Tag Archives: fruit

Flavor #14: Mango and Passionfruit Ice Cream

2 Oct

The innards of passionfruit

In the same farmers market trip for the peaches, a stand with smaller boxes than others caught my eye as I strolled. It looked as if the farmer looked at her garden and chose a select few. Sure, they were generic things like plums, apricots…but then there was these…wrinkly things. They looked like dates. Small and puny. Mostly visually unappealing.

“Passionfruit. The wrinkled ones are usually the ripest,” she said and then turned to a man fingering produce in a box nearby.

Like most Americans, I only knew passionfruit as the orange-y liquid thing found in juice—sometimes formulated into an icy creation in classy restaurants. Hand-picked Gem lettuce leaf with a single wedge of heirloom tomato dotted with passionfruit vingarette

I doubted her conclusions and paused. Standing there, I stroked my phone. Tap tap to find out what I could do with passionfruit. Accepting that my phone’s data decided suddenly not to work in a pivotal moment, I gave in. I selected the ones that seemed…good. They were so light. As I shook them, they seemed to be hollow. Perhaps a few seemed to have something inside. Yet, I was no expert and I trusted her.

“Ok, we’ll take these,” I gestured to seven passionfruit.

Unsure whether to trust her and also uncertain of how soon I’ll get around to making the ice cream, I chose the ones that were less wrinkled. They were almost smooth with a lovely gradient of purple that extended across the thick unedible skin.

At home, I realized my folly. The passionfruit was not enough on its own (my bunch of passionfruit sadly averaged to no more than 10 seeds each). I wanted a bit more than 7 passionfruits, but the farmers market was closed. I searched online for something that would add additional flavor to the ice cream while complementing and not overpowering the strengths of passionfruit.

Earlier in the week, I had visited my mom who had recently underwent surgery. Sorrow gripped my heart as I watched my mom—the quintessential dragon lady who used to make loud demands to store keepers and fearlessly moved to the states just because—moving about in pain. As we shared a lunch of ravioli that I purchased near my apartment in the city, she suddenly said, “You must have the mango ice cream that I got from Lunardi’s.”

Ignoring the pain (the one seemingly painless moment that afternoon), she hobbled quickly to the freezer. Then magically, she produced two spoons as she sat back down at the kitchen table. Opening the plastic carton, she dug a scoop of mango ice cream into her bowl. Using the same spoon, she licked the ice cream in glory. (My family did not use ice cream scoops; however, nowadays I abhor the idea of bending my spoons.)

“Look at this big mango chunk,” she said and took another bite. “I can’t believe that they did made such a stupid mistake, but I am so glad that they did.”

Mango. Simple answer. It is the most popular flavor at the first shop that interviewed at Mitchells. At my last office job, one of my good friends would always take the lonely mango from the fruit box. Unlike the peaches, the pears, the apples, the oranges…this mango was always the last to go, rotting in loneliness or picked up by my friend who missed the mangos from her home country of the Philippines.

As I constructed the recipe, nothing online really matched what I was seeking in terms of ingredients (fresh instead of juiced or canned), so this one in particular is a bit of experimentation…and magic.

Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
Pulp from 7-8 whole passionfruit including seeds (if not wrinkly, let the passionfruit sit in direct sunlight; after 8 hours, the passionfruit should be ripe)
1 whole mango

Method

In a medium pot, heat the milk, heavy cream and sugar until simmering over medium heat. Remove from heat.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by pouring one cup at a time of the warmed mixture. Whisk the mixture after every cup. Return the contents into the pot and place over medium heat. Stir frequently. The custard will thicken. Remove from heat when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Stir the passionfruit pulp into the mixture. A little passionfruit juice will strongly flavor the mixture. If you wish, you can strain out the seeds, but the seeds add texture to the ice cream. If desired, reserve some of the pulp (or whole passionfruit) to serve over scoops of ice cream once ready to serve.

For best results, chill for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator to let the passionfruit intensify the mixture.

Slice up the mango into bite-size cubes (if you need help, read this or this). Or alternatively, you can roughly chop the mango to offer surprise big mango pieces, which my mom will surely love. We want to add this fruit halfway through churning (although you can do this prior to churning) to reduce freezing interference.

