Results tagged recipe from David Lebovitz

Agave-Sweetened Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

Scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream

As a cookbook author, whenever you do a cooking demonstration, there’s always ‘The Question’. It’s the one that’s the most frequently asked when you’re doing classes on a book tour. For me it’s often “Can that be frozen?”

Since my freezer is usually so crammed with stuff I can’t imagine wedging in a multi-layer cake amongst all the rock-hard frozen madness that I call “my freezer”…except for now, because I came home from the country last weekend and found my freezer door had nudged itself open, or more likely I accidentally left it ajar in my haste to get outta town, and when I came home, my freezer looked like an Antarctic blizzard had happened in there and had to be completely cleaned out…so now there’s plenty of room and I can start jamming it full all over again.

Anyhow, when you write a book completely devoted to frozen desserts and ice cream you can smugly think to yourself, “Ha! I’ve nipped that one in the bud.” Of course, all ice cream can be frozen. But little did I realize something insidious had taken ahold of my fellow Americans. “Can I use Splenda?” was The Question I was getting.

I don’t use artificial sweeteners in my cooking and don’t know how they behave so I’m not going to dole out advice on how to use them. But some people can’t have highly-refined or white sugar for health reasons, so I told those folks I’d “get back to them on that” – which I’m doing here and now. I wanted to come up with a recipe for ice cream-lovers who are looking for a sugar-free option that tastes every bit as good as regular ice cream. And this is it.

Chocolate Ice Cream

After my last book tour ended, I jettisoned home and decided to come up with a top-drawer recipe for Sugar-Free Chocolate Ice Cream that used no artificial ingredients. I made a trip to my local health food store in Paris, picked up a jar of agave nectar, and got churning.

I decided to create sugar-free chocolate ice cream, since the luscious, silky-smooth taste of dark chocolate was probably something that most folks on sugar-restricted diets were craving. But I didn’t want to make something that tasted like just an acceptable substitute for chocolate ice cream: I wanted it to be the real thing, smooth and creamy, with the luxurious flavor of rich, dark chocolate.

If you live outside the United States, you can often find tablets of unsweetened chocolate at some chocolate shops and specialty stores. In France it’s usually labeled, 100% pâte de cacao—100% chocolate paste.

Chocolate Ice Cream Bowl

Agave-Sweetened Chocolate Ice Cream
About 1 quart (1 liter)

Since the custard is made without sugar, keep an eye on things as it will cook rather quickly. You can either use a flame-tamer or cook the custard in bain-marie, a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, to avoid overcooking if you’ve never made a custard before. And because I don’t like washing dishes, I use the same saucepan for cooking the custard that I used for dissolving and blooming the cocoa powder, I simply scrape it as clean as possible and use it again for making the custard.

If you would like to reduce the quantity of agave nectar here, you can cut the amount to ½ cup (120 ml) if you wish.

  • 10 tablespoons (155 ml) agave nectar
  • 2 ounces (55 g) unsweetened chocolate, very finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (35 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
  • 3 cups (750 ml) half-and-half*, divided
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • pinch of salt

1. In a small saucepan, warm the agave syrup with the unsweetened chocolate over the lowest heat possible, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and transfer mixtures to a large bowl. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, add 1½ cups (375 ml) of the half-and-half and whisk in the cocoa powder. Cook over moderate heat until the mixture begins to bubble, then simmer for 30 seconds, whisking frequently, making sure to break up any clumps of cocoa powder.

3. Remove from heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl with the chocolate-agave mixture. Stir them together, then set a mesh strainer over the top.

4. Add the remaining half-and-half to the saucepan with a pinch of salt, turn on the heat, and when warm, slowly pour the warm half-and-half into the yolks whisking constantly, then pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

5. Cook, stirring constantly over moderate heat, until the mixture becomes steamy and thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read about 170F degrees. (76C).

6. Pour the mixture through the strainer into the chocolate mixture.

7. Stir, then let cool a few minutes until tepid. Once it’s not super hot, whiz the mixture in a blender for ten seconds until it’s smooth and velvety. (Never blend very hot liquids in a blender since it creates a hot vortex and can cause the liquid to blast out of the top.)

8. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Freezing ice cream without a machine

Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream

Respect Your Elderberries: Elderberry Syrup Recipe

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During the summer, like everyone else in Paris, I get outta town for a long break. I often visit friends who live in the country in nearby in the Seine-et-Marne, a region a little over an hour from Paris.

You probably know about the famous cheese from there, brie de Meaux, which is sold in big, gooey rounds at most of the markets in the area. There’s a big one on Sunday mornings in Coulommiers, but I prefer the smaller but better market on Saturdays, in the town of Provins, which features actual producteurs, the folks who grow and sell their own fruits and légumes.

strawberriesunwashed1

Elderberries are pretty prolific and although I’ve not seen them in any markets, the friends who I stay with have a huge tree and if you’re a spry climber, you probably can pick more than you know what to do with all at once.

