Citrus Beet Ice Cream {Recipe} {Ice Cream Week}

It’s Ice Cream Week here at Of Cabbages and King Cakes! Five days devoted to everyone’s favorite summer treat. Today’s theme is “Fruits of the Summer”, which I have loosely interpreted to include one of my favorite farmer’s market finds: red beets.

This is a really easy recipe to put together. Roasting the beets is the most time-consuming part, and it’s mostly hands off. After trimming and cleaning the beets, you wrap them in foil and roast them until tender.

The most striking thing about this recipe is the color: it’s this amazing, not-at-all-natural-looking fuchsia.

And as for the ice cream itself…

It was surprisingly good, especially with a little chocolate syrup. The beet flavor really came through and, combined with the citrus, made this ice cream both bright and earthy.

Citrus Beet Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 4 medium red beets
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Trim stems and roots from beets. Wash beets and pat dry with paper towel. Wrap beets in heavy duty aluminum foil and roast directly on center rack in oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil package from oven. Squeeze beets. They should give a bit but still be somewhat firm. If necessary, return beets to oven and roast until done.
  2. Unwrap beets and allow to cool until cool enough to handle. Rub beets to remove skins, then dice beets and place in food processor.
  3. Zest the orange and add to food processor. Juice orange and add this, along with 1/4 cup additional orange juice, to food processor. Process mixture until smooth.
  4. Add sour cream, sugar, and half-and-half and process until smooth and completely combined.
  5. Press base through a fine mesh sieve into medium bowl. Cover bowl and refrigerate until well chilled, preferably overnight.
  6. Process base in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Serve with drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Makes about 1 quart

I know it sounds like an odd combination, but it’s worth making, if only for the color.

Here’s what’s on tap for the rest of the week (links will go live on the scheduled day):

And be sure to check out the other posts for today’s theme:

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Orange-scented Olive Oil Cake {ModBak}

This week’s Modern Baker Challenge recipe from the Cakes section is one of those “but for” recipes. But for the Challenge, I would never have made this cake. As much as I love The Modern Baker and most of Nick Malgieri’s recipes, this one just didn’t jump out at me as one I had to try.

And there’s one simple reason I would have skipped this recipe:

Yes, folks, that’s 1 1/2 cups of olive oil. Like Margaret, the official Challenge blogger for this recipe, I was afraid that the olive oil would dominate the flavor of this cake and make it heavy, not to mention oily. But, like Margaret, I made it anyway.

And, like Margaret, I was pleasantly surprised.

Other than an obscene amount of olive oil, this cake contains orange zest, eggs, sugar, milk, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. The orange zest — from 3 navel oranges — is the predominant flavor in this cake.

It’s not exactly light, but it’s not heavy or oily tasting, either. As Margaret notes, it would be a good cake to serve at the end of a heavy meal, as it would stand up well to strong flavors. It was delicious plain, and would also be great served with a dollop of whipped cream and a few orange wedges.

One thing I liked about this cake was the fact that it makes 2 layers, but you serve a single layer, which means this cake could serve a crowd. Or, in my case, you end up with a cake to eat now, and another for the freezer.

So don’t fear the oil. This is really a delicious cake that is not at all heavy or greasy.

Spicy Hazelnut Biscotti {ModBak}

Today I present to you the first biscotti recipe in the Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti section of the Modern Baker Challenge. Unlike the biscotti regina I made back in January, which was actually a cookie (biscotti is, after all, “cookie” in Italian), this is what I would consider a classic biscotti recipe. It’s twice-baked, very crunchy, and made for dunking in coffee or tea.

What makes these biscotti unique is the addition of lots of spices, including some that might surprise you — ginger, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and black pepper. The dough also contains lots of hazelnuts, some of which are ground with the sugar, while the rest are chopped up and stirred into the dough. A bit of honey and orange zest round out the flavorings.

The dough came together very quickly, although it was a bit powdery after I initially mixed it up. I worked it on a floured board until it held together, then I formed it into a log, put it on a cookie sheet, and flattened the top. I baked the log at 350°F for 40 minutes, until it was firm and nicely browned.

I cooled the log on a rack for half an hour or so, then cut it into 1/2-inch slices. I put the biscotti back on the cookie sheet and returned them to the oven, this time at 325°F for about 20 minutes, until they were dry and firm.

The aroma of the spices filled the house like Christmas at grandma’s. They smelled so good, I couldn’t wait for them to cool before trying them. I brewed a cup of French roast coffee, grabbed two biscotti, and headed for the living room.

