Ice Creams, Sorbets and More!

Frozen desserts go modern with sexy flavors and palate-surprising combos.
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Avocado Timbales

We tend to think of avocado as a vegetable, but in fact it’s a fruit, a very creamy one that lends itself to desserts. Cooks in Latin America and South Asia use it in shakes and frozen confections, so why not take the sweet route here? Makes 6 to 8 servings 2 ripe avocados, scooped into chunks 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 14-ounce can coconut milk 1 cup heavy cream 1 cup sugar Mango and lime for serving 1. Puree first 5 ingredients in a blender until smooth. 2. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pack into timbale molds or custard cups, and freeze until firm, 6 hours or overnight. Serve with sliced mango and a squeeze of lime.
Photo: Christopher Baker

Fig & Red Wine Ice Cream

Black pepper adds a hint of spice to this very adult ice cream. a waffle cone is the perfect vehicle for it, but all you really need is a dish and spoon. Dry figs-always in season-are a better choice for this recipe, but if fresh figs are available, you could serve them, quartered, in a dish alongside a scoop of the ice cream. Makes 1 quarts 1 cup dry figs, trimmed and cut in half 1 cup dry red wine 1 cinnamon stick 10 black peppercorns, in a tea ball or cheesecloth 1 cup heavy cream 1 cup whole milk 6 large egg yolks ¾ cup sugar teaspoon finely ground black pepper 1. In a medium saucepan, combine figs, wine, cinnamon stick and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, until figs are very soft and wine is mostly absorbed, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove peppercorns and cinnamon stick, and transfer mixture to a food processor. Pulse until a chunky puree. Transfer to a medium bowl set over ice water. Set aside. 2. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine cream and milk. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. 3. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until pale yellow and thick. 4. Very gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, and return to the saucepan. Set over medium-low heat, and cook gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until custard thickens slightly and evenly coats the back of a spoon (it should hold a line drawn by your finger), 6 to 8 minutes. 5. Pour through a sieve into the bowl containing the fig mixture (still set over ice). Add the pepper. Stir and let sit until chilled, adding more ice if needed. 6. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a lidded plastic container, and freeze. Serve in cones or in individual dishes with fresh fig slices.
Photo: Christopher Baker

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cupcakes

These plump little confections are only pretend cupcakes, made by pouring strawberry-rhubarb ice cream into paper liners to freeze. Each "cupcake" gets topped with softly whipped cream and a strawberry. Makes 12 pound rhubarb, cut into -inch pieces (about 2 cups) 1 scant cup sugar, divided pound chopped strawberries, (1 heaping cup) plus 6 berries, halved for garnish 2 cups heavy cream, divided 1 cup whole milk 6 large egg yolks 1. In a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb, 1 tablespoon water and ? cup sugar. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add strawberry pieces, and continue cooking 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Transfer to a medium bowl set over ice water. Stir occasionally to cool. 2. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine 1 cup cream and the milk. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. 3. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. Whisk until pale yellow and thick. 4. Very gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, and return to the saucepan. Set over medium-low heat and cook gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until custard thickens slightly and evenly coats the back of a spoon (it should hold a line drawn by your finger), 6 to 8 minutes. 5. Pour through a sieve into the bowl containing the rhubarb mixture (still set over ice water). Stir occasionally until chilled, adding more ice to the ice bath if needed. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. 6. Meanwhile, place cupcake liners in 2 6-hole cupcake tins. Transfer ice cream to the tins, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours or overnight. 7. One hour before serving, whip 1 cups heavy cream to firm peaks, and top each cupcake with about 1/4 cup of whipped cream. Return to freezer. Just before serving, top each cupcake with half a strawberry.
Photo: Christopher Baker