The difficulty in preparing elderberries, or as they call them in France, sureaux, are picking the tiny berries off the microfiber-like stems. (Earlier in the season, the blossoms can be turned into elderflower fritters or elderflower syrup.) The berries appear in spidery tufts on the farthest end of the branches and I nearly chopped down my friend’s tree trying to get the ripest berries way-high up at the top. And I almost killed myself using their pre-war ladder…and that’s pre World War I, mind you.

Elderberries

But I need to keep busy even when I’m relaxing on vacation, which is my very own French-American paradox, and when I saw the giant elderberry tree practically awash with tiny purple berries behind the house I was staying at, I couldn’t resist hauling out the ladder and spending a good couple of hours clipping away. Unfortunately the berries that caught my eye were higher up than I thought from down below, and I ended up perched too-high up on that rickety ladder with a saw and clippers, risking my life for the little buggers.

Sureaux

The gorgeous syrup is great in a glass of sparkling water over ice, dripped some over plain yogurt, atop a bowl of vanilla ice cream, or use it to make an lively kir. And hello pancakes and waffles! You can also use the berries to make Elderberry jelly.

Cooking Elderberries

Once you get them down off the tree, the fun just keeps coming and coming. You need to pluck the little purple berries off the branches. But too often a little bit of the delicate stem usually comes off with them and that needs to be removed if you’re going to toss them in a compote or a crisp. It’s picky work, but the rewards are delicious.

Elderberry Yogurt

Elderberry Syrup
Makes 1 quart (1l)

Make sure the cookware you’re using is non-reactive and your clothes are stain-friendly. If you use an aluminum pot, it’ll get stained and the next batch of mashed potatoes you make may come out pink. Ditto for spatulas and anything else to plan to use to stir the syrup while it’s cooking.

If you live somewhere where huckleberries are available, you could use them instead.

  • 2-pounds (1kg) elderberries (see note below), woody stems removed and rinsed
  • 4 cups (1l) water
  • 2½ (500g) cups sugar
  • one nice-sized squirt of freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1. Put the elderberries in a large, non-reactive pot with the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender and soft.

2. Pass through a food mill, then discard the skins.

3. Pour the juice back into the pot (I use a fine-mesh strainer again at this point, but I’m crazy…), add sugar, and cook at a low boil over moderate heat for 15 minutes, until the syrup has thickened. Add a spritz of lemon juice. Cool completely.

4. Pour into a bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator.

Note: Some varieties of elderberries are not meant for consumption and none should be eaten raw, especially the leaves. I remove all of the hard, woody stems as well before cooking. For more information, Cornell University’s Department of Horticulture has guidelines, noting the fruits are used in “…pies, jellies and jams.” If you’re unsure if your elderberries are edible, consult your local cooperative extension before consuming.

Storage: In the refrigerator, I’ve kept this syrup up to one year. If it shows any signs of mold, scrape it away, and bring the syrup back to a full boil again.

quince and granola

Devil’s Food Cake Recipe

Whenever an American friend in Paris has a birthday, I invariably offer to make the cake for the big fête. Not that there’s a lack of great bakeries in Paris, but Americans always seem to crave the same thing: a big, tall, all-American chocolate cake with an overabundance of swirls and swoops of chocolate frosting.

And who am I to deny them?

The Icing On The Cake

And what better to make than a dark, moist Devil’s Food Cake with thick, shiny ganache swirled all over the top and smoothed around the sides?

This Devil’s Food Cake is a happy compromise between those richer, flourless kind of chocolate cakes which would be too intense and inelegant stacked one on top of the other, and those jumbo, three-tiered extravaganzas which might shock a few folks around here with its all-American excess.

(Although the Rice Krispy Treats I made a couple of weeks ago were quite a hit. I tried to explain their cultural appeal to my Parisian friends, but decided just to them do the ambassador work themselves. I’m willing to let someone else carry the cross-cultural mantle around here for a while.)

This one has the heft and smoothness of a larger cake without scaring anyone anyway, and will appease everyone with it’s on-the-spot dark chocolate flavor. It’s delicate crumb is perfect when paired with a scoop of homemade ice cream or a pour of super-cold crème anglaise, but it’s also sturdy enough to weather a trip across the Paris, since if you remember, I don’t have very good luck carrying cakes on the métro amongst devil-may-care Parisians.

Continue Reading Devil’s Food Cake Recipe…

Summer tomato salad recipe

tomatoes

Most larger buildings in Paris have a concierge.

But before you think that I live somewhere that’s all fancy and stuff, it’s basically another name for the gardienne, normally a woman who takes care of things like delivering the mail and making sure repairs get handled. But even more importantly, she ensures that not even the slightest infraction of the rules or smallest detail of gossip gets by her, and at my friend’s apartment in the 5th, theirs has a one-way mirror on her front door…so be careful who you drag home.