Churn in an ice cream maker based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Passionfruit and Mango Ice Cream

Flavor #13: Roasted Peach Sorbet

14 Sep

After a two week journey through Vancouver and Seattle, I learned one important lesson in ice cream making:

Shop well.

The choice of ingredients always shine through the recipes. Particularly in ice cream where the taste is based on the quality of the ingredients.

So when the rosy peaches, juicy lemons, and cinnamon come directly from the source—unfiltered, organic, fresh—there is a profound change of taste. Yet like many home cooks, I have often taken the most cost-effective and time-efficient methods of using extracts and pre-mixed ingredients ($4 for artificial vanilla extract? Sure!).

A few years in 2008, I spontaneously showed up to an early screening of Food Inc, which changed the way I shopped for groceries. It takes only a little more effort to use whole ingredients (e.g., substituting cinnamon sticks for ground cinnamon or fresh lemons for bottles of lemon juice. For months afterward, I shopped only at Whole Foods and at farmers markets. The latter was the most intriguing based on meeting the farmers, the colors at every food stalls, and the missing middlemen.

In Seattle, after talking to Adria from Parfait (who talked about her culinary awakening in France where local produce was abundant and cooking with fresh ingredients is a way of life), I went to the Alemany Farmers Market with only a singular purpose: To obtain the fresh ingredients for my next batch of ice cream.

That’s how I came upon the peach. (A big influence was observing Tracy of Social make a peach sorbet at her kitchen on my last day in Seattle.)

The peach is the quintessential fruit of the summer. The fruit that Alice Waters lovingly serves whole, unpeeled, unpitted rolling about on a plate at Chez Panisse. The fuzz that repels people yet draws them closer and closer to the juice.

And in my life, it is the secret ingredient that my team guessed a few years ago in August (and make several dishes based on the peach) based on these hints:

  • Currently in-season in California
  • Typically have between 35 and 40 calories
  • Associated with the “unluckiest” colony

At the farmers market, the peaches called out to me. And also the women who called out (near closing time), “One dollar per pound! EVERYTHING IS NOW ONE DOLLAR PER POUND!” Fighting past the competitive old Chinese ladies, I grabbed an empty bag and filled it up with all the available stone fruit. White peaches first. Then some plums—purple and green. Then topping off with yellow peaches.

After accidentally gorging on all the plums (you cannot stop yours truly from eating fruit) and some accidental peaches, all that remained were 6 white peaches and 5 yellow peaches. Curious about how the sorbet will differ for each peach, I used the same method for each. Interestingly, the skin came off easily after roasting the yellow peaches. In contrast, the skin for white peaches came off in unsightly shreds—so I eventually just pureed it skins and all.

Results between the two? Both sorbets spoke well to their source ingredients. The yellow peach sorbet had that sour taste that I loved—it was balanced well with the hint of lemon juice. The white peach sorbet was sweeter and spoke of berries—it was very similar to the raspberry lemon sorbet.

Delicious.

I can gorge on this sorbet all day, but I am trying to reserve some for my curious ice cream tasters.

Recipe

Adapted from Seattle PI:

Ingredients

5 or 6 peaches (6 is ideal for this recipe to have intense peach flavor, but 5 works as well because I obviously ate 1 too many)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for Baker’s sugar for easy dissolving, so I pulsed the granulated sugar a few times prior to mixing with other ingredients)
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt

Method

Halve the peaches and remove the pit. Sprinkle brown sugar over the peaches. Roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes.

Peel the skins from the peaches. Be careful as the free-flowing juice and peach flesh can be very hot! Roasting brings out the flavor…and technically should make the skin easy to peel. If the skin is not easy to peel, leave it on. Depending on your preference on texture, the skin can be strained out later.

In a blender or food processor, puree with the juice of 1 lemon (or 1 tablespoon of juice) and sugar. Add more or less lemon juice to taste.

It is possible to churn immediately (mixture will be room temperature if the ingredients are at room temperature), but for better results, chill for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Churn in an ice cream maker based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Add a pinch of cayenne and salt at the beginning of churning to intensify the flavors.

The result will be easy to scoop and does not freeze into ice blocks. (Yay!)

