Flavor #27: Celery Ice Cream with Rum-Plumped Raisins and Peanut Butter Swirl

10 Feb

Celery ice cream?

It got me thinking. Celery? Green. Usually eaten raw. Almost tasteless, but with a slight herbaceous flavor. Chopped up into small bits for salads to add crunch. Usually great sliced and combined with Asian stir-fry noodles. The latter is my most prominent memory of celery.

fresh celery

Granted, making celery ice cream is a response to a reddit on making celery ice cream.

As I thought about it, celery ice cream begs to be paired with something. Then it came to me. Obviously. Never a big fan of peanut butter, I was surprised by peanut butter crack introduced to me by classmates during graduate school. Specifically from Peanut Butter and Company. Jars usually found in groceries like Whole Foods…but its sandwich shop is located in New York City.

Toad hoards all the peanut butter

I visited the sandwich shop in New York City for the first time with Chris in summer 2008 after taking a walk past his childhood home in Tribeca. The shop sold all the peanut butter as well as various peanut butter snacks including peanut butter sandwiches (such as PB-BLT) and…the famous ants on a log.

Growing up, I didn’t eat the same childhood snacks as many kids. PB&J sandwiches were notably absent…and so were these ants on a log aka celery filled with peanut butter with raising dotting the entire stick.

So those raisins, the peanut butter and the celery stalks inspired me. Knowing that I was preparing for the launch party for the kickstarter, I wanted to something something off-the-wall but something that could be close to vanilla for the unadventurous (as ironic it seems).

rum-plumped raisins

I looked through the celery ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. My success in making smooth, creamy cornstarch-based ice cream was rather low, so I decided to use egg yolks to retain a custard. I used Jeni’s method for raisins (if I just dropped them in, they would become too cold; the alcohol help keeps it a lower temperature so it’s tasty upon chewing) and developed a peanut butter swirl that froze well in the ice cream. (Couldn’t find any PB & Co peanut butter but used high-end peanut butter where the oil floats to the top…)

My friends at the party engulfed it. Because the egg yolks took away from the celery flavor (to my disappointment), the ice cream itself was very basic ice cream. Next time, I might steep the celery overnight as once the base is a custard. After an hour, the celery taste was there with a nice bitter finish. However, upon straining and chilling for an hour, that bitter celery taste disappeared. Some experimentation is required to figure out the emphasize the celery—whether it’s decreasing the yolks (or using cornstarch?) or allowing steeping overnight. Or perhaps to add sugared celery? Or crush the leaves a bit more?

Like some ice cream shops, I like using the full name. But for some, this is Ants on a Log ice cream. Want some?

cup of peanut butter

Recipe


For rum-plumped raisins

Adapted from Jeni’s rum-plumped raisins

2 tablespoons of good-quality rum (you always want to use liquor that you want to drink…)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup raisins

In a small saucepan, combine the rum, sugar, and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar while bringing to a boil. Remove from heat. In a separate heatproof bowl, pour the syrup over the raisins. I used a standard measuring cup. Let cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator until ready for use.

For the peanut butter sauce

1/2 cup high-quality creamy (non-chunky) peanut butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, heavy cream, light corn syrup and brown sugar. Place over low heat. Stir until the sugar is well dissolved. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator until ready for use.

For ice cream base

4 cups of half and half
1 cup sugar
Large bunch of celery with leaves, roughly chopped
pinch of celery salt
3 egg yolks

In a medium saucepan, heat half and half and sugar together until simmering and steaming. Remove from heat.

Add roughly chopped celery. Steep for at least an hour. Strain out celery. Add celery salt. Mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks.

Temper the egg yolks by pouring one cup at a time of the warmed celery cream mixture into the bowl. Whisk the mixture after every cup until at least 1/4 cream mixture remains in the pot. Return the contents into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently. The custard will thicken. Remove from heat when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Chill for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Churn in an ice cream maker based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Five minutes until the end of churning (or when it looks like it’s almost solid), add rum-plumped raisins.

Scoop the celery ice cream into an empty container. After every scoop, swirl in a generous spoonful of peanut butter sauce. Let freeze and serve as is.

celery ice cream with rum-plumped raisins and peanut butter swirl

2 Responses to “Flavor #27: Celery Ice Cream with Rum-Plumped Raisins and Peanut Butter Swirl”

  1. Kathryn Velikanje 17 February, 2013 at 3:21 am #

    Hi Jennifer,

    Congrats on funding!
    And you’re even more awesome than I knew when I backed your project! I can’t wait to try some of these flavors!
    OMG, so creative. And if they don’t make it to Haagen-Daaz, you’ll have the coolest recipe book!
    I am an American teaching English in China.
    I’ve written several children’s books and the latest will tickle your fancy; it’s called “I is for Ice Cream.” Is this the best email to send you the text and pics?

    Also, there wasn’t a place to give you my address:
    Kathryn Velikanje
    Zhengzhou Foreign Language Middle School
    65 Longhai Road
    Zhengzhou, Henan
    China 450001

    Again, congrats! It’d be fun to do a dual book signing promoting both of our books… and then go out for ice cream!

