|Milk & Honey|
Not just a metaphor for all things good
Believe it or not, I've actually gotten back into my cooking grove this month! I'm completely recovered from my cesarean and sitting on dozens of photographs of many yummy things. All I need to do is settle down at my laptop and do a little blogging.
Of course, that is easier said than done when you have two small children; the oldest tearing through the house as I clean up behind her and the baby pondering which end of his will feature some spectacular eruption. Then of course there is the laundry, of which I am pretty sure generates through some sort of binary fission since it is endless. How do large families keep up with that anyway!
My mother, who recently moved here from the UK and took a job in Seattle, was going help with all this and the blogging, as I mentioned some weeks ago. She was very excited about the idea of food blogging and had several excellent ideas. However, I think she realized how much work is actually involved when juggling life, diapers and mixing bowls (NOT hygienic, don't do that!) and rather than spending her vacation doing that, she took off to Spain... and then Hawaii.
(This resulted in some motherly guilt on her part. Which I will of course exploit at some future date, when I need something. Like a baby sitter on New-Year's eve or a kidney.)
She is of course still welcome to blog here any time she wishes. Perhaps that interesting Kona coffee BBQ sauce she has been perfecting lately...
Now let us abruptly transition into the food blogging part of today's post!
Today's dish is a sinfully rich honey-vanilla custard ice cream, swirled with ribbons of honey. Simple, delicate and delicious. The flavors meld in the mouth with delicate floral, vanilla, caramel notes. Good stuff. On a hot summer day try tossing a scoop into a glass of cherry soda. Really good stuff.
The type of honey you use is up to your own personal tastes. A medium to bold flavored honey is a good choice for this ice cream. Using a single source honey such as clover, orange blossom or leatherwood will allow you to play with the flavor notes of the final ice cream.
Let's get down to the recipe. Now, you will notice I served the ice cream with cookies. These are simple short-cookies, packed with orange zest and nutmeg. Since I photographed them with the ice cream, I'll include the recipe and instructions for them as well with this post.
Milk & Honey Ice Cream
Yields roughly 1 1/4 quarts
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cup honey, divided
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or 1 vanilla bean)
In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean (split and seeds removed, with seeds and pod added to the pot), salt and the 3/4 cup of the honey and bring to a bare simmer, stirring frequently over medium high heat.
Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
When the milk and cream mixture is hot, remove from heat and add one cup to the egg mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Return the egg-cream mixture to the pot and place back on the stove at medium heat.
Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to give off steam and reaches 170°F. If you don't have a thermometer handy, simply swipe your finger across the back of a spoon that has been dipped in the mixture. If the stripe left by your finger remains with clean edges, it is done. If it blurs, continue to cook until the mixture has thickened slightly and try again.
When done, remove the split vanilla bean pod (if using) and strain the mixture into a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until very cold (ideally overnight). Then churn according to the instructions on your ice cream maker.
Once churned, transfer the ice cream to your freezing container, layering the fresh churned ice cream with large spoonfuls of the remaining 1/2 cup of honey. Freeze until firm and then serve.
Dress up the dessert with a drizzle of your best honey and, if you desire, some of these simple orange-nutmeg tea cookies.
Orange Nutmeg Cookies
from The Grand Central Baking Book: Breakfast Pastries, Cookies, Pies, and Satisfying Savories from the Pacific Northwest's Celebrated Bakery
yields 4 dozen cookies
2 cups (10oz) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (8oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5.25oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (roughly 2 medium-large oranges)
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Turbinado sugar for rolling
In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt and nutmeg.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (approximately 5 minutes). Beat in the egg and orange zest and then reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Chill the dough until firm for easier handling.
When firm, shape the dough into a long loaf (roughly 1 1/2" high and 3" wide). You may also form a cylinder if you prefer round cookies. Brush lightly with beaten egg and then coat with well Turbinado sugar.
Wrap the loaf tightly with wax paper and then chill for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 3 days before baking. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F.
Slice the loaf into pieces and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone baking mats.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown with darker edges.