Yellow peach sorbet

White peach sorbet

Flavor #12: Raspberry Lemon Sorbet

2 Sep

“I love raspberries,” he declared and stared at me, unleashing a magical wand at me. “You must make me a raspberry sorbet!”

Maybe those weren’t the exact words he said or the expression he wielded. Maybe the words he said was “my favorite fruit are raspberries and it would be awesome to have something with raspberries!” I do remember saying that making such a sorbet was going against the principle of my 31 flavors: I intended to make only flavors with a twist. No vanilla, chocolate or strawberry!

Yet, I love fruit. I love lemons. I love sorbets. And I loved the bright, juicy color of raspberries. At first, I resisted…sort of…and the rules I set…wavered.

Whatever changed my mind, a few weeks later as we were driving to Marin, he showed me a page from his well-loved Italian cookbook (instead of a love story to Vancouver intended to help me on my first ice cream stop). He declared, “This is it!”

I was convinced too since the custard-based ice cream was overwhelming me lately. I almost barely ate my ice cream anymore.

Staring at the page, I memorized the ingredients:

  • 2 lemons (easy, I’ll get it from my parents’ porch)
  • caster sugar (British colloquial for powdered sugar or slightly ground granulated sugar, I later learned)
  • 2 lbs of raspberries
  • TWO POUNDS. Of an expensive product. I remember thinking that normal ice cream shops couldn’t do this—this recipe did not embody the word “cost-effective” for fresh produce.

    Initially, I thought: easy, I’ll head to the farmer’s market and drop my bills at the first sight of organic berries. Due to an inability to schedule, I missed that week’s opportunities to visit the farmers’ market. So on a Sunday afternoon, I desperately hunted through the city for viable raspberries.
    Finally, at a market out in the Sunset neighborhood, I purchased their entire stock—carefully stacking them into my green grocery basket and sheepishly grinning at the register. All 6 clamshells—amounted to nearly $20 worth of fruit. Uncharacteristic of me, I threw in a stick of candy to soothe and reward myself.

    The resulting sorbet was a luscious burst of flavor. The lemons grew on tree in the front yard of my parents’ house. Unlike lemons found in store, their FAT inside bursts with juice. Sometimes almost sweet like an orange. Each spoonful was rich with a tinge of lemon, so I cannot call this one purely raspberries, but raspberry lemon.

    Scientifically speaking, the lemon contains natural pectin allowing the ice crystals to bind together so the result scoop is smooth.

    I later served it at a dinner party (almost 2 weeks after I initially made it) and before I knew it, there was nothing left. If I had been given a whole basket of raspberries, most certainly, the same thing would have occurred.

    Recipe

    Adapted from River Cafe Italian Kitchen by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers

    Ingredients

    6 clamshells or 2 lbs of fresh raspberries (each box is 6 oz)
    2 whole large (preferably unwaxed since you’ll be using the skin) lemons, washed
    1 1/2 cup of powdered sugar

    Method

    Cut one whole lemon into small 1/2 inch pieces, removing any seeds. This includes the skin and all the crazy parts of a lemon.

    In a blender or food processor, blend powdered sugar and lemon pieces until a thick puree forms. Small bits of the lemon skin (like fresh zest) will be visible. Add the raspberries in small batches so that the mixture is blended uniformly. Reserve about half of a clamshell (or 3 oz of raspberries) to use as toppings.

    Juice the second lemon. Add half of the fresh juice if a less sour taste is desired. I added the entire lemon, because we both loved the sour taste.

    It is possible to churn immediately (mixture will be room temperature if the ingredients are at room temperature), but for better results, chill for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Churn in an ice cream maker based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Serve with raspberries on top.

    Flavor #4: Watermelon Mint with Tequila Sorbet

    10 Jul

    “Ok, we can slice it up!” I said eyeing the two halves of the watermelon.

    “No!” he declared. “I show you!”

    As we were about to start the movie, he put one half of the watermelon on a single plate with a spoon. He held the spoon downward and moved it around in circles ending with scooping motions.

    “That is how I eat it.”

    For years afterwards, we would cut up the watermelon into two halves. One half would be his. One half would be mine. If we did not finish, we put the halves back into the refrigerator. Then we would eat the watermelon until all that was left was a bowl made out of rind.

    (I did learn that there was another method to eat watermelon.)

