Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A belated fixation with orange.

A roasted butter squash and caramelized onion galette, Courtney's cat, and homemade pumpkin ice cream.

Ice cream making is difficult. This past summer I made three different kinds in one day (one with fresh strawberries, one with fresh mint, and a cop-out chocolate). I was confident in my custard making abilities, which is the base of all good ice creams, from making lemon custard in The Kitchen (meaning Catering by Karen Hunter's kitchen). A good custard takes constant attention, a really even-cooking pot, and a quick hand.

Or a very fine sieve.

A custard is just an egg and cream sauce, but when you heat eggs, they tend to scramble unless they're really well mixed. There are lots of techniques online that talk about tempering the eggs slowly, but this recipe didn't ask me to do that. I thought I could just get by on my quick hand.

I scrambled the eggs. But luckily, even if you do this, you can grab a fine sieve (its like a very fine wire mesh strainer) and pour the custard through (most recommend this even when you've done a good job). Usually the more steps involved in making a custard, the safer the technique.

I substituted brown sugar for regular and mixed around the cinnamon/nutmeg combinations. I would also recommend using pumpkin pie spice if you have it on hand.

Pumpkin Ice Cream
2 eggs
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup canned pumpkin

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk milk, sugar and eggs, stirring constantly to make a custard (check online for more info). Cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes (it should coat the back of your spoon). Remove from heat. Whisk in cream, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Throw it in your ice cream maker.

Oh, you don't have an ice cream maker?

The best technique I've tried is to pour the mixture into a pyrex casserole dish that's been in the freezer for awhile, and every half hour for six hours or until frozen, take a whisk to it (the sides in particular). It takes some dedication but the result is a super creamy ice cream.

I had only tasted ice cream "batter" (so to speak) when I left, so I texted Courtney and asked how it was:
"The texture was hard due to our freezing issues [the KitchenAid, while beautiful, is not the best ice cream maker] but the taste was slammin."

The butternut squash and caramelized onion galette has got to be one of my new favorites. I love galettes, and though the dough is unconventional (sour cream?), it was so tender and flaky I couldn't believe it. I skipped the sage and skimped on the fontina (saving it for Giada's mac and cheese later this week) and it was still just heavenly.

I also planned for vegetarian chili tonight, and, as previously mentioned, Giada's Mac and Cheese.

Cooking has helped me get back into the swing of things after a terrible week. It appears that while everything in the outside world may seem miserable, there is a 12x9 or so space in my apartment where healings and miracles happen everyday.


Nina said...

Cooking cures all.
My mom reads your blog. She thinks we should collaborate on a project haha.

Ps: TOP CHEF IS ON AGAIN!! did you see it this week?

KnitXcorE said...

i'm horrible at making custard.....

Courtney said...

I love that you posted a picture of my scary cat.