Dreamy Creamy Strawberry Ice Cream

Okay, it’s really strawberry sour cream ice cream.  But wait!  Don’t you dare go running away or turn up your nose in disgust at the inclusion of sour cream in this recipe.  Believe me, when I first read the recipe title I thought, “Ew, gross!” and moved right along.  But recently I have seen this mentioned a few times around the blogosphere with great reviews and so I gave it a second look.  I’ve already come to adore the use of sour cream in baking.  It makes the best blueberry scones ever, and makes an amazing chocolate cake (I need to share that one soon – it seems a crime not to!)  Why should it not be magnificent in ice cream?  I’ll admit I was still a bit skeptical while I was making the recipe but after taking that first small taste fresh out of the ice cream maker, all those thoughts fell away.  It is ripe with intense strawberry flavor and the sour cream makes it super creamy while keeping it from being overly sweet.  Truth be told, in a blind taste test I would never have even known sour cream was one of the ingredients.  What I do know is that this is for sure the best strawberry ice cream I have had.  Plus, I’m a sucker for anything this pretty shade of pink.

Thanks for celebrating National Ice Cream Month with me!  I’ve already got tons of fun ideas brewing for next year, though I probably won’t be able to wait that long to try most of them 🙂  In case you missed them, here is a recap of the other flavors I featured this month:

Pistachio Gelato
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream
Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Dreamy Creamy Strawberry Ice Cream
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1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced*
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp. vodka or kirsch (optional)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the sliced strawberries in a medium bowl with the sugar and vodka.  Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a blender or food processor and add the sour cream, heavy cream and lemon juice.  Pulse briefly until almost smooth but still slightly chunky.  Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

*Note: I highly recommend using organic strawberries for this recipe.  The flavor is worlds better than their more artificial counterparts.

Source: barely adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Berry Crostatas

As I mentioned last week, I’m really trying to enjoy summer to the fullest rather than spend it waiting for fall.  For me, one thing this has meant is eating copious amounts of fresh berries.  I mean, they are gorgeous, healthy, delicious and portable – how can anyone resist them?  I certainly can’t, especially in the form of these mixed berry crostatas (well, there goes the healthy part.)  This is a very low maintenance dessert and great for entertaining in a pinch.  Have the dough ready in the freezer or the fridge, and use whatever fruit you have on hand to make a spectacular ending to any meal.  The jewel tones of the mixed berries are so rich, this dessert is both beautiful to look at and to eat.  When made as instructed (four crostatas), the final product is really too big to be a personalized dessert.  I ended up serving them to be split between couples so it worked out in the end, but next time I’ll divide the dough into six or seven portions to get something more manageable for an individual guest.

Mixed Berry Crostatas
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1 cup sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
4 tbsp. ice water
1-1½ cups berries (I used blueberries, blackberries and raspberries)

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp. milk

To make the crust, combine ½ cup of the sugar with the flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Mix briefly to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and the largest butter pieces are the size of peas.  (This can also be done with a food processor or by hand with a pastry cutter.)  Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together.  Form into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.  Form each into a ball.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough piece into ¼-inch thick rounds.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.  Add about ¼ cup of berries into the center of each dough round, leaving a 1½-inch border around the edge.  Fold the edges up around the fruit, pinching as needed to keep the dough in place.  Generously sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top of the fruit.  Brush the edges of the crusts evenly with the egg wash.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the crust is light golden brown.  Cool for no more than 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to serving plates.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream as desired.

Source: adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

A few months ago I was thinking about various foods and recipes I wanted to try, and I was struck by a sudden blast of inspiration – blueberry cinnamon rolls.  I’d never had them before or even heard of them before, but as soon as I imagined them, I knew they would be amazing.  I’m not going to lie, I was pretty proud of my idea until a few days later when I saw blueberry cinnamon rolls appear on another blog.  Of course I realize now plenty of people have surely made these before me, but I’m still excited about them anyway.

Since I already have a basic cinnamon roll recipe that I love, I decided to tweak it only slightly to get my desired end result.  The only real changes I made were to cut the amount of cinnamon-sugar filling, add the blueberries (duh) and make the glaze thinner and more lemony.

I’m happy to report that these were even better than I was hoping for.  Blueberries really seem to take on new magical properties after being cooked or baked and I can’t resist them!  The beautiful purple color and the juices are so delectable that I didn’t get too upset when, upon biting into one, berry juice squirted on both my cute top and shorts forcing me to change outfits about 10 minutes after getting dressed the first time.

Work them into your weekend plans.  You will be so glad you did!

PS – Andrew loved them.

