind immediately turns to thoughts of transforming those goods into a creamy batch of ice cream.

Last week, when it was 95 degrees in Portland, we had just gotten back from our annual trip to San Francisco, where we ate ice cream nearly every single day. This year we rented an apartment across the street from a great gelato place, which meant that we ended up spending an inordinate amount of time there, filling our bellies with gelato. We also, as we do every year, spent a great deal of time getting ice cream form Bi-Rite Creamery, as any ice cream loving person should know to do. I am a huge fan of their brown sugar ice cream with a ginger caramel swirl, so, once we got home to Portland and the heat left me no other choice but to make ice cream, I decided to test drive their brown sugar concept with some fresh nectarines. It’s usually my habit to plump up the flavor of fresh fruit with a bit of lemon juice, but, in the interest of trying something new, I subbed in some lime juice instead. What emerged after my tinkering was a creamy, bright, delightful ice cream with the strong flavor of nectarines balanced by a gentle undertone of sweetness. It was wonderful. It is wonderful. And I suggest you grab yourself an ice cream maker and find out for yourself.

Ice cream, previously: Fresh Ginger Ice Cream, Six Threes Ice Cream, Coconut Lime Frozen Yogurt and Chewy Ginger Cookie Sandwiches

Brown Sugar Nectarine Ice Cream Recipe

1 ¼ pounds pitted, diced ripe nectarines (about 3 large)

1/4 cup water

½ cup light brown sugar

3 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup milk

juice of ½ a lime

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine nectarines and water. Bring to a boil, cover, then allow to simmer over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until the nectarines have broken down and released a great deal of their juices. Set aside to cool.

While the nectarines are cooking, combine brown sugar, egg yolks, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Whisk to combine, then heat mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and reaches a temperature of around 170 degrees F. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon, leaving a clean trail when swiped with a finger. Remove from heat, whisk in milk, then place in the refrigerator to cool.

When both mixtures have cooled, combine them in a blender or food processor and blend on high speed until completely smooth and combined. Stir in lime juice and vanilla, then refrigerate until complete cooled, about 2 hours. Alternately, if you don’t want to wait, you can place the nectarine custard mixture in a thin, nonreactive metal bowl, place the metal bowl in larger bowl filled with mostly ice with a bit of water, and stir the mixture as the metal bowl rests in its ice bath. After about 10-15 minutes of careful stirring (being careful not to tip the custard bowl over into the ice water), the mixture will become quite cold.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

Makes just under 1 quart of ice cream.

Nectarine and Raspberry Galette in a Cornmeal Crust

11 Jul

Supposedly, hot weather makes people less likely to pine for baked goods than cold weather.  Or so I hear.  I can only assume that it is the act of turning on and, thusly, heating an oven that makes baking more of a welcome winter affair than a summer one, because, and this should come as absolutely no surprise whatsoever, I’ve never known a season that was unfit for baking.

Summer baking is, of course, different from winter baking, but really only by virtue of what you choose to be the star of your recipe.  Winter definitely makes me feel more inclined to fuss over things that fall into the category of being rich and chocolatey, but the main attraction of my favorite summertime desserts almost always lean towards being fresh and fruit-filled.  Sure, fall is a haven of fruity desserts as well—with pears and apples galore just begging to be caramelized or topped with a crispy and nutty blanket—but summer fruits differ from autumn fruits in that the choice of baking them will always be up to the dessert maker’s whim.

Cream tarts and trifles (and a wonderful pie that I will be sharing with you soon) are a great way to showcase uncooked fruit in a dessert that shares the spotlight with several different elements (lemon cream, semolina cake, whipped cream, lemon-scented yogurt and cream cheese, etc.), but one should never be discouraged from taking a stab at baking the plethora of summertime fruit that is available and ready to be found and adorned with such ease.

This galette, featuring heavenly scented nectarines and plump raspberries, is a great place to start investigating the benefits of summertime baking.  The fruit, barely sweetened, gets enveloped in a fantastically crunchy and buttery cornmeal crust that provides a perfectly crisp, almost cookie-like contrast to the fruit.  Beneath the fruit lies a light and surprising dusting of ground almonds that contributes a slight sturdiness to the dessert without leaving any trace of heaviness.  Eaten alone, or with a generous dollop of very lightly sweetened whipped cream, it’s a fantastic introduction to summertime baking, and, I hope, an encouragement to never shy away from baking, no matter the season.

Nectarine and Raspberry Galette in a Cornmeal Crust

Cornmeal Dough

This wonderful dough recipe was adapted from The Italian Baker, by Carol Field, by way of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Fruit

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

½ cup yellow cornmeal

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling

1 pound nectarines

4 ounces fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons ground almonds or almond meal

3 teaspoons sugar, divided

1 tablespoon flour

Make the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.  Sift the flour, cornmeal, and salt directly into the mixture.  Add the vanilla and stir until the dough is thoroughly mixed.  Divide the dough in half and gather into 2 balls.  Wrap the balls in plastic, press them into discs, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Since you will need only 1 disc of dough for this recipe, feel free to freeze or refrigerate the other disc until you are ready to use it.  The wrapped dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Assemble the galette:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

To roll out the dough, cut out a 14-inch square piece of parchment paper.  Dust the parchment paper with flour.  Take a disc of dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap it from the plastic wrap, and place on the flour parchment.  Lightly flour the dough then place the plastic wrap on top of the disc of dough.  Rolling on top of the plastic wrap, roll out the disc into a 13-inch circle.

Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the circle of dough.  Place the rolled-out dough, still on the parchment paper, on a baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the filling ingredients.

Cut each nectarine in half, remove the pit, and each half cut into 4 wedges.

In a small bowl, combine ground almonds, 2 teaspoons of the sugar, and flour.

Remove the chilled, rolled-out dough from the refrigerator.  Sprinkle the almond mixture over the top of the dough, leaving uncoated a 1 ½ inch border at the edges.  Place nectarines, skin side down, in a single layer on top of the almond mixture, still leaving empty the uncoated edges.  Place raspberries on top of the nectarines, nestling the berries into any open crevices in between the nectarines.

While rotating the tart, fold the border of exposed dough up and over itself at regular intervals, crimping and pushing it up against the fruit. Pinch closed any breaks or cracks in the dough.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar over the top of both the fruit and the folded-over edges of dough.

Bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the edges of the fruit have started to caramelize.

Cool for at least 20 minutes before eating, so as to allow the hot fruit juices to stabilize a bit.

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