How do I describe these biscotti? Crunchy, sweet, spicy — all those things, but so much more. The combination of flavors is absolutely genius, perhaps Nick Malgieri’s finest work.

These would be a perfect for the holidays, when spicy treats are on everyone’s minds. But don’t wait until then to make them. They’re too good not to enjoy year-round.

Melting Moments {ModBak}

The next recipe in the Modern Baker Challenge is an old British cookie that Nick Malgieri describes as “little buttery orange-flavored clouds”. Now I’m all for melt-in-your-mouth goodness, which is what these cookies promised. But I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when I read the recipe and saw that the lightness in these cookies comes from cornstarch. That’s where the lightness in the meringues I made recently came from.

And like the meringues, I was worried that the melting moments cookies might have a strange, overly dry mouthfeel. The fact that the recipe called for half as much cornstarch as flour didn’t give me any comfort, either. But this was the next recipe in the Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti section, so for better or worse, I was going to make it.

In addition to the flour and cornstarch, the recipe calls for baking powder, salt, butter, confectioner’s sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange extract, and orange zest. I mixed the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Then I beat the butter and powdered sugar in the mixer until light and fluffy. After beating in the eggs, I added the orange zest and extract (I substituted fiori di sicilia for the orange extract), then beat in the flour mixture. I scooped small spoonfuls of the dough, rounded them slightly, and put them on a cookie sheet.

I baked the cookies at 325°F for 20 minutes, until they were puffed, set, and lightly golden.

The cookies smelled delicious. The orange zest and fiori di sicilia were almost intoxicating, and despite my reservations, I couldn’t wait for them to cool so I could to try them. And once I did taste them, all my fears were put to rest. They were light, crisp, and brightly flavored. And, yes, they melted in my mouth with no cornstarch aftertaste.

I’m glad I made these cookies in spite of my initial skepticism. And I’m sure I’ll be making them again.

Citrus-berry Terrine {FFwD}

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is very, very French. No, it’s not laden with butter and wine. Nor is it some ultra-fancy dish you’d expect to find in a 5-star restaurant. No, what makes this dish French is gelatin. You see, unlike Americans who grew up eating Cool Whip and fruit mixed with Jell-O and who now can’t stand the sight of anything called “Fluff”, French home cooks see unflavored gelatin as any other cupboard staple. They use it to hold together meringues or thicken mousse. And in the Summertime, they mix it with fruit juice to make refreshing, light fruit desserts, like this one.

This is one of those recipes that is meant more as a jumping off point than a set of strict instructions. With the basic gist of the recipe — citrus juice thickened with gelatin surrounding fresh berries — you could make any number of tweaks, based on your mood, what’s in season, or, as in my case, what you have in the refrigerator.

The recipe starts with instructions to make supremes of orange slices and set them aside to dry a bit, which I did.

OK, you caught me. My supremes look a little too perfect, don’t they? In my first slight departure from the recipe as printed, I drained a can of mandarin oranges, rinsed off the syrup, and dried them on paper towels. I couldn’t see taking the time to make supremes when I had pre-supremed oranges in the cupboard. I didn’t have any grapefruit, canned or otherwise, so I left those out of the recipe.

The next step was to soften two packets of unflavored gelatin in water. I had recently been to the bulk food store, and I bought powdered gelatin there, so that’s what I used. There was a sign on the bin indicating that one tablespoon of bulk gelatin equalled one packet of gelatin. I would come to find out that this was not the correct proportion (it should have been 2 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin), but more on that later.

While the gelatin softened, I mixed two cups of orange juice with a small amount of sugar and brought them to a boil. In the time it took the sugar and juice to boil, the gelatin coagulated — my first clue that something was amiss with my proportions. Rather than mix the juice into the gelatin in the bowl, I ended up scraping the gelatin into the saucepan and heating it until it softened up.

The recipe says to put the juice mixture in the fridge for about two hours, stirring occasionally, until it firms up a bit and has the consistency of egg whites. I forgot to stir the juice  mixture, and after about 1 1/2 hours, it was completely firm, like set Jell-O. This was when I knew the measurement for the gelatin must have been off. Undeterred, I took the mixture out of the refrigerator and beat it with a whisk until it broke up as much as it was going to; then I mixed in the fruit.

