Saturday, July 17, 2010

And I'm back!

First of all I have to apologize that I've been MIA for the past, oh I don't know, month or so. I know all of you, my dear readers, have been pining away for my mouthwatering recipes and inspiring dialogue. But I promise that over the next few blog posts I will be filling your minds (and gullets) with even more of the sensational cuisine and hilarious ramblings that you have come to know and love.

Actually, my absence did have a reason behind it. I was studying for my boards, you see I'm a physical therapist but in order to (legally) practice my craft, I have to be licenced in North Carolina, my current state of residence. Well, I guess all of my studying paid off because last Thursday I took my boards and this past Saturday I found out that I PASSED them! I received the packet in the mail WAAAY faster than I thought I would (and I suspect my husband was behind expediting the scores but he won't admit it). So it's not that I didn't want to blog, I just didn't have TIME!

Well, now that a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders I am back and oh boy, do I have a treat for you! To celebrate my parents being in town for the weekend and my passing the boards, I made chocolate ice cream and homemade profiteroles. What do you get when you combine the two?? In a word, heaven. On a plate.

But I have made you wait so long, I shall dally no more. Without further ado, the recipes:

Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream
recipe adapted from The Nesting Project

1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (I used a combination because it's what I had on hand)
1 TBSP instant coffee granules
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the milk and cream together in a saucepan set on medium heat. In a separate bowl whisk eggs and sugar. When milk is hot but not boiling take off the burner and SLOWLY pour into the eggs in a small stream while whisking the eggs. Make sure you REALLY take your time with this step otherwise you WILL wind up with scrambled eggs in your ice cream (and trust me, that is pretty disgusting)

Return the mixture into the saucepan set on medium-low and heat, stirring, until it thickens and mixture can coat the back of a spoon (I use a candy thermometer set into the pan and heat the custard to 170 degrees). Take off the burner and mix in the bittersweet chocolate, vanilla extract and coffee granules. Mix until it melts. Place in a bowl and chill completely. Once completely chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the instructions.

Note: You really need to cool the cooked custard COMPLETELY before you put it in the ice cream maker. I usually refrigerate it overnight but if you're in a hurry you can set the bowl over an ice bath and that cools it quicker. (For my mom, who says she doesn't know what an ice bath is - its a bigger bowl containing ice and water, and then you set the smaller bowl containing the custard down into the icy cold water).

adapted from the Barefoot Contessa - this version is adapted to make 9 puffs, the recipe can be doubled...because you never know when you're going to need 18 cream puffs ;)

1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick unsalted butter
pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 extra large eggs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heat the milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until scalded. When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan.

Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 11/2 inches wide and 1 inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (You can also use two spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers, as I do). You should have about 9 puffs. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 5-10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape and set aside to cool.

To assemble the Ice Cream Profiteroles:

Cut the top off the (cooled) profiteroles and place a scoop of ice cream on the bottom half and replace the top. Garnish with whipped cream, sliced strawberries and chocolate sauce drizzled ALL OVER everything :)
I've made these profiteroles with strawberry ice cream and swimming in hot fudge, as well as brown sugar ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce. Really, you cannot go wrong. Use your imagination and come up with any combination of ice cream and sauce. I prefer homemade ice cream, but if you use store-bought I won't tell anyone.

Now go get cooking, you know you want to.

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