Quatre glaces au lait or Four Milk Ice Cream

Craving ice cream but you don’t have enough cream and milk? Tucked in your fridge though is crème fraîche and buttermilk from other recipes? Mix the four “milks” together, add some lemon zest and a bit of honey to make something new and delicious.

Zest from one lemon, preferably organic
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup crème fraîche
Pinch kosher salt
1/2 plump vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/4 cup (4 oz) wildflower or other mild honey
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar, divided
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Using a vegetable peeler, zest the lemon by removing 1-inch strips of the yellow rind leaving behind the white pith. Juice the lemon and set aside.

In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan combine lemon zest, milk, cream, crème fraîche, salt, vanilla bean including seeds, honey, and 1/4 cup sugar; stirring to dissolve the honey and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring just to a simmer (any hotter and you risk separating the milk into curds and whey). Turn off heat and allow the mixture to steep for at least 1/2 hour or up to an hour.

When ready to proceed have ready a bowl of ice water along with a sieve placed over a medium heat-proof bowl.

In another medium bowl add the egg yolks and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. If the milk mixture is still hot temper the eggs by pouring about a cup of the hot milk/cream into the eggs, whisking constantly. Then, pour the egg mixture back into the remaining milk/cream mixture. Otherwise, if the milk/cream is cool to the touch simply whisk the egg mixture back into it.

Return the pan to a medium-low heat and whisking constantly cook the mixture until an instant read thermometer ready 170 – 180 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk. Pour the mixture through the sieve into the clean bowl.

Retrieve the vanilla bean from the sieve and add it back to what is now called crème anglaise. Set the bowl in the prepared ice bath and stir until the crème anglaise is cold. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day retrieve the vanilla bean from the crème anglaise, stir in the lemon juice and churn it in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a lidded container and freeze until ready to serve.

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Mousse au Chocolat

2 large eggs, separated
Pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 ounces high-quality (60 – 65%) dark chocolate (such as Lindt or Valrhona)
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons + 1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped for topping

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water; stirring occasionally until just melted. Do not allow the bowl to touch the simmering water. Remove from heat and set a sieve over the bowl.

While the chocolate is melting; whisk yolks, water, 2 tablespoons cream, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens enough to coat spoon, about 3 – 5 minutes (do not boil or the eggs will scramble). Remove from heat and pour the custard through the sieve into the chocolate, then stir until combined. Set aside.

Fold beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Set aside.

Beat ½ cup cream in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Divide into 4 or 6 oz ramekins or small bowls and place in the refrigerator. Once cold cover with lids or plastic wrap.

Can be made a day ahead but kept chilled. When ready to serve whip the 1/4 cup of remaining cream to soft peaks and place a dollop on each of the servings. Enjoy with a glass of champagne or port.

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Winter Salad with Oranges and Endive

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy citrus of all varieties. Oranges are what I crave the most, well those and grapefruit.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in the south and we could pick them off the trees in our yard. Oranges combined with the bitterness of endive and the peppery bite of arugula makes for a perfect winter salad.  

1/4 cup walnut halves
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 navel oranges, preferably organic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 – 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small head purple or white Belgian endive
1 small head of romaine, leaves torn or chopped
2 ounces baby arugula (optional)
1/4 cup parsley tender parsley leaves
2 ounces French Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1/2 sweet red apple, unpeeled, cored and medium-diced
2 ounces baby arugula

Toast the walnuts in a dry sauté pan over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove to a plate or bowl to cool; then roughly chop and set aside.

Using a microplane zest one of the oranges; then using a sharp knife, supreme the oranges by removing the rind and pith. Cut out each orange section between the membranes. Squeeze the membrane, reserving the juice, and discard the membrane. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; then whisk in olive oil. Set aside.

Cut the head of endive in half lengthwise, remove the triangle of core at the base of each half so the leaves separate, and cut the leaves in half again lengthwise and then chop.

In a medium bowl add the endive and romaine. Drizzle leaves with vinaigrette and add the walnuts, Roquefort and apple. Add the arugula (if using) and toss again. Serve as soon as possible.

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This classic Dutch snack is two thin dough waffles filled with decadent caramel. One is often served on top of a mug of steaming, hot coffee.

For the dough:
1/4 cup (2.25 oz / 65 ml) warm milk (or water)
2 1/4 cups (10.50 oz / 300g) unbleached all-purpose flour 
4 1/2 tablespoons (2.25 oz / 65g) unsalted butter 
7g fast-action dried yeast 
1/2 Scant ½ cup (3 oz /70 g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
Pinch of kosher salt
Clarified butter (for brushing electric cookie iron)

For the caramel:
1 cup (7 oz / 200 g) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons (100 g) golden syrup
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat milk to about 105 degrees F. Set aside.

For the dough, rub flour and butter together in a large bowl until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add yeast, cinnamon and sugar; mix together.

Slowly pour in warm milk and stir with a Swedish dough hook, large fork or wooden spoon until the dough starts coming together, add the egg and salt and continue stirring until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for 1–2 minutes into a soft ball. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Combine sugar, golden syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan. Stir just enough to get the sugar wet. Cook  swirling the melted sugar carefully and brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush if needed until dark amber in color, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and slowly add cream, stirring with a heat-proof spatula until combined. Add vanilla seeds, butter, and salt; stir until is smooth. Keep warm.