    Have fun traveling! Kathryn

    • Kathryn Velikanje 17 February, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

      Hey, just because you’d care more than most, here’s the verbiage of the book. Check it out… it was written for you! Again, so impressed with your flavors and can’t wait to taste them! Peanut butter and celery is a fav snack! Adding rum raisins is Brilliant! xox

      I is for Ice Cream

      An ice cream is my favorite treat, thought Silly Willy,
      who’d never met an ice cream he didn’t like.

      But he thought it tasted nasty when it melted.

      Cold and smooth, he couldn’t decide which
      was his favorite flavor, for he liked them all so much.

      Depending on his mood, he usually liked coffee ice cream by Haagen Daaz best.

      Everywhere and anytime was a good time for ice cream,
      thought Silly Willy.

      Forgetting his manners, he made small cooing sounds while he ate it.

      Going out for ice cream was his favorite outing.

      Having ice cream in the refrigerator meant you could have it anytime you wanted.
      This made sense to Silly Willy, who liked it on his oatmeal.

      Ice cream came in more flavors than he could count,
      and Ben & Jerry had the funniest names like Chubby Hubby,
      Turtle Soup, and Jamaican Me Crazy.

      Joking around at Farrell’s was his favorite place to have his birthday. 
      A zoo of 21 scoops was delivered to the sound of ambulance sirens.

      Kings loved ice cream, and Silly Willy felt like a king eating ice cream.

      Low-fat ice cream was a silly idea, thought Silly Willy,
      who liked ice cream so rich it stuck to the roof of his mouth.

      Malts were shakes with malt flavoring, making them extra sweet.
      This made sense to Silly Willy who loved things sweet.

      No-fat yogurts made no sense to Silly Willy.

      Of all the flavors, if he had to pick one to eat for the rest of his life,
      he’d pick vanilla.  For then he could make all the other flavors.

      Panda should be a flavor, thought Silly Willy. 
      Coconut-flavored ice cream with dark chocolate chunks,
      and a Panda Bar would be coconut ice cream dipped in dark chocolate.

      Quick was how you had to eat ice cream, especially on hot days, for it melted fast.

      Resting in the shade, eating an ice cream, was a special moment of pleasure.

      Sometimes he ate ice cream twice in one day,
      and sometimes he made his own ice cream,
      or at least, his grandpa did.

      Talking about ice cream made him want to eat ice cream.

      Under ice cream is a cone or a cup or a bowl.  Or a brownie or a piece of pie.

      Very often, he won ice cream eating competitions.

      When he was sick, his mother made him a chocolate malt.

      X-ray vision showed Silly Willy that most people wished they could eat all the ice cream they wanted.

      Young people and old people, and even dogs, like ice cream.

      Zoos are a fun place to eat ice cream, and Silly Willy ate it everywhere and anywhere he went.

      ================

      An ice cream is my favorite treat, thought Silly Willy,
      who’d never met an ice cream he didn’t like.

      But it tasted nasty when it melted.

      Cold and smooth, he couldn’t ever decide which
      was his favorite flavor, for he liked them all so much.

      Depending on his mood, he usually liked coffee ice cream by Haagen Daaz.

      Everywhere and anytime was a good time for ice cream,
      thought Silly Willy.

      Forgetting his manners, he made small cooing sounds while he ate it.

      Going out for ice cream was a sweet treat.

      Having ice cream in the refrigerator meant you could have it anytime you wanted.
      This made sense to Silly Willy, who liked it on his oatmeal.

      Ice cream came in more flavors than he could count,
      and Ben & Jerry had the funniest names like Chubby Hubby,
      Turtle Soup, and Jamaican Me Crazy.

      Joking around at Farrell’s was his favorite place to have his birthday.
      A zoo of 21 scoops was delivered to the sound of ambulance sirens.

      Kings loved ice cream, and he felt like a king eating ice cream.

      Low-fat ice cream was a silly idea, thought Silly Willy,
      who liked ice cream so thick it stuck to the roof of his mouth.

      Malts were shakes with malt flavoring, making them even sweeter.
      This made sense to Silly Willy who loved things sweet.

      No-fat yogurts made no sense to Silly Willy.

      Of all the flavors, if he had to pick one to eat for the rest of his life,
      he’d pick vanilla. For then he could make all the other flavors.

      Panda should be a flavor, thought Silly Willy. Coconut-flavored ice cream with dark chocolate chunks, and a Panda Bar would be coconut ice cream dipped in dark chocolate.

      Quick was how you had to eat ice cream, especially on hot days, for it melted fast.

      Resting in the shade, eating an ice cream, was a special moment of pleasure.

      Sometimes he ate ice cream twice in one day, and sometimes he made his own ice cream, or at least, his grandfather did.

      Talking about ice cream made him want to eat ice cream.

      Under the ice cream is a cone, cup or bowl. Or brownie or piece of pie.

      Very often, he won ice cream eating competitions.

      When he was sick, his mother made him a malt.

      X-ray vision showed Silly Willy that most people wished they could eat all the ice cream they wanted.

      Young people and old people, and even dogs, like ice cream.

      Zoos are a fun place to eat ice cream, and Silly Willy did it every time he went.

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