coconut mint ice cream, food processor method

Has anyone tried to make ice cream with a food processor?  I finally did.

I have an ice cream maker, on permanent loan, that I never use.  I used to keep the insert in my freezer, but that was just taking up room so I finally took it out.  Of course!… when I finally  want to make ice cream, I can’t use the ice cream maker.

I first heard about using a food processor to make ice cream on, but actually beat them to the punch.  Basically, you make your ice cream per the recipe, freeze it as fast as possible, and then place it into a food processor to whip in air.

Kenji from Serious Eats froze his custard base into ice cube trays, but I don’t have spare trays or enough of them.  (Most ice cream recipes make 1 quart.)  Jeni Britton, in the video she did for CHOW, recommended putting the custard base in a large resealable food bag and laying it flat in the freezer.


My ice cream base was this:

two cans of full fat coconut milk
1 3/4c cane sugar
1/2c fresh mint

I brought the sugar and coconut milk to a simmer, cut the heat, and then let the mint steep about 15 minutes.  This was transferred to a ziploc bag, moved onto a small tray to lie down flat, and cooled first in the fridge.  After about an hour, I moved the tray into the freezer for  4-5 hours.

(Note – when you’re pouring your ice cream in liquid form into the food bag, make sure that you stand the bag up in a container large enough to hold one quart of liquid.  I stood my bag up in a container that was a little small, and made a mess.)

When it’s ready, put the ice cream into a food processor.  Run the food processor and scrap down the ice cream as needed until it’s an even and smooth consistency.  Move the ice cream into a container for the freezer (I just reused the food bag), and let freeze again before eating.


Overall, it’s a bit icier than traditional ice cream but maybe that’s because I was making a dairy free ice cream.  (I was making a dairy free ice cream out of laziness, and for no other reason to be honest.)  I would say that it’s a bit more like gelato in texture.

As for the flavor of what I made, I needed more mint.  I *love* ice cream made with real mint.  Before my mint plant dies as the weather gets cooler, I should harvest all the leaves and try again with a traditional custard base.  However, it’s still quite delicious.  I’d be happy to make it again.  (Although, I might cut back the sugar next time.)

Reference Links:

Harvard SEAS lecture, 11/5/12, Joanne Chang

Joanne Chang is a food celebrity around these parts.  She’s the owner of Flour Bakery, which originally started in the South End of Boston, and then opened up branches at Fort Point Channel (Boston) and Central Square (Cambridge).  She’s been on the food show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” (Chang’s sticky buns won against Flay’s).  She’s married to Christopher Myers, and together they own the restaurant Myers+Chang.  She’s written a cookbook, aptly named “Flour:  Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery+Cafe” and I believe she’s finishing up Flour cookbook #2.

I’m not a 100% sure, but I think she’s spoken at Harvard before. She’s just never spoken at the SEAS public lectures until now.

But, let’s back up and bit and talk about the amusing, hilarious brilliance that is Professor Mike Brenner’s “Bakery Phase Diagrams.”

This is what happens when a mathematician decides to plot a recipe by way of ingredient ratios.

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nutmeg cake with orange blossom syrup

I baked this weekend! Exciting, isn’t it? I even took pictures and edited said pictures.


nutmeg cake with orange blossom syrup

Anyway, my friend Tammy (whose lovely photos of some of my foods grace my food entries) was having her annual lamb dinner (with non-lamb options for people like me). Nearly all of her guests brought something to nibble on, including myself.

The newest cookbook that sits on my bookshelf is Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it!

Pros: It came together pretty easily.

Cons: My cake was half the height of the cake in the book photo! I was pretty sure that I had my eggs and butter at room temperature, and I tried really hard not to over-mix. On top of that, my syrup could have been bolder.

I think I might try cake flour next time and see if it gives a better result. However, please don’t think this means that this was a bad cake! For a total experiment, it still yielded pretty tasty results (and it was not too sweet, thankfully).

adapted from Warm Bread and Honey Cake

6 oz all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 loose tsp nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
1 stick of butter, softened
4 1/2 oz brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp milk
6 Tbsp orange blossom syrup

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 1-lb loaf pan.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Sift this.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar, and beat until creamed and fluffy.

Whisk the eggs loosely in a small bowl with the vanilla. Add the egg to the butter mixture bowl in two batches, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Then use a whisk to fold in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk.
(So, you’re adding 1/3 flour mixture, 2 Tbsp milk, 1/3 flour mixture, 2 Tbsp milk, and the final 1/3 flour mixture.)

Pour into the loaf pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes (or until a tester is inserted and comes out clean).

Remove the pan from the oven, and poke several small holes into the cake (making sure to poke all the way through to the bottom). Slowly pour the syrup over the cake. Let it cool about 5 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. After that, wrap the cake well in plastic wrap and let the flavors meld for a day before serving.

Orange Blossom Water Syrup
make about 1 1/2 cup

Put 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup water, and 1 tsp lemon juice into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Take the pan off the  heat and let it cool about 5 minutes.

Add orange blossom water to your liking (I ended up using 1 1/2 Tbsp for the cake… but I now think that it should be 2-3 Tbsp).

Use the syrup on cake, in tea, and anything else that suits your fancy!


Linzer Panna Cotta

What’s this?  A recipe?  Why, yes!  It is!

This recipe comes from one of the older cookbooks sitting on my bookshelf, Panna Cotta by Camilla V. Saulsbury.  This book is nothing but panna cotta recipes from the traditional to the rather strange (feta panna cotta, anyone?  mushroom panna cotta?  carrot panna cotta with dill pesto?!).  But it’s fun, and my handwritten notes on a few pages of the book indicated that I hadn’t used it in the last three years.  This was clearly inexcusable.