Mint-Chocolate Semifreddo Tartlets

Chocolate and mint are a classic and alluring combination and a great use for the abundant fresh mint you may find in your garden, whether you planted it or not. The semifreddo (or "half-frozen") filling doesn’t require an ice cream machine, and you can make the crust with crushed chocolate wafers from the supermarket. Makes 6 For the Crust 22 very thin chocolate wafers (Famous wafers, if you can find them) 3 tablespoons sugar Pinch of salt 5 tablespoons melted butter For the Filling ¾ cup whole milk 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed 3 large egg yolks cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon pure mint extract Green food coloring, optional 1 cup heavy cream For Serving ¾ cup heavy cream Chocolate shavings Mint leaves 1. Coat each of 6 individual removable-bottom tart pans with cooking spray. Alternatively, you can use a single 10-inch removable-bottom tart pan. 2. Grind wafers to fine crumbs in a food processor. Add sugar, salt and butter. Pulse until blended. Press a heaping quarter cup of the crumb mixture into each tart pan, patting to an even thickness all over. Freeze until ready to use. 3. Combine milk and mint in a heavy medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a sieve into a bowl, pressing down on the mint leaves. Discard mint, and return milk to saucepan. 4. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, and beat with a whisk or hand mixer until pale yellow and thick. Reheat milk until hot. 5. Very gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture, and return to the saucepan. Set over medium-low heat, and cook gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until custard thickens and evenly coats the back of a spoon (it should hold a line drawn by your finger), 6 to 8 minutes. 6. Pour through a sieve into a bowl set over ice. Stir occasionally until chilled. Stir in mint extract and, if desired, a drop of green food coloring. Whip cream to soft peaks, and fold into custard. Spoon into frozen tart shells, and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour. 7. When ready to serve, whip cream and divide among tarts. Top with chocolate shavings and mint leaves.
Photo: Christopher Baker

Dirty Chai Latte Granita

Serves 8 2 cups brewed espresso cup sugar 2 cups brewed, sweetened chai tea, chilled 2 cups heavy cream Ground cardamom, for garnish 1. Combine espresso and sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved, and chill. Pour into a square metal pan or a metal bowl. Pour chai tea into another metal pan or bowl. Place in freezer. 2. After an hour, stir each mixture with a fork, scraping all frozen bits from the sides of the pans into the center of the pan. Return to freezer. Continue stirring every hour or so until thoroughly frozen and granular. At this point, the granita can be covered with plastic wrap and stored for several days. It may need to be broken up again with a fork before serving. 3. Just before serving, whip the cream. To serve, layer the granitas and cream in each of 8 glasses in this order: cup espresso granita, 1/4 cup whipped cream, cup chai granita; then top with 1/4 cup whipped cream and a sprinkle of cardamom.
Photo: Christopher Baker

Sweet and Salty Parfaits

Makes 4 to 6 parfaits 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 1 cup heavy cream 1 cup whole milk ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided 6 large egg yolks ¾ cup malted milk powder, such as Ovaltine 1 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped 1 tablespoon butter teaspoon pure vanilla extract ¾ teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon 1. Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside. 2. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine cream, milk and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. 3. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar. Whisk or beat until pale yellow and thick. 4. Very gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, and return to the saucepan. Set over medium-low heat, and cook gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until custard thickens slightly and evenly coats the back of a spoon (it should hold a line drawn by your finger), 6 to 8 minutes. 5. Pour the custard over the chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is thoroughly melted and combined. Stir in malted milk powder. 6. Pour through a sieve into a medium bowl set over ice water. Stir occasionally until chilled, adding more ice to the ice bath if needed. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a lidded plastic container, and freeze until the ice cream is firm, 4 hours or overnight. 7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, lightly greased with butter or cooking spray. Combine almonds, remaining cup sugar, butter and vanilla in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat, tossing frequently and carefully until nuts are toasted, and the sugar has liquefied and turned a medium caramel color. 8. Spread on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, and cool completely. Once cool, break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to use. 9. To serve, layer sugared almonds with ice cream scoops in tall glasses.
Photo: Christopher Baker

