We got a Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment as a wedding gift, but the first few recipes I found using the attachment made mention of their attachment breaking and leaking “blue goo” as early as the first use! I decided to try a simple recipe that didn’t require an ice cream maker.
2 C cold heavy whipping cream (cold)
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (not to be confused with evaporated milk)
1 pound of fresh strawberries or thawed frozen strawberries, mashed
A couple drops red food coloring for a brighter pink color and few slices of strawberry for garnish (optional)
Mash strawberries in a bowl and set aside. If using thawed frozen strawberries, drain the excess juices and water first, then mash the strawberries. If using fresh strawberries, keep the juices.
In large mixing bowl of stand-mixer or in a large bowl and using an electric hand mixer, add all the ingredients: heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk.
Whip the heavy cream mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form (to prevent massive splattering, start out at a slower speed and as the cream thickens, increase the speed). Be careful not to over mix or “break” the whip cream mixture. For a brighter pink color, add a few drops of red food coloring into the mixture if you like.
Pour the mashed strawberries into the mixture and gently fold with a spatula in until combined.
Pour the whipped mixture into a freezer safe container. We like to use a bread pan. Top with a few slices of strawberries for garnish (optional). Cover and freeze for about 4-5 hours. In about 3-4 hours you can have a “soft serve” type ice cream. If you prefer a more firm texture, freeze for at least 5-6 hours or overnight.
The verdict – I froze this overnight and could definitely taste the condensed milk. The texture was also a bit icy. There was no way around it. It’s great for a quick fix, but an ice cream maker would make it so much better!
I finally just watched Chef, written and directed by Jon Favreau, which I was super excited to watch when I found out it would premiere and screen at South by Southwest last year. I didn’t get a chance to watch it there, and then I somehow just forgot about it during it’s actual release a few months later. For anyone that hasn’t seen it that loves Jon Favreau’s overall writing/directing/humor, chef Roy Choi, great editing, or just good ol’ fashioned food porn, do yourself a favor and see this movie as soon as you can. For those that have seen it, yes, this post is about the “dreaded” molten lava cake. You can find the trailer here, aaaand then I’m done shamelessly promoting. Sort of. With this movie top of mind and Valentine’s Day being less than a month away, it’s the perfect time to share this recipe.
And yes, this post is from last year’s Valentine’s Day. It’s always dangerous baking for two because most recipes will make at least 12-15 servings, and when you have the snacking discipline that we do, that doesn’t last very long for two people. When thinking about a Valentine’s Day dessert, what is more stereotypical than a rich and chocolate-y lava cake? Fortunately, Kevin loves chocolate too, and since I was charged with making V-Day dinner last year, trying out Martha Stewart’s Molten Mocha Cakes for Two recipe was a no brainer. There is something so delicious about chocolate and coffee paired together, and these mini cakes were no exception.
This recipe is perfect for two people, or for a small dinner party. If you double or triple the recipe, just add a couple minutes to the baking time. Be sure to keep an eye on the cakes in the oven, and make sure not to overbake or you won’t get that amazing gooey center.
2 TBSP unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins (I don’t have ramekins so I used two 6-oz glass Pyrex containers)
1/3 C confectioners’ sugar, plus more for ramekins and serving
2 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp espresso powder
3 TBSP all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 6-ounce ramekins, then dust with sugar. Place butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 20-second increments, stirring after each, until melted. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk, sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Add chocolate mixture; whisk to combine. Add flour, and whisk just until combined (do not overmix). Pour batter into prepared ramekins. (Recipe can be made ahead up to this point.)
Bake until a toothpick inserted 1/2 inch from edge of ramekins comes out clean, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out wet, 10 to 12 minutes (Do not overbake – I can’t emphasize that enough!). Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a knife around inside of ramekins to loosen the cakes. Invert cakes onto serving plates. Dust with powdered sugar; serve immediately….preferably with ice cream!
I made a graduation dinner for one of my cousins a few months later and doubled the recipe to make 4 total (for three of us). I didn’t have vanilla ice cream at the time, so I paired the cakes with some delicious matcha green tea ice cream that we had just bought.
Are molten lava cakes adventurous? No. But they were damned good.
I recalled having Baskin-Robbins ice cream cakes on quite a few birthday celebrations for Crystal throughout the 10+ years I’ve known her. And any time she had a chance to bring dessert to a potluck, she brought ice cream cake. I thought it might be somewhat of a no-brainer to see if she’d want one for her birthday potluck a few weekends ago, but I wanted to make sure she’d be into it. This is literally the conversation we had verbatim:
Allison: hi friend, do you have room in your freezer if i made an ice cream cake for saturday?