At this point, I knew things had gone way off track, and I had no idea if the mixture would reset and hold together or if I would be eating it out of the pan with a spoon. But it tasted fine, so I decided to chance it. I spread the mixture in a loaf pan, covered it with plastic wrap (which I used to press it into the pan as tightly as I could), and put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day, I took the pan out of the refrigerator, anxious to see what sort of disaster I had created. I unmolded the terrine onto a platter, and to my surprise, it held together.

Granted, it didn’t look as pretty as the one Nancy made a while ago, but I was impressed that it came out as nice as it did. (Oh, and by the way, the Vintage 10 1/4 x 3 5/8-inch pan she talks about in her post is the same size pan I used for my terrine. Nancy found a bunch of these pans at a sale and was kind enough to send me one.)

So, how was it? Was I able to overcome my potluck fluff nightmares and actually enjoy this gelée? In a delicious word, yes.

The terrine was light, cool, and fruity, perfect for the sweltering Summer weather we’ve been experiencing. And frankly, good enough to make anytime of the year with whatever fruits are available.

This is definitely a recipe that surprised me. I thought it would be OK, but really expected nothing more than a Jell-O salad. It was so much better than that, but every bit as easy to make. This is a recipe I am certain to make again and again, with different juices and fruits. And unflavored gelatin will take the place of the sugary, artificially colored and flavored boxes of Jell-O in my cupboard.

Neapolitan Easter Pie {ModBak}

After the simple and stunning chocolate orange hazelnut tart, the next recipe I made from the Sweet Tarts & Pies section of the Modern Baker Challenge was Neapolitan Easter pie. I really wasn’t all that excited to make this one, and Margaret’s lack of enthusiasm when she made it didn’t help matters any.

The recipe called for white wheat berries, which is an ingredient I don’t keep in my panty and didn’t want to buy just for this pie. The instructions give several substitutions for the wheat berries, one of which is rice. I happened to be making basmati rice for dinner the night before I made the pie, so I made some extra rice to use in the pie.

The recipe also calls for pastry cream and provides instructions to make it. Given my lack of enthusiasm for this recipe, I decided to take a shortcut and use pastry cream mix from King Arthur Flour. Although, truth be told, I almost always use the King Arthur mix when a recipe calls for pastry cream. It’s quick and easy to mix up, and it’s absolutely delicious.

After making the pasty cream, I whisked in ricotta cheese, sugar, and eggs, then stirred in orange flower water, candied orange peel, and the rice. I scraped the filling into a crust made with sweet tart dough.

I topped the pie with strips of dough arranged in a lattice pattern.

Yeah, that cinnamon was supposed to go on top of the pie before the crust

 I baked the pie at 350°F for about 40 minutes, until the crust was baked through and the filling set and slightly puffed up.

It smelled good coming out of the oven and reminded me of a custard pie my mom used to make when I was younger.

I enjoyed the pie more than I thought I might. The flavor was similar to custard pie, and the orange peel and flower water added a bright, citrus note. The rice gave it a texture similar to rice pudding and helped the filling hold up well to the crust. It was especially good served just a little on the warm side (the same way I like my pudding).

So, overall, this pie was a pleasant surprise. That said, I doubt that I’ll make it again. Unless, perhaps, one of my daughters dates an Italian guy. And I’ve got a few years before I need to worry about that. Not enough. But a few.

Nut Tart Dough {ModBak}

The Sweet Tarts & Pies section of The Modern Baker includes three dough recipes: sweet tart dough, chocolate nut dough, and press-in cookie dough. This recipe is a variation of the sweet tart dough, and even though it’s not an official Modern Baker Challenge recipe, I found it interesting enough to merit its own post.

This dough calls for the same ingredients as the sweet tart dough — flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, butter, eggs, and water — with the addition of 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. Since I was making this dough for the chocolate orange hazelnut tart, I naturally used hazelnuts in the crust.

I began by mixing sugar and chopped hazelnuts in the food processor, then adding the rest of the dry ingredients.

I blended in the butter, then added an egg, egg yolk, and water and pulsed until the dough held together in a ball.

I preshaped the dough into disks, then wrapped and refrigerated the dough for a few hours before rolling it out and pressing it into tart pans.

This dough makes a really delicious crust. It wasn’t quite as flaky as the regular sweet tart dough, but it was still rich, buttery, and had additional flavor from the hazelnuts.

I will definitely use this crust the next time I make the chocolate orange hazelnut tart. And I might even try it for some of the other tarts in this section.

Roasted Rhubarb {FFwD}

OK, so I’ve been AWOL from French Fridays with Dorie for a while now. I took most of April and all of May off, and I thought it might be time to get back in the game. And this recipe seemed like a good place to start.