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls
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Yield: 8-12 large cinnamon rolls or 12-16 smaller rolls
For the cinnamon rolls:
6½ tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
5½ tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. lemon zest
3½ cups bread flour
2 tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 cup plus 2-4 tbsp. whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature

For the filling:
3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
1½ cups fresh blueberries

For the glaze:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
6-7 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. lemon zest

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, salt and butter on medium-high speed until smooth.  Mix in the egg and lemon zest until incorporated.  Mix in the flour, yeast and milk until a dough forms.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed, about 8 minutes until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky.  (You may need to add a little extra flour or liquid to achieve this texture.)  Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Mist a work surface with spray oil.  Roll it out into a rectangle with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the dough with flour if needed to keep it from sticking (about 12 x 14 inches for larger rolls or 9 x 18 inches for smaller rolls).  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to blend.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the surface of the dough.  Sprinkle the berries over the top evenly of the dough.  Starting with the wide edge, roll up the dough into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon sugar spiral as you roll.  Pinch the seam shut, and with the seam side down, slice the log into your desired number of rolls.  Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, placing the rolls about ½-1 inch apart.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 75-90 minutes, until the rolls have grown into each other and have nearly doubled in size.  At this point, the rolls can also be covered and retarded in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Pull the pan out of the refrigerator 3-4 hours before baking to let the dough proof.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool in the baking about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.  Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth and then swirl over the top of the cinnamon rolls.  Let cool at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

It seems somewhere along the way I blinked my eyes and I have finished my first year of residency.  Wow, that was fast!  I measured the year not in 525,600 minutes (sorry, couldn’t resist), but in batches of birthday cupcakes – to be exact.  It has been so much fun playing cupcake fairy for everyone, and seeing how excited everyone gets when “it’s cupcake day!”  These double chocolate raspberry cupcakes were my last batch of birthday cupcakes for the academic year.  A wonderful choice by a wonderful coworker, I was thrilled to make them and even more so to eat them.  If you’ve been reading for a while you may recall that I have another chocolate raspberry cupcake recipe posted but as far as I’m concerned, you can’t have too many.  This one uses a homemade raspberry filling where the other uses jam and these are topped with ganache while the others have a raspberry jam buttercream.  One thing I did keep consistent was the garnish of a ganache-filled raspberry.  It’s a sweet little surprise I just can’t resist.

I thought it would be fun to look back on all the different kinds of treats we enjoyed this past year.  Not everyone chose cupcakes, and some cupcakes were repeats due to popular demand.  I’m already looking forward to whatever flavors of cupcakes this new year will bring!

Strawberry Cupcakes
Carrot Cupcakes

Fauxstess Cupcakes

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
Banana Caramel Cupcakes
Apple Pie Cupcakes
Mocha Brownie Cupcakes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
Pina Colada Cupcakes
S’mores Cupcakes
Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
Black Forest Cupcakes
German Chocolate Cupcakes
Perfect Party Cupcakes with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Easy Vanilla Buttercream
Pecan Bars
Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes (again)
Chocolate Whiskey Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (again)
Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes
Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
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24-28 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
1¼ tsp. salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups buttermilk
¾ tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch

For the frosting:
12 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup heavy cream
1½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tbsp. corn syrup
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl; add the hot coffee and let stand a minute or two, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs on medium-high speed until slightly thickened and pale yellow.  Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, mixing until well blended.  Add the dry ingredients and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the raspberry filling, puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan to remove the seeds.  Whisk in the sugar and cornstarch, and heat, stirring frequently until the mixture boils.  Once it has thickened, remove the pan from the heat.  Chill before using.

Meanwhile, make the ganache.  Add the chopped chocolate to a medium heatproof bowl.  In a saucepan combine the cream, corn syrup and sugar.  Heat until just boiling.  Immediately pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate and let stand a few minutes to melt.  Whisk in small circular motions until the mixture is smooth and blended, then whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated.  Let the mixture stand at room temperature to thicken slightly, so it can be piped or spread.

To assemble the cupcakes, place the raspberry filling in a pastry bag.  (I used a tip specifically for injecting fillings, but a plain tip is fine too.  This cake is soft enough that you can just stick the tip into the top of the cupcake and pipe away.)  Pipe a few teaspoons of filling into each cupcake.  Spread the ganache over the tops of the cupcakes.  If desired, pipe excess ganache inside fresh raspberries and place on top of the frosted cupcakes (be sure to do this before the frosting sets.)  Allow to set completely before serving.

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Gourmet, March 1999

Lemon White Chocolate Mousse Berry Parfaits

I just couldn’t let the Fourth of July pass without making some sort of red, white and blue dessert.  In case you are still looking for ideas, this one is easy and beautiful.  Layers of lemon mousse, fresh berries and white chocolate mousse are stacked in whatever serving dish you choose.  I haven’t always been a lemon lover and even though I now like a lot of lemon desserts, lemon curd still grosses me out.  I was super skeptical even after folding the curd into the whipped cream and taking a tiny sample taste.  But something magical must have happened in the time the desserts were chilling in the fridge.  I suppose the flavors needed time to meld.  When I served them, I ate mine in record time.  The white chocolate mousse was of course my favorite component, but the spoonful containing a little bit of each layer was fantastic.  The flavors are so bright, and the light texture makes this perfect for summer.

