shortly after telling janel that i'm writing a food blog with my friend MV, she actually read it. the idea of making raspberry lambic ice cream got stuck in her head when she read a beer cooking article by MV.
"it's so red!" she said, sounding like it's our mission to make this rosy red beer ice cream. however the original recipe had gelatin. janel is vegetarian so bone marrow-based gelatin was a big no-no. "gelatin in your ice cream?! that's not very 'cream' at all." over a series of conversations, we planned to modify the ice cream recipe, using our previous knowledge and attempts of ice cream-making.
we decided to make a 'true' cream based lambic ice cream, bypassing the use of gelatin. here's what we came up with:
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 ounce raspberry puree (frozen or fresh. we used frozen.)
- 1/2 cup (more give than take) framboise lambic beer
- makes 1/2 quart in a cuisinart ice cream maker
"don't worry," i said as i poured while she ran around the corner. "well, i'll be the one covered in lambic and raspberry guts," i said while blending. and of course, not bad happened. and a good thing too... i hate to ruin my favorite western shirt. the non-explosive raspberry puree was placed in the freezer. i just like scaring her.
"shouldn't we strain the seeds out of the puree," questions janel.
"what? we'll lose the crunch and texture," i rebutted. she gave me a look of 'are you crazy? it's your fault if the ice cream sucks.'
next we needed to build the cream base. janel cracked the eggs and juggled the yolks out from the whites into a bowl. we added a spoon of sugar while beating the eggs which we set aside.
for the cream, janel suggested a double boiler technique to prevent over cooking. we took a large pot filled with water and let it boil. in a smaller pot which will float on top of the boiling water, we added all our milk, cream and sugar. we slightly simmered the cream. with the medium hot cream, janel slowly poured half into the eggs while i stirred the mixture. the cream can't be too hot otherwise the eggs will cook. once the cream and eggs are incorporated together, pour that egg/cream mixture back into the small pot with the remaining cream. now you have the bases of the custard. slowly stir and simmer the custard until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
with the thicken cream mixture, we had to quickly cool it and place it in the fridge. to prevent skin forming on the cream, we covered it with plastic wrap. "in france, milk skin is a delicacy," says french-blooded janel. "you spread the skin and butter on bread. it's so gross." yup, gross.
much of the hard work is done now. since i bought a really big bottle of lambic, we served ourselves a glass and toasted each other for a job well done.
while the main components of ice cream are sitting in the fridge, we played a card game of spit to pass the time. this was our first rematch since new year's. she won last time. and i'm determine to win. with her smooth confidence and reining championship spit title, she easily won the first game. "two out of three!" i whined.
"begging to lose," she replied with her hyper-competitive eyes.
in game two, i gave her a challenge. "let's check on the ice cream." she must be stressing over the possibility of losing to me. i agreed. the components were still warm so we continued the game of spit and wits. some time passed. this second round is getting intense. then, i lost. "ok, let's check if the thingies have cooled."
the ice cream components were indeed cold. we took them out of the fridge and stirred the two together. the rosy bright red puree swirled into the yellowish cream. the properly mixed "ice cream" is slowly poured into the ice cream maker. there's nothing like the noise of making ice cream. it's basically a loud motor noise. we stood around the kitchen chatting. "we should make a syrup!" said janel, looking at the leftover lambic.
"sure. that would be great." we poured the remaining lambic into a small pot. we heated the lambic with about 1/2 cup of sugar until it reduced. after thirty minutes, the ice cream was ready and the warm syrup was cooling in the freezer. "i'm feeling a hungry. should we save the ice cream for dessert?" i asked janel. she mildly agreed, looking as if she wanted to eat the ice cream first. we packed the ice cream into a contain and hide it in the freezer.
we combed through her pile of menus for places around her apartment. but nothing seemed to interest us. so we walked out into the cold and headed downtown. we eventually settled to eat at le colonial where i order a pan-seared salmon in curry while janel order sea bass steamed in banana leaves. both were good. dinner ended with former sf mayor willie brown coming into the restaurant greeting diners at the table next to us. he noticed that i was looking at him. he says "hi. how are you?" and i replied a respectful nod.
we quickly walked back to the ice cream. we warmed to two scoops of raspberry lambic ice cream that was dressed with fresh raspberries and blackberries. we dripped the lambic syrup over the fruits and ice cream. our version of the ice cream is much more pinkish than the rosy red gelatin version MV made. i think it's due to hers gelatin vs. our full cream base. we brought the ice cream to the table and continued another round of spit. the silky tasting ice cream was creamy and bursting with strong raspberries. however light on the lambic. maybe i like that fuller robust taste of alcohol in my food. the seeds did give it a crunch and texture which janel liked. she retracted her ealier comment about the seeds. from the look of her expression, she enjoyed her ice cream along with the taste of victory.