To say I’m not a fan of rhubarb would be an understatement. I’ve often wondered how hungry someone had to be to first eat rhubarb. And having been poisoned by the leaves, what possessed them to try again? But to my great surprise, I recently found a rhubarb recipe that I liked — my late mother-in-law’s rhubarb pie.

Flush with my success with baking — and enjoying — rhubarb, I thought I would try my hand at Dorie’s recipe for roasted rhubarb. This recipe is quick and easy. I began by slicing fresh rhubarb.

I put the rhubarb in a baking dish, sprinkled it with sugar and orange zest, and tossed it all together.

I covered the pan and roasted the rhubarb until it was tender and the sugar had dissolved into a syrup. I served the rhubarb warm with whipped cream for a weeknight dessert.

The verdict? Well, let’s put it this way: other than Mom Hartzler’s pie, I’m still not a rhubarb fan. Despite all the sugar, the rhubarb was quite sour. And I’m not sure additional sugar would have helped. There just wasn’t enough flavor in this recipe to make up for the underlying bitterness of the rhubarb. My wife, who loves rhubarb pie, didn’t care for it either.

It’s good to be back on the FFwD wagon. And even though this recipe wasn’t a big hit here, we have loved most of what I’ve made from Dorie’s book. And I’m looking forward to making more.

Chocolate Orange Hazelnut Tart {ModBak}

 

The 12th recipe in the Sweet Tarts & Pies section of The Modern Baker is one that Sara couldn’t wait to make. And having tried it, I can see why. This is one of those recipes that will make a master pastry chef out of you — at least in the eyes of your family and friends. And it’s one of the recipes that proves what a master Nick Malgieri is at his craft. Not only does he create amazing recipes, he writes them in a way that makes them easy to follow with stunning results.

I began by heating cream and sugar in a pan. Once the sugar had dissolved, I whisked in butter, then removed the pan from the heat and added bittersweet chocolate. I let the mixture sit for a minute, then whisked the chocolate and cream together.

In a separate bowl, I whisked together eggs, orange zest, and dark rum, then whisked in the chocolate. I poured the filling into a crust made from nut tart dough, then scattered chopped toasted hazelnuts on top.

I baked the tart in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes, until the crust was baked through and the filling set. I cooled the tart, then prepared a bittersweet chocolate and butter mixture to drizzle on the top. The recipe says to melt the butter and chocolate together, then put it in a cone or bag to drizzle on the tart.

I put the unmelted chocolate and butter in a ziplock bag, then put it in the microwave to melt them together.

I squished the bag to mix the chocolate and butter, then snipped of the corner of the bag. It was easy to drizzle the chocolate mixture on top of the tart, and it gave it a professional, finished look.

 

This tart is delicious — rich, chocolately, not too sweet — and the orange and rum give it a great depth of flavor. And who doesn’t love hazelnuts?

If you don’t have Nick’s book yet, this tart is reason enough to buy it. Bake this tart and take it to your next dinner party or family get-together. I guarantee it will be a showstopper. It’s so simple to make, you’ll be almost embarrassed when everyone carries on about what a great baker you are.

Almost.

Scallops in Caramel-orange Sauce {FFwD}

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe looks and sounds like just the sort of haute cuisine you’d expect in a French cookbook. But in fact it’s surprisingly simple and straightforward.

Like the semolina cake, this recipe starts with a simple caramel syrup. And like the cake, you have to be really careful not to burn the sugar when making the caramel sauce.

Two tablespoons of sugar isn’t a lot, and once it starts to liquefy, it can quickly go from melted to burnt. So I had my wine and orange standing by, and added them as soon as the sugar was melted and well-colored. I cooked the mixture down until it was a deep amber and had reduced by about half.

I set the caramel sauce aside while I made the scallops. This part of the recipe surprised me. I rarely cook seafood at home, and I always think that it is an involved process. In this case, the scallops couldn’t have been quicker or easier. After heating olive oil in a pan, I added the scallops, seasoned them with salt and white pepper, and cooked them for two minutes on each side.

I plated the scallops with the warm caramel sauce and some peas for a simple, yet elegant dinner.

This was another wonderful dish from Around My French Table. It wasn’t as sweet as I expected, and unlike Dorie, I found the scallops — rather than the caramel — to be the star. I probably wouldn’t have chosen this recipe on my own, but I’m glad I tried it. I’m not sure I’ll make it again, but if nothing else, it reminded me of how easy and delicious scallops can be.

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