In French, there’s an expression; ‘faire la gardienne’, which means to ‘make like the gardienne‘—’to gossip’.

Continue Reading Summer tomato salad recipe…

How To Make Ice Cream Without a Machine

People have been making ice cream far longer than the invention of electricity so there’s no reason you can’t make ice cream and sorbets at home without a machine.

The advantage to using an electric or hand-cranked machine is that the final result will be smoother and creamier. Freezing anything from liquid-to-solid means you’re creating hard ice crystals, so if you’re making it by hand, as your ice cream or sorbet mixture freezes, you want to break up those ice crystals as much as possible so your final results are as smooth and creamy as possible.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Machines are relatively inexpensive nowadays with models costing less than $50, and yes, I’ve seen the ball, but if I started tossing one of those around the streets here in Paris, I’d probably get even more strange looks than I normally get. (Plus you’ll need to lug some rock salt home as well.)

But not everyone has the space or the budget for a machine, so here’s how you can do your own ice cream at home without a churner. I recommend starting with an ice cream recipe that is custard-based for the smoothest texture possible. You can use my Vanilla Ice Cream or another favorite, or even this Strawberry Frozen Yogurt recipe using Greek-style or drained yogurt. The richer the recipe, the creamier and smoother the results are going to be.

Ice cream made this way is best eaten soon after it’s made—which shouldn’t be a problem.

Cooking Custard

Continue Reading How To Make Ice Cream Without a Machine…

Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

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Click here to find my delicious, classic Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop.

Tips For Making Homemade Ice Cream Softer

Now that everyone out there’s been churning up ice cream, I’ve been getting a certain amount of questions about homemade ice cream, which I’m going to answer here over the next several weeks.

I’m going to start with the number one question folks have been asking: Why does homemade ice cream gets harder than commercial ice cream in their freezer? And what can be done to prevent it?

Salted Butter-Caramel Ice Cream

While I do address this in The Perfect Scoop (pages 5 and 16), I thought I’d list some strategies here as well. I don’t necessarily follow these all the time, but thought I’d put them out for readers to ponder and use as they see fit.

Alcohol

Alcohol doesn’t freeze, which you know if you’re anything like me and keep a bottle of Zubróvka vodka chilled and ready in your freezer. You can add up to 3 tablespoons of 40 proof liquor to 1 quart (1 liter) of your frozen dessert mixture prior to churning. I use vodka if I don’t want the taste of the liquor to intrude on the flavor, but will switch to another liquor such as Grand Marnier or Armagnac to enhance the original flavor if it’s compatible.

If my mixture is fruit-based, I prefer to add kirsch, a liquor which enhances the taste of stone fruits, like peaches, plums, nectarines, as well as berries. Generally-speaking, I’ll add enough so the taste isn’t very present, often less than a tablespoon.

For sorbets and sherbets, a glug of Champagne, white wine or rosé is nice with fruit flavors. 1/2 cup (125 ml) can be added per quart (liter) of mixture prior to churning. Or if the recipe calls for cooking the fruit with water, substitute some dry or sweet white wine for a portion of the water; the amount will depend on how much of the wine you want to taste. (Most of the alcohol will cook out but enough will remain to keep your sorbet softer.)

Sugar

Like alcohol, sugar doesn’t freeze which is why you shouldn’t futz around with recipes and just reduce the sugar willy-nilly. Almost all frozen dessert recipes use white granulated sugar, however you can replace some or all of the sugar with another liquid sweetener, namely honey or light corn syrup.

Continue Reading Tips For Making Homemade Ice Cream Softer…

Tapenade Recipe

tapenade.jpg

Way back when, after I arrived in France, I wanted to be all Provençal like we thought we were in Berkeley (except you’d need to force me into a beret only at gunpoint)…but I did go off on the lookout in Paris for a large, sturdy mortar and pestle. I didn’t know what they were called in French at the time, so I went into cookware shops, made a fist around some imaginary cylindrical object in front of me, and shook it up and down maniacally and with great vigor to get across the idea of what I was looking for.

Suffice it to say, I got plenty of odd looks—I’m still not exactly sure why, but no one was able to figure out exactly what it was that I was after.

Eventually I got with the program and did find a few pretty little numbers, mortars and pestles usually made of glass or something equally fragile. But for all the pounding in Paris that I planned to do, I needed something that’s going to take it like a man time-after-time and needed to be a bit more rough-and-tumble.

Acting on a tip, finally I arrived home one day with a manly-sized, rock-hard specimen from Chinatown (made of granite) and afterward, I sought a hand from my olive guy who was glad to help out a friend in need and wrapped me up more olives de Nyons than you can shake a stick (or whatever) at, each week at the market.

Continue Reading Tapenade Recipe…