    And so that was the word when I woke up and declared that it was watermelon sorbet to be made! I had read online that alcohol made the sorbet texture less icy. Yet alcohol is typically not in my cupboard—so I snuck some of the Mezcal from my roommate. It was the only alcohol in my kitchen that was clear.

    To my surprise although there was so little alcohol, I could taste it with every lick of the sorbet. I don’t like the taste of alcohol so this was my least favorite so far. However, to the 10+ smiling faces I served in the next week, they loved this one the most. Lesson learned: a little alcohol goes a long way.

    Watermelon! Mint! Alcohol! They all cried in delight.

    Adapted from Cookie and Kate:

    4 pounds of watermelon, seeded and scooped into big chunks
    1 tablespoons sugar
    3 limes, juiced
    1 tablespoon of tequila
    1 cup of packed mint
    pinch sea salt

    Blend the watermelon chunks, sugar, lime juice, and tequila in a blender. If the watermelon cannot fit at once, blend in parts. Pureé the watermelon until there are no solid chunks left. Add mint to the mixture. Blend until the mint is thoroughly chopped.

    Stir in a bowl if not everything can fit into the blender at once. At a pinch of sea salt and mix to combine.

    Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

    Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The sorbet will be very soft in the machine so let harden in the freezer for a few hours before serving.

    Flavor #2: Strawberry Candied Jalapeño Ice Cream

    6 Jul

    Like many of us, I have an inherent love of strawberries. Particularly the kind that’s bursting with childlike juicy flavor.

    A strawberry drink? I am there. A dessert laced with strawberries? Oh yes. A patch of strawberries for the picking? Sorry, it’s going to be gone before you know it.

    As for jalapeños? I live in the Mission district in San Francisco—well-known for the ample Mexican taquieras on every corner. But more importantly, the Mexican grocery stores spilling through the streets hawking produce at lower prices than the local Whole Foods. So I have been attracted to the common produce of jalapeño. It added a kick to my chili, soups, casseroles…and various other foods. I have been known to go to a farmer’s market and pick up a single jalapeño. Upon checking out, they would always laugh at me. Just one?? Just take it! was the common response.

    So when I first walked into Humphry Slocombe shortly after it opened, this was the flavor I chose. I haven’t seen it on the menu since. So when I first tasted it, it was luscious…expected. Strawberries! But then it had this sudden spicy flavor. It turned into a slow burn that almost curled into a sweet and firey end.

    When making this recipe, I was looking for relief from my disaster in eggs in custard. Unlike many chefs and cooks out there, I have this incredible inability to pay attention to the stove. I don’t quite have ADD, but my lack of attention to detail…has led to many a disaster in making custard.

    At least a week prior to the idea, I decided to buy jalapeño in bulk. In bulk because at this local asian market, no vegetables are ever sold individually. So I gave 15 to a friend and kept 5 for myself. Always ever resourceful, the idea for strawberry candied jalapeño came just like lightning.

    Recipe

    Adapted from Local Milk

    For Candied Jalapeño

    1 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    1 medium jalapeño seeded and sliced

    In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Stir. Once the sugar has dissolved, toss in the sliced jalapeño. Turn off heat once the contents are boiling. Let sit until room temperature. Set aside until needed.

    For the Jalapeño Sugar

    1 medium jalapeño seeded and chopped
    5 slices candied jalapeño
    1/8 cup sugar

    In a mini food processor, combine the jalapeño, candied jalapeño and sugar. I added more than 5 slices to give the ice cream more kick. Pulse until finely chopped and mixed. Set aside.

    For the Strawberry Purée

    (makes about twice as much as you need)
    1 pint of strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1/8-1/4 cup sugar, depending on your preferred sweetness

    In a mini food processor (and I didn’t even clean it out after making the jalapeño sugar), combine the strawberries and sugar. Pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

    For the Base:
    2 cups whole milk
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    healthy pinch of cayenne (optional)

    In a bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cayenne until the sugar is dissolved. Chill thoroughly at least 3 hours or overnight. Once chilled, churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Five minutes until the end of churning (or when it looks like it’s almost solid), mix in the jalapeño sugar. Then scoop into an empty container. After every scoop, swirl in the strawberry puree. Let freeze. Serve with the fresh chopped or sliced strawberries.