Now, a few words on this recipe in particular… The almond extract is going to punch you in the face, if you eat this panna cotta straight.  This doesn’t sound very attractive, I know.  However, the raspberry sauce is the perfect companion.  Together, it does remind me of a linzer cookie.  If you are really worried about the boldness of the almond flavor, I suppose you can cut it back to 1/2 tsp with little ill.  But really, just make the sauce.  Okay?  You’ll be happier for it.

I think it looks a bit like a murderous blob... lol!

Panna Cotta Ingredients

2 c. evaporated fat-free milk (yes, you will need to buy two tins)
2 1/8 tsp unflavored gelatin (I was lazy and used 1 whole packet of powdered gelatin with no adverse effects)
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 c. reduced fat sour cream
3/4 tsp pure almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (use extract, don’t use vanilla paste like I did or else the solid bits of vanilla will separate as you can see in the photo… unless you want it to look that way for some reason)
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Sauce Ingredients

3/4 c. seedless raspberry jam
3 Tbsp water
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 c. sliced almonds, lightly roasted (I didn’t bother with this because I didn’t have it)

Pour out your evaporated milk into a small saucepan.  If using powdered gelatin, sprinkle it evenly over the surface of the evaporated milk so that it can soften.  Don’t just dump it in – you’ll risk getting gelatin clumps in your final product.  Let this sit for at least five minutes.

Place your saucepan over medium heat.  Never let this boil.  Whisk to let the gelatin dissolve (about 5 minutes).  Add the brown sugar and whisk until that dissolves (about 2 minutes).  Remove the pan from heat, and whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

Ladle the mixtures into the cups or molds.  The original recipe said that it makes eight servings in 3/4 cup ramekins.  If there’s a lot of foam left from the whisking, I say scoop it out.  Loosely over with plastic wrap or some other cover.  I made six 1 cup servings in the plastic Ball freezer cups and loosely covered with the lids that came with them.  After an hour or so, I wiped off any condensation that accumulated on the lids out of pickiness.

Let the panna cotta sit in the refrigerator for at least four hours.  Overnight is better.

Carefully un-mold the panna cotta and into a serving dish.  You probably will need to run a knife along the sides.

For the sauce, warm up the raspberry jam, water, and lemon zest in a saucepan on the stove.  Stir until blended.  Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature or close to it.  Spoon the sauce over each serving of panna cotta and you are done!

(once again, photo by, because her food photos are much nicer than my food photos)


Chinese Black Sesame Soup (dessert soup)

(In advance, I apologize for the lack of pictures. When I first thought about writing this post, I felt that it was too early. Now that I am ready, I do not have the soup thawed out for the task of photo-taking, but I don’t want to wait on this post any longer.)

Recently, I attended a soup swap. What’s that, you might be asking. Well, it’s a gathering of sorts involving something like a game. All of the attendees bring six quart-sized containers filled with a frozen homemade soup/stew of their choice. All of the soups are lumped together in a spot in the room. Then, attendees pick out a number, and proceed, in their numbered order, to explain what they brought in. Once this is completed, the guests then  take turns picking out a new soup container to bring home. So, you bring over six quarts of your soup, and you bring home six quarts of someone else’s soup.

This year, I decided on a Chinese dessert soup – black sesame soup (aka “hak zi ma wu”). Researching only provided me with two recipes that looked usable.

Recipe #1

Recipe #2

The first time I made this soup, I followed recipe #1 exactly. This time around, I followed recipe #1 in general measurements, but tried the methodology of recipe #2. I had hoped that recipe #2 would be a time saver, what with the rice being blended before cooking. In the end, I got a superior result to my first attempt… but it didn’t take any less time.

The long of the short of it? You must blend your ingredients before and after it is cooked. This is the only way you will hope to obtain the same thick but silky texture that you’ll find in a restaurant. (I guess I would liken the viscosity to something like honey.)

1 cup white rice (long grain or short grain)
1 cup toasted black sesame seeds
7 – 8 cups water, depending on how thick or thin you want the soup (you may even want to go down to 6.5 cups of water if you plan on freezing this as defrosting seems to affect the texture a little)
1 cup granulated sugar (the amount of sugar is up to you – my family found that the original half cup specified was not sweet enough, so I prefer using one full cup at least)

1. Soak your rice in cold water for at least an hour.
2. In a blender, crush up the sesame seeds. Add half of the rice and crush this as finely as you can. Add about a cup of water, and then blend well. Tip this out into your stockpot or large saucepan. Crush up the rest of the rice, add another cup of water, and blend well. When done, tip this out into your pot too.
3. Add the remaining cups of water into the pot. (I have found that I like the consistency of about seven total cups of water. If you want it thinner, use more water.) Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to medium. Meanwhile, make sure that you stir continuously. Until the rice is cooked, it will sink to the bottom of your pot. If you don’t mix continuously, you will run the risk of burning the bottom.
4. Add the sugar (this can be honey, or a mixture of the two… or you can be silly like me and use powdered cactus honey which was purchased some time ago on a whim). As the sugar dissolves, you will notice that the consistency of the soup has gotten thicker. After about 5-8 minutes, the sugar is completely incorporated and the cooking is done.
5. You can try using an immersion blender, but I prefer letting the soup cool a little and blending it in a normal blender. Blend the finished soup to make sure that you have a silky texture (it’ll lumpy if you don’t… perfectly edible but totally lumpy).
6. Serve the soup. I prefer this soup warm-bordering-on-hot, but my mother says you can serve it cold. (Personally, I have never seen this served cold.)  And enjoy.  ^_^