Needless to say, supermarket strawberries and their fresh-picked counterparts are of entirely different material: the first, a watery ectoplasm, the second, a thick honey. In the fields, strawberries grow close to the ground, buried under their own leaves and hay. Hence the German word Erdbeeren, or earth-berries. Yet, strawberries taste more celestial than chthonic; they are a blood spatter of sunlight cast into fleshy gems. Warmed by the sun, a fresh strawberry looks translucent and tastes like a heady breath of perfume. In St. Louis, we pick fist-sized berries, not fragile fraises des bois. Whereas the biggest supermarket berries often taste the weakest, the most mature specimens on the farm contain the most concentrated flavor: size does not signify dilution. We worked for an hour and harvested 15 pounds; thus far, we have canned eight jars of jam, baked two pies, and churned a few quarts of ice cream. With berries so sweet, I decided to add Greek yogurt to the recipe, retaining a few egg yolks for richness. I love the harsh scrape of strong yogurt against an almost cloying mouthful of fruit. The following recipe only works with the best, freshest berries, so be satisfied with pictures if you lack a local strawberry patch. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Ice Cream
We have a new contributor—he prefers to remain anonymous, so we’ll just call him The Baker. His recipes review classic American cookery from new vistas. With his admiration for tradition but penchant for innovation, he brings an alternative aesthetic to conventional desserts.
Rye Pecan Pie with Buttermilk Ice Cream (Recipe after the jump.) Continue reading
by Helen Wang, Yale University
Obscure spices, foreign flavors, and unconventional edibles have found their way into desserts over time, especially in Berkeley, but few do it with Ici’s flair—the three storefront-long line and twenty minute wait attest to their success. (And yes, it’s worth it.) From their Maple Bacon to their sweet Basil, Ici offers a diverse bunch of flavors waiting to please the palate. Here’s something that kicks more than their Curry: it’s all ice cream. Continue reading
With a bunch of nearly rotting bananas crowding kitchen counter space, my parents suggested that I turn them into ice cream. No cream and too few eggs in the refrigerator dictated my recipe choice: a “Philadelphia style” ice cream, a custardless canvas for fragrant fruit. Unfortunately, the paucity of fat in this recipe resulted in clunky ice crystals and a coarse texture. When mistakes happen in the kitchen, however, the end result can exceed original expectations. Light and refreshing, the granité texture of the ice cream cut through a heavy venison-oriented dinner. As the banana’s luxurious perfume evaporated on the tongue, dessert seemed to last for a tropical eternity. Continue reading
Over Thanksgiving, I served roasted pineapple and brown butter ice cream topped with cranberry rose sorbet. Dense and luxurious, this sultry dessert requires a few more steps than an average ice cream recipe. But during the winter months, nothing warms the heart more than tropical fruit enrobed in sweet butter. For a smoother texture, strain the pineapple and cream mixture before adding the butter. Continue reading
Summertime in St. Louis, evenings drip down through storm drains and gurgle; the humidity mounts and each particle of air seems to vibrate. Each breath feels strained and damp, like gasping through wet cotton. Food is an afterthought.
Although heat functions as the primary player in the kitchen, the absence of heat (cold) also possesses transformative properties. Flame provokes violent changes, caramelizing and then burning even the most stalwart subjects. Or the gentle, lapping roar of an oven coaxes batter into cake, dehydrates, toughens, and then destroys. Cold, however, gestures with a lighter hand, sapping the warmth from custard and suggesting the first crystals of frost. Beyond the obvious physical manifestations of cooling though, cold dramatically alters flavor perception. As temperatures decrease, the activity of certain volatile aroma compounds diminishes, eliminating overtones and scrubbing a flavor profile of undue complexities. Core elements of the product remain salient, making that frozen grape taste sweeter, smoother, more two-dimensional in its “grapeness.” Additionally, psychological factors like expectation setting and memory distortion enhance this unwrinkling of flavor; strawberry ice cream ought to taste like strawberry ice cream: cold (if such a taste exists), creamy (more a textural percept), and faintly strawberry-y.