The full recipe is a little long, so bear with me. I didn’t include the ice cream recipes, since I used store-bought ice cream on this cake. I don’t have an ice cream maker, but Dreyer’s Grand (not the slow-churned stuff!) has great consistency for spreading the ice cream. I will leave the links for the sauces that I made to shorten this post a bit. I used Brown Eyed Baker’s strawberry and pineapple sauce recipe, but I used Food Network’s Tyler Florence’s version for the chocolate sauce (I generally just don’t like using corn syrup).
Since we were expecting 25 people at the potluck, I made two cakes in a 9×3 springform pan and a small loaf tin for the second cake, using 1.5 the amount of the suggested ingredients. This ended up being a 5-day process, given my day job. I got nervous the ice cream would freezer burn being out that long, as I’ve had frequent freezer burn problems with my freezer. After lots of Googling, I found that using parchment paper helps prevent it. Each time I finished a layer that would be in the freezer overnight or while I was at work, I cut out a 9″ round piece of parchment paper to keep in contact with the top layer of ice cream or sauce. This recipe is just for one 8×3 inch springform pan’s worth of awesomeness.
1. Spray an 8×3-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Assemble the Crust: Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs with the melted butter, tossing until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with the banana slices. Place the pan in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
3. Assemble the Strawberry Layer: Top the banana layer with the strawberry ice cream. Use an offset spatula (or the back of a giant spoon) to spread the ice cream into a smooth, even layer. Place the pan back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
4. Pour the strawberry topping over the strawberry ice cream and gently spread so that it covers the entire ice cream layer beneath. Return to the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until completely frozen. This is where I took a break and froze the cake overnight, so I put a layer of parchment paper down to prevent freezer burn.
5. Assemble the Chocolate Layer: Top the strawberry layer with the chocolate ice cream. Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream into a smooth, even layer. Place the pan back in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until firm and set.
6. Pour the hot fudge sauce over the chocolate ice cream and gently spread so that it covers the entire ice cream layer beneath. Return to the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until completely frozen.
7. Assemble the Vanilla Layer: Top the hot fudge layer with the vanilla ice cream. Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream into a smooth, even layer. Cover with plastic wrap, return the assembled cake to the freezer and freeze overnight. Don’t forget the layer of parchment paper!
8. Final Assembly and Garnishment: At least 1 hour (and no more than 12 hours) before serving, unmold the cake. To release the cake from the pan, invert the cake onto a plate or cardboard round the same size and wrap a hot kitchen towel around the cake pan, keeping it there for 30 seconds, or until the cake loosens and slide the pan off.
Remove the parchment (and bottom of pan if using a springform). Top with a serving plate and turn the cake right side up. Return to the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
9. While the cake is in the freezer, make the whipped cream. Combine the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the cream is light and fluffy and holds a medium to firm peak, 2 to 3 minutes.
10. Just prior to serving, pipe the whipped cream into mounds around the outer edge of the cake, making sure the mounds touch so that no pineapple sauce leaks down the top. Place a maraschino cherry on top of each whipped cream mound.
11. Fill in the space in the middle with the pineapple topping and top with chopped walnuts. A hot, dry knife will yield the cleanest cuts. Dip your knife in a glass of hot water, wipe it clean with a towel, and cut a slice. Repeat between every slice. Store leftover slices in airtight containers (or covered with parchment paper and foil) in the freezer.
Note: If you are making homemade ice cream, your best bet is to time the assembly so that you can add the freshly-churned ice cream right onto the cake. It will be the perfect consistency. If you will be using already-made ice cream, put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before you plan to need it and then mix it really well with a spatula so that it is smooth and spreadable.
After work the day before the BBQ, I pulled the cake out of the freezer to check on it and saw this:
My dad had accidentally left two heavy WARM ice packs on top of the parchment paper layer of cake the night before, and the packs had melted the already soft ice cream and pushed it down, causing the top layer to get a little foamy and spill out the sides of the pan. My 4 days of work leading up to that had been ruined. I could only think of one thing to say, but it was already too late. After a good hour of wanting to take a wrecking ball to my kitchen, I calmed down tried to figure out how to salvage the cake. I re-froze the cake, and then scraped off as much as I could of the vanilla layer without breaking the chocolate sauce layer. I put another layer of parchment paper down and froze it for a few hours. I reapplied the vanilla ice cream layer, put another layer of parchment down and froze it overnight. The next morning, I made the whipped cream and piped it on to the cake, and filled the top with the pineapple sauce.
The cake layers definitely weren’t as perfect as I had hoped, but there was no time to start the cake over. Thankfully, Sho-Yu is definitely not a crowd to judge based on appearances as we tend to just inhale sweets however imperfect they may look.
I do think Crystal was a happy camper with the cake, and there were no leftovers which is always a good sign.
Summer is officially in full swing, though this sadly also means we are well into bikini season. The good news is that summer months bring in cherries, peaches, plums, and more wonderful fruit, and while I should be working out a lot so I can hit the beach, I’ve really just doing a lot more baking and eating.