Here’s the other great thing about this dessert – it’s very adaptable.  If you dislike lemon even more than I do, skip that part of the recipe and melt double the amount of white chocolate you melt.  If you aren’t crazy about white chocolate or are a serious lemon lover, make twice the amount of lemon curd so you can do all lemon mousse.  Personally I’ll continue to make it with both types of mousse because the layering of flavors was just right.  Enjoy!

Lemon White Chocolate Mousse and Berry Parfaits
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8 servings

5 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
4 tsp. lemon zest
Pinch of salt
¼ cup plus 2 2/3 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
3.5 oz. good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
4-5 cups assorted berries (I used sliced strawberries and blueberries)

To make the lemon curd, combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers about 170˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the curd (this prevents it from forming a skin.)  Cool until the mixture is at least at room temperature.

Meanwhile, combine ¼ cup of the heavy cream in a heatproof bowl with the white chocolate.  Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Once both the lemon curd and white chocolate mixtures have cooled, beat the remaining heavy cream in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.  Once the cream is fully whipped, divide the mixture between the two bowls with the lemon curd and the melted white chocolate.  Gently fold the whipped cream into each until well incorporated, smooth and no streaks remain.

Layer the lemon mousse and white chocolate mousse as desired in serving dishes with berries between the layers.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally from Bon Appetit, April 2009

Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart

It may not be true of everyone, but most people eat with their eyes first.  This is why I prefer cookbooks that have a picture for every recipe.  Despite my best efforts, I sometimes skip over perfectly lovely recipes because there is no picture to make me realize their potential.  Thankfully this recipe was a recent choice for Tuesdays With Dorie, and after seeing it on blog after blog I couldn’t wait to try it.  I’ve made several desserts combining chocolate and raspberries before, but I don’t think you can ever have too many.  This tart is wonderful for many reasons – rich and chocolatey studded with gorgeous ruby red berries, simple to make yet impressive to look at even without a garnish.  I’m very glad to have it in my repertoire because it is suitable for so many occasions.  Enjoy!

Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart
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For the crust:
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. very cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

For the filling:
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2½ tbsp. sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 cup (6 oz.) fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried

To make the crust, in a small bowl stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside.  Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas.  Add the egg mixture and beat on low speed just until the dough comes together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  When you are ready to roll out the dough, unwrap it and place it on a lightly floured work surface.  Roll out with a floured rolling pin, lifting and turning the dough occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the work surface.  Roll it out evenly until it is large enough to line a 9-inch tart pan and is about 1/8-inch thick.  Carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan, pressing it into the sides, and trim to remove the excess.

Cover the dough with foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and baking beads and using a fork, gently poke holes in the bottom and sides of the crust.  Bake until the crust is golden, 5-10 minutes more.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚ F.  Place the tart pan on a baking sheet.

Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Add the chocolate to the bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted.  Remove from the heat.  Meanwhile, bring the cream and the butter just to a boil.

Pour the cream-butter mixture over the chocolate and let stand 30 seconds.  Whisk together gently until smooth and well combined.  Then stir in the sugar, eggs and egg yolk.  Rap the bowl against the counter gently to break any bubbles that might have formed.

Scatter the berries over the bottom of the crust, then pour the chocolate mixture over the berries.  Bake for about 30 minutes, so that the filling does not jiggle if you tap the pan.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Source: crust from Williams Sonoma, filling from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Strawberry Scones

It seems I’ve been making scones like they are going out of style, but I assure you they are not.  They’re just so delicious and convenient when you bake straight from the freezer and have a warm, fresh scone for breakfast.  Strawberries can be a finicky fruit in baking because with their high water content, they can produce very soggy baked goods.  These scones are one way to get around that problem.  When you flash freeze them and then bake from the freezer, you know you’ll be eating a light and fluffy scone with juicy berries that don’t have time to get soggy because they go from freezer to oven to belly.  Of course you are welcome to bake them immediately after the dough is made and shaped, but if they aren’t eaten within a couple of hours, they will get soggy.

Strawberry Scones
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1 large egg
¼ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
½ cup milk
1 tsp. orange or lemon zest
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 heaping cup diced fresh strawberries

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, milk and citrus zest until blended; set aside.  In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Pulse briefly to blend.  Add the butter pieces to the bowl with the dry ingredients and pulse several times to cut the butter into the flour, until the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas.  (If you don’t have a food processor, you can just as easily mix up the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives or forks.)  Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add the strawberries to the flour mixture and toss to coat.  Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and gently fold together with a fork or spatula until a sticky dough has formed.  Knead just a few times to ensure that all the dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough is cohesive.  (Only if absolutely necessary, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time to hydrate the remaining dry ingredients.)

Transfer the dough to a well floured work surface and pat into a disc about 7-8 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.  Slice the disc into 8 wedges.

To bake the scones, preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.  Place the shaped scones on the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes before serving.

To freeze, transfer the baking sheet with the shaped scones to the freezer and let them chill until they are firm, 30-60 minutes.  Wrap the scones individually and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to bake.  Bake as originally indicated, adding a few minutes to the baking time (usually about 18-20 minutes for me.)

Source: adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally from Good Things Catered