Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ice cream and the case for weddings

Brides-to-be: this does not take the place of an open bar. (That's still essential; recession or no.)

Shawn and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary this week. At the time the decision to marry him was not in question (never was), but I struggled quite a bit with the idea of having a wedding.

In 2006 the recession was nowhere in sight and the WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex) was at its most powerful. Add to the mix the then-hit show Bridezillas, and it's not hard to see how any reasonable woman might want to skip all the hoopla in favour of city hall.

But I survived the planning process with the help Martha Stewart's original do-it-yourself projects and the humour blog Godawful Wedding Crap. (So lucky to have gotten married around the same time as Riona.) And, here I am three years out, still very happy with our decision to have a wedding.

To those now making the decision for themselves, I say do it (no matter how simple), and, if at all possible, rent a Gelato cart — the return on investment is huge.

On that note, I wanted to share the following ice cream recipe that I tried last week. This will be the last of the season (promise). From the late, great Gourmet:

SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup 2% milk
3 large eggs

Equipment:
an ice cream maker

Instructions

Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10" heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.

Add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar just to boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionaly.

Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add half of hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in cooled caramel.

Chill custard in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 hr or overnight.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.

This summer I also tried another Gourmet ice cream — Sour cream ice cream. I substitiutted 2 tsp vanilla extract for the vanilla bean and it tasted fantastic — like frozen cheesecake, but lighter.

Best,

kh

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