In preparation for the coming of stone fruit season, I took a baking class on cobblers, crisps, crumbles, and buckles back in April. We had a potluck dinner for the Kawasaki twins’ birthdays at the end of the month, but the aforementioned fruits from my local grocery stores weren’t quite ripe yet. I decided to make a crumble featuring strawberries instead. I prepped everything in advance and assembled and baked it at Kelli‘s.
I forgot to take photo of finished Strawberry Crumble with the ice cream on top, so the above is the closest thing I have. Here’s the recipe!
3/4 C flour
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C almond or hazelnut flour
1/4 C sugar
1 C old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 sticks butter, cold and cubed
1. Place the flours, sugars, and butter in a food processor and pulse until pea sized clumps form.
2. Fold in the oats.
3. Place on a baking sheet and freeze until butter is cold.
1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
4 C strawberries
1 T flour
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 C freshly squeezed orange juice
1. Toss the strawberries, sugar, and the orange zest together in a large bowl.
2. In a measuring cup, dissolve the flour in the orange juice and then mix it into the fruit.
3. Pour into ramekins about 2/3 full, or in an 8×11 pan if making a bigger one.
4. Add crumble topping on top.
5. Bake at 350ºF for 12-15 minutes until bubbly (50 minutes if using an 8×11 pan).
The great thing about crumbles is that they are quick to make and pretty much foolproof. For those that turn the simplest of recipes into culinary disasters, the crumble is perfect for you. You’re essentially just tossing some fresh fruit in some sugar, tossing the crumble on top, and popping it in the oven! You don’t need to be precise with measurements or too pretentious with presentation. You also can make as little or as much filling as you want and save the crumble topping for later. I froze the leftover topping from the twins’ birthday and ended up using some for a couple mugs of cherry crumble for Kevin and I a few weekends ago using the first batch of gorgeous cherries I saw at the market. Easy! Here’s the cherry filling recipe:
1/2 C sugar
6 C fresh cherries, pitted
2 T flour
1. Whisk flour and sugar together and then toss in fruit.
2. Add crumble topping.
3. Bake at 325ºF for 10 minutes.
4. Top with lots of ice cream!
Fingers crossed all of the basketball Sho-Yu has been playing lately will negate all of the sweets!
Kevin and I hosted a fun Saturday evening in Los Feliz for Tony and Julie a few weekends ago, basking in the warm afternoon sun cocktail in-hand on the outdoor patio of Katsuya at the Americana followed by a fun four-course homemade dinner courtesy of Kevin and yours truly.
Apologies in advance for the poor photo quality and plating, as I used my phone’s camera and only briefly had the food on a plate before we shoveled it down our throats. Classy bunch, I know. No time for fluff and positioning when there was food to be eaten!
To start, we put together a simple cheese and charcuterie board with Supreme brie (my fav), a gouda-cheddar blend, red wine (chianti) salami from Trader Joe’s, and a Trader Joe’s prosciutto (my absolut fav storebought prosciutto). We threw in some granny smith apple slices, and wheat and flax crackers. Tony apparently is a big chocolate beer guy, so Kevin decided to pick up a couple of chocolate stouts for the boys to try.
For the second course, we made a simple arugula salad topped with homemade candied walnuts, julienne fuji apple, and shaved (not grated!) parmesan cheese, all drizzled over with a homemade brown sugar balsamic vinaigrette (1/4 C balsamic vinegar, 1 chopped shallot, 1/2 C olive oil, 2 tsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp fine black pepper – whisked together and sitting for at least an hour).
For the entree, we did a wheat rotini pasta dish with simple grilled shrimp, pan-friend kale, and Trader Joe’s sundried tomato. We also added a touch of Trader Giotto’s Organic Vodka sauce to add a little bit of moisture to the dish – Kevin’s genius idea.
And now for the real subject matter of this post – dessert! I wanted to make something that we could make and eat right away, rather than the types of things I typically make in advance (i.e., cupcakes, cookies, bars, etc.). Also, baking at Kevin’s means either needing to be self-sufficient as far as not needing the typical tools and machinery goes, or bringing all the machinery myself. We settled on a vanilla poached pear recipe (below) as adapted from one I found on Smitten Kitchen.
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
4-5 slightly-under-ripe, fragrant, medium pears, peeled if desired, halved though the stem and cored (I used Bosc)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into the sugar.
2. Arrange the pears in a large baking dish, cut-side up. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the fruit, then sprinkle with the sugar. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit (I first slit my halves lengthwise into quarters). Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with some butter.
3. Roast the pears for minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. Turn the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes longer. A paring knife poked into the thickest part of one should meet with no resistance.
4. Serve warm, spooned with the caramelized pear drippings from the pan over vanilla ice cream.
I LOVED this recipe – it’s a nice light dessert that I could eat probably every day. When (not “if”) I make this again, I might substitute the white sugar for a little less than the same amount of brown sugar just to get a little more of a molassesy-sticky texture to the glaze. MMM