Divide the dough into 12 – 14 equal pieces. Roll into small balls and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them drying out. 

Heat a waffle cone machine and brush top and bottom of each side with clarified butter. Press the ball of dough into a disk, brush with clarified butter and place in the middle, press down the top lid and bake for 1–2 minutes until just golden brown.

Remove from the machine and place onto a cutting board.

Working quickly, while the waffle is still hot slice it horizontally in half and if desired, for a perfectly round biscuit, cut with a round cookie cutter just slighly smaller in diameter than the waffle biscuit/cookie.

Place a generous tablespoon of caramel on the bottom waffle half. Top with the other waffle half and gently push down, until the caramel spreads to the edges. Place on a wire rack to cool, then repeat until you have used up all the dough balls. Store any remaining caramel in the refrigerator until you make another batch.

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Roasted Persimmion – Rosemary Ice Cream

Since we are in the throes of persimmon season what better why to use this delicious yet fleeting autumn fruit than in ice cream. If rosemary is not to your liking by all means omit it, then you’ll have roasted persimmon ice cream.

1 1/2 pounds fuju persimmons, about 7 – 8 medium
1 tablespoon melted butter
Pinch kosher salt or to taste
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
5 large egg yolks (freeze egg whites for another use)
1/2 cup (minus 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean sugar
1/4 cup mild honey

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have an ice bath ready.

Peel, core and slice persimmons into wedges. Toss the wedges with the melted butter and a pinch of salt. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden and tender. When persimmons can easily be pierced with a knife allow them to cool and and refrigerate overnight.

Meanwhile, place heavy cream, whole milk, rosemary sprig, bay leaf, if using and peppercorns, in a saucepan. Heat until bubbles form around the parameter of the pan, but do not boil. Turn off heat and allow to steep for about ½ hour and allow to cool. Once cool, whisk in the eggs, sugar, and honey.

Return the custard to a saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk constantly until it coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 175° F. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and place in an ice water-bath, stirring frequently until cool. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the custard surface and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to churn, strain out the aromatics from the custard. Add 2 cups of the custard to a blender along with the persimmon wedges. Purée until very smooth, then stir back into the remaining custard. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

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Halibut with Orzo

Serves 4

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds, lightly crushed
14.5 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 ¾ cups water
1 cup orzo, uncooked
12 medium olives, pitted, halved
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Four 5 -oz Uncooked halibut fillets

Heat oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, celery, and fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, water, orzo, olives, capers, salt, and pepper to taste; bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes.

Sprinkle halibut with salt and pepper to taste. Add halibut to skillet, spooning some tomato mixture over fish. Cover and simmer until fish is just opaque in center and orzo is tender, 10–12 minutes. Chop a few reserved celery leaves for garnish.

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Layer Spice Cake

This cake is perfect way to end an autumn or winter meal. It’s flavor is bold with the spices of ginger bread and adding a bit of crème fraîche in the frosting takes the edge of the sweetness. It would easily serve 8, if not 12 or more as it is rich.

David Schmit Photography

Butter for pans
3 cups (13.5 oz / 380 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 teaspoon double-acting aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
3 tablespoons (1.5 oz / 45 grams) cocoa powder, Dutch processed
1 cup unsalted butter (8 oz / 225 g) room temperature
1 cup packed (7 oz / 200 g) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
½ cup crème fraîche
½ cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter thoroughly 3 (8-inch) round cake pans; line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Make Cake: Set a sieve over a medium bowl and sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and cocoa powder. Repeat two more times and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in molasses. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture, just until flour is incorporated. Divide batter among prepared pans (each pan will have about 525 g of batter).

Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

Make Frosting: Beat cream cheese, crème fraîche, butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, scraping down bowl as needed, until well blended and smooth.

Frost Cake: Place one layer on a cake plate and frost top with 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat two more times. Add a thin layer of frosting to sides.

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Thai Fish and Pumpkin Soup

When one is gifted with a lot of winter squash one gets creative with different ways to enjoyt it. The recipe below is only one of many ways.
Serves 4

1 tablespoon sunflower or canola oil
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, optional
2 cups light coconut milk
3 cups chicken or fish stock, preferably home-made
3 – 4  shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 long red chile, thinly sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded (optional)
2 cups peeled and cubed pumpkin, cut in about 3/4-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium carrot, julienned
2 tablespoons tamarind purée
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Kosher salt to taste
20 oz skinless chunky fish fillets (such as blue eye, ling or snapper), cut into 1-inch pieces
4 oz baby spinach leaves

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the ginger if using an cook for another 15 seconds.

Add the coconut milk, stock, shallots, garlic, chile and kaffir lime leaves, if using, and stir to combine. Add pumpkin, bell pepepr, tamarind, fish sauce, sugar and a pinch of salt and cook for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.

Add fish and simmer for 5 minutes or until the fish is opaque.

Place half the spinach in 4 warm bowls and top with the fish and veg. Scatter with remaining spinach, then ladle the sauce over the top and serve.

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