Lime Alaska

Makes 1 tart cup lime juice (about 4 limes) 6 large eggs, separated 1¾ cups sugar 8 tablespoons cold butter, cut up Zest of 1 lime 1 prebaked tart or pie shell 1 pint vanilla frozen yogurt, slightly softened 1/4 teaspoon salt 1. Combine lime juice, egg yolks and 1 cup sugar in a nonreactive bowl. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a heavy medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Turn heat to low, and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl, and stir in butter, piece by piece, until completely melted. Add zest. Stir until cool, and pour into pie shell. Freeze until firm, 1 to 2 hours. 2. Spread the frozen yogurt over the lime curd, and return to the freezer. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. 3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites, remaining ¾ cup sugar and the salt. Place bowl on top of, not in, a pot of briskly simmering water. Stir gently with a whisk until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. 4. Return bowl to mixer, and beat using whisk attachment until egg whites reach stiff, glossy peaks. 5. Quickly spread the meringue over the pie, swirling it decoratively. Completely cover the yogurt layer, and touch the crust on all sides. Return to freezer until ready to serve, up to several days. 6. Heat the oven to 400. Place the pie on a baking sheet, and let sit for 5 minutes at room temperature. Place in oven until meringue is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 7. Slice and serve immediately. Any uneaten pie can be refrozen. Let soften a few minutes before serving.
Photo: Christopher Baker

Cilantro-Lemon Sorbet

Serves 6 to 8 1¾ cups water 1¾ cups sugar Zest of 2 lemons 1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed 11/4 cups lemon juice Tropical fruit, such as pineapple, passion fruit, mango and coconut, for serving 1. Combine water, sugar and lemon zest in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, and discard solids. Pour syrup into a bowl, place over a larger bowl of ice water, and stir occasionally until well chilled. 2. Plunge the cilantro into boiling water for about 5 seconds. Drain, and rinse with ice-cold water. Squeeze out excess liquid, and puree in blender with about 1 cup of the syrup. Stir cilantro mixture back into the syrup. Pour off cup of the cilantro syrup, and refrigerate until ready to serve. It will keep for several days. 3. Combine remaining cilantro syrup with the lemon juice, and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a lidded container and freeze until firm, about 6 hours or overnight. 4. Serve with tropical fruit and the reserved cilantro syrup.
Photo: Christopher Baker

Black-Licorice Semifreddo

Serves 8 to 10 3 ounces soft black licorice, such as Panda or Australian "soft eating" licorice cup milk 21/4 cups heavy cream, divided 6 large egg yolks 1/4 cup Marsala wine cup sugar 14 chocolate or gingersnap wafers, or a combination of both 1. Cut licorice into very thin pieces, and combine with the milk and ¾ cup of the cream in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and continue to simmer until the licorice is completely melted, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently, and use a spoon to mash the licorice against the side of the pan to help it dissolve. Don’t worry if a few bits of solid licorice remain. 2. Combine egg yolks, wine and sugar in a medium bowl, and set over a pot of briskly simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk or beat constantly until thick, fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. 3. Stir licorice mixture into egg mixture, and thoroughly combine. Place over a bowl of ice water, and stir until cold. Whip remaining cream, and fold into licorice mixture until thoroughly combined. 4. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, smoothing out wrinkles and leaving plenty of overhang. Arrange wafers in an alternating pattern on the bottom and sides of the pan. Fill with the semifreddo mixture, and arrange 3 more cookies on top. Freeze until firm, 8 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, pop the semifreddo out of the pan, unwrap and slice.
Photo: Christopher Baker

Nectarine Sunset Pops

Makes 8 For the Nectarine Layer 5 nectarines (about 11/4 pounds) 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup water For the Strawberry Layer 2 cups strawberries, rinsed and hulled 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup water 1. Pit the nectarines and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a saucepan with the sugar, and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring frequently for 20 minutes or until fruit is almost completely softened. Put through a food mill (or puree in a blender and strain), and add the water. Cool completely. 2. Halve the strawberries, and place in blender. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until sugar dissolves. Add to strawberries in blender, and puree until smooth. Chill. 3. Pour 1/4 cup nectarine puree into each of 8 Popsicle molds, and top with 1/4 cup of strawberry puree. Jiggle the molds to mix the layers a bit. Place in freezer for 6 hours or overnight. Place the sticks in the molds when the pops are partially frozen.
Photo: Christopher Baker

First Published Mon, 2010-04-26 11:33

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