Friday, August 5, 2011

The Ice Cream Challenge!

In the past few weeks, Connecticut, like many parts of the country have been suffering from triple-digit heat.  During summer heat waves, nothing is more satisfying than a food frozen treat like ice cream.  As a gourmet, the typical vanilla and chocolate flavors were a bit redundant.  With a motive to find a contemporary twist, I asked members of a food forum where I regularly contribute for exotic ideas on ice cream.  After trying nearly one dozen flavors, these two have stood out.  Judging was based on simplicity, ease of ingredient access, and of course, taste.

Please click on "Read More" for recipes.

This ice cream is SO ADDICTING!  The first bite: BOOM, the thick and fudgey chocolate flavor with a slightly bitter mocha coffee taste.  But then, the ice cream begins to melt in your mouth and WHOA!   The heat of the peppers mixed with the frozen feel on your tongue is genius.  A slow and growing spice continues to build after each bite.  Once your spicy sundae is gone, you'll have to fetch a glass of water!  This ice cream is made in a traditional custard-style so it has the richest flavor and will call you back to the freezer after each bite.

Whoever thought of putting cantaloupe and vanilla together in one bite?  Well, apparently Diane K. of New Jersey did!  This is the greatest twist on the classic vanilla ice cream since Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, I swear.  When pureeing the cantaloupe, be sure to leave little bits of cantaloupe to make this a summer dream dessert. Serve in a halved cantaloupe for a beautiful presentation!  Opposed to the Chocolate Red Pepper Ice Cream, this is made in Philadelphia-Style, which means it is simply cream based without any egg yolks.  This makes this recipe significantly easy and is perfect for the beginning ice cream novice.

Dark Chocolate Spicy Red Pepper Ice Cream
Makes over ½ gallon ice cream

This ice cream is a traditional custard-style ice cream.  It must be cooked first over the stove and then cooled in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

20 oz. heavy cream
12 oz. can evaporated milk
16 oz. light cream
8 oz. dark chocolate, 60 % cacao minimum
4 oz. milk chocolate
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
¼ cup espresso or strong-brewed coffee
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 sm. Red or Green hot pepper, variety your choice (the spicier the pepper the spicier the ice cream); largely minced with the seeds
1 Tbsp. fresh ground pepper
1 ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch cinnamon

(1)    Place heavy cream, evaporated milk, and light cream in a medium heavy bottom sauce pan.  Heat on medium-low heat until warm; about 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
(2)    Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, brewed coffee, vanilla, hot pepper and spices.  Continue whisking until thick and sugar is almost dissolved; about 4 minutes.
(3)    Once cream is warmed, in a steady stream, whisk about ½ of the heated cream into egg yolk mixture.  Be certain to continuously and vigorously whisk mixture to keep eggs from cooking.
(4)    Transfer the egg and cream mixture back into the sauce pan.  Add chocolate.  Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat while stirring with a wooden spoon to keep from burning.  Cook until chocolate is melted and a cooking thermometer reads at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit but no more than 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
(5)    Cool completely and chill in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
(6)    Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturers’ directions.
(7)    Transfer to freezer until ready to serve.
(4)   Serve with fresh hot peppers and milk chocolate chips.

     Cantaloupe Vanilla Ice Cream
     Makes about ½ gallon ice cream

½ large cantaloupe, pureed
16 oz. light cream
16 oz. heavy cream
12 oz. evaporated milk
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. cardamom (optional)
Pinch nutmeg

(1)    Combine all ingredients until sugar is dissolved.
(2)    Freeze according to manufacturer’s ice cream setting.
(3)    Transfer to freezer until ready to serve
(4)    Serve in a halved cantaloupe with the seeds removed.  Drizzle agave nectar on the top.

~ Smacznego! ~

Please Note: All recipes were in fact created by Jonathan Miller, Editor in Chief of Smacznego: A Blog.  First and Second place were awarded for the flavor profile idea's.  I would also like to thank the other members of Smacznego: A Blog and other forums for their contribution to the Ice Cream Challenge.  Please continue to submit recipes and ideas to be featured to 

Stay tuned for more contest and competitions...

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