This week's ice cream was a winner. Oh yes, the ice cream trials have been ongoing. That bowl of burnt caramel ice cream dusted with black sea salt was simply the last effort worthy of a public airing.
I can't say as much for the stuff my ice cream maker has churned out in recent weeks. One batch, it turned out, was suited better for breakfast. Following the gushing praise of a certain Haverchuck (who, for many weeks, conducted his own ice cream project), I poured a batch of sweet oatmeal into my Cuisinart compressor, and hoped for the best. And, really it wasn't bad. Who doesn't like the idea of warm oatmeal-raisin cookies topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dash of cinnamon? This was, though, a hefty ice cream: oatmeal, cream, and--let's not forget--several egg yolks. Oatmeal ice cream, it turns out, is not really meant to follow food. Only after a fast of, say, 8-10 hours is it a sane option, and that is why it is best eaten with a cup of joe and a side order of bacon. Never opposed to breakfast sweets, Patrick tried it scooped on a pancake and topped with maple syrup. Then he moaned and climbed back into bed.
Ice cream mishap #2 soon followed. I was excited about this one: mint chocolate chip. This was the most popular flavor, after chocolate and vanilla, that I scooped during my time as a North Carolina ice cream counter girl in the mid-nineties. Armed with nostalgia, I read Orangette's recent praise of David Lebovitz's mint ice cream recipe; but there was also a practical factor. At this very moment, a mint patch is creeping across my back yard. This being the first spring we've lived in this house, I didn't even know we had a mint patch. Then, one day, it was there, and it was big. Dreaming of a sustainable ice cream, I waded into my sea of mint, steeped my harvest in cream, poured it in my ice cream maker, tossed in a few handfuls of chopped dark chocolate, and waited. The result was yucky. To put it more precisely, it tasted like dirty grass (with chocolate chips). My guess is that my variety of mint is not the best for imparting flavor to food and drink (the mint juleps turned out yucky, too). No, mine is an ornamental sort of mint, which is spreading like wildfire in my backyard while my basil and rosemary are barely hanging on.
Well, after wasting all of those yolks, this egg-less mango ice cream seemed the way to go. Relatively new to the homemade ice cream scene, I had fallen under the impression that all good ice creams start with custard bases. I was wrong. This mango ice cream, made with a no-cook base of pureed mangoes and cream, is the silkiest, creamiest ice cream I've had in a long time. Far from being heavy, though, it's, well, refreshing. Pale orange and flecked with lime zest, this is a pretty dessert, perfect for hot summer nights. Needless to say, the mango ice cream is long gone, while the oatmeal and dirt flavors are still lingering, sprouting freezer burn.
Caramelized Mango Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart. Adapted from Roy Finamore's Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day. Recipe appeared on Chow.com.
For tips on how to dice a mango, go here.
For the caramelized mango:
1/3 cup sugar
1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into large dice
For the mango ice cream:
2 large (or 3 medium) ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
pinch of coarse salt
2 cups heavy cream
1. For the caramelized mango: Pour the sugar into a heavy medium skillet. Cook over medium heat, swirling the sugar around in the pan often, until it is dark amber. Add the diced mango. The caramel will sputter and seize up. Cook, stirring, just until the caramel dissolves. Scrape the caramelized mango into a bowl, cover, and chill thoroughly.
2. For the mango ice cream: Process the mangoes in a food processor until you’ve made a smooth puree. Add the lime zest and juice, sugar, molasses, and salt. Process for a minute or so to dissolve the sugar. Scrape the puree out a bowl, whisk in the cream, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
3. Freeze the ice cream base according to the instructions for your ice cream maker. When it’s just about frozen, add the caramelized mango. Continue to freeze until ice cream is firm. Transfer to a container with a lid, and let the ice cream cure in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.