November 19, 2011

Pumpkin Ice Cream

I opened my copy of The Perfect Scoop and gasp! What? No pumpkin ice cream recipe? hmmm. Sweet potato ice cream just won't do. David Lebovitz what were you thinking not including Pumpkin Ice Cream in your book? I'm glad I wasn't the only one perplexed by this omission since you happened to post one on your blog in response to our madness...

Lebovitz has a magical way of combining cream eggs and sugar into the most delicious creamy treats. I was really happy to find a recipe he only ever so slightly changed from chef Karen DeMasco in her cookbook The Craft of Baking. You should read his blog post. It's quite witty and apparently he got some stares while walking home with a rather large but thin butternut squash (subbed squash for pumpkins).

The original recipe used canned pumpkin which I adore. I have a plethora of pumpkin recipes using canned pumpkin, and it's really my favorite. Fresh pumpkins don't usually give you the thick consistency of the canned version unless you do a lot of straining. I can never tell a difference in the end product from fresh vs canned pumpkin. That said, I decided to stick to good ole Libby's. She must have been quite the lady.

I have no idea why I never tried pumpkin ice cream until now. It seems to fit well into fall desserts and even though its cold outside, you can cozy up with a blanket and movie and enjoy some delicious spiced ice cream. Michael and I happen to do this often, and the tub of ice cream disappears at an alarming rate.

I absolutely loved this ice cream recipe. I'll be making it at least once more this winter but next time I'll have to place it on a warm slab of gingerbread cake topped with candied pecans. Yum. Good thing you can't see me drooling.

If you don't have an ice cream machine, you should at least try making the candied pecans. They are addictive and delicious and would make a great addition to your holiday cookie trays.

Pumpkin Ice Cream - David Lebovitz

Candied Pecans
1 lb Pecan halves (trader joe's are great)
1 egg white
1 T water + 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 C sugar

Preheat the oven to 250˚F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Whisk egg white until frothy and water and pour into a gallon size ziplock bag. Add in the nuts and shake to coat. In another bowl/bag combine the sugar and cinnamon and add the nuts. Make sure they are evenly coated and spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 60 minutes stirring every 15 minutes. Make sure you taste one or two after 45 minutes because they could be done then. If not, keep cooking another 10-15. Cool on tray and store in an airtight container.

November 13, 2011

Dreamy Coconut Cake

With all this Thanksgiving hubbub, I had to switch things up a bit and post something non-holiday. I love coconut. I love cake. Coconut Cake is simply irresistible and something you should try once you exit your soon-to-be-food-coma-for-a-month.... Yes, we won't stop eating for a month so get ready.

This may be one of the prettiest cakes I make. I have used sweetened shredded coconut and unsweetened flakes before, and I actually like the flakes much more. Less sugar, more flavor. I think the big flakes make it more dreamy than the tiny shreds. I like to sandwich the layers with lemon curd. It creates a nice tart balance to the sweet cake and cream cheese frosting.

Coconut Cake
2C cake flour
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 C butter
1 1/2 C sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp coconut extract (I like Flavorganics brand)
1 14oz can coconut milk, full fat not low-fat

Lemon curd (store bought or home made)
3-4 C flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray two 9" pans or grease with butter and add parchment rounds to the bottom. Grease the parchment and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add in the eggs and whip until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla and coconut and combine. Whisk the remaining ingredients. Shake up the coconut milk to combine the water and cream together. Add 1/3 of the flour mix and combine until almost all of the flour is moistened. Add 1/2 the coconut milk and repeat, ending with the flour. Spread evenly between two pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. When the cake is done it will spring back lightly when you press in the center and a cake tester will come out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pans to cool on a wire rack completely.

For the Frosting...
Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz cream cheese room temperature
1/2 C butter room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 C powdered sugar

Cream the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in vanilla. Add powdered sugar a little at a time on low speed. Once all the sugar is in, scrape the sides of the bowl and raise the speed to medium-high and beat another 5-10 minutes or until bright white and fluffy. If it seems to soft to frost, cool in the fridge for 15 minutes.

To assemble the cake...
Cut domes off the top of the cakes and cut each in half to make 4 layers. Pipe a 1/2 inch border around the edge of the cake with the frosting. Spread 1/3 C lemon curd on the bottom layer and place another cake on top. Continue to the top layer but refrain from adding the lemon curd to the top. Frost the entire cake and press flaked coconut into the sides and top until well covered. Chill to set, remove from the fridge at least 1 hour before serving.

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