Latte Gelato – Life Is Good

The simple, straightforward, unadulterated truth is this: coffee is the nectar of the Gods. I love coffee. I roast my own beans. I leave little to chance when it comes to coffee or latte. This must make me some kind of high priest…or wingnut. Yeah, wingnut works.

So when I decided to make gelato one day it came as no surprise Latte Gelato was the choice. The recipe is based on Pamela Sheldon Johns’ from her book Gelato. In this version I used heavy cream instead of milk and upped the quantity by 1/2 cup. Lightly whipped cream is folded into the mixture just before processing in the ice cream machine. So in effect it is a little like semi-freddo in texture as well.

As a side note I used my KitchenAid stand mixer for the entire process. The yolks and sugar were whipped with the whisk attachment on high speed to ribbon consistency and the whisk stayed on when adding the heated cream, at a much lower speed. The only step not done with the KitchenAid was folding in the whipped cream. All in all there was a lot less clean up.

Latte Gelato
– 4 tablespoons ground espresso blend (fine grind)
– 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
– 5 each egg yolk
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 1 cup heavy cream

In a medium sauce pan bring the 2 1/2 cups heavy cream to a simmer, add ground espresso, whisk to mix and keep simmering covered for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to mix grounds. Remove from heat and let steep for 1/2 hour to extract maximum flavor from espresso.

Strain heavy cream through a chinoise or fine mesh strainer. Pour back into a clean sauce pan and bring to a simmer.

Beat egg yolks and sugar to ribbon stage. Slowly add the heated cream to the egg mixture stirring constantly taking care not to scramble the eggs by over cooking them. Cook over medium heat for six to eight minutes or until the mix coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and cool in an ice bath or in the refrigerator over night.

Whip the remaining one cup of heavy cream to soft peaks and fold into the cold custard incorporating thoroughly. Add to the ice cream machine and mix for about 25 minutes or until the mix is like soft ice cream. Pack it into a plastic tub, cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the freezer for a couple of hours to solidify.

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Eggnog in June

Why I am writing about eggnog in July? I came across the recipe recently and thought it would be fun to share it now.

There’s this place in Ithaca, New York called Purity Dairy that makes killer ice cream. It’s got to be the best I’ve ever had, hands down. About ten years ago I found out they make eggnog for about four weeks around Christmas time. It was creamy, egg-y, had a hint of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The mouthfeel was thick, almost like drinking melted ice cream which had been refrigerated.

You’ll notice I used the past tense when speaking of the eggnog. The mouthfeel seems like its not as thick as it used to be and the flavor of egg is lighter. It’s still good but I believe the recipe changed. In time I realized I would need to come up with my own recipe so I started playing with a recipe and ere it is.

Granted, it’s a work in progress and I’ll be working on it. Basically you are making a creme anglaise – or ice cream base that is not yet frozen. I wonder what this would taste like with chocolate milk?

Ingredients:
– 6 large egg yolks
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/8 cup rum
– 2 1/2 cups milk, whole
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

Directions:
1) Heat milk and cream in a sauce pan to about 150 degrees.
2) In a medium bowl, beat the vanilla, eggs, and sugar together until it forms ribbons.
3) A little at a time, add in the heated milk and cream, continuing to beat. Add the rum, continuing to beat.
4) Pour all back into the sauce pan and over medium low heat bring to about 165 degrees stirring constantly. Be careful not to heat too fast or much or the eggs will cook.
5) Cool completely and refrigerate.

Master Pie Crust for the $25,000 Apple Pie

You’ll note that I use butter as well as shortening in this crust. Why? Well butter contains water and when the crust is baking the water turns to steam and guess what happens! You get a flakier crust than if you just used shortening. It must be magic!

INGREDIENTS: (Makes two 9 inch crusts.)
– 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
– 9 tablespoons butter, chilled
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1/2 cup ice water

METHOD:
1) Cube butter into 1/4 or 3/8 inch pieces. Place in small bowl and refrigerate.
2) Measure one 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening and refrigerate.
3) Mix salt in ice water and keep chilled in refrigerator.
4) In a food processor combine flour and sugar. Pulse two or three times to mix well.
5) Add butter to processor and pulse several times. Add shortening and pulse until the mixture looks coarse and pale yellow.
6) Place mixture into a large bowl and add three tablespoons of ice water. Knead the dough and water mixture until a loose ball forms. Add water one tablespoon at a time until mixture comes together. Be careful not to over knead as this will make a less flaky crust.
7) Form pastry into a ball with your hands and divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Press into small disks on a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
8) Roll disks out on floured wax paper until the pastry is about 12 inches round and about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to pie pan. Fill with fruit and add top crust. Cut vents to allow steam to escape.

