Saturday, July 31, 2010

Arabian Dream Ice Cream...



I love beautifully colored ice creams...I was always a fan of sorbets when I was young because of simply that...but this weekend I was craving a more vanilla or spiced ice cream over a fruity one.  Which is exactly why I thought it would be wonderful to use a bit of saffron in ice cream to give it a vibrant color and subtle flavor without being fruity.  I steeped the saffron in some coconut milk, chilled it and added a bit of rosewater and vanilla...heavenly flavors on their own, even better in an ice cream I discovered.  This one was non-dairy, since I had no heavy cream and have been favoring coconut milk in ice cream bases as of lately.  All the better, since coconut loves saffron!  I chose honey as a sweetener, because I don't normally use white sugar in ice cream anyhow, and I thought I would keep going with the exotic theme I had going here...some spiced nuts would be nice in the ice cream as well I decided!  So I took a mixture of walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and almonds and spiced them up with a bit of honey!  What was the ice cream like when I dove in?  Like an arabian dream...creamy silky smooth saffron scented ice cream with light notes of vanilla and rosewater with gooey clusters of nuts tasting like spiced baklava filling...pure heaven!  I couldn't just eat a small batch of this one.  Before I knew it half the container was gone! 

Coconut Saffron Ice Cream with Spiced Honey Nuts

3 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
1/2 tsp saffron
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp rosewater
1/2 tsp sea salt

Nuts:
1/2 cup cashews, toasted
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp chipotle
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp Honey Bourbon
3/4 cup honey

Heat 1/2 cup coconut oil to boiling, add the saffron, and let steep then chill until very cold.  Combine saffron coconut milk, remaining coconut milk and all ingredients in a food processor, and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Meanwhile, combine nuts, spices, sea salt, bourbon and honey in a food processor, and pulse until coarsely ground, but still chunky.  When ice cream is done freezing, pour half the ice cream into a container, and drop Tbsp sized chunks of the nut mixture on top of it until half is used.  Pour remaining ice cream over, and drop remaining nuts over.  place in the freezer for at least a few hours, or overnight to firm up for best results. Makes about 4 cups of delicious ice cream!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Coconut Avocado Lime Ice Cream




Creamy, silky, dreamy...that is what would describe my latest experiment in ice cream, Coconut Avocado Lime.  Even better?  It is non-dairy!  It is not hard to figure out why though when you combine the silky rice avocado with creamy sweet coconut milk it would create such a heavenly end product!  I was skeptical about this ice cream when I started making it, wondering how the avocado would freeze, and if it would give the frozen treat an off flavor, but it did neither of the two!  The avocado flavor is barely detectable, what shines through is the coconut and vanilla that I added to the base as well as a hint of lime, but not overpowering.  I chose to sweeten this ice cream with agave, because it is rather neutral, as well as kind to the blood sugar, and does a wonderful job of sweetening.  If you want a delicious frozen ice cream treat you can feel good about eating, whip up a batch of this! 

Coconut Avocado Lime Ice Cream

2 3/4 cups organic full fat coconut milk
3/4 cup agave nectar
juice and zest of two limes
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
seeds of one vanilla bean
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 large ripe avocados, diced

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and process until well blended. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). When ice cream is done freezing, place in the freezer for at least a few hours, or overnight to firm up for best results. Makes about 4 cups of delicious ice cream!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pecan Pie Baklava?


Sometimes you have a glorious idea in mind of a dessert you are going to make, and in your head it turns out perfectly...but when you actually try and make it...not so much.  This was the case last weekend when I had a wonderful idea for enclosing a red and blue berry mixture into filo triangles, as it was the fourth of July.  But the filling turned out too runny, because I overcooked it...so I would have to come up with a different filling to use in the filo.  I wanted something that would be quick, and so I decided on a nut filling!  I had made something similar to baklava not too long ago, and made filo triangles out of it, and it worked well...so why not try another nut filling!  What I came up with was a pecan filling with a similar flavor to a tart that I have made in the past.  Pecans in a gooey honey bourbon vanilla mixture...sort of like pecan pie filling, but better!  The pecan filling turned out much better than the berries I had originally wished to stuff into the filo had!  It was decadent and wonderful!  A boozy pecan pie in filo!  Heavenly!  If you are a pecan pie lover at all, you must try this!  Although it is the middle of summer, thinking ahead it would be wonderful to serve after Thanksgiving dinner when everyone is too full for a piece of pie!  But why wait until then...make a batch for your next barbeque! 



Honey Bourbon Pecan Filo Triangles
Makes 10




Filling:
3 1/2 cups toasted pecans
2 Tbsp bourbon
3/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
seeds of one vanilla bean
3/4 tsp salt

10 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
10 sheets filo dough
a heaping 1/2 cup maple sugar



Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil, and spray with non-stick spray.
Combine filling ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended and partially chopped. Set aside in a bowl. Place one sheet phyllo on work surface, and use a pastry brush to coat one half of it with coconut oil then sprinkle butter with about a tsp sugar. Fold in half lengthwise, and brush top with more coconut oil sprinkling again with about 1 tsp sugar. Fold in half again to make 4-inch strip of dough. Brush strip with coconut oil, sprinkle with about a tsp sugar, then spoon about 2 Tbs. nut mixture on corner of bottom edge. Fold corner across to make a small triangle, then fold up like a flag, enclosing nut mixture in triangle of phyllo. Brush both sides of phyllo triangle with coconut oil, then place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining phyllo sheets, coconut oil, and nut mixture. Bake about 20-22 minutes, or until triangles are golden. Transfer to wire rack, and cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 10 triangles