Alinea at Home Adaptation: Raspberry, goat's milk, red pepper taffy, pistachio
When I looked at the core elements in this dish: raspberries, goat milk, pistachios, red bell peppers, and lavender, I knew immediately that I wanted to adapt this dish and try something a little different.
Well, I'm allergic to bell peppers, so that was one thing I knew I couldn't do. And, you guys know about my disdain for raspberries: Nature's Hollow, Hairy Scourge™. Lastly, I was in charge of bringing dessert to a friend's house for a night of cards (and swearing, which apparently goes hand-in-hand with playing cards in this group) and I kinda wanted to knock their socks off with something from the Alinea cookbook, but it had to be portable.
So, instead of making this dish exactly as it is in the book, I adapted it and, as a result, have an ice cream recipe I think you'll want to try. Immediately.
I mean, LOOK at this:
Don't you want to eat it right this second?
I do. And since there's a little bit of it left in my freezer, as soon as I'm done writing this post that's where I'll be. Freezer door hanging open (ARE YOU TRYING TO COOL OFF THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD!!?!?!?!), container in hand, spoon digging furiously, moaning when the lavender and goat-stank hit my palate. Wish you all could be here. This shizz is good.
Thanks to David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop I love making ice cream. In fact, I can't remember the last time I ate the store-bought stuff. I consulted his Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream recipe (on page 92 of Perfect Scoop) for ratios, then struck out on my own to make blackberry, lavender, goat milk ice cream.
I think you'll love it. Here goes:
Blackberry Lavender Goat Milk Ice Cream
2 C goat milk
3/4 C sugar
1 T food-grade lavender buds
1 quart blackberries
6 egg yolks (I used duck eggs, which, wow)
2 C heavy cream
dash vanilla extract
Warm goat milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat; stirring to dissolve sugar. This should just be warmed -- not quite a simmer and definitely not a boil. As soon as the sugar is dissolved, add the lavender buds, turn off the burner, put the lid on the saucepan and let the liquid steep for 20 minutes.
While the lavender goat milk is steeping, do the following:
-- Pour the cream into a separate large mixing bowl, and set a mesh strainer over the top of the bowl.
-- In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk the egg yolks together.
After the 20-minute goat-milk steeping, pour that mixture through a mesh strainer into another saucepan. discard the lavender buds. Reheat the mixture on low-medium heat for a few minutes, then ladle some of the milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking to incorporate. Do 2 - 3 ladles of the milk mixture, then pour and scrape the eggs and milk combo back into the main saucepan with the rest of the lavender-goat milk.
Stir to incorporate, and keep stirring it over medium heat until the liquid begins to coat the back of your wooden spoon or a silicone spatula. Turn off the burner and pour this mixture through the mesh strainer into the bowl with the heavy cream and stir well to mix. Add a dash of vanilla extract, and stir to incorporate.
Completely cool and then chill this mixture before processing it in your ice cream maker. I started by nesting the bowl of liquid in a larger bowl of ice cubes and stirred it to start the cooling process. When it had gotten a little below room temperature, I put the bowl of liquid into the refrigerator for about 4 hours until it had cooled completely.
Just before churning this in your ice cream maker, put the blackberries in a bowl and mash them a bit with a fork. No need to make a puree. Just rough-chop 'em with your fork. I suppose you could put them in a food processor and pulse it once or twice, if you'd like to do it that way.
Mix the blackberries in with the lavender-goat milk custard and stir well to get everything mixed well.
Process in your ice cream maker, according to the owners manual.
I also wanted to make the Pistachio Brittle from the book, because I knew it would be fantastic with this ice cream. And, I wanted something a little salty and crunchy with it. It felt right. So, while my ice cream custard was cooling in the refrigerator, I walked up to the little food co-op in town and bought some pistachios.
The pistachio brittle is incredibly easy. If you have the Alinea coobook, it's on page 92. If not, here's how to make it:
165g (5.8 oz.) pistachios
465g (1 lb. .4 oz.) sugar
72g (2.5 oz.) water
5g (.2 oz.) baking soda
If you didn't buy them already-roasted, toast pistachios on a baking sheet in a 350F-degree oven for 8-10 minutes. When you start to smell them get a little nutty, take them out. They're ready to go. I should note here that the pistachios I bought were already roasted and salted, and I gotta say, I loved the salt in them so add a few shakes of kosher salt to yours if you're roasting them on your own. You won't be sorry.
Heat the sugar and water to 342F degrees (172C), then turn off the burner. Stir in the baking soda (the mixture will foam and bubble when you do this) and the pistachios. Pour the mixture onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet and let it harden at room temperature (should take less than an hour). Break it into small pieces and store it in an airtight container (otherwise, it gets sticky and chewy and weird).
I think the brittle took all of 10 minutes to make. Fifteen tops. So, if you're not an ice cream-making dude or dame, then at least make this brittle. Please. I beg you. It's nutty, and molasses-y, and crunchy, and holy crap I bet if you added smoked salt or used smoked nuts this would be even more awesome... especially with blackberry ice cream, because I'm now having flashbacks to this dish and remembering how utterly blown away I was by it. When I look back on all the dishes I've made for this blog, "Blackberry, smoke, bee balm" stands out because for months afterward I just couldn't get over the fact that I was capable of making something so good, and so flavorful.
This ice cream felt very much the same way to me. I'm sure some of you are thinking Girl please, ice cream isn't hard to make... but I had very much the same reaction to eating this ice cream as I did to last year's blackberry dish. For this one, though, to be able to trust my instincts enough to know how to layer flavors, figure out ratios and timing, and be able to make something that rendered everyone speechless at the table feels really, really good.
This cooking thing I'm doing? I think I like it.
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