Bourdain and Ruhlman

The first time I saw Anthony Bourdain on television I thought he was a pretty cocky ass. Parading on camera with some devil-may-care attitude and snide remarks. That’s the problem with first impressions, they aren’t always right.

Maybe you need to work in a professional kitchen to appreciate Bourdain. But having read his books I have a new found appreciation for the guy. If you aren’t familiar with him, and I can’t believe you aren’t, you need to be. A former chef, his ability to describe food and the subculture of the kitchen is amazing. The more I watch “No Reservations” the more I see the humanitarian side of Bourdain. Sorry Anthony, you’ve been outed.

That’s what I like about the restaurant business. A strange collection of people for sure but every one of them has a kind streak that can take the uninitiated off guard. From the pot washer without a pot to pee in to the hostess, they’re all willing to lend a hand if needed.

Michael Ruhlman is another amazing food writer. What sets Ruhlman apart from most is the guy actually knows what the hell he’s talking about. He’s trained in the art, he’s worked the kitchen. Chances are he’s slogged dishes in the pit as well. Read his blog. He’s dedicated and, like Bourdain, he gets it.

Ruhlman and I had lunch one day when he was at the CIA (The Culinary Institute of America) researching The Reach of a Chef. During family meal at the Colavita Center’s Caterina restaurant we spoke about the toll this industry can take on relationships. I don’t recall the details but he’s a pretty cool guy. If you were to ask Michael about the conversation he probably won’t even remember it.

If you are serious about the craft of cooking or if you love food you need to know these two people.

The $25,000 Apple Pie

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The $25,000 Apple Pie

Here is the scoop on how this pie was born. It was spring 2002 when I developed this recipe. I had been accepted into classes at the Culinary Institute of America with a January 2003 start date. The CIA was accepting recipes for their All American Apple Pie Scholarship and after much pushing and prodding by my admissions rep (thanks Rachel B.) I entered.

At the time I was still doing PR and Marketing work for The Stilton Cheese Makers’ Association and had little time to screw around with pies but fortunately I found some. Good thing I did…I won the top spot and a $25,000 scholarship.

Sometimes providence looks kindly upon the feeble. The pie won the top spot and I won a $25,000 scholarship to the CIA. Thus the name of the recipe. Enjoy!Technically the recipe now belongs to the Culinary Institute of America because of the prize money. For $25,000 a recipe they can take some of my others as well!

This recipe looks more complicated than it is. Take some time to read it and you’ll see.

Master Pie Crust Recipe

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 9 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup ice water
  1. Cube butter into 1/4 or 3/8 inch pieces. Place in small bowl and refrigerate.
  2. Measure one 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening and refrigerate.
  3. Mix salt in ice water and keep chilled in refrigerator.
  4. In a food processor combine flour and sugar. Pulse two or three times to mix well.
  5. Add butter to processor and pulse several times. Add shortening and pulse until the mixture looks coarse and pale yellow.
  6. Place mixture into a large bowl and add three tablespoons of ice water. Knead the dough and water mixture until a loose ball forms. Add water one tablespoon at a time until mixture comes together. Be careful not to over knead as this will make a less flaky crust.
  7. Form pastry into a ball with your hands and divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Press into small disks on a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Roll disks out on floured wax paper until the pastry is about 12 inches round and about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to pie pan. Fill with fruit and add top crust. Cut vents to allow steam to escape.

Filling

  • 6 large apples, Braeburn
  • 5 Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour, reserved
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • Preheat oven to 450˚ Fahrenheit.
  1. Juice lemon into large bowl, zest one-half and reserve.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of flour to a small bowl. Pit and chop dates into 1/4 inch pieces and toss to coat with flour. Sift to remove excess flour.
  3. Chop walnuts and add to dates.
  4. Core and peel apples. Quarter and cut into 1/4 inch slices starting at stem end working toward blossom end. As apples are sliced add them into the lemon juice and toss to coat.
  5. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and lemon zest together. Sprinkle half over apples and mix well, add balance and mix again. Refrigerate until crust is rolled and placed in pie pan.
  6. Place apple mixture in prepared crust and cover with second crust. Cut vents to allow steam to escape. Optionally, cut apple leaf shapes from crust trimmings and add to top securing with daub of water. Brush top of pie with half and half, sprinkle with very light dusting of sugar.
  7. Bake at 450˚ for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350˚ and finish for 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly. If crust starts to brown too soon cover loosely with aluminum foil and remove for last 8 